Morning Notes, April 14, 2010
**Coming up later today: Not a Rookie for Ryan Zimmerman; a profile of rookie right-hander Tyson Ross of Oakland; and a look at some of the intriguing high school pitchers in this year's draft class. I also have to file my taxes and mow the lawn. Gonna be a busy day!
**My personal answers to yesterday's no-hitter discussion question: Tim Lincecum is the obvious first choice. I'd also say Zack Greinke, except the Royals are so snake-bitten that his no-hitter may have to wait until he's pitching somewhere else with better karma, so I won't list him. My second choice is Chad Billingsley of the Dodgers. My third choice, in the "no one expects this guy to throw a no-hitter" category is Jon Niese of the Mets. Of guys currently in the minors not named Strasburg or Chapman, an interesting choice is Matt Moore of Tampa Bay, who certainly has the pure stuff to be a candidate.
**Royals prospect Michael Montgomery had a great start last night, striking out 13 in seven innings for High-A Wilmington, allowing two hits and one run, and walking nobody. He now has a 19/1 K/BB ratio in his first 12 innings, with four hits allowed. He won't be long for the Carolina League pitching like that.
**Jeremy Hellickson is off to a strong start for Triple-A Durham, with a 13/2 K/BB in 11.1 innings, allowing eight hits and two earned runs for a 1.59 ERA. He'll have a bad start eventually, but I expect him to continue mowing down hitters in most outings; he really doesn't have much left to prove in the minors. But as you know, the Rays are conservative about promoting pitchers, and unless injuries strike the major league staff hard, he'll spend most of the season in the International League. That's fine with me; it sets him up for better success in the long run.
**Cubs prospect Kyler Burke is off to a slow start for Class A Daytona, 4-for-27 (.148) so far, with two walks and five strikeouts. The sample is too small to worry about, but he bears watching. Can he repeat his breakout .303/.405/.505 season he posted last year in the Midwest League? I'd like to think so, but some scouts are skeptical. He has a terrific throwing arm and the Cubs considered moving him to the mound before he started hitting last year.
**Lars Anderson Watch: Currently 6-for-23 (.261) at Double-A Portland, with a homer and a double, with six strikeouts and zero walks. Sample size is tiny, but it's interesting that he hasn't drawn a walk yet. Even when he was sucking last year he controlled the zone well; perhaps he's being more aggressive this year to try and unleash his power...or perhaps it is just a blip. We will see.
**You do realize, of course, that the reason Jared Mitchell got hurt this spring was because I picked him instead of Kyle Gibson for my Shadow Twins farm system in the draft last year. Gibson's injury scared me off, so I went with the "safer" position player. Ha ha, joke's on me.
**I've been considering adding some historical writing into the website about old time players. Of course such things might not truly come under the rubric of "Minor League Ball," so I'd have to find a way to put a prospecty spin on it, which would be tough with some of the most interesting older players. I've always had a real liking for Tris Speaker, for example, and would love to write something about him. I'm planning a "State of the Blog" post soon and might address that issue then.
**Don't forget that the .pdf version of the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book (as well as all other editions going back to 2003) is available at Johnsickels.net!