Minor League Notes, May 10, 2012
**Cleveland Indians prospect Francisco Lindor is 4-for-10 in his last two games for Low-A Lake County in the Midwest League, and is currently hitting .307/.354/.453 overall. He's swiped 11 bases, drawn 10 walks, while fanning 19 times in 137 at-bats. His walk rate isn't great, but he's making contact, showing pop with the bat, hitting for average, and playing very impressive defense at shortstop, with plus arm strength, plus range, and more reliability than most young shortstops. And he's just 18 years old. Lindor is showing considerable polish to go with his tools and is rapidly becoming one of my favorite prospects. I gave him a Grade B+ in the book but am already raising that to A-, and he could be a pure Grade A by the end of the season.
**Seattle Mariners shortstop prospect Nick Franklin continues his forward march for the Double-A Jackson Generals, going 7-for-14 with three doubles in his last four games. Overall he is hitting .318/.373/.467 with 10 walks, 16 strikeouts, and 12 doubles in 107 at-bats. He's now played 50 games in Double-A including last year, posting an overall .326/.379/.477 line. I'm a huge fan of his bat and I don't think this performance is a fluke. Defense remains a question: he's athletic, but some scouts rate his arm as marginal for shortstop and he's a bit error-prone. He'll have greater value if he can remain at short, of course. I had him as a Grade B in the book but he rates as a Grade B+ for me now, even with the defensive questions.
**Miami Marlins outfield prospect Christian Yelich hit a pair of homers on Tuesday, and is currently hitting .293/.387/.554 overall for High-A Jupiter in the Florida State League. He's drawn 14 walks against 23 strikeouts in 92 at-bats. One thing that stands about him is his ability on the bases: although his running speed is just a tick above average, he is an outstanding baserunner, has stolen nine bases in 10 attempts this year and is 42-for-48 in his career. His power/speed/patience production is excellent, and he's also making a successful transition to center field after playing primarily in left last year. He was a first baseman in high school. The 23rd-overall pick in the 2010 draft, he's looking like one of the biggest bargains of the first round that year and is clearly among the elite outfield prospects in baseball. He was rated as a Grade B+ pre-season and is an A- now.
**One of the bargains of the 2011 draft is Colorado Rockies shortstop prospect Trevor Story, a supplemental first round pick who has vaulted ahead of numerous prospects drafted earlier. He's hitting .284/.398/.529 in 102 at-bats for Low-A Asheville, with 17 walks and 21 strikeouts. Most impressively, he's made ZERO errors in 20 games at shortstop and just one error in eight games at third base, while showing better-than-average range at both positions. Although there was some pre-draft concern about an excessive uppercut in his swing, so far his power has translated well to pro ball and he's controlling the strike zone effectively. I had him at Grade B pre-season but he's a B+ now and heading higher.