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Minor League Ball Gameday, June 26

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Nick Vander Tuig, UCLA
Nick Vander Tuig, UCLA
USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon prospect watchers. My father-in-law is still hospitalized. We hope he will get out tomorrow but we will see.
Again, thank you for your patience as I juggle my various family, parenting, and work responsibilities.

***Yesterday's Minor League Ball Gameday thread.

***My psychic powers failed me yesterday and I was completely wrong with my College World Series prediction. Congrats to the UCLA Bruins, particularly starting pitcher Nick Vander Tuig who threw a masterful game, eight shutout innings against Mississippi State. On the season, NVT went 14-4 with a 2.16 ERA and a 93/18 K/BB in 129 innings. Vander Tuig was a sixth round pick by the San Francisco Giants in the draft. He's thrown quite a few innings this year and it will be interesting to see how they handle him once he signs.

How would you handle him? Personally I'd give him a breather, then send him to the Northwest League in late July and give him three starts or so, just to get his feet wet in pro ball, without pushing the innings count much higher. What do you guys think?

***Cleveland Indians first round pick Clint Frazier went 2-for-5 in his pro debut for the Arizona League Indians, hitting a home run in his first professional at bat and later adding a triple. I bet he's jumped up a level by August.

***Cincinnati Reds fourth round pick Ben Lively had a successful pro debut for the Billings Mustangs Monday, throwing three shutout innings with six strikeouts. The University of Central Florida product is quite polished, throws four pitches for strikes, and should make short work of the low minors.

***Seattle Mariners uber-prospect Taijuan Walker threw six shutout innings in his debut for Triple-A Tacoma, fanning four. Tacoma teammate Brad Miller continues to rip PCL pitching and his hitting .350/.424/.570 in 25 games since being promoted from Double-A. In my opinion he continues to be underrated as a prospect, and will be ready for a major league trial as soon as the Mariners are comfortable with his defense, which is still erratic.

***Houston Astros prospect George Springer hit two homers in the Double-A Texas League All-Star Game. He is ticketed for Triple-A Oklahoma City for the second half.

***MInnesota Twins outfield prospect Max Kepler went 2-for-4 with a double and home run yesterday for Low-A Cedar Rapids. He is 7-for-22 since being activated from extended spring training, with four doubles and the homer. He gives Kernels fans another fascinating bat to watch now that Byron Buxton has been promoted to High-A. I will have more about Kepler later this week.

Today's schedule of minor league games.

***Andrew Ball looks at the value of MLB draft picks.

***Jason Hunt looks at happenings in Double-A.