In this article we will be surveying the AAA ranks in the International and Pacific Coast Leagues—from the power bat of Chris Carter to the newly minted relief arm of Aroldis Chapman.
Plus the New York Yankees phenom, Jesus Montero, is starting to heating up!
Chris Carter, 1B, Oakland
AAA Line: .237, 15 HR, 54 RBI
There is no questioning the pop in his bat as Carter hit 39 HR in A ball in '08 and hit 28 HR between AA and AAA last season.
He's displayed good patience at the plate, drawing 42 walks (85 in '09). The strikeouts, albeit, are alarming. He K'd 133 times last season, and has already whiffed 91 times in 76 games this year. When behind in the count he's hitting .151 with 40 Ks, which means he's quite pitchable.
I for one have had enough of Jack Cust, and would love to see Carter get a shot with the big club.
Yonder Alonso, 1B, Cincinnati
AAA Line: .230, 3 HR, 21 RBI
The 2008 No. 7 overall selection has struggled with his promotion to the International League. After posting a 19:16 BB to K ratio in 31 AA games, his current 10:33 ratio is a complete reversal.
A LHH, he's struck out 26 times against RHP, and only seven times in 55 AB against LHP. He's sporting a .272 OBP in 45 games. Alonso is not flashing power either, with six combined HRs between the two levels (76 games). He's slugging .328 in AAA.
Unless he's a trade piece, it's difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel with Votto in his path.
Jesus Montero, C, N.Y. Yankees
AAA Line – .251, 6 HR, 31 RBI
It took a while, but Montero is starting to mash. To put things in perspective: he had three homers and 21 RBI in the season's first two months—he has three HR and eight RBI in his last nine games. Eight of his 17 doubles have come in the month of June.
Standing at 6'4'', and with stalwart defender Austin Romine also in the system, Montero seems destined for a position change.
Josh Bell, 3B, Baltimore
AAA Line: .260, 8 HR 38 RBI
Another power bat with too many Ks in it. The switch-hitting Bell averages a strikeout per game on the season, and has K'd 14 times in his last 10. This is not startling news, as he struck out 98 times in two AA stops last season. However, the precipitous drop in walks is worrisome. He's drawn only 18 BB in 72 games, as opposed to 61 BB in '09.
On a positive note, Bell has shown enhanced focus in RISP situations, hit .304 and driving in 30 of his 38 runs.
The O's certainly have no use for Tejada, so maybe Bell will find his opportunity by default.
Allen Craig, OF, St. Louis
AAA Line: .306, 9 HR, 55 RBI
After a strong showing in spring training, the 25-year-old Craig broke camp with the big club. Unfortunately, his stay was short lived as he collected just one base hit in 18 AB. He's been tearing up the PCL since.
In 27 June games, he's batting .336 with 11 doubles, seven HR and an eye popping 35 RBI. His June OPS is 1.044, and he has 14 RBI in his last ten games. Craig is hitting .366 in 71 AB with RISP.
He can flat out rake, but there's simply no room for him in a stacked Cardinal OF.
Michael Taylor, OF, Oakland
AAA Line – .249, 3 HR, 38 RBI
Taylor was the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay deal for Toronto, and then sent to Oakland for Brett Wallace. At 6'6'' and 260 pounds, he's an absolute mammoth of a man, but possesses incredible athletic gifts.
Not many people his size can run and play the outfield.
He stole 15 bases in '08, 21 in '09 and eight thus far in 2010. He's a real threat to leg out a triple as well. The A's are still waiting on his power at the AAA level (.378 SLG %). Taylor is hitting .343 with RISP.
At 24, he's still raw with a definite learning curve, but the skills are there.
Brandon Allen, 1B, Arizona
AAA Line: .259, 8 HR, 33 RBI
Allen is showing great plate discipline, drawing nearly as many walks (41) as he has hits (43). Despite his average, his OBP is .411. His previous high for BB in a minor league season is 60 in AA '08.
In his 100 AB stint with the Diamondbacks last September, Allen hit .202 with four HR, and a 12:40 BB to K ratio. He has a long swing and not a particularly swift bat. He will likely always struggle to make contact at the higher level. But when he does connect, it can go a long way.
