Minor League Prospect Notes, May 29, 2012
**I haven't talked much about Arizona Diamondbacks phenom Trevor Bauer lately, although I'm getting a lot of questions about him after his promotion to Triple-A Reno. Thus far he's made three starts for the Aces, with a 24/10 K/BB in 19 innings and just 11 hits allowed. Overall, he's fanned 84 in 67 innings this year between Reno and Double-A Mobile, allowing a mere 44 hits with a .186 average against. His walk rate is high (36 free passes) and there's some concern that he could use better command of his otherwise outstanding curveball, but I think Bauer's stuff is just too good for minor league hitters, and that they won't be able to expose any weaknesses. He remains a Grade A prospect for me.
**The other guy at the forefront of pitching prospectdom generating plenty of questions is Baltimore Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy, who was promoted to High-A last week after making Low-A hitters look like Little Leaguers. He threw five innings in his first start for Frederick, looking human by giving up six hits and two runs, but fanning six and walking nobody. This is obviously a more appropriate level of completion for him. Zack Greinke went from high school to the majors in two years, and I think Bundy is fully capable of replicating that, given his stuff/command combination.
**The Chicago White Sox activated right-hander Jeff Soptic from extended spring training and assigned him to Low-A Kannapolis in the South Atlantic League. He was a third-round pick last June from Johnson County Community College in Kansas, and presents an intimidating 6-6, 220 on the mound. He also has an intimidating fastball clocked as high as 100 MPH as an amateur and in the mid-90s last summer. Development of his erratic slider and changeup will determine if he starts or relieves at higher levels.
**A bat to watch: Colorado Rockies catching prospect Will Swanner, currently hitting a robust .330/.398/.624 with five homers, 15 doubles, 10 walks, and 28 strikeouts in 124 plate appearances for Low-A Asheville in the Sally League. His home/road splits are even, and he's made substantial progress improving his strike zone judgment and contact ability, cutting his strikeout rate by more than half compared to 2010 and 2011.
A 15th-round pick in 2010 from high school in Carlsbad, California, Swanner's offensive potential is highly intriguing, but he is still quite rough behind the plate, throwing out just 12% of runners this year and 14% in his career despite a strong throwing arm, thanks to a slow release.