Minor League Notes, May 3rd, 2012
**Philadelphia Phillies southpaw prospect Austin Wright had a decent start last night for High-A Clearwater in the Florida State League, going seven innings, allowing four hits and three runs on two walks, with four strikeouts. This was actually one of his weaker outings: he fanned 10 in seven innings on April 27th, and another 10 in a five-inning relief stint on April 22nd. On the season he is now 4-0, 2.40 ERA with a 37/12 K/BB in 30 innings with just 20 hits allowed. His control isn't perfect but he's made a lot of progress keeping his mechanics more consistent, while refining a changeup to complement his low-90s fastball and strong curve.
**Miami Marlins southpaw prospect Charlie Lowell also had a nice start yesterday, allowing one run on two hits and a walk in six innings while fanning six for Low-A Greensboro in the Sally League. His previous outing was decent as well, five innings allowing two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts. Lowell's control was poor in his first three starts of the season, resulting in a 10/14 K/BB in his first 13 innings, but it has been much better his last two outings with a 13/2 K/BB in his last 11 frames. Overall he has a 5.18 ERA with a 23/16 K/BB in 24 innings. A sixth-round pick out of Wichita State last June, Lowell is a beefy 6-4, 250. He has a low-90s fastball and a solid breaking pitch but is working to improve his changeup and his sharpen his command.
**A short but encouraging outing from New York Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos yesterday: 3.2 innings for Triple-A Scranton, allowing two hits but no runs, fanning five with zero walks. He was on a strict pitch count in his first outing after being shelved with a back injury. His first two games for Scranton were terrible, but yesterday is more like what the Yankees expected. We will monitor his performance closely as they move his pitch counts up, and he remains a candidate to see the Bronx later this year.
**Looking for a sleeper relief prospect? Consider Minnesota Twins right-hander Deolis Guerra, who pitched 1.1 shutout innings yesterday for Triple-A Rochester, fanning two. Recently promoted from Double-A, he has a 0.53 ERA on the season with a 20/2 K/BB in 17 innings and just nine hits allowed. You may remember Guerra: he was a key prospect in the Johan Santana with the Mets trade back in 2008. He was awful as a starter, but converted to relief in the second half last year and has been terrific ever since, with an 85/15 K/BB in 69 innings since making the switch. Guerra is still just 23 years old. He's gained four MPH (now into the 92-94 range) and shows much better command of his changeup and breaking ball in relief.