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Minor League Notes, June 1, 2010

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Minor League Notes, June 1, 2010

**Kyle Drabek had a good start last night for Double-A New Hampshire, throwing eight shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk while fanning four. On the season, the Blue Jays prospect is now 6-4, 2.87 with a 47/25 K/BB in 63 innings, with 57 hits allowed. The ERA looks pretty of course and generally he has pitched well, but his K/IP and K/BB ratios are not spectacular. Between this year and last year, Drabek now has 26 starts of Double-A under his belt, going 14-6, 3.34 in 159 innings, with 149 hits allowed and a 123/56 K/BB ratio. These are the numbers of a solid prospect, but more of a future inning-eater type than a dominating ace. Drabek's bloodlines and status as the centerpiece of a major trade get him a lot of press, but I think people should expect him to develop into a number three type starter, not a total replacement for Roy Halladay.

**Julio Teheran, on the other hand, does have number one starter potential. The Braves prospect got off to a blistering start at Low-A Rome, with a 1.14 ERA and a 45/10 K/BB in 39 innings, 23 hits. He moved up to High-A Myrtle Beach a couple of weeks ago and continues to blow people away, 2-0, 0.43 with a 28/4 K/BB in his first three starts, covering 21 innings with just 14 hits allowed. Combined, he's 4-2, 0.90 with a 73/14 K/BB in 60 innings, 37 hits. Scouts who have seen him are effusive with praise, pointing out greatly improved command this year of his 93-96 MPH fastball and rapidly sharpening curve and changeup.

**Kansas City Royals prospect Aaron Crow had a bad start yesterday, lasting just four innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, giving up eight hits and seven runs. On the season, he is now 2-5, 5.43 in 10 starts, with a 37/25 K/BB in 60 innings, 68 hits allowed. Texas League sources say he's shown a solid 90-93 MPH sinker (reflected in his 3.72 GO/AO ratio), but that his secondary pitches (slider, changeup) and overall command have regressed since his college days at Missouri. Statistically, the only real positive is the ground ball rate, and I don't like the lack of strikeouts. He still has time to correct this, but I think the Royals expected more when they drafted him 12th overall last June. He is not as polished as expected.

**One of the better pitchers in the Midwest League this year is Eric Smith of the South Bend Silver Hawks. Drafted by the Diamondbacks in the second round last year from the University of Rhode Island, Smith has a 2.79 ERA with a 39/15 K/BB in 52 innings over 10 starts, with 48 hits allowed and a 2.08 GO/AO. I like the good control he's shown and he's getting grounders with his 90-92 MPH sinker. He also throws a curveball, slider, and changeup, but his secondary pitches still need work. This is reflected in his low K/IP ratio. Although he was drafted out of college, he is just 21 and doesn't turn 22 until the season is over, meaning he isn't massively old for the Midwest League despite his origins. He's also a cold-weather pitcher in both college and high school and less experienced than many of his peers, so I think there is some untapped potential here. The weak K/IP is the main red flag and keeps me from rating him as more than a Grade C at this time, but I think he is worth tracking.