Minor League Notes, May 8th, 2012
**Patience? Who needs patience? Kansas City Royals outfield prospect Wil Myers has been taking more aggressive hacks this year for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He's fanned 13 times in the last 10 games while drawing just two walks, and overall this year he has a 9/36 BB/K ratio in 112 at-bats, compared to the 52/87 mark he posted in 354 at-bats at the same level last year. The results, however, have been stunning: he's hitting .339/.390/.705 overall (compared to .254/.353/.393 last season), already has 10 homers, and has knocked four bombs along with two doubles and a triple in the last 10 games.
Myers has now played 127 games of Double-A overall, hitting .275/.361/.468 with 32 doubles, 18 homers, 61 walks, 123 strikeouts, and 13 steals in 15 attempts. I don't think he has a lot left to learn at this level, and it will be interesting to see how his approach works once he is promoted to Triple-A.
**Double-A Birmingham outfielder Jared Mitchell in the White Sox system has remained effective through early May, hitting .298/.421/.510 overall for the Barons with 21 walks and 31 strikeouts in 104 at-bats. He's stolen six bases in seven attempts, and scouting reports indicate he looks a lot more like the player drafted in the first round in 2009. Mitchell himself says he wasn't completely healthy last season in the Carolina League and that it has taken him two years to fully recover from the gruesome 2010 spring training ankle injury. His strikeout rate remains high enough to be worrisome, but he's done a lot to restore his prospect status and it has gone on long enough that we can't just dismiss it as a hot streak.
**New York Mets prospect Michael Fulmer is making an impressive transition to full-season ball. He has a 3.18 ERA in his first five starts for Low-A Savannah in the Sally League, with a 20/6 K/BB in 23 innings and 20 hits allowed. This is a huge improvement over what he did in rookie ball last year, where he posted a 10.13 ERA in his first four pro outings. A supplemental first-round pick from high school in Edmond, Oklahoma, last June, Fulmer has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and an impressive slider. Refining his changeup and improving his command are the key items on his agenda this year, and so far things look good.
**Pittsburgh Pirates outfield prospect Robbie Grossman had a strong 2011 season in High-A, hitting .294/.418/.451 with 104 walks, 13 homers, and 24 steals for Bradenton. He followed that up with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, but many scouts were skeptical about how his tools would play at higher levels and pointed out that he repeated the Florida State League. Moved up to Double-A Altoona for 2012, he's presented mixed results against advanced pitching. He's hitting just .225/.317/.342, but continues to draw walks at a good clip and has stolen four bases in five attempts. He had a slow start, hitting .195/.298/.280 in April, but has been more effective over the last week with a .310/.375/.517 mark so far in May. Grossman suffered a fractured hamate in the fall league and it is possible that his slow start was related to the injury. We'll keep an eye on him.