Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Victor Mateo (Photo by Megan Stearman Photography, courtesy Bowling Green Hot Rods)
Minor League Notes, July 11, 2011
**Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Victor Mateo threw a seven-inning no-hitter on July 8th, fanning 10 and walking three against Lake County. Overall on the season, Mateo is 9-4, 4.55 for Low-A Bowling Green in the Midwest League, with a 77/25 K/BB in 87 innings and 98 hits allowed.
A 21-year-old Dominican signed in 2006, his track record in the low minors is mixed. He pitched very well in 2009 (1.98 ERA, 38/9 K/BB in 50 innings in the GCL) but not as well in 2010 (4.89 ERA with a 36/19 K/BB in 46 innings in the Appy League). He's tall and projectable at 6-5, 180 and throws a 90-93 MPH fastball. He mixes in a mid-80s cutter, an upper-70s slider, and a changeup. He usually throws strikes but hasn't been dominant despite solid stuff. Guys like this can sometimes come out of nowhere if they add a new pitch or make a small adjustment, and in the loaded Rays system he is easy to overlook.
**San Francisco Giants fans have their eye on lefty Eric Surkamp, and with good reason. The southpaw has a 1.61 ERA in 89 innings for Double-A Richmond, with a 102/28 K/BB and 74 hits allowed. All of his component ratios are excellent. Drafted in the sixth round in 2008 from North Carolina State, Surkamp's season ended early last year due to a dislocated hip, but he's shown no ill effects this season. He now has a career 2.92 ERA in 339 innings with a 402/94 K/BB ratio and 305 hits allowed. Although his component ratios are those of a power pitcher, his fastball has just average velocity. He uses a curveball and changeup, both solid-to-plus, and his command is a big asset. He's had no problems adapting to Double-A and should appear in the majors within the next year at his current pace.
**Washington Nationals relief prospect Pat Lehman is having a strong campaign. He began in the Carolina League with Potomac, posting a 1.72 ERA with a 11/0 K/BB in 16 innings, allowing nine hits. Promoted to Double-A Harrisburg in June, he has a 0.71 ERA with an 8/1 K/BB and just four hits allowed in 13 innings. Overall he has a 1.27 ERA this year with a 19/1 K/BB. A 13th round pick in 2009 from George Washington University, Lehman posted a 4.84 ERA as a starter in 2010 in the Carolina League, though he had a good 88/28 K/BB in 87 innings. He's taken to a relief role very well this year. His fastball is average but he has a good slider, throws strikes, and picks up grounders at a good clip, making him a possible relief option in the next year or two.
**Minnesota Twins prospect Adrian Salcedo is having a solid season in the Midwest League, the 20-year-old Dominican going 5-3, 2.81 for Beloit, with a 68/24 K/BB in 99 innings with 90 hits allowed and a 1.31 GO/AO. Like many Twins pitching prospects, his best attribute his command of his low-90s fastball, an attribute greatly valued by the organization. His changeup is solid, but he's still working to sharpen up his curveball and slider; this shows up in a mediocre K/IP ratio. He's been on a roll lately, with a 1.99 ERA in his last six starts along with a 29/8 K/BB in 41 innings. I'd like to see more strikeouts, but given his age and remaining physical projectability he's a valuable prospect.