In-Depth A-Ball Report: Plus Aaron Hicks ... The Next Torii Hunter?

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In-Depth A-Ball Report: Plus Aaron Hicks ... The Next Torii Hunter?
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Player reports from Advanced A & A ball. Get in-depth stats and reviews of the biggest young players in the game. Plus a close look at the unanimous top prospect in A ball, Aaron Hicks. Deep keeper and dynasty owners circle these names!

POSITION PLAYERS

Aaron Hicks, CF Minnesota Class A Line – .256, 5 HR, 22 RBI
The unanimous top prospect in A ball. Hicks possesses all the tools scouts drool over, including a 93-95 MPH fastball, but he chose the route of the position player. The switch hitter is blessed with excellent patience and a feel for the strike zone. He drew 41 BB in 251 AB in '09 and 48 in 238 AB thus far in '10. So despite his pedestrian average, his OBP is .378. He's still a work in progress with the stick, thus his relatively low production numbers. Hicks is unpolished on the base paths as well, being CS 8 times against 6 SB. Patience is a virtue.. The next Torii Hunter?

Grant Green, SS Oakland Advanced A Line – .320, 5 HR, 30 RBI
The A's 2009 first round pick has not disappointed in his first full season of pro ball. A .359 career hitter at USC, his quick adjustments at the plate have been impressive. Lefties are not getting him out, collecting 33 knocks in 76 AB (.434). He's slugging .466 with 18 doubles and three triples. He is red hot in June hitting .381 with three HR and 11 RBI. Grant will turn 23 in September, but his ceiling is still quite high. A quick advance through the ranks seems likely.

Engel Beltre, CF Texas Advanced A Line – .326, 5 HR, 32 RBI
After hitting .227 in the California League in '09, Beltre has restructured his approach this season. He's raised his BA nearly 100 points and his K rate is way down. He's struck out 29 times in 233 AB (1 per 8 AB). Last year he went down on strikes every 4.6 AB. After hitting .233 in April, he's responded with a .347 May and .436 June. His SB total is down, with 7 swipes in 13 attempts. Perhaps it's finally starting to click for the talented outfielder. 

Anthony Gose, OF Philadelphia Advanced A Line – .268, 2 HR, 13 RBI
Gose has the potential to absolutely wreck a game with his speed. He stole 76 bags in '09 and has 24 this year. His caught stealing totals are alarming, however, being thrown out 19 times in '10. He also has 10 triples. His 72 strikeouts in 272 AB need to be cut down. Gose is still very raw at the plate, but he's shown a willingness to work counts and a take a free pass (23). With his incredible athletic gifts, it's difficult to put a ceiling on this 19 year old. 

Eric Hosmer, 1B Kansas City Advanced A Line – .356, 3 HR, 42 RBI
Hosmer underwent LASIK surgery in the off-season and the 2008 #3 pick has come back a new hitter in '10. He's raised his BA 115 points from the .241 he posted last year. His BB:K ratio is an outstanding 33 to 27. Last season that ratio was 53 to 90, at the exact same level. While he's only connected on 3 dingers, he's still slugging .529, with 24 doubles and 6 triples. The LHH Hosmer is hitting .376 in 93 AB versus LHP, including an 11:10 BB to K ratio. Unlike last season, he's seeing the ball scary well. He's too classy to remain at this level. 

Brett Jackson, CF Chicago Cubs Advanced A Line – .298, 4 HR, 33 RBI
Jackson has begun to light it up. He's batting .333 in June with 2 HR and 17 RBI, and over his last ten he's at .400 with 2 HR and 14 RBI. On the season he's sporting a .471 SLG% with 16 doubles and 7 triples. After drawing 31 BB in '09, he's already up to 42 in '10. His OBP is a robust .408. Jackson has good wheels as well, swiping 12 in 18 tries.
 
Mike Trout, CF LA Angels Class A Line – .370, 6 HR, 35 RBI
Trout is putting up video game type numbers. He's slugging .553 with 15 doubles and 7 triples. His OBP is .449 with a 33:39 BB to K ratio. He's hit at least .355 in every month. This after hitting .352 between Rookie ball and A ball last season. He's on absolute tear. And his prowess doesn't end with the bat, he's stolen 34 bases (6 CS) in 66 games. Trout has 21 hits in 50 AB (.420) with RISP. What else does he have to prove in the Midwest League?

Wilmer Flores, SS New York Mets Class A Line – .278, 7 HR, 44 RBI
At only 19 years of age, Flores is in his third season in the Mets system. His plate discipline is much improved. After recording a 22:72 BB to K ratio in 2009, he's already drawn 23 walks in 2010. He's flashing more power as he continues to grow into his 6'3 frame. He's driven in 44 runs in 66 games, compared to 36 in 125 games last season.
 
