Thursday, September 20, 2012

Minor league trip followup

As I mentioned in Wednesday's post on the Twins shifting their Midwest League affiliation from Beloit to Cedar Rapids, I made a trip in May to both cities. I put up a series of posts on players I took note of in those games, and looking back at what I said then made me think that it might be worth following up on how the rest of their seasons went.

Starting with Beloit, the team of most interest because it was the Twins affiliate:

Miguel Sano, of course, remains both a prime prospect and a work with a lot of progress to make. When I saw him he was in the early days of what proved to be a fairly lengthy slump, and he never really got his batting average back up. He did hit 28 homers in a tough environment and draw 80 walks, so his OBP and SLG are quite impressive. Biggest issues: 144 strikeouts in 553 plate appearances, and 42 errors at third base.

Eddie Rosario missed considerable time after breaking a facial bone during batting practice. He had a solid season at the plate, but I'm not sure his conversion to second went as smoothly as hoped. Jim Callis of Baseball America said in a chat Wednesday that he thinks Rosario will have to move back to the outfield. I didn't get to see much of Rosario at second.

Jason Wheeler, a big lefty, put up good result numbers (14-6, 3.45) but did so in the "pitch to contact" mode. His strikeout rate was just 6.6 per nine innings, and he'll have to at least maintain that rate if he's going to move up the ladder.

Matthew Summers, righty, was the other starter I saw for Beloit; he was 9-5, 3.55. He and Wheeler were the top two winners for Beloit. Summers moved up to Fort Myers (High-A) later in the season, and didn't fare as well there. Like Wheeler, his strikeout rate (5.9 K/9 in both leagues) is worrisome.

Corey Williams, left-handed reliever, fanned 68 in 61.2 innings, but walked 33.

Matt Koch, a catcher who hit two homers in the games I attended, hit eight for the season. He struck out in almost a third of his plate appearances.

Tyler Grimes, shortstop, hit just .202. That won't get it done. He was a fifth-round pick out of college in 2011 and was repeating the Midwest League; with Niko Goodwin and Jorge Polanco perhaps ready to move up from Elizabethton, Grimes might get squeezed for playing time.

Cedar Rapids: The Kernels, an Angels affiliate, had a lousy year on the field (53-86, worst record in the MWL) despite having three first-round draft picks on the roster. Two of them did not fare well.

Pitcher Cam Bedrosian, coming back quickly from Tommy John surgery, finished 3-11, 6.31 with more walks than strikeouts. Outfielder Chevy Clarke, whose obvious athleticism caught my eye, hit just .190 -- and he didn't walk or hit for power either. He was moved down a level in the second half.

The third 2011 first rounder, third baseman Kaleb Cowart, hit .293 with power in C.R. and was quickly moved up the ladder to High A Inland Empire in the California League. That league appears to have presented more of a challenge for him.

Another Kernel I noticed, catcher Abel Baker, improved his numbers as the season wore on, but didn't get over .250. I liked what I saw from him that day, but he's probably just an organization player.

Kane County (Royals affilate): Edwin Carl (pitcher) moved up a level in the second half and actually improved his strikeout rate against a higher level of competition. He was an undrafted free agent, so he's going to have to earn every promotion he gets.

Daniel Mateo, who was hitting over .300 when I saw him and stung line drives all game, ended the season at .262. He spent a lot of time as the DH, which is not a good sign.

To see what I wrote in May about these guys, click here. (This post will be included in the link)

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