Posted by: portersprospectreport | June 4, 2008

6/3 Minor League Report

AAA

Yung Chi Chen 2-4 2B 3 RBI—(.333 w/ 2 HR last 10 games)
Colby Rasmus 1-4 HR (8) 2 RBI—(.410 2 HR 7 RBI last 10 games)
Charlie Morton 8 IP 1 H 1 BB 13 K (W)—5-1 w/ 1.70 ERA 68K/74IP
Brent Clevlen 2-3 2 HR (12) 5 RBI 2R—.330 w/ 54 RBI
Brad Nelson 2-4 2B RBI—.330 8 HR 34 RBI 9 SB (6-2 255lb 1st Baseman)
Wes Bankston 2-4 HR (8) 2B 2 RBI—8 HR 32 RBI
Cliff Pennington 1-3 2B 2BB RBI R—Recently called up to AAA (.378 OBP, 20/21 SB)
Billy Butler 3-4 2B 3B 2 RBI R—Hitting .364 since his demotion (rediscovering power stroke?)
Chris Lubanski 2-4 HR (7) 3 RBI 2 R—.343 last 10 games w/ 2 HR 9 RBI
Taylor Teagarden 2-4 HR (3) RBI—Snapped 1-22 slump (where does he fit on the Rangers’ catching depth chart?)

 

Analysis:

Rasmus seems to be getting his AAA legs underneath him finally. This seems similar to last year where he started slowly and then was one of the hottest hitters in the minor leagues during the second half of the season. Right now, his best values may be in his 05 Bowman Sterling Jersey Autos that are selling for $35-40 on Ebay. Also, his Topps Chrome Update cards are selling for $5-7. I would expect that if his hot hitting continues, the Cardinals may bring him up by August for full time duty. Regardless, he is virtually assured of being a September call up. His ceiling is not as high as Jay Bruce Almighty, but he is still a complete 5-tool talent.

Cliff Pennington is an intriguing under the radar prospect who falls in line with the Moneyball-type players that Billy Beane targets. Pennington recently was promoted to AAA Sacramento and is hitting leadoff for the River Cats. Bobby Crosby has stayed healthy….thusfar. With no Marcus Scutaro as a stop gap, Pennington may find himself in an A’s uniform once Crosby limps his way onto the DL. Pennington is an undervalued leadoff hitter who can steal bases. His ’05 Bowman Chrome autos can be grabbed for $2-4 bucks and X-Fractors can be bought at $10-$12. Let us not forget, Pennington was a former 1st round pick (21 overall) by the A’s who continue to be one of the most astute evaluators of MLB quality talent.

AA

Michael Brantley 3-6 2R 1 RBI—.333 Avg. .402 OBP 16 SB (young and athletic with great MLB bloodlines, moving through the system rapidly)
Mat Gamel 2-4 2R 2 RBI 2 BB—Avg up to .382 13 HR 51 RBI 1.122 OPS (MVP of AA juggernaut Huntsville)
Matt LaPorta 3-5 2R 3 2B RBI—Heating up again (17 2B and 50 RBI now)
Angel Salome 3-4 HR (6) 6 RBI 3 R 2 BB—.377 Avg. for young high ceiling catcher (.415 4 HR 18 RBI last 10 games!)
Cole Gillespie 3-5 2B 3 RBI BB—.287 w/ 9 HR 42 RBI .380 OBP
Michael Saunders 2-4 2 HR (8) 3 RBI 3R 2 BB—.296 .878 OPS 10 SB (young 5-tool potential but still a little raw and learning plate discipline)
Thomas Hanson 6 IP 5 H 3 ER BB 5 K (ND)—2nd consecutive solid outing since his promotion to AA (control improving)
Cameron Maybin 2-4 R 2 RBI—3rd consecutive 2 RBI game (AAA promotion coming soon?)
Michael Bowden 6.2 IP 3 H ER 6K—Had perfect game into the 7th, 2.12 ERA 64K/68IP (Pawtucket here we come!)
Aaron Bates 2-4 2B 2 RBI—.304 w/ 41 RBI (6-4 230lb Sox 1B prospect, polished but may benefit from a trade to another organization)
Luke Montz 2-3 HR (11) 2B 2R 3 RBI—.444 last 10 games 1.085 OPS w/ 41 RBI (Nationals super catching prospect soon headed to AAA)
Eddy Martinez-Est. 2-3 2B 2RBI R BB—.298 Avg .379 OBP (Former 2nd Round pick and Florida State phenom finding his stroke)
Josh Rodriguez 2-5 2B RBI R—.261 Avg. w/ .359 OBP
Luke Hughes 1-4 HR (13) 4 RBI—.335 Avg w/ 34 RBI 1.025 OPS

 

    Analysis:

Luke Montz debuted in the 2008 Bowman and Chrome Prospects set and his cards have not quite caught the attention of most prospectors. The best values for his RC’s can be found in the various levels of serial #’ed refractor cards. He was a 17th round selection in the 2003 draft and has shown double digit HR power at each ML stop. This is the first season that he has accumulated a high batting average, and although he is repeating AA, he will soon find his way to AAA Columbus. To me, the chrome cards are a low risk investment for a power hitting catcher with a moderate ceiling.

Michael Bowden continues to dominate at AA and is showing that a promotion is in the cards. As for his cards, Bowman Sterling Autos can be acquired for $25-30. I have a hunch that he will struggle a little bit at AAA initially as he did last year upon his promotion to AA. As for his Fenway debut, I don’t see it happening before Sept 1, as the Sox are just too loaded in their rotation to squeeze him in. Could Bowden be shipped out in a major deadline deal? I would suppose so as his name (along with Justin Masterson) was bantied about in pre-season Johan Santana rumors. I still don’t see that happening as the Red Sox don’t have any real noticable holes to fill on their World Series-calibur roster.

The Huntsville Stars lineup is living up to its name! Offensive prospects are abundant headed by the formidable duo of Matt LaPorta and Mat Gamel. Collectors have taken notice of this as well as the demand for their first issue cards continue to rise. Gamel’s ’06 Bowman Chrome Prospect cards sell for 3-4 bucks apiece, but the refractors and x-fractors are exponentially more. If you own these, I would sell now. Remember, Gamel (as is LaPorta) is limited defensively to a corner outfield spot. A trade, preferrably to a better collector’s market (e.g. Boston, New York, Chicago, Philly, Seattle, etc…) would be the best thing to continue the upward trend of Gamel’s cards. As for LaPorta, the presence of autographed cards in the ’07 Elite Extra and ’08 Chrome prospects have caused for his ’07 Bowman Chrome Draft cards to hover at approximately $4 each. In my mind, LaPorta has all of the power potential of a Ryan Braun or Jay Bruce. Lower end RC’s of superstar potential talents play really well in the secondary market, as hometown fans are often willing to pay premium prices for base level RC’s. I could go on and on about Huntsville’s bounty, I will save Brantley, Gillespie, and Escobar for a later date.

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