Afternoon Notes: May 19, 2010

Afternoon Update: May 19, 2010

**Texas Rangers pitching prospect Robbie Erlin made his debut as a starter last night for Hickory in the South Atlantic League, throwing five perfect innings and fanning nine. Combined with eight previous outings in relief, Erlin has a 0.36 ERA with a 31/4 K/BB in 25.1 innings this year, with just 11 hits allowed. A third round pick last June out of high school in Scotts Valley, California, Erlin isn't a big guy at 6-0, 175, but he has a solid 90 MPH fastball and a big-breaking curve. His command has been excellent this year, and he is also a good overall athlete. I like this guy; I gave him a Grade C+ "with higher potential" in the book, and so far there is nothing to complain about and lots to be pleased with in his performance. He could get well into the B-range by the end of the season.

**One of the hottest hitters in the minor leagues right now is Giants first base prospect Brandon Belt, currently hitting .381/.481/.579 for High-A San Jose, with 25 walks and just 20 strikeouts in 126 at-bats. He's been especially devastating on the road, hitting .443/.533/.615 in other California League parks outside San Jose. Belt was drafted in the fifth round last June from the University of Texas. He's a big guy at 6-5, 195, with a long wingspan, but he wasn't a dominant hitter in college and scouts said that his swing didn't translate his strength to power effectively. I saw him play for the Longhorns last year and I thought he looked like a good player, looking more athletic than most first basemen his size and controlling the strike zone well. I wrote in my book this year that I thought he "had some breakout potential once he gets comfortable." He's clearly comfortable. It will be interesting to see how quickly the Giants promote him to Double-A, but you have to like what he's done so far.

**Liam Hendriks is another hot pitcher, an Australian in the Twins system. He began this year with Beloit in the Midwest League, going 2-1, 1.32 with a 39/4 K/BB in 34 innings and just 16 hits allowed. Promoted to Fort Myers in early May, he's remained strong in his first two starts, with a 2.84 ERA and a 12/0 K/BB in 13.1 innings, allowing nine hits. Hendriks. He has a 90 MPH sinker, decent curve and slider, and obviously outstanding command. He is fully recovered from back surgery that cost him all of 2008. You can find some video of him here. I didn't put him in the book, but he looks like at least a Grade C+ prospect right now.

**Mets catching prospect Josh Thole is currently hitting .198/.265/.319 in 24 games for Triple-A Buffalo, with nine walks and 17 strikeouts. He hasn't hit a homer yet, but has managed to knock nine doubles. He's also having problems throwing out baserunners, nabbing just 17% thus far in 24 games behind the plate. Thole isn't really a .198 hitter, but he's not really a .300+ hitter either, not at the major league level anyway. He'll pull out of the slump eventually, but I still do not see him as a long-term solution behind the plate for a major league team. He just doesn't have enough power and isn't good enough at throwing out runners. All of his offensive value is tied into his batting average, and if he can't hit .300+ consistently against good pitching, or at least show much better defense, he won't stay in a lineup.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Minor League Ball

You must be a member of Minor League Ball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Minor League Ball. You should read them.

Join Minor League Ball

You must be a member of Minor League Ball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Minor League Ball. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker