Minor League Notes, April 13, 2012
**San Diego Padres pitching prospect Casey Kelly was impressive in spring training, and his first two starts for Triple-A Tucson have been very strong: 12 innings, 12 hits, three runs, zero walks, 14 strikeouts, and a 1.63 GO/AO. I was somewhat cautious in my expectations for him pre-season. His fastball dipped into the 80s last year in Double-A, and sabermetrically-speaking his K/IP and H/IP ratios were unimpressive. He looked more like an inning-eater to me than a future ace. This year he's maintained his best stuff more readily, and given that he's always had good control, superior athleticism, and a compact delivery, I now buy into the notion that a breakout is in progress.
**Another fast starter: Donn Roach of the High-A Inland Empire 66ers in the California League. The Los Angeles Angels prospect has a 10/1 K/BB with one run and eight hits allowed in his first 13 innings over two starts, with a 5.50 GO/AO. He has one of the best sinkers in the minor leagues, he throws strikes, and his breaking stuff is coming along. He was used as a reliever last year in Low-A but is transitioning back to starting this year, and so far the results are quite good.
**The Dynamic Duo of third baseman Miguel Sano and second baseman Eddie Rosario at Low-A Beloit gives Minnesota Twins fans something to be excited about. Sano is 5-for-21 (.238) but with three homers, seven walks, and eight strikeouts in the early going. The walks are good to see given that plate discipline is the main thing he needs to improve offensively. Rosario is 6-for-24 (.250) but with four walks, a double, a triple, and four stolen bases in four attempts. He's made two errors in five games at second base, but is just now learning the position, switching from center field. Sano has made one error in seven games while showing good range.
**The pre-season question for New York Mets outfield prospect Cory Vaughn: was his poor performance in the second half last year for High-A St. Lucie (.219/.308/.395) related to a nagging heel injury, or was it a sign that his swing won't work against better pitching? Returning to St. Lucie this spring, Vaughn is 8-for-27 (.296/.387/.556 slash line) through seven games, with four doubles, a homer, three walks, and nine strikeouts. This is more like the Mets wanted to see last year, particularly with the power numbers, although he's still striking out a lot. I don't think anyone expects him to hit for a great batting average, but his power potential is substantial and he should draw some walks. The BB/K ratio is problematic, but as always, the sample size is quite small at this point in the season. If he continues to hit well, he will move up to Double-A later this year.
**Remember "Yoan Alcantara", the Padres "prospect" who murdered the Arizona Rookie League last season before being caught up in an identity scam? His real name is Yeison Asencio and he is 22 years old.