Good afternoon everyone. Here are some news and notes from around the baseball world.
***St. Louis Cardinals outfield prospect Stephen Piscotty had a big game yesterday, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI for the Memphis RedBirds against Colorado Springs. This brings his season line up to .244/.330/.500 with four homers, eight doubles, 13 RBI, and a 9/15 BB/K ratio in 86 at-bats. Accounting for early season sample size, the interesting factor here is a spike in Piscotty's isolated power compared to past seasons. We'll see if he maintains it but finding a more consistent power stroke was one of his needs as he vies for playing time in the Cardinals outfield.
***Minnesota Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton had a slow start to the season but has heated up lately, hitting .415 in his last 10 games for Double-A Chattanooga with two homers, six steals, and six walks. This kicks his slash line up to .286/.353/.527 overall. Recent scouting reports are glowing once again and Buxton has apparently worked the rust off after missing most of '14 with various physical maladies.
***Brandon Nimmo of the New York Mets is another strong early starter this season, hitting .372 in his last 10 games and .304/.375/.457 overall for Double-A Binghamton. He played half of 2014 in the Eastern League and it will be interesting to see how quickly the Mets move him up to Triple-A if he remains this hot.
***Bill Moriarty at Athletics Nation puts a spotlight on pitching prospects in the Oakland Athletics farm system.
***Over at Beyond the Boxscore, new writer Joe Vasile takes a look at Collin McHugh of the Houston Astros, noting how more frequent use of his slider, a faster fastball, and an overall improvement in "effective velocity" has led to big success for the right-hander. McHugh was actually a pretty interesting sleeper prospect back when he was in the Mets system and we studied him last fall as part of our "sleepers who woke up" series.
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***Another new Beyond the Boxscore contributor, Eric Garcia McKinley, examines Mike Moustakas of the Kansas City Royals and dismantles his fast start with a look at some oddities in his early batted ball data.
***Kiley McDaniel over at Fangraphs has an excellent prospect chat today. We will be doing an All Questions Answered thread here soon, probably early next week if all goes according to plan. We will also be organizing the 2015 Minor League Ball Community Mock Draft soon.
***Who is the best prospect still in the minors? J.J. Cooper at Baseball America asked some front office types and the most common answer was Carlos Correa of the Astros. I quite agree with that. Do you?