Minor League Notes, May 20, 2011
**Tampa Bay prospect Matthew Moore had a fine start for Double-A Montgomery on May 15th, fanning eight in 5.1 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and a walk. This gives him a 3.54 ERA on the year, but with an excellent set of components: 56/11 K/BB in 41 innings, just 31 hits. Home run troubles in his first few starts elevated his ERA, but he's made three starts now with 16 innings of work without being tagged again. Scouting reports on his stuff remain as positive as ever, and I still see him as a Grade A prospect.
**San Diego Padres prospect Keyvius Sampson is breezing through the Midwest League, currently 6-1, 2.20 in eight starts for Fort Wayne, with a 49/16 K/BB in 41 innings and just 23 hits allowed. His command will wobble occasionally, but the K/IP and H/IP ratios testify to his quality stuff: low-to-mid-90s fastball, strong changeup, improving curveball. Best of all, he's been healthy so far after labrum and elbow problems cut his '10 season short. If he remains healthy the rest of the year, his talent and performance levels will merit a place on the Top 50 Pitching Prospects list.
**Baltimore Orioles prospect Wynn Pelzer had a fine start yesterday for Double-A Bowie, fanning five in five innings, allowing four hits and one walk, giving up one run. He now has a 3.38 ERA with a 34/22 K/BB in 40 innings, 33 hits allowed. Pelzer was acquired from the Padres last summer for Miguel Tejada. Although many scouts think he profiles best as a reliever, the Orioles are using him as a starter for now, hoping he can refine a changeup to go with his 92-96 MPH fastball and hard-breaking slider. His other issue is command, as you can see from his higher-than-ideal walk rate, and at age 25 he isn't young for Double-A. Still, Pelzer has the arm strength for success, and at worst he'll get a shot in a bullpen eventually if the changeup doesn't come around.
**Many scouts rated Colorado Rockies prospect Tyler Matzek as the top high school pitching prospect in the 2009 draft, though he lasted until 11th overall due to his bonus demands. Although he posted a 2.92 ERA in Low-A last year, he also walked 62 guys in 89 innings, and command was a big question for him heading into 2011. It's turned from a big question into a massive problem: he's walked 36 in 27 innings for High-A Modesto, also giving up 26 hits for a dismal 9.22 ERA. Matzek has fanned 31 so he's kept his strikeouts high, but the walks are killing him. The trouble seems to be a combination of factors, with mechanical problems and a loss of confidence snowballing into a disastrous season. Matzek is still just 20 years old, and as long as there is not an underlying issue with his arm, he has plenty of time to rebound. However, hopes that he could fast-track to Colorado were seriously misplaced.