Minor League Notes, May 27, 2010
Today we will look at the current batting title leaders in Triple-A and Double-A, and see if any of these guys are actual prospects.
**Jesus Feliciano of the Buffalo Bisons is currently leading the International League in hitting with a .364/.419/.457 mark. He's also stolen six bases and has shown contact hitting ability with a 12/13 BB/K in 140 at-bats. The 30 year old has been playing Triple-A since 2005, hitting over .300 four seasons and showing some touches of speed and decent defense, but lacking power. Worse players have parlayed such skills into major league bench roles, but so far the opportunity hasn't come for Feliciano.
**The current Pacific Coast League batting leader is Albuquerque's John Lindsey, currently hitting an incredible .436 with a .476 OBP and a .718 SLG. He has just seven walks in 156 at-bats, but had struck out just 24 times. Lindsey has been devastating both at home (.440) and on the road (.431). He hit .455 in April and .422 in May. He's hitting .400/.440/.670 against right-handed pitchers, but with the platoon edge against lefties he's hitting .500/.533/.804 in 56 at-bats. Lindsey is no prospect at age 33, but the first baseman is having an amazing season even considering Albuquerque/PCL stat inflation. He's been playing Double-A/Triple-A since 2003 and has usually performed well, but his age and lack of tools have kept him in the minors, and he has a bad body (6-1, 245) that turns off scouts. He's also a right-handed hitting first baseman, and it is hard for those types to earn jobs in the majors unless they have star ability. Still, it would be fun to see what this guy could do with some major league at-bats.
**The Eastern League batting leader is Alex Presley of the Altoona Curve, hitting .381/.419/.575 in 160 at-bats with a 10/23 BB/K ratio. A left-handed hitter, Presley is 24 years old and has some actual prospect potential. Originally drafted by the Pirates in the eighth round in '06 from the University of Mississippi, Presley is undersized at 5-9, 180, but is a reasonable athlete. He had two mediocre seasons in the Carolina League in '08 and '09 and was a forgotten guy until this year. This may just be driven by BABIP luck, but the Pirates need players and if he keeps hitting like this he could move up. If he makes it, it would most likely be as a reserve outfielder.
**An 11th round pick in 2006 out of Porterville Community College, Marlins shortstop prospect Osvaldo Martinez leads the Southern League in hitting with a .362 mark. His OBP is .452; his SLG .446. He lacks power, but has shown outstanding command of the strike zone this year, with a 25/17 BB/K in 177 at-bats. At age 22, he is a legitimate prospect age-wise as well. He has a good arm, but his range at shortstop isn't the best and he could end up at second base. Martinez was shot three times last year in a driveby shooting, but has obviously made a full recovery.
**Leading the Texas League is Mike Moustakas with a .377 mark. Combine that with a .463 OBP and a .770 SLG, and he's definitely having the breakout season the Royals hoped for. He's made substantial improvement with his plate discipline and reducing his strikeouts this year (17/19 BB/K ratio in 122 at-bats). He's also been on a home run tear lately, hitting six homers in his last ten contests, giving him 12 on the season. The Royals handle prospects oddly at times and I don't know at what point Moustakas will move up, but at age 21 I think this breakout is genuine.