Good afternoon prospect watchers. On to business.
***Yesterday's Minor League Ball Gameday thread.
***I am currently working on prospect retrospectives for Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber (by request) and San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. My main large project is a revision of the Top 150 prospects list, but that will take some time.
***The Boston Red Sox promoted third baseman Garin Cecchini to Double-A Portland today. He was hitting .350/.469/.547 in 63 games for High-A Salem with five homers, 43 walks, and 34 strikeouts in 214 at-bats. The bat looks excellent, but I'm not sure about the glove. His defense has been considered a strength in the past and I have no objective reason to doubt that, but I wish we had better ways to measure defense in the low minors. The flawed stats we do have are showing some deterioration compared to last year: his error rate is up, his double play rates and range factors are down. Scouting reports are focusing on his hitting and not talking much about his glove right now, so we'll have to track this in Double-A.
***Rash of signings yesterday, with a complete first-round list here at SB Nation. Since that list was written, Braden Shipley signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for $2,200,000; J.P. Crawford signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for $2,299,300; Dominic Smith signed with the New York Mets for $2,600,000. I have to say, I love the fact that the new CBA encourages kids to sign early. The old mid-August deadline was ridiculous; the new July deadline is much better for player development purposes and it is very refreshing to see these kids play ASAP. It makes analysis much easier for one thing.
***New York Mets pitching prospect Luis Mateo is having Tommy John surgery. He'd thrown 11.2 innings allowing 16 hits and eight runs in four games between Double-A Binghamton and High-A St. Lucie. Mateo can get into the mid-90s with his fastball but has a history of elbow problems which have finally caught up with him.
***Someone asked me for my current opinion on Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Julio Urias, currently pitching in the Midwest League at age 16. He was signed out of Mexico last summer; he wasn't a big guy when signed at a listed 5-11, 160 (recent reports have him as tall as 6-1 now), but his pitchability is extraordinarily advanced for a player his age. Put another way, if Urias had been born in the United States, he wouldn't even be eligible for the draft until 2014, and then only barely with a mid-August birthday. I don't want to make a more detailed comment until we get more than 17 innings of work out of him and hopefully I will have a chance to see him pitch myself later this summer, but I think some version of "wow" is in order.
***Today's schedule of minor league games.
***Camden Chat has this Q&A session with Kevin Gausman.
***Rob Neyer interviews baseball legend Roland Hemond. A must-read with many nuggets about player development and scouting.