ORIGINAL ARTICLE LINK: Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet
#1: NICK CASTELLANOS
Team: High Class A Lakeland (Florida State)
AFF: Detroit Tigers
Why He’s Here: .516/.531/.774 (16-for-31), 1 HR, 3 2B, 1 3B, 6 RBIs, 5 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1-for-1 SB
The Scoop: Castellanos went 0-for-4 last Saturday . . . and that’s the extent of negative things we can say about the 2010 supplemental pick’s recent play. Despite playing in the Florida State League, a veritable pitcher’s paradise, Castellanos has opened the season on a 43-for-101 (.426) tear through 25 games. He leads the minors in batting average and ranks fourth in on-base percentage (.477) by virtue of having drawn 12 walks, two of them intentional.
Having demonstrated ample feel for hitting last year in the Midwest League—he batted .312 and led the league with 158 hits—Castellanos is making encouraging strides in the power department this season. First of all, he’s a physical 6-foot-4 righty hitter who connected for 36 doubles last season, and scouts often say that home-run power is the final tool to manifest. At any rate, Castellanos collected five extra-base hits last week and now leads the FSL in doubles (nine), slugging (.594) and total bases (60) in addition to average and OBP.
#3: NICK MARONDE
Team: High Class A Inland Empire (California)
AFF: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Why He’s Here: 0-0, 0.69, 2 GS, 13 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 17 SO, 3 BB
The Scoop: Maronde has made 17 starts as a pro, earning every bit of his shiny 2.43 ERA with a strikeout rate of 9.4 batters per nine innings, a 1.08 WHIP and eight homers allowed. Did we mention that Maronde made every single one of those starts in either the Pioneer or California league, the two most hitter-friendly circuits in the country? Not bad for the former Florida Gator who slipped to the third round of last year’s draft because evaluators weren’t sure he’d be able to hack it as a starter in pro ball. Maronde has been seriously dealing in his last four starts, logging a 1.67 ERA and 28-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 27 innings. In that time he’s allowed just 23 baserunners in the Cal League, where batters hit about .330 when simply putting bat to ball. By point of comparison, Maronde is charting more rapid progress than recent Angels college-pitcher picks like Garrett Richards and Daniel Tillman.
#7: JACKIE BRADLEY, Jr.
Team: High Class A Salem (Carolina)
AFF: Boston Red Sox
Why He’s Here: .333/.455/.667 (9-for-27), 8 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 BB, 5 SO, 5-for-5 SB
The Scoop: Bradley was a tremendously accomplished college player at South Carolina when the Red Sox signed him last year for $1.1 million as a supplemental first-round pick. He has solid tools across the board, all of which play up because of his tremendous baseball instincts. He’s gotten off to a terrific start for Salem, where he’s batting .360/.470/.539 with more walks (18) than strikeouts (16) and a crisp 10-for-11 stealing bases. Bradley leads the Carolina League in OBP and ranks seventh in the minors in that category, while his defense continues to get strong grades as well.
IN THE TEAM PHOTO
When developing a pitcher, the Pirates like to say they are painting a picture. The focus is on long-term success, so short-term statistical struggles might mask some significant improvement in the team’s eyes. But while the Pirates were focused on the process, everyone else was noticing that RHP Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, was not exactly mowing down Florida State League lineups. Perceptions may begin to change following the 21-year-old’s outing on Monday. In it, Cole struck out six, while allowing one hit and one walk in six scoreless innings at Jupiter for his best outing as a pro…
With six more shutout innings this week for high Class A Bradenton, 20-year-old Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon lowered his ERA to 1.49 in 24 2/3 innings and has a 28-4 K-BB mark…
Rangers RHP Cody Buckel had what qualified as a tough start by his standards last Friday for high Class A Myrtle Beach, giving up three runs on nine hits in six innings, but he came back with another gem on Thursday. Buckel, 19, reeled off seven scoreless innings, his longest outing of the year, and struck out eight, allowing three hits and three walks. He dropped his ERA to 1.31 in 34 1/3 innings for the year…
Filed under: 2012: USA Minor League Player Updates