Minor League Tidbits

As always, full scouting reports on guys like this would not be an efficient use of my time (or I’ve already written them) but you should be informed nonetheless. Enjoy.

Triple-A

Mauricio Robles – Continues to show good stuff with the Pigs. Phillies execs like what they see here. I’m continuously impressed with how much he pitches downhill despite his diminutive stature. Just before Luis Garcia was called up, I was at a game in which Garcia, Robles and Pawtucket’s Chris Martin were the three best arms on the field that night. All three of them were scrap heap signings and all three will wear a big league uniform at some point.

Mike Macdougal- Fastball is a plus offering, 91-94mph with plenty of sink but the secondary stuff is averageish. His command and control are still inconsistent. He’s a nice depth arm, though. I bet he could pitch in the Majors somewhere as the last man on the staff and be just fine.

Greg Smith – He’s not a prospect but he has the best pickoff move IronPigs fans have seen since Travis Blackley. He pitched the front end of a double header last week which was the completion of a suspended game from a few months ago. He got the win and Luis Garcia got the save. Due to International League rules, the game will go into the record books back in May on its original date when both Smith and Garcia were technically unemployed.

Cameron Rupp – Rupp puzzles me. The hand-eye coordination is not good but the power is real, 55 or 60 raw. Defense is good enough that it’ll play back there.

Cody Asche – Same old same old here. He has nice bat to ball skills but the power is still a 4 for me while the defense is just passable at third. He’s a second division regular if you really want him to be but I’d rather see him start to move around, see what he can do at 2B, 1B and the outfield corners and make yourself a plus-hitting bench piece. I’ve said that before, but I think the time to try that is approaching now.

Leandro Castro – There’s just too much swing and miss there for him to be an everyday big leaguer in any sense. He flies way open during the swing and hacks so violently that he loses sight of the ball. It just won’t work.

Steve Susdorf – Hits.

Tyson Gillies – The new swing is much better. He’s still getting used to it, but it’s no longer the Kansas-flat cut it was before. He’s still misplaying balls in CF here and there but he’s making some insane plays, too. I’m starting from scratch with Gillies. Again.

 

Double-A

Austin Wright – I wanted to write an entire scouting report on Wright but he’s just not good enough for me to do it at this point. He has a really interesting body for a pitcher. He’s a huge, huge man. The stuff is a tad underwhelming for me. The fastball has plus velocity, 90-92mph, but he’s not throwing as hard as he did last year which is at least notable, if not a concern. The fastball has always been lifeless and straight when I’ve seen him. His curveball is fringe average and the changeup is just below average for me. He’s often struggling with command and control. He’s had some nice games (including the one he pitched up in New Britain a few weeks ago against Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, etc) but has generally been bad.

Cesar Hernandez – I purposely haven’t gone near Reading while he’s learning CF. I don’t want to see him there yet, it’s too early to make judgements. It takes time to learn a new position, especially one as hard as CF. Some guys who have the physical skillset to play there (like I think Cesar does) just don’t have the instincts for it. Carl Crawford was one of the best defensive left fielders in the game, had speed for days and just enough to play there, but couldn’t read the ball off the bat from straight away center. He just couldn’t. If they bring him up to Triple-A after the All Star Break, I’ll see him this weekend, probably Saturday.

 

Low-A

Severino Gonzalez – Reports coming out of Lakewood on Sevy are that he’s just sorta ok. The fastball is 88-91mph and the curveball is nice but there’s little else going on right now and no changeup to speak of. He’s in Low-A, so there’s time to develop that stuff, but don’t look at the numbers and expect him to fly through the system.

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14 comments

  1. Cutter

    July 17, 2013 08:57 AM

    The annoying thing about Gillies is that he SHOULD be the guy they call up to replace Revere, but he hasn’t done anything to even make himself a consideration.

  2. bubba0101

    July 17, 2013 02:56 PM

    What am I missing that has me believing Asche can be a significant contributor for the phils? Seriously though. I see him hit for average, he gets on base at a decent clip and has a little power which gets him over .800 ops for the season at AAA. Doesn’t that project to at least a shot at the big league 25 man roster next year, even if he has to convert to a 2b, which shouldn’t be too hard considering hes athletic and a decent fielder at third.

  3. nik

    July 17, 2013 03:20 PM

    Noone is expecting Asche to be an all-star, but I’m with bubba, for what he brings to the table, that’s a fine fine stopgap third baseman for a few years at a league-minimum. I can see him carving a Martin Prado like career for himself.

