Afternoon Notes, May 7, 2010
**I think the Cubs are rushing Starlin Castro; one would think that past experience with Corey Patterson and Felix Pie would disabuse them of this notion. Yes, he was hitting .376/.421/.569 in 26 games for Double-A Tennessee, but he's only 20 and has no Triple-A experience at all. Maybe I'm wrong and he'll hit great, but I think the decision is ill-advised. Triple-A teaches different lessons than Double-A, and most hitters need time at both levels. If he struggles, it will be interesting to see how patient they are with him. My guess is that, as long as he's fielding well, they will cut him plenty of slack offensively. But if he starts to have problems with the glove, how patient will they be?
**At the same time, they promoted Josh Vitters from Daytona to Tennessee. Vitters was hitting .291/.350/.445 in the Florida State League, with eight walks and 22 strikeouts. He's shown a slightly higher walk rate this year, but his strikeout rate is actually worse, and while he's hitting better overall compared to '09, he hasn't been spectacular. I think this is an aggressive move as well, and my guess is that Vitters will struggle with the Double-A transition.
**Lars Anderson Watch: he's 4-for-19 (.211) since moving up to Triple-A Pawtucket, but has hit a homer and a double and has drawn five walks in seven games, with four strikeouts. He's holding his own plate discipline wise against the better pitching.
**Arodys Vizcaino, acquired by the Braves from the Yankees last winter, is 4-2, 4.35 with a 34/9 K/BB in 31 innings for Low-A Rome, with 32 hits allowed. Scouting reports are positive about his stuff, and his transition to full-season ball seems to be going well. Teammate Julio Teheran, on the other hand, has been even better, with a 0.81 ERA, 40/9 K/BB in 33 innings, and just 17 hits allowed. Teheran has shown improved command this year and seems to be taking the big step forward that the Braves hoped for. Let's see if he can stay healthy, but the early returns are outstanding.
**Royals prospect Mike Moustakas entered '10 with some serious questionmarks. Scouts gave him poor reviews for his physical condition in the Arizona Fall League, and some openly wondered how he could possibly have been the second overall pick in the '07 draft. He's put some of those doubts to rest with his fast start in the Double-A Texas League, hitting .418/.500/.909 so far, and his defensive play and physicality have improved enough that the Royals are now projecting him as their Third Baseman of the Future, with Alex Gordon in the outfield. Obviously we need to see more than a 14-game sample size, but a fast start is always better than a slow one, and his BB/K ratio is much better this year.
**Oakland prospect Michael Taylor has pitched into a slump, hitting .just .162 in his last ten games for Triple-A Sacramento, giving him a season line of .226/.293/.425. He's shown the ability to adjust before and I'm not worried about him yet, but the slow start and current slump reduces any pressure for a promotion in the short run.