Minor League Notes, April 25, 2012
**Desperate Kansas City Royals fans might scan the minor league results today and notice Triple-A Omaha Stormchasers lefty Mike Montgomery had a decent start yesterday against Nashville, going seven innings, allowing seven hits, one walk, and three runs, but fanning six and picking up the victory. He looked good in his last start on April 19th as well, giving up two runs on four hits in seven innings, while fanning seven.
His first two starts were unsuccessful and overall he has a 4.57 ERA in four starts with an 18/10 K/BB in 22 innings with 25 hits allowed. If he continues his run of good pitching in the rest of April and early May, it will be interesting to see if the Royals consider promoting him to the majors, perhaps in place of Luis Mendoza. I would be cautious if I were the Royals; Montgomery has been damn erratic over the last year and it would take more than a handful of good starts for me to conclude that he's turned the corner.
The other top pitching prospect in the Royals system, Jake Odorizzi, had a brilliant start on April 23rd for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and zero walks, fanning 11. He's been excellent in two starts, mediocre in one, and terrible in another, giving him a 4.08 ERA overall with a 25/6 K/BB in 18 innings. Again, I'd like to see more consistent success before lobbying for a promotion, especially given his strong fly ball tendency which might not play well in the Pacific Coast League.
**Four more hitless innings last night from Baltimore Orioles phenom Dylan Bundy. He's now thrown 13 innings over four pitch-count-limited starts for Low-A Delmarva, with 21 strikeouts, one walk, and zero hits or runs. South Atlantic League hitters seem helpless against 96-99 MPH fastballs thrown with precision, not to mention his strong changeup and curveball. At this point the main question revolves around how quickly and how much should they increase his workload.
**Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon threw five strong innings for High-A Bradenton yesterday, giving up three hits and a walk, zero runs, while fanning six. On the season he's 0-1 in four starts but with a 1.93 ERA and a 24/3 K/BB ratio in 19 innings with 12 hits allowed. There is absolutely nothing to complain about in his performance and he's showing the rotation anchor potential scouts have seen in him since high school.
**Another power-armed right-hander making good progress is St. Louis Cardinals prospect Carlos Martinez, who gave up one run in six innings last night for High-A Palm Beach in the Florida State League, allowing five hits and two walks, fanning seven. He has a 2.12 ERA in four starts with a 20/6 K/BB in 17 innings and 12 hits allowed. He's still got mid-to-upper-90s heat and is reportedly more consistent with commanding his curveball and changeup this year. He is repeating his mechanics more reliably.