The month of June has been a sparse one thusfar for PPR as I have found myself pulled in many different directions. My son’s school has had a variety of end of the year activities that I have been quite involved with and other activities seem to pull me further and further away from this keyboard.
I am happy to say that I did get a chance to paruse some box scores last night in the minor league ranks and am more than happy to share my revelations! Let’s get to it…
In the AAA ranks, the performances from notable prospects is diminishing as many of our favorites have already nestled their way onto major league rosters. There were however a few poignant outings by intriguing prospects that we’ll cover in a little more depth. Texas Rangers top pitching prospect Neftali Feliz tossed six shutout innings of two-hit ball for his third win of the season. Feliz didn’t allow a walk and only struck out three, which indicates to me that he is working on being more efficient with his pitches. Yesterday’s outing was only the second time this season that Feliz has worked six innings which indicates to me that the Rangers are distinctly trying to save the bulk of Neftali’s 2009 innings for use in their rotation. I would expect that if he had another couple outings like this one, the Rangers will call upon his services soon.
In other games, Mike Carp his his 10th HR of the season, ending a prolonged power drought and teammate Adam Moore hit HR #5, further confirming to me that Jeff Clement’s future as a catcher is all but finished. Don’t be surprised if Moore gets a call up by the M’s by mid-summer. His bat is better than either Rob Johnson’s or Kenji Johjima’s and his defensive skills rival Johjima’s for best in the organizaiton at the catcher position. A prolonged hot streak should help to initiate a much needed flip flop of Rob Johnson and Moore in the organization’s depth chart.
A’s flamethrowing reliever Henry Rodriguez punched out five hitters in 2.2 innings of work, allowing just one hit. Rodriguez has only pitched in six games between High-A Stockton and AAA Sacramento, but his 20 K’s in just 10.1 innings is evidence that his 100 MPH heater is best used pitching at the end of games rather than the beginning. The A’s, after three frustrating seasons, have now realized that and are slowly transitioning the 21 year old righty into a future closer’s role. There is ample opportunity for Rodriguez to excel in this as the A’s have struggled to find some ninth inning continuity in the wake of Huston Street’s departure. While Andrew Bailey has looked sharp in his limited opportunities, H-Rod has stuff that crackles with electricity. I would expect that Rodriguez will pitch most of this season at Sacramento, but you can never rule out the unpredictability of A’s GM Billy Beane.
Finally, our top prospect of the day comes from San Diego where future 1B Kyle Blanks blasted HR’s #10 and 11 while driving in four runs and walking twice. The king-sized Padres 1B prospect had a slow month of May, hitting just .221 with 5 HR and 13 RBI, but his June numbers seem to be picking up as he has nearly tripled his slugging percentage and has regained his plate discipline (7 BB/3 K) that seemed to elude him last month. Blanks’ big league opportunities in ’09 are closely linked to what the Padres decide to do with Adrian Gonzalez this season. The former #1 pick is the front runner for the N.L. MVP this season and Padres have him under contract at a very low cost for two more seasons. That said, the Friars seem to be in constant sell mode these days, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they dealt their All-Star 1B at some point this season. There has also been some discussion of moving Blanks to a corner outfield spot, likely left field, to fully utilize his power bat. Despite his 6-6 285 lb. frame, Kyle is quite nimble and more athletic than he appears. That said, he hasn’t played in the outfield since his two game stint in 2005.
The most likely scenerio for the big right-handed slugger is that he will be one of the Padres’ September call ups, getting limited playing time as the Padres’ 09 season winds down. Limited as Blanks’ ’09 opportunities may be, this will likely be the last season he spends as a minor league hitter.
AAA Player of the Day—KYLE BLANKS
Other Notable Performances
- Austin Jackson—1-4 2B R BB
- Greg Golson—2-3 R 3 RBI
- Brian Bogusevic—3-5 2B 2 RBI SB(6)
- Chris Johnson—2-4 2B R BB
- Yorman Ramirez—3-5 2B 2R 2 RBI
- Daric Barton—3-5 2B
- Brandon Wood—2-4 2B R RBI
- Eric Young Jr.—1-4 R RBI BB 2 SB(35)
- Alex Romero—5-6 2B 3R 5 RBI BB
- Jacob Hester—4-6 HR(3) 4 RBI 3B 2R
- Mike Carp—2-4 HR(10) 2 RBI BB
- Adam Moore—1-5 HR(5) 3 RBI
- Kyle Blanks—2-3 2 HR(11) 4 RBI 2 BB 2R
- Jack Egbert—6 IP 5H ER BB 6K W (4-0)
- Drew Carpenter—7 IP 4H 2 BB 6K W (4-0)
- Neftali Feliz—6 IP 2H 3K W (3-3)
- Sean O’Sullivan—5.2 IP 5H Er 5K
- Henry Rodriguez—2.2 IP H 5K