Friday, July 03, 2009

Prospect Rundown: June

With another month in the books, it's time to check in on our Top Ten Prospects and see how they performed in the month of June and where they are at overall.

10. Steve Tolleson (AAA): .310/.375/.431, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 20 R, 3/5 SB
(Season Totals: .286/.362/.414, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 42 R, 9/13 SB)

When we checked in on Tolleson last month, he had just been promoted to Rochester after putting together some stellar May numbers in New Britain. His first month at the Triple-A level was another successful one, as Tolleson hit for a strong average while displaying solid discipline at the dish. With his solid on-base skills, decent speed and ability to play the middle infield, Tolleson is quickly emerging as a second base option for the big-league club.

9. Angel Morales (A): .140/.204/.220, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, 2/2 SB
(Season Totals: .210/.280/.376, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 30 R, 6/9 SB)

After a poor first month, Morales seemed to have gotten himself back on track in May, but the 19-year-old had a very tough month in June. He was limited to just 16 games and 50 at-bats by injury, and when he was in the lineup he was highly ineffective, managing just seven hits and four walks while whiffing 16 times.

8. Shooter Hunt (GCL): 8 IP, 0-1, 1.13 ERA, 5/6 K/BB, 1.37 WHIP
(Season Totals: 25.2 IP, 0-2, 7.71 ERA, 23/39 K/BB, 2.30 WHIP)

After spending much of the month in Extended Spring Training, Hunt moved to rookie-level Gulf Coast League late in June and made two starts there. The GCL is one level below where Hunt started (and dominated) after being drafted last year, so his presence there isn't exactly a great step. While he did allow only five hits and one earned run in his eight innings with the GCL Twins, Hunt's control continued to haunt him and he managed only five strikeouts. He seemingly has a long way to go at this point.

7. Anthony Slama (AA): 15.2 IP, 5 SV, 1.72 ERA, 18/6 K/BB, 1.02 WHIP
(Season Totals: 43.2 IP, 16 SV, 2.47 ERA, 60/22 K/BB, 1.26 WHIP)

While his bullpen colleague advanced to Triple-A, Slama remained in New Britain once again in June. Unsurprisingly, he dominated there, fanning more than a batter per inning while holding opposing hitters to a .189 batting average. Still, he remains trapped at the Double-A level despite being 25 years old and having proven his ability to get people out at this level. His control remains underwhelming, which might be the chief reason the Twins are holding him back, but it's about time we saw what Slama can do at the highest level of minor-league competition.

6. Kevin Mulvey (AAA): 32.1 IP, 1-1, 3.62 ERA, 27/11 K/BB, 1.58 WHIP
(Season Totals: 89.2 IP, 3-4, 3.91 ERA, 73/32 K/BB, 1.42 WHIP)

It was a pretty typical month for Mulvey, with good-but-not-great numbers across the board. He mixed in a pair of excellent outings (a complete game shutout and a seven-inning, one-run performance) with a pair of duds, and overall gave up more hits than you'd like to see.

5. Danny Valencia (AAA): .355/.375/.613, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R, 0/1 SB
(Season Totals: .293/.373/.498, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 51 R, 0/3 SB)

I concluded my blurb on Valencia last month in this space by saying that he had "effectively proven his mastery of the Double-A level and should be in Rochester by the time I do this write-up next month." Sure enough, despite a bit of a slump earlier in the month, Valencia got his promotion about three weeks into June, and as you can see by the numbers above he has been making the best of it. He's been one of the best stories in the Twins' minor-league system this year.

4. Jose Mijares (MLB): 6.1 IP, 2.84 ERA, 4/5 K/BB, 1.89 WHIP
(Season Totals: 23 IP, 2.35 ERA, 18/12 K/BB, 1.43 WHIP)

While his ERA doesn't reflect it, June was not a good month for Mijares. He struggled once again with his control, and the fact that Mijares threw just half as many innings in June as he did in May seems to indicate that the command problems are causing Ron Gardenhire's faith in the left-hander to waiver. Mijares continues to be effective when he gets the ball in the zone, but his inability to do so consistently is becoming a big problem.

3. Ben Revere (A+): .264/.346/.330, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 14 R, 7/9 SB
(Season Totals: .319/.388/.381, 2 HR, 31 RBI, 45 R, 28/40 SB)

Revere had his worst month of the season in June. He managed just a .264 average, which led to a pretty empty hitting line considering his lack of power. Revere continued to show discipline with nine walks and eight strikeouts in the month, but this is the type of thing you have to fear with a guy whose value is based almost totally in his batting average.

2. Wilson Ramos (AA): .400/.415/.675, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 10 R, 0/0 SB
(Season Totals: .308/.326/.444, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 22 R, 0/0 SB)

Ramos got off to a terrific start in June. In 40 at-bats, he bashed two homers and five doubles while driving in eight runs. Then, he injured his finger on June 12 and missed the rest of the month. While rehabbing from the injury late in the month, he pulled a hamstring and is now likely to miss a few more weeks. Bummer. On the bright side, he's struck out only three times in his past 63 at-bats, which is pretty impressive considering he fanned 103 times at Ft. Myers last year.

1. Aaron Hicks (A): .222/.371/.259, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 1/1 SB
(Season Totals: .222/.371/.259, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 1/1 SB)

After spending the first two-and-a-half months of the season in Extended Spring Training and giving me nothing to write about in this space, Hicks was finally moved up to Beloit a couple weeks ago. His first nine games there haven't been spectacular, as evidenced by the weak batting average and lack of extra-base hits, but he has shown very good plate discipline. I'd love to see him turn it on in the month of July.