PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 27: Chris Carter #22 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on February 27, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Minor League Notes, April 23, 2012
**Triple-A Sacramento River Cats slugger Chris Carter hit three homers yesterday, driving in five against the Reno Aces. Carter is now hitting .288/.351/.545 on the year, with four homers, five doubles, seven walks, and 25 strikeouts in 66 at-bats. Reportedly, the big game came after a mechanical adjustment with his swing, although Carter himself points out that he's been late on pitches lately and has been too passive even when he gets a pitch to hit.
At age 25, the Oakland Athletics prospect is beginning his third season in Triple-A, and the risk that he will get buried as a minor league slugger is increasing. I find Carter a frustrating prospect. His talent is obvious and I've seen him show some pure hitting skills in the past, but he's not consistent about it and seems quite streaky.
**Chicago Cubs first base prospect Anthony Rizzo remains hot for Triple-A Iowa, hitting .368/.411/.706 through 17 games, with seven homers and 19 RBI. His BB/K ratio isn't too good at 4/16, but it seems clear that he doesn't have a lot left to learn in Triple-A. However, Bryan LaHair is hitting extremely well in the majors (.361/.455/.639 through 13 games). The trade of Marlon Byrd theoretically could open a spot, with Rizzo playing first base and LaHair playing in the outfield. LaHair has some experience in the corner outfield spots in the minors and wasn't a butcher, although his range is limited.
**Cleveland Indians shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor is holding his own as an 18-year-old in the Low-A Midwest League, hitting .278/.325/.375 with five walks and nine strikeouts in 72 at-bats for the Lake County Captains. He's stolen five bases in seven attempts. Drafted in the first round last June (eighth overall), he is performing well defensively at shortstop while showing offensive promise. He's not going to be a slugger, but he's not punchless and should hit plenty of doubles and triples with solid OBPs and double-digit steals to go with very strong defense. He is also quite young and will play all of 2012 at age 18 in full-season ball. He'll need some time but he has All-Star potential.
**Milwaukee Brewers second base prospect Scooter Gennett is off to a fast start for Double-A Huntsville, hitting .346/.358/.513 through 18 games with four doubles and three homers. He's made only one error on defense, a far cry from last year when he led the Florida State League in errors, and reports indicate he's done quite a bit to improve his range and footwork. He doesn't have the arm for shortstop. Gennett is an aggressive line drive hitter and seldom draws walks, but he has a career .307 average to go with his gap power, and at age 21 (22 next month) he's age-appropriate for his level of competition.