Minor League Ball Gameday, May 18

Burch Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon prospect watchers. Let's get to it in a business-like manner on this Saturday.

***University of Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray went to the mound for the Sooners against the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan last night. Oklahoma lost 6-5 when the bullpen blew the game, not Gray's fault although it still wasn't one of his best outings. He went 6.1 innings, giving up nine hits and four runs, walking one but fanning just three. I wish I could have attended the game in person to get my own look but a family obligation prevented it.

***Mark Appel, meanwhile, also didn't have his best outing for Stanford, going seven innings but giving up nine hits and five runs in a 9-8 win over the University of California. On the other hand, Appel fanned 11 and walked just one, so from a strikeout perspective it was a better game than Gray's at least.

It will be interesting to see how scouts and teams respond to this. With the draft looming, Gray and Appel are projected to go first-overall to the Houston Astros and second-overall to the Chicago Cubs, although who goes in which spot is still undetermined. Gray had more momentum going into yesterday, but will that change? Even one bad (or good) game can make an outsized difference when the choice is this close. I'm not saying it should make that difference,but sometimes it does. Ultimately my guess is that teams already know exactly what they think about each guy, that won't change barring a last-second injury, and that the choice will come down to some combination of money and makeup assessment.

***Yesterday's Minor League Ball Gameday thread

***Padres rookie Burch Smith gave up six hit, three homers, and five runs in 5.1 innings to the Washington Nationals yesterday, but he walked just one guy and fanned eight. Those last two data points are the true indicators of his potential. Expect more bumps and bruises, but if he retains his confidence he should be effective eventually.

***Orioles prospect Kevin Gausman continues to blow away Double-A, fanning 10 in six innings for Bowie last night, reportedly hitting 99 MPH. He now has a 49/5 K/BB in 46 innings. The "when will Gausman get promoted to the majors" talk has already begun. If I were running things I'd give him two more starts in Double-A (which would give him 10, I like double-digits) then move him up to Triple-A. If he handles that, then I'd start thinking about a major league promotion for late July or August. But that's armchairing and it is easy to say that when not under actual pressure to win games as the Orioles are.

***Cubs prospect Jorge Soler went 7-for-10 in a double-header for High-A Daytona. All systems look go for this one, with a .297/.366/.542 line. I especially like his BB/K: 13 walks, just 19 strikeouts in 118 at-bats. Dodgers beast Yasiel Puig has a similar line at a higher level of competition, hitting .297/.371/.568 for Double-A Chattanooga. Remember when everyone was worried that he didn't draw any walks in the spring? He's got 10 with 24 whiffs in 111 at-bats, not an outstanding ratio but not a red flag either given his overall production.

***Someone requested a prospect retro for Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt. That seems like a good idea to me, so I'll work one up.

***Today's slate of minor league games.

***Persons in the Midwest and Plains states should pay close attention to the weather this weekend, especially tomorrow. Conditions are ripe for a significant severe weather outbreak with damaging tornadoes possible. The danger area extends from northern Texas up through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa.

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