Minor League Notes, July 15, 2010
**Mike Trout impressed a lot of people at the Future's Game, and now will get a chance to do the same following his recent promotion to the California League. He went 1-for-4 last night in his debut for Rancho Cucamonga. At Cedar Rapids, he was hitting .362/.454/.526 with 46 walks, 52 strikeouts in 312 at-bats, along with 45 steals in 54 attempts. Midwest League observers are full of praise for his speed, athleticism, and defense. His plate discipline is very good, and the main thing he needs to improve is his home run power, though I'm confident that he will hit more homers eventually. The jump to the Cal League will challenge him, but he had nothing left to prove at Cedar Rapids, and indeed he may put up very similar numbers despite the boost in competition, due to the pro-offense nature of the league compared to the more pitching-friendly MWL. I had Trout rated as a B+ and Number 28 on my pre-season prospect list; he's a virtual lock for the Top Ten at this point unless he completely flounders at Rancho.
**Another interesting recent promotion is Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson, hitting .327/.435/.519 in 14 games since moving up to Double-A Tennessee two weeks ago. He'd hit .316/.420/.517 in 67 games for Daytona, so his production has remained virtually the same, obviously an excellent sign. Don't forget five steals in six attempts since moving up. Jackson's strike zone judgment (a weakness in college) has been sharp as a pro, with a 51/75 BB/K this year in 315 at-bats. The strikeout rate is maybe a bit higher than ideal, but with all the walks and his overall production, I'm not worried about it. Reviews of his athleticism, outfield range, and arm strength are all positive. Given Chicago's propensity to move prospects quickly, he could be in the Wrigley outfield less than a year from now. Possible comp: about midway between Jim Edmonds and the non-50-homer version of Brady Anderson.
**Zack Von Rosenberg Watch: He's been much better in his last two outings for State College in the New York-Penn League, throwing 10 innings, with a 9/2 K/BB, just seven hits and two runs allowed. His ERA is down to 4.85 with a 17/6 K/BB in 26 innings; not bad at all given how badly his first three stats went. Best of all, velocity is reportedly back to what was originally expected after being down in spring training. NY-P sources report he's made some mental adjustments and is adapting rapidly to the pro environment.
**Got a question from a Yankees fan regarding Brad Suttle, something of a forgotten player after he missed all of '09 with a torn labrum. Suttle is hitting .257/.319/.364 in 83 games for Tampa in the Florida State League, hardly impressive performance and not what the former University of Texas stalwart was expected to produce when the Yankees drafted him. But my reader notes that Suttle has been hot lately (.306/.382/.531 in July), and looked good very good in a couple of games he saw last week. A different source who saw Suttle in April said his bat looked slow and rusty early in the year, understandable given the layoff. Pre-injury, Suttle got praise for his plate discipline and overall approach at the plate, but scouts weren't sure he'd have the power for third base. We'll have to see if the current hot streak persists. He's split the season between third base and first base, and his defensive numbers at the hot corner aren't awful. Now 24 years old, Suttle has to make up for some lost time, but is still worth tracking.