  4. Eric Longenhagen

    July 17, 2013 03:21 PM

    I haven’t seen him improve at anything this year. He’s not getting stronger or hitting for more power, the defense got better last Fall and hasn’t since then. His skill set is fine and I think he’s a big leaguer, just not a very good one.

    I think you could do worse. He’s not Juan Francisco or Brent Morel or anything like that. But he’s explosive or impressive in any way other than slightly above average bat to ball ability. For me, anyway. I’ve been wrong before.

  5. nik

    July 17, 2013 04:29 PM

    The hit tool is the most important one anyway but its not like he’s a singles hitter even if the power doesn’t improve. I’m hoping he’s at least average with the glove, that’s the biggest question mark for me.

  6. Bill Baer

    July 17, 2013 04:50 PM

    Is there any Major Leaguer that comes to mind whose career followed a similar up-and-down track like Gillies? Not sure if there’s even any precedent for what he’s gone through.

  7. Jon Cheddar

    July 17, 2013 04:51 PM

    If Asche is what Eric describes, isn’t that Michael Young except with a better glove and the platoon advantage? Sounds like an upgrade to me…

  8. Brian

    July 17, 2013 05:18 PM

    @Bill

    How about Cole Hamels? Lots of projection, rarely healthy with a sprinkling of “maturity” issues (at least in the beginning).

    Depends how far you want to go with the comparison, since there’s a few ways in which Hamels and Gillies clearly differ.

  9. Phillie697

    July 17, 2013 05:35 PM

    @Brian,

    Perception of Hamels sure. But Hamels never actually sucked performance-wise at any time during his career other than earlier this year, but now he looks pretty much like Cole Hamels again, so I think the comparison is bad.

  10. Dan K.

    July 18, 2013 12:36 AM

    @ Bill,

    Depends what kind of comparison you’re looking for, but how about Brown? Granted this was happening to him between AAA and the big leagues instead of AA and AAA, but the similarities are eery. Both toolshed prospects, extremely similar stat lines throughout the minors, both had some issues with injury (Gillies is obviously more problematic since almost all of Dom’s are freak accidents, and Gillies is hurt more often), and both had to have their swing adjusted.

  11. bubba0101

    July 18, 2013 06:52 AM

    So the potential for Asche to improve is most definitely there. We see AAA guys plateau all the time before they come up to the bigs and perform well (don’t ask me who because I actually have to work today and could easily get distracted as I am now). If his AAA plateau is .800 OPS and his glove is better than average, lets stick him at third next year until Franco is ready and then move him to second. Meanwhile, they could sign Chase to a one year deal to plug second, or move forward with the overhaul and put Hernandez in 2b next year.

  12. bubba0101

    July 18, 2013 06:56 AM

    By the way, these sorts of honest assessments about our minor leaguers is fantastic for people like me who only have the time to see the avg, obp, slg, OPS, WAR. ESPN/MLB statistics as it were. I get on baseball America and prospectus from time to time but I cant make heads or tails without seeing these guys. I see a guy like Biddle who gets ranked on all the top ten righty pitcher lists and the top 100 prospects and its very sobering that the honest consensus is that he projects as a third guy in the rotation. That’s perfect though. And that Franco has holes in his swing and could very well be mediocre. So thanks for this.

  13. Mike

    July 18, 2013 10:28 AM

    Saw Asche a week ago. He hit a Home run but his glove is not ready for the majors. From the game I saw I would not even rank his glove as good as Young’s. He flubbed a bare handed throw, mistimed a leap and the ball tipped off his glove, and a third ball ate him up and went through his legs. All diificult plays but ones a major league third basemen makes.

    I was wondering why CeHe was playing centerfield. Galvis looked good. He was playing second base and they had Mini Mart at short (who did not look good). Giles made a great throw to get a runner at the plate.

    Unfortunately I did not see any player for the Pigs that night that made me that guy is a major leaguer (except for Galvis). Buffalo however had a reliever who smoked the Pigs.

  14. Iatrogenes

    July 18, 2013 03:27 PM

    Not meant as a comparison with other minor leaguers’ projection as major leaguers, but Bryce Harper was hitting .243 with one homer in 74 AB in AAA when, because of injuries, he was brought up to the Nationals. While Harper was always considered a top rated prospect, who could have projected his MLB performance so quickly? Dom Brown was as high a prospect as Harper, and look how long it took him to blossom (he says with fingers crossed).

    Sometimes you never know.

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