William Myers, C Kansas City Class A Line – .287, 10 HR, 43 RBI
Myers is slugging .502 (16 doubles) and has drawn 45 walks for a .408 OBP. Seven of his ten HR have come with runners on base, and he's batting .361 with RISP. His OPS is 1.083 in June and 1.118 over his last ten games. Myers provides speed at the catcher position with 9 thefts.  


PITCHERS

Aaron Miller, SP LA Dodgers Advanced A Line – 2-4, 2.77 ERA, 75 K
On the same minor league club with arms Ethan Martin and Nathan Eovaldi, Miller is taking center stage. In 74 2/3 innings he's allowed merely 53 hits and opponents are hitting .201 against him. A left handed pitcher, he's held RHH hitters to a .190 mark. Command a bit shaky, issuing 35 free passes. Walked six in five innings on June 9th. He features a fastball that cuts in on right handers and a sharp slider. Terrific athlete, was projected as an OF out of High School. 

Julio Teheran, SP Atlanta Advanced A Line – 3-1, 1.38 ERA, 49 K
The 19-year old Teheran has absolutely blown away the SAL and Carolina Leagues. In 78 1/3 combined innings he's allowed just 11 ER. In 39 innings in '10, he's given up 31 hits, walked seven and struck out 49. He's pitching to a 1.38 ERA, and has surrendered one run or less in four of six GS. In his last start, on June 16th, he went seven innings allowing two hits, two BB and striking out 12. Fragility and stamina have been concerns with his 150 pound frame. The ball explodes out of his hand, topping out at 98 MPH. 

Matt Moore, SP Tampa Bay Advanced A Line – 3-7, 5.13 ERA, 98 K
Moore is having an interesting 2010 campaign. He's given up 69 hits in 73 2/3 innings, and struck out a staggering 98 batters. The problem is he's lost seven games and his ERA is over five. Why? Look no further then the base on ball. Moore has walked 40 batters, or one batter every 1.8 innings. Success is difficult to come by when you're constantly in the stretch. Moore walked 70 in 123 innings in '09, so this is not foreign territory. If he wants to move up the chain, he needs to start throwing strikes. 

Shelby Miller, SP St. Louis Class A Line – 1-3, 4.79 ERA, 56 K
The Cards 2009 first round selection has four potentially plus pitches, but he needs refinement. When Miller makes mistakes they're getting hit (44 hits in 41 1/3), but when he makes his pitches A ball hitters won't get a sniff (56 K). His 1.37 GO/AO ratio and two HR allowed are encouraging. His 15 BB (one every 2.7 innings) is not. Right handed batters are hitting Miller at a .290 clip.  

Tyler Matzek, SP Colorado Class A Line – 0-0, 2.28 ERA, 27 K
The Rockies 11th overall pick in 2009 has made a powerful impression in his first five professional starts. In 23 2/3 innings, the left hander has given up 17 hits and opposing batters are hitting .207 against him (LHH .150). His fastball sits in the mid 90's. He's been touted for his pitching intelligence at a young age and should be a quick riser. Matzek's command has been shaky early on (16 BB). 

Kyle Heckathorn, SP Milwaukee Class A Line – 5-4, 2.34 ERA, 55 K
After a rough 6.04 ERA in six Pioneer League starts in '09, Heckathorn has been dazzling this season. In nine GS, he's worked to a 2.19 ERA in 53 1/3 innings, allowing 44 hits and walking just 11. The 6'6 right hander is holding lefties to a .188 average, and all batters to a .216 mark. His GO/AO ratio is a spectacular 2.59 as a starter thanks to a good sinking fastball.

NOTES

Jason Kipnis, 2B Cleveland – Kipnis was promoted to AA after posting a .300, 6 HR, 31 RBI line at the Advanced A Carolina League. He’s hitting .355 with a 1.090 OPS in eight games.
 
Tyler Chatwood, SP LA Angels – Chatwood recorded an 8-3 mark with a 1.77 ERA in 13 California League starts. His GO/AO ratio was 2.93. In his first AA start he was bombed for eight hits and six runs in 2 2/3 innings.
 
Arodys Vizcaino, SP Atlanta – The 19 year old from the Dominican Republic was promoted from the SAL, where he went 9-3 with a 2.34 ERA, to Advanced A ball. In two starts since the step up in competition, he’s lasted 8 2/3 combined innings, allowing 13 hits, six ER, striking out seven and walking three.  

Written by Adam Ganeles for The Fantasy Fix. Check back weekly for Adam's awesome insight on MLB and MiLB Fantasy Baseball!

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