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Fortnight on the Farm: Vol. 1

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Tammy Rainey
9 months ago
Let’s be honest, at this point in the season, a little more than two weeks on, we barely have a hint of anything and thus such a recap will necessarily be shallow.
So the format this time will be basically to note what the well-known top prospects are doing and then give you a little list of others who have started off hot and maybe bear keeping an eye on. As the season progresses we’ll see who actually “broke out” and who was just on a minor hot streak.

Triple-A Buffalo Bisons

One second to mourn the fact that I have no reason to write “Thunder Bisons” anymore. Okay, that’s done. The Buffalo roster features four pitchers that are on the 40-man roster plus another guy who’s on most of their Top Prospect lists.  But the latter, Adrian Hernandez, just arrived and there’s no story to tell there yet. Overall, 17 pitchers have logged an out here and nine of them have an ERA under 3.00 with perhaps the most interesting early results coming from non-prospect Jeremy Beasley.
Offensively, of course, it’s the Gabby Moreno show, what with Jordan Groshans and Otto Lopez rehabbing in Dunedin. But in 10 games he’s sitting on good-but-not-great offensive production so there’s not yet the pressure to call him up. The best other prospect here is Samad Taylor and what’s remarkable here is that the IF/OF has drawn 14 walks in 17 games played which has never been his carrying tool. Others here with an .800+ OPS include Logan Warmoth (who has a history of hot streaks followed by flailing), Vinnie Capera, and Cullen Large.

Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats

This roster is, with one exception, the home of a lot of 2nd or 3rd tier prospects worth watching more so than “can’t miss” guys. On the mound, Nick Fraze seems to have recaptured his impressive groove from Vancouver last year, with a 1.35 ERA in 13.1 IP and almost a K per inning. The other guy that catches your eye is last year’s sixth round choice, Hayden Juenger. He dominated out of the pen last year in Vancouver and has gotten the start in three of his four outings this year and continues to overwhelm hitters. One walk and 17 strikeouts in 11 IP is a good way to start the year.
The one exception I mentioned is, of course, Orelvis Martinez. The power is crazy good, he’s got six homers already in 14 games. But he also has 19 K’s and only one walk to go with a .208 BA. Of course, his pattern is to need a short adjustment period upon every promotion so I wouldn’t worry too much about the bat-to-ball thing just yet (the BB/K ratio may never be elite). Off to a better start, as measured by OPS, are catcher Ryan Gold (6 games), Tanner Morris (12 walks in 13 games), Zac Cook (1.060 OPS), and  John Aiello (5 games)

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High-A Vancouver Canadians

Early returns on this staff show Chad “Cheese” Dallas starting his career hot (14 K and 3 BB in 8 IP), Adam Kloffenstein continuing to struggle, and last year’s eighth-round selection Hunter Gregory earning some praise (11 K, 1  BB in 7 IP). Trent Palmer is having a nice start too.
But what’s really surprising is the results for Sean Mellen. Released by the Dodgers almost exactly a year ago, he signed with the Jays a month later and played well at Dunedin before moving up to Vancouver (after just 8 IP) in mid-June and getting spanked. Two months later he was dropped back to Florida where he struck out 29 n 17 IP the rest of the way, but with an ERA over five. Basically, mixed results. Vancouver has been kinder so far, with a 1.80 ERA and a contained high strikeout rate (18 of 30 out recorded on the K). It’s silly to spend too much time on an A-ball reliever but sometimes one appears worth keeping your eye on.
There’s actually a good bit of prospect power on this team, with 4 ranked prospects in the rotation and highly regarded Leo Jimenez in the field along with several 2nd and 3rd tier guys. Jimenez is struggling early, except for his famously high OBP. The hitters who have come out of the gates how to include Trevor Schwecke, Addison Barger, Hugo Cardona, and Harrison Ray.

Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays

All the buzz here is about top pitching prospect Ricky Tiedemann. The hard-throwing 6’4″ lefty, taken in the 3rd last year, has walked a bit too many but has 24 K in 15 IP and a 1.20 ERA. Rafael Ohashi opened with 4 hitless innings over which he struck out 10, then got knocked around, then was good again yesterday. Consistency will be his goal.
Offensively the individual stats are largely unimpressive here with two exceptions. RF Adriel Sotolongo and 3B Damiano Palmegiano both have 3 homers and high OPS in the early going while playing full time. Jordan Groshans has gotten into just three games so there’s not even a first impression to be drawn yet.
More in two weeks!

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