Baseball Prospect Notes, March 12, 2012
**Last week I mentioned the possibility that St. Louis Cardinals prospect Shelby Miller might see his timetable moved up a little if Chris Carpenter's injury turns into a long-term issue. In the short run, the Cardinals will be turning to right-hander Lance Lynn. Lynn was excellent in the major league bullpen last fall, but his background is as a starter and I think this move makes sense. His key pitch is a nasty sinker, but his curveball and changeup are good enough for him to start, and he should end up being an effective mid-rotation starter if his command stays in gear.
**With high school phenom Lucas Giolito on the shelf with elbow problems, the contest for "Best Right-hander in the 2012 Draft" boils down to Stanford's Mark Appel and Louisiana State's Kevin Gausman. Appel had a great start on Friday night, fanning 14 in nine innings against Rice. Appel now has a 3.19 ERA in four starts with a 40/10 K/BB in 31 innings with just 17 hits allowed. Check out his curveball.
Gausman, meanwhile, was also outstanding, throwing eight shutout innings against Michigan while fanning 11 with just two hits allowed. He now has a 1.32 ERA with a 31/2 K/BB in 27 innings with 20 hits allowed. Note his walk rate, remarkably low for a pitcher with his kind of stuff.
**Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Nate Eovaldi had a good outing on Saturday, throwing three scoreless innings. The Dodgers have no obvious spot in the rotation, so Eovaldi could end up in the bullpen or down at Triple-A Albuquerque to begin the season. He has no Triple-A experience on his resume, so in theory it would make sense for him to get some minor league innings in, but on the other hand, Albuquerque is where pitchers go to die. It would make a certain amount of sense to bring him north as a long reliever in the old-style Earl Weaver method, serving an apprenticeship and ready to move into the rotation when someone gets hurt.
**Kansas City Royals prospect Mike Montgomery got blasted yesterday, giving up five runs on three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning of work. This doesn't do much to increase his chance of opening the season in the majors. I'm a little puzzled by Montgomery, who is still showing up quite high on many top prospect lists despite his very erratic season in Triple-A last year. I'm not as sanguine as I used to be about him. His command problems and mechanical inconsistencies are pretty significant.
**Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper, meanwhile, has now missed five days in a row due to a nagging calf injury. This doesn't sound like a major issue for the medium and long terms and he should be back in action soon.