Hit and Run, August 3, 2009
**I'm going on a scouting trip to Springfield, Missouri, starting tomorrow. My video camera should (cross fingers) be operational now, so hopefully I'll come back with some good video for you. I don't know what internet at the hotel will be like, so coverage this week will depend on that. Unless circumstances intervene, I intend to do a lot of travelling this month.
**You may have noticed that the Royals promoted Eric Hosmer from Burlington to Wilmington last week. He wasn't exactly thriving in the Midwest League (.254/.352/.382), and so far things are worse in the Carolina League (.200/.234/.222 in 12 games). Like just about everyone else, he can't hit at Wilmington (2-for-22 so far), but has been more effective on the road (7-for-23). Sample size is tiny of course. The promotion to Wilmington is very aggressive considering his tepid Midwest League numbers, and it will be interesting to see how he responds.
**A pitcher I have been watching as a sleeper for some time in Wynn Pelzer in the Padres system, who I think I've mentioned before. He has a 4.24 ERA at Lake Elsinore in the Cal League, which doesn't draw a lot of notice. But he's 9-6 in 21 starts, has a solid 120/41 K/BB ratio in 115 innings, has given up just four home runs and 106 hits, and has a 2.19 GO/AO ratio. I like the strikeout/ground ball combination. He's fourth in the league in strikeouts, eighth in WHIP, and he throws pretty hard. Keep an eye on him. He shuts down right-handed hitters effectively with his fastball and slider, but needs another weapon against lefties, making relief his possible destination long-term.
**Jared Mitchell Watch: .286/.400/.429 in 13 games for Kannapolis, but with some interesting splits. He's hitting .323/.432/.516 against right-handers, but just .182/.308/.182 against lefties. Yes, the sample sizes are way too small to mean much at this point, but the platoon differential is worth tracking considering the rawness scouts detected in his game at LSU. He's drawn eight walks in 50 plate appearances, a strong ratio in line with his college numbers, but has also struck out 14 times, also in line with his college numbers.
**Astros prospect Jon Gaston is putting up some gaudy numbers in the California League: .294/.386/.646, 24 doubles, 14 triples, 29 homers, 12/15 in stolen base attempts, 58 walks vs. 395 at-bats. On the negative side, he's fanned 120 times, and benefits from his friendly home park at Lancaster where he has a robust 1.159 OPS. His OPS on the road is still strong at .900, but we need to see what he can do against better pitching. Gaston was drafted in the seventh round in 2008 out of the University of Arizona. He has above average power, but his other tools are considered mediocre. The strikeouts worry me, but his balance of skills looks intriguing.
**Two of my Shadow Twins got traded at the deadline: Scott Barnes going from the Real Life Giants to the Indians for Ryan Garko, and Tyler Ladendorf going from the Real Life Twins (who drafted him just like I did!) to Oakland for Orlando Cabrera. I have no use for Garko in the Shadow World, so I'm keeping Barnes. I will assume that the Shadow Twins need infield help as the Real Twins do, so I will go ahead and make the Ladendorf/Cabrera trade in the Shadow world.
**Speaking of the Shadow Twins, in 2008 I drafted Brett Lawrie instead of Aaron Hicks in the first round. Lawrie is hitting .264/.345/.444 in 90 games for Wisconsin in the Midwest League, with 10 homers and 17 steals in 26 attempts. His defense at second base is pretty awful, but he's an outfielder in the Shadow world. Hicks began the year in extended spring, but now has 35 games under his belt for Beloit in the Midwest League, hitting .225/.342/.341 with four steals in nine attempts. He's controlling the zone well and drawing walks, but so far hasn't shown as much with the bat as he did last year in rookie ball. At one point I was regretting picking Lawrie over Hicks, but right now I'm comfortable with my selection.