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Minor League Ball Gameday, Monday, March 23

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Keone Kela
Keone Kela
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon prospect watchers and baseball fans. Here is your daily Minor League Ball gameday discussion thread. Some items for your consideration and study:

***The latest Cuban player news comes by way of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who signed right-handed pitcher Pablo Millan Fernandez for a reported $8,000,000 yesterday. TrueBlueLA has the details. Fernandez is 25 years old, a 6-1, 185 pounder who reportedly throws in the upper-90s-to-low-90s with a typical assortment of secondary pitches (slider, curve, change).

I can't find any video of him pitching, but he does get interviewed here at 1:26. Can anyone translate this?


***Over at Beyond the Boxscore, Matt Goldman examines the history of Japanese pitchers making their way to MLB. The results are not pretty unless you have invested heavily in surgical supplies and rehabilitation equipment.

***Rob Parker at Fake Teams examines some relief sleepers to consider for your fantasy squads.

***He was sent down to the minors yesterday but Mark Appel of the Astros acquitted himself reasonably well in spring training, allowing two runs in seven innings with three walks, five hits, and five strikeouts. Baseball Reference has a new category called "OppQual" which measure the level of competition faced by a player in spring training. The highest is "10", MLB quality. "8" is Triple-A, "7" Double-A, "5" High-A, "4" Low-A. Appel's opponent quality was 8.3, meaning the caliber of competition he faced was a little better than Triple-A.

***Opponent Quality ratings from some other key prospects: Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant of the Cubs are also at 8.3. Blake Swihart of the Red Sox: 7.5. Joc Pederson of the Dodgers: 8.4.

***Texas Rangers prospect Keone Kela has been excellent this spring: no runs in 5.2 innings, two hits, no walks, four strikeouts, OppQual 7.3, fastball up to 96 MPH according to Evan Grant at the Dallas Morning News. There is talk he could make the opening day roster and if not he would certainly be in line for a quick promotion. Here is what I wrote about him in the 2015 Baseball Prospect Book:

The Rangers drafted Kela in the 12th round in 2012, from Everett Community College in Washington. He threw in the low-90s when drafted but has since boosted that, working at 96-99 now and hitting 100 on occasion. He’s got a pretty good curveball too and his excellent K/IP ratio testifies to the quality of his stuff; he isn’t tricking people, they just can’t hit him. Kela needs to get the walks down but any team would be pleased to find a 100 MPH fastball in the 12th round. He could get a bullpen trial soon. Grade C+.

***Next up in the Prospect Retrospective queue are Denard Span and Brett Gardner.

***Enjoy your day!