The rookie leagues are a month into their seasons, so we'd like to take a look at which young players are setting themselves apart--some for excelling, some for sucking. Here are your 3 fresh and 3 stale rookie league players:
After a rough 2009 at the plate, Hamilton is starting to come into his own as a hitter. He's hitting .286/.359/.429 so far on the year in addition to stealing 8 bases and playing excellent middle infield defense. As you can see from the stat line, he's walking a fair bit, and he's also avoiding the strikeouts fairly well. A switch hitter, he's hitting equally well from both sides of the plate. A solid complete season from Hamilton would put him squarely in the discussion for top 10 prospects in the organization.
This year's 31st round pick is showing why some thought he was a steal. The 1B out of Cal St. Northridge is hitting a ridiculous .406/.529/.580 so far in Arizona. He has walked 14 times and only struck out 11 in 19 games. D'Anna is 21 and too old for the league, so you have to think that another week or two of hitting like that and he'll get promoted to Billings, or maybe even Dayton.
Arias was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, the same year the Reds signed Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran. As a result, he didn't get much attention, but clearly the Reds saw something because they gave him $300,000 to sign. He's starting to garner some attention around baseball with his play both at SS and at the plate. He's OPSing 1.059 through Saturday and has 4 homers on the young season. All of a sudden it's looking like the Reds system could be stocked with SS prospects.
Once a promising HS pitcher from Canada who tore up low-A ball at the age of 18, Lotzkar is fast becoming an afterthought in the organization. 2 years removed from major elbow injury, he's back in rookie ball and struggling. Through 3 starts he has given up 6 runs in just 8 innings. Unfortunately, it looks like Charlie Scrabbles might've been spot on in his prediction 2 years ago.
Baseball America ranks Bowe the fastest baserunner in the whole system, which is saying something in an organization with some serious burners. But the 2008 21st round pick is currently working on his 3rd straight season in rookie ball, and isn't exactly impressing. His slash line sits at .228/.313/.298 and has only been successful on 50% of his 6 SB attempts. Bowe turns 20 next month, so he needs to show something soon if he wants to stay in the mix as a legitimate OF prospect.
Robles was this year's 9th round pick out of Oregon State. You figure a college pitcher drafted that high could handle rookie ball, but not so for Robles. He has been starting for Billings with mixed results. In 5 starts he's gone 16.1 innings and given up 14 earned runs. Obviously he's pitching in a major hitter's league, but it's hard to excuse the 20 walks he's issued so far. That's no way to impress the new bosses, Tanner.
Check after the jump for a recap of a busy weekend, and a crazy weekend for Billings.
- Louisville got the weekend started on a good note, winning 7-3 on Friday. Soul-sucker Ben Jukich started and lasted 5, giving up all 3 runs. The real pitching story was the bullpen, where Jared Burton, Aroldis Chapman, and Carlos Fisher combined to throw 4 shutout innings with 9(!) strikeouts. Chapman was the beast of the bunch, striking out all four batters he faced on 14 pitches, 12 strikes. That means with two strikes, no batter made contact. Word is his FB broke 100 a couple of times too. When dude is on, dude is on. Gary Matthews Jr. and Juan Francisco each hit homers, and Zack Cozart was 2-4 and stole his 22nd base of the year. Saturday the Bats lost 5-1. Russ Springer threw a perfect inning in relief, striking out 1. Yonder Alonso and Wilkin Castillo were each 2-4 with a double, and Chris Dickerson was 1-1 with 2 walks in his second rehab game. The Bats ended their weekend on a high note, winning 5-4. Sam LeCure went 7 innings, giving up 2 earned runs....and striking out 13! Wow. Zack Cozart was the offensive star, going 3-4 with a double and his 13th homer on the season. His season OPS is up to .772. Chris Valaika went 2-4 with a double.
- Carolina lost 4-3 in 10 innings on Friday. Felix Perez was 2-5 and stole a base, Dave Sappelt was 2-4 with a double, and Devin Mesoraco was 2-3 with a triple and a walk. Saturday Carolina won 6-5. Jeremy Horst continued his strong work out of the pen, throwing 1.2 shutout innings and striking out 3. Lots of hits in this one, and Kris Negron, Luis Terrero, Sean Henry and Jose Castro all had 2 hits. Oh yeah, and Devin Mesoraco hit his 20th homer of the season. The Mudcats closed the weekend strong, winning 5-2. Daryl Thompson threw 3.1 innings, striking out 5. Brad Boxberger gave up another run in relief, this time in 1.2 innings. He did strike out all 5 batters he got out, at least. Kris Negron went 2-3 with a triple, Sean Henry was 2-4 with a double, and Felix Perez was 2-4 with his first homer in the U.S.
- Lynchburg shut out Myrtle Beach 4-0 on Friday. James Avery was masterful, going 8 innings, striking out 6, walking none, and only allowing 2 hits. Jordan Wideman was 2-4 with 2 doubles, Neftali Soto went 2-4, and Jose Gualdron and Efrain Contreras each homered. Saturday Lynchburg lost 5-2. Donnie Joseph pitched another scoreless inning striking out 1, although he also walked 2. Brodie Greene and Kevin Coddington were each 2-4 with a double. The Hillcats were off Sunday.
- Dayton lost a slugfest 10-8 on Friday. Andrew Means went 3-5 with a double and homer, Henry Rodriguez went 3-5, Kevyn Feiner went 2-4, and Ryan LaMarre was 1-3 with a walk. Saturday the Dragons got spanked 13-5. JC Sulbaran got roughed up again, giving up 8 runs in 3.1 innings. DiDi Gregorius went 2-5 with a double. Sunday Dayton won 6-2. Alex Oliveras was 2-4, Gregorius was 2-5, and Ryan LaMarre hit his 2nd homer as a pro.
- Billings did their best Reds impersonation, starting the weekend by winning a thriller, 7-6. The visting Mustangs entered the 9th down 6-3, but scored 4 runs on 6 hits to take the win. All 4 runs came with 2 outs, and they could've had more, but Sean Conner was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a hit for the 3rd out of the inning. Clayton Shunick started and threw 6 shutout innings, striking out 6. Billy Hamilton was 2-5 with a triple, Donald Lutz was 3-5 with a double, and a bunch of other guys had multiple hits as well. Saturday the team returned the favor, losing 5-4. The Mustangs entered the bottom of the 9th up 4-3 but Josh Smith gave up a walk and a homer to blow the save and the game. Yorman Rodriguez was 3-4, Sean Conner was 2-4 with a double, and Billy Hamilton was 2-5 with a double. Billings went out much more quietly on Sunday, losing 7-5. Daniel Tuttle had a rough outing, giving up 6 earned runs in just 4 innings. Juan Duran was 2-4, Donald Lutz was 2-5, and Yorman Rodriguez was 1-4 with a double and walk.
- AZL Reds won 19-4 on Friday. No, that's not a typo. This was a beatdown in every way. Jonathan Correa started and struck out 10 batters in only 5 innings. Every Reds starter had a hit, and 6 of them had multiple hits. The most impressive games came from David Vidal, who was 3-5 with 3 home runs and 8 RBI, and Ohio U. product Robert Maddox, who was 4-6 with a double, homer, and 4 RBI. Saturday the team won 7-5. El'Hajj Muhammad threw 3 shutout innings from the pen, striking out 6. Junior Arias was 3-5 with a triple, Drew Poulk was 2-4 with a double, and David Vidal was 2-5 with a double.