Minor League Notes, April 21, 2011

**Everyone knows about former top prospect Brandon Wood being designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels this week. I think the move is necessary; he wasn't helping the team and he clearly needs a change of scenery to have any hope of living up to his former potential.

Anyone who has seen Wood play over the last couple of years can diagnose his problems: his approach at the plate is completely fouled up, he alternates between being too passive and too aggressive (sometimes in the same at-bat), and his confidence is obviously shot. As awful as he's been, I'd still be willing to take a chance with him if I were another team.

All the physical tools that made him a hot prospect are still there. He's a good defender at third base and can still play shortstop. And I've seen him, in person, in the minor leagues do the things he can't seem to do in the majors: control the strike zone decently and show power to all fields. Perhaps it really is some uncorrectable swing flaw that makes him an AAAA player, but there's at least some chance that the problem is entirely (or mostly) mental and a fresh team and different coaching staff can help him. We'll see.

**The Kansas City Royals promoted reliever Louis Coleman from Triple-A Omaha this morning. A fifth round pick in 2009 out of Louisiana State, Coleman had a 3.86 ERA in his first seven innings for Omaha, with a 16/4 K/BB ratio and four hits allowed. His overall minor league record: 2.16 ERA in 121 innings, 76 hits, 141/33 K/BB ratio. Coleman works with a low-90s fastball, a very good slider, a better changeup than most relievers have, and a deceptive delivery. He blew through the minors in less than two years, and should be a fine addition to the Royals bullpen going forward, with some chance to be a closer eventually.

**One pre-season question I am watching closely: can Toronto Blue Jays shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechavarria hit? He's got a terrific glove but hit just .242/.272/.333 in 414 at-bats last year between High-A and Double-A. So far, not so good this year, with a .204/.220/.245 mark in 12 games for Double-A New Hampshire. He makes decent contact, but can't control the strike zone and shows very little power. His glove will get him to the majors, but I remain a skeptic that he'll hit enough to play regularly, at least for a good team, though at age 22 he still has time to improve.

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