Afternoon Notes, May 12, 2010
**The Twins promoted Deolis Guerra to Triple-A Rochester. The last remaining piece of the Johan Santana trade, Guerra has been a major disappointment but has made progress this year, with a 3.07ERA and a 21/4 K/BB in 29 innings for Double-A New Britain, with 28 hits allowed. The main statistical improvement is a much better K/BB ratio. Scouting reports indicate a low-90s fastball, but he's reportedly making more effective use of his curveball and changeup and his control has been much better this year, granted the perils of sample size. Keep in mind that Guerra is still only 21 years old, equivalent to a college junior. I don't think he has the ace potential originally envisioned, but if he keeps throwing his strikes and mixing his pitches more effectively (which has been a problem in the past), he can still be a solid inning-eater type.
**Angels 2009 first round pick Mike Trout continues to tear the ball up in the Midwest League, now hitting .366/.440/.557 for Cedar Rapids. He's also stolen 19 bases in 22 attempts, and is showing good plate discipline with 15 walks against 20 strikeouts in 131 at-bats. Although he hasn't shown huge isolated power yet, his four homers are four times as many as he hit last year in rookie ball, and keep in mind that the Midwest League is not a friendly place for young hitters. Reports on defense and makeup remain very positive, and I expect that his power production is going to pick up further as he matures. Trout is one of my favorites, and I regret that personal circumstances have prevented me from getting up north to see some CR games this year.
**Another favorite from the '09 draft is Marc Krauss, drafted by the Diamondbacks in the second round from the University of Ohio. His 6-3,.235 pound build and lack of strong athletic tools kept him out of the first round, but his booming bat made sure he didn't go past that. So far he's had no problems with California League pitching, hitting .366/.432/.625 for Visalia, with 13 walks and 29 strikeouts in 112 at-bats. The K-rate is a tad higher than I'd like, but obviously it hasn't hurt his production yet. Krauss hit .304/.377/.478 in the Midwest League last year after signing, so at this point it doesn't look like A-ball pitching has much else to teach him. I expect a promotion to Double-A will come relatively soon.
**Wilmer Flores, meanwhile, is having his breakout season at Savannah in the Sally League, hitting .333/.381/.574 thus far, with nine walks and 18 strikeouts in 129 at-bats. The walk rate isn't ideal, but he's not striking out that much, his overall production is greatly improved, and he doesn't turn 19 years old until August. It will be interesting to see what the Mets do with him if he remains hot. Their previous philosophy has been to rush prospects as fast as possible, but supposedly they are going to take it easier with guys like this now. Flores still needs some strike zone refinements and simple experience, as well as further work on his defense. If I were running the Mets, he'd stay at Savannah until August, and at that point if he was still hitting great I'd move him up to the Florida State League for the final month to see how he adjusts.