If the D'backs deal LaRoche, he'll play 1B.
Aroldis Chapman, SP/RP, Cincinnati
AAA Line: 5-5, 4.06 ERA, 81 K
The Reds have made the decision to use Chapman out of the bullpen for the remainder of 2010. However, the plan is still to groom him as a starter in the future.
On the season Chapman has 81 Ks in 68 2/3 innings, but with those strikeouts also come 41 BB. LHH are hitting .241 against him. After producing a 1.29 ERA in four April starts, he pitched to a 5.47 ERA in May and 5.09 thus far in June.
Daniel Hudson, SP, Chicago White Sox
AAA Line: 10-3, 3.83 ERA, 97 K
Hudson has put up stunning K:BB ratios at every minor league stop; 90:22 in Rookie ball, 166:34 between A, AA and AAA in '09, and 97 to 27 this season.
Hudson's fastball is in the low-mid 90s with good location and his trademark pitch is his change-up. Hudson made two big league starts last season, compiling 11 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER, 8 Ks and an ugly nine walks.
With the resurgence of Freddy Garcia (sort of), I suppose he'll have to wait for his time.
Tanner Scheppers, RP/SPm Texas
AAA Line: 1-0, 2.86 ERA, 39 K
After 11 innings of three-hit, one run ball as a reliever in AA (.079 BAA), the Rangers are now trying to stretch Scheppers out in AAA. He's yet to throw more than four innings in any of his four starts. In 15 2/3 IP he's allowed 14 hits, 7 ER, K'd 12 and walked four.
Scheppers is a power pitcher with a mid-90s fastball and a hard breaking curve, but lacks a third pitch. He's suffered with shoulder problems in the past.
Josh Lindblom, SP, L.A. Dodgers
AAA Line: 2-1, 6.25 ERA, 49 K
Lindblom made a powerful impression during spring training, but his first half of 2010 has been rocky to say the least.
In 10 games as a starter, opposing batters are hitting .349. He's given up an unfathomable 80 hits in 51 innings. His GO/AO ratio is 0.84. His last six appearances have come in relief, where he's been far more effective; he's allowed six hits and one run in eight relief innings.
The Dodgers view him as a starter, but priority numero uno is getting him straightened out.
Brandon Erbe, SP, Baltimore
AAA Line: 0-10, 5.73 ERA, 50 K
Consistency has been a problem for Erbe in his young career, but he's been consistently awful in 2010. For a pitcher with his "stuff" to go 0-10 is hard to believe, but the numbers don't lie. He's given up 86 hits in 70 2/3 innings and his BAA is .294. He's had difficulty getting the ball down in the zone, and thus has given up 11 HR and his GO/AO ratio is 0.75.
Now for some good news, he's only allowed three ER in his last ten innings of work...I'll go out on a limb and say he gets a W before the All-Star break.
Anthony Slama, RP, Minnesota
AAA Line: 14 Saves, 1.42 ERA, 49 K
The 26-year-old Slama is a proven closer at the minor league level. He finished with 14 saves in '07, 25 in '08, and 29 in '09.
His strikeout figures have been off the charts, K'ing 110 in 71 innings in '08 and 112 in 81 innings in '09. However, command has been problematic. He walked 40 in '09 and 21 in 44 1/3 innings to this point in 2010. Opposing batters are hitting a rather ludicrous .122 off him this year.
If he can harness his control, he'll be in the show—but likely in middle relief.
Alex Presley, OF, Pittsburgh : The diminutive Presley hit .350 in the Eastern League before his call up to AAA. In just his third game with Indianapolis, he hit for the cycle, going five for six with a HR. An eighth round pick in 2006, Presley has never been classified as a major prospect (likely because of his size), but he's making serious waves now.
Aaron Poreda, SP, San Diego : The 6'6'' lefty reliever was promoted to AAA after posting a 2.52 ERA and 1.50 GO/AO ratio in AA. It should be noted that despite those impressive numbers, he did walk 26 batters in 25 innings. In 11 1/3 innings in the PCL he has given up three hits and yet to allow a run. But once again, the seven walks are holding him back.
Article by Adam Ganeles exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Check back weekly for Adam's awesome insight on MLB and MiLB Fantasy Baseball!
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