Good afternoon everyone. I hope you are enjoying Kris Bryant Day. Here are a couple of additional observations from the world of minor league baseball, rookies, and prospects.
****Does anyone remember Brett Eibner? Drafted by the Royals in the second round in 2010 from the University of Arkansas, Eibner has moved very slowly through the farm system, held back by problems with contact, pitch recognition, and badly-timed injuries. He is off to a hot start with Triple-A Omaha, hitting .360/.429/.840 with three homers, three doubles, three walks, and seven strikeouts in his first 25 at-bats. He drove in six runs yesterday in a 9-4 victory over Memphis.
Tiny sample, obviously, and given his track record (he is a career .225/.324/.416 hitter) and age (26) it is best to reserve judgment. Nevertheless, Eibner does have the physical tools to succeed: raw power, strong throwing arm, good outfield instincts and center field defense. He pitched a lot in college and many scouts preferred him on the mound back then but he prefers to hit and the Royals have been extremely obliging despite his problems. We will track him through the season to see how his skills are doing.
****St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect Austin Gomber rang up eight strikeouts (and no walks) in seven innings for Low-A Peoria yesterday against Cedar Rapids, allowing one run. A fourth-round pick from Florida Atlantic University in 2014, Gomber is a tall 6-5 southpaw who was a second round candidate a year ago before a tired arm late in the college season caused a velocity decline and knocked his stock back a bit. He's been healthy so far in pro ball, mixing in a 90 MPH fastball with an effective change-up and a curveball that needs a bit more polish but has promise.
The Cardinals have had good luck developing pitchers like Gomber and he could be a solid starter someday.