Minor League Notes, April 20, 2012
**The big news for prospect watchers today is the impending promotion of Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison, expected to make his major league debut on Saturday against the Kansas City Royals. Hutchison has looked very good in his first three starts for Double-A New Hampshire: 2.16 ERA, 12/3 K/BB in 16.2 innings, 16 hits allowed, touched for one gopher. Hutchison has now made six starts total in Double-A (three late last year), with a 5-1 record, a 1.71 ERA, and a 33/5 K/BB in 32 innings with 26 hits allowed.
Is he being rushed? Maybe, but if anyone can handle it, it is Hutchison. Although he's got just 32 innings of advanced minor league competition, he's dominated in those innings due to his outstanding command. He doesn't have an overpowering fastball, but it plays up due to the contrast with his superior changeup and solid slider. His makeup and mound presence are excellent, particularly for his age (21). Hutch has come a long way from being a relatively unheralded 15th round draft pick from a Florida high school in 2009. I would call this a calculated risk.
**There must be a really good story here, but we may never learn the details. The Colorado Rockies released Albert Campos, who (until Wednesday) was one of the higher-upside arms in their farm system. Just 21 years old, he's got an impressive hard sinker and has flashed strong potential, particularly in 2010 when he posted a 2.05 ERA with a 68/17 K/BB in 88 innings for Casper in the anti-pitching Pioneer League. You don't release an arm like that without some serious issues. Apparently he's had significant off-field trouble.
**Houston Astros prospect Nick Tropeano had an outstanding start last night for Low-A Lexington in the Sally League, pitching eight shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks, fanning nine. In 19 innings thus far he has a 0.47 ERA with a 27/5 K/BB ratio and 12 hits allowed. A fifth round pick out of Stony Brook last June, Tropeano was one of the best statistical performers in college last year, going 12-1, 1.84 with a 119/24 K/BB in 93 innings. He has average velocity in the upper-80s/low 90s, and an adequate slider, but what makes him special is an amazingly good changeup. I expect he'll breeze through A-ball and we could/should see him in Double-A by the end of the year.
**I'm not trying to turn this website into the Donn Roach Report. I've mentioned him several times already, but I just want to point out (again) his insane ground ball rate. In 20 innings for Inland Empire in the California League, the Los Angeles Angels prospect has a 1.80 ERA, a 15/3 K/BB and a 7.20 GO/AO.
**Cincinnati Reds prospect J.J. Hoover gave up two unearned runs in relief last night for Triple-A Louisville, but overall he's been excellent so far, with a 2.45 ERA, a 15/3 K/BB in just seven innings of work, three hits allowed, and four saves. I think he's ready to reinforce the Reds bullpen whenever needed.