**Mariners pitching prospect Michael Pineda is having an excellent transition to Double-A, currently 8-1, 2.22 in 13 starts with a 78/17 K/BB in 77 innings, 67 hits allowed, and just one gopher ball. K/BB, K/IP, hit rate, tiny home run rate, almost everything is great here. The one weakness is a sharp platoon split: left-handers are hitting .300 against him, right-handers just .162. This could possibly reflect the need to improve his changeup, although the pitch drew positive review in the lower minors. The best news is that Pineda is healthy: he was limited to 47 innings last year by a sore elbow, but has shown no ill effects this year and has his 90-94 MPH heater back at full strength. He also has a good slider and cut fastball. I gave him a B- in the book due to concern about the elbow, but he's at least a Grade B now, could be a B+, and depending on end-of-season reports, might be an A- when all is said and done.
**Twins prospect B.J. Hermsen threw a one-hit shutout for Beloit on June 17th, walking one and fanning three. On the season, he is 4-1, 3.43 in seven starts, with a 23/11 K/BB in 45 innings, 41 hits allowed. Drafted in the sixth round out of high school in Manchester, Iowa, in 2008, Hermsen is a 6-6, 230 pounder but has just an average fastball at 87-90 MPH. His fastball might pick up some additional velocity in time, but heat will never be his best attribute. Like most Twins pitching prospects, his key asset is pitchability. He throws strikes, and has made good progress refining his slider and changeup, especially given his background from a cold-weather state. My main worry here is the poor K/IP ratio, but he's worth keeping track of at age 20.
**One player who does not have age on his side is New York Mets farmhand Josh Satin, already 25 years old. Scouts discount the UC-Berkeley (sixth round, 2008) product due to so-so tools and his age, but he's hit at every level of pro ball to which he's been exposed, including a .316/.406/.459 mark in the Florida State League this year. He moved up to Double-A last week and is 8-for-25 (.320) so far, albeit with a weak BB/K ratio of 1/7, granted sample size issues. Primarily a second baseman (although he has some experience at third and first), his range is limited but he's reliable on the routine play, not making many errors. A career .298/.388/.450 hitter so far, he's rated mostly as an organizational player, but strikes me as the type of guy who could end up being a surprise contributor in the majors in his late 20s.
**Another "good performance, so-so tools" guy is Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect Barry Enright. Drafted out of Pepperdine in the second round in 2007, Enright has okay velocity in the 87-91 range. He mixes in a slider, changeup, and curveball, none of which rate as outstanding pitches. When his command is working, he can be an effective workhorse, and his command has been working just fine this year: he's 4-1, 2.91 with a 74/13 K/BB in 87 innings for Double-A Mobile, with 75 hits allowed. Caveat: he is repeating the league, having gone 10-9, 3.98 for Mobile last year, with a 103/37 K/BB in 156 innings last year, 171 hits allowed. His component ratios have all improved this spring, with a notable increase in his strikeout rate, but of course we need to see if he can duplicate this in Triple-A. Enright is a fly ball pitcher and has some vulnerability to homers, but his K/BB have always been good and he's shown an admirable ability to eat innings without getting hurt, a skill in itself.