Minor League Notes, May 23, 2011
**Washington Nationals pitching prospect Brad Peacock is having a breakthrough season, at least if his performance for Double-A Harrisburg is any indication. He's 6-1 in eight games, with a 2.05 ERA and a terrific 66/9 K/BB ratio in 48 innings, with 31 hits allowed. He's been especially devastating in his last two starts, with a 24/3 K/BB and six hits allowed in 13 innings of work. A 41st round pick in 2006 from Palm Beach Community College, Peacock hits the mid-90s and has an impressive knuckle-curveball, but struggled with his command in past seasons, resulting in a career 4.44 ERA entering '11.
However, he's throwing quality strikes much more readily this year, with big leaps forward in all performance metrics. He's just 23 and this looks like a legitimate breakthrough to me. I had him on my Sleeper Alert! list pre-season in the 2011 Baseball Prospect Book. He's awake.
**Atlanta Braves prospect Arodys Vizcaino entered '11 needing to show that he was healthy after missing portions of '10 with elbow trouble. He looks good so far for High-A Lynchburg, with a 2.97 ERA in eight starts and a 32/10 K/BB in 33 innings, 28 hits allowed. Scouting reports indicate that his low-to-mid-90s fastball, plus curveball, and workable changeup are all working well. He did miss one turn in the rotation with a sore back, and he's been on tight pitch counts so far, averaging just over four innings per start, although he's picked up 12 innings in his last two appearances. I had him as a strong Grade B pre-season and would retain that rating right now, with a B+ upcoming if he stay healthy through mid-season.
**Another player trying to overcome injury issues is Los Angeles Angels infield prospect Ryan Mount. A second round pick in 2005 from high school in Chino Hills, California, Mount is currently hitting .333/.434/.602 in 28 games for Double-A Arkansas. A left-handed hitter, he has good power for a second baseman and has hit well when healthy. However, he has a hard time staying that way, having never played more than 88 games in a minor league season due to a variety of maladies including significant hamstring and quadriceps pulls, a broken hamate, and a severe knee sprain.
Mount is an Adam Kennedy-type: a left-handed line drive hitter with occasional sparks of power. His glove is nothing special and he's spending time in left field as well as second base to increase his flexibility as a possible bench option. He is the type of player who could sneak up on us as a major league contributor in the next year or two, if he can stay on the field long enough to keep developing his skills.
**Toronto Blue Jays outfield prospect Marcus Knecht had a fine Sunday afternoon for Low-A Lansing in the Midwest League, going 3-for-5 with a home run, four RBI, and three runs scored. On the season, he's hitting .328/.404/.513 with 13 walks and 29 strikeouts in 119 at-bats for the Lugnuts. A third round pick last year from Connors State Junior College in Oklahoma, Knecht is a Canadian and was considered very toolsy but a bit raw when drafted. His bat has been quite good this year and scouts praise his bat speed, but he's got to work on his outfield defense: he's already made four errors.