Good afternoon prospect watchers. Let's get right to work here.
***One thing I really like about the new draft arrangement under the CBA is the fact that players sign earlier and fewer take things up to the deadline, plus now that the deadline is in July even the stubborn signees still have a chance for some playing action and development time. Isn't it refreshing to see so many early draft picks have already come to terms with their teams? In some cases, particularly Jonathan Gray with the Rockies, they've come in under slot as well.
***I thought the discussion question/crowd sourcing topic regarding college and professional success was something you guys would be interested in, but it appears I was wrong. No matter; I'll turn it into a research piece of my own. NEVER MIND, several people chimed in as I was writing this complaint.
***Yesterday's Minor League Ball Gameday thread will catch you up on some prospect highlights.
***With a 1-for-5 night yesterday for Triple-A Toledo, minor league veteran first baseman Jordan Lennerton has now reached base in 42 consecutive games. He's hitting .329/.432/.515 on the season with 45 walks and 48 strikeouts in 285 plate appearances.
Lennerton is not a hot prospect at age 27 but he's had a solid career since being drafted in the 33rd round in 2008 out of Oregon State University by the Tigers. He is a good fielder at first base and controls the strike zone, but his power is only moderate and considered inadequate for a major league first baseman. He's generally viewed as a useful organization player rather than a real prospect, but the way he's raking Triple-A could make him worthy of a cup of coffee, though that seems unlikely in Detroit.
***Lennerton is being joined in the International League by Boston Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts, who was promoted to Pawtucket this afternoon. He was hitting .311/.407/.502 for Double-A Portland with 35 walks and 51 strikeouts in 219 at-bats. He's been very hot lately (.424 since June 1st) and the level of competition was no longer challenging him. And remember, he's only 20.
***Three steals for Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton yesterday, giving him 40 on the season in 47 attempts including 10 swipes in his last 10 games. He's making very slow progress forward with his slash line, now standing at .251/.314/.351, still very inadequate but better than earlier this year at least.
***Philadelphia Phillies southpaw prospect Hoby Milner gave up one hit in 7.2 shutout innings for High-A Clearwater yesterday, fanning seven. On the season he has a 3.36 ERA with a 72/16 K/BB in 72.1 innings. A seventh-round pick in 2012 from the University of Texas, he features an 87-92 MPH fastball, an effective changeup, and a very good curve. He can overmatch A-ball hitters with his command and likely won't be truly tested until he reaches Double-A.
***Today's slate of minor league games.
***There is apparently some sort of war going on about the decision of the Seattle Mariners to promote catching prospect Mike Zunino. More on that later; I'm working on my thoughts.
***Mark Smith at Fangraphs delivers an in-person report on Rays prospects Wil Myers and Tim Beckham, and also notes that Billy Hamilton (who we mentioned above) has shown some improvement in his swing lately.