Minor League Recap: a few highlights

Eric Thames rounding the bases. Hopefully we'll see that a lot in Toronto. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

This time, I'm going to do a bit of a different recap: highlighting some individuals and not bothering with daily lines too much. Don't worry, this won't be a permanent thing.

Las Vegas (won 6-4):

Eric Thames was slumping a bit, drawing some walks but not hitting for power. He was hitting for less power than he did in AA, so that was definitely a bit disappointing given the PCL's reputation. However, yesterday he went 3-for-3, with 2 home runs (both off Luke French, a lefty) and he drew a walk. He has improved his strikeout rate in AAA and kept his walk rate in the same area. However, at the major league level he'll probably still strike out a lot, so he has got to hit for power to be valuable as a LF. He did just that yesterday. .339/.421/.579 is now his line.

Brett Lawrie has also cooled off after a hot start, striking out a lot while not walking much. Positives are that his line drive rate is up and he's hit the ball for a lot of power. He's just 21 year old and if he can stay at 3B he doesn't have to hit as well as Thames. In 8 May starts he's struck out in only 10.8% of his at bats, so he may be adapting to the new level already (or it could be the small sample size). Yesterday he went 1-for-4 with a groundball double, but more impressively hit 2 flyballs some 400 feet to dead center. Anywhere else and they would have been home runs. He also stole his 8th base (3rd base, no less!) so he's doing well on the basepaths as he has not been caught stealing yet. Lawrie is an exciting prospect, but he's probably better off staying in AAA for now.

Loewen was 2-for-4 with a homer, Snider 1-for-5 with 2 strikeouts and Jonathan Diaz was also 2-for-4. Scott Richmond gave up 4 runs, all solo homers in 6.2 innings, walking 3 and K'ing 5.

New Hampshire:

Travis d'Arnaud is having a tough season. Arencibia looks like he'll stick as Blue Jays catcher, A.J. Jimenez and Carlos Perez are breathing down his neck, he started off very cold with the bat and then he got injured! However, going 2-for-3 with a double and a hit by pitch is a good way to come back. But there's more:

That must have felt good.

Moises Sierra, who was already hitting a healthy 23% line drives, hit 2 of his 6 balls in play yesterday for line drives, he also walked and struck out once. He got only his 2nd double of the season, even though he's hit 4 home runs and so many line drives. Given how hard he's hitting the ball, look for him to improve upon his .284/.327/.435 line, as his BABIP is just .278. Oh, he also hit a walkoff single in the second part of NH's doubleheader.

Adeiny Hechavarria went 3-for-7 with a double and a stolen base. Anthony Gose went 1-for-7 with a walk, 2 strikeouts and a hit by pitch. Mike McDade went 2-for-7 with 2 strikeouts and a hit by pitch. Reidier Gonzalez gave up just 1 run in 6 innings on 3 walks and 4 strikeouts, helped by d'Arnaud's defense.

Lansing (won 9-6)

Egan Smith, a 22 year old lefty, has started this season striking out a bit higher percentage of batters, but he's walked more and gotten less groundballs (45% against last year's 53%). He's old for the level, so we're not expecting him to do worse. Yesterday he struck out 4 in 3 innings while walking one, but getting just 18% groundballs. He left because he got hit in the head by a line drive, luckily he seemed ok as he finished the inning, but they took him out after that.

Michael Crouse is quickly turning into one of my favourite prospects. He has speed, power, defensive prowess, and he's supposedly got a great arm too. Yesterday, listening to the Lugnuts radio broadcast, they reported that he turned a surefire double into a single by playing a ball off the wall perfectly and making a perfect throw into second base. They also said that all of Brisker, Marisnick and Crouse can handle center field, and Crouse has played there before. When Lake County closer Clayton Ehlert was pitching to Crouse, the Lugnuts' broadcasters were talking about how deceptive Ehlert's delivery was. Crouse promptly hit a 2-run home run. "I guess Crouse wasn't fooled" said the broadcaster. All in all Crouse went 2-for-4 with a home run, a stolen base and a strikeout yesterday, bringing his line up to .241/.343/.540. That's some exquisite power, awesome speed (15-for-16 in stolen base attempts) and a batting average that should rise because his .246 BABIP seems very low for someone with his speed and power.

Gustavo Pierre went 1-for-3 with a walk, but committed his 20th error, leading the minor leagues. Marcus Brisker went 2-for-4 with 2 stolen bases and a strikeout, Jake Marisnick went 0-for-3 but hit a liner right at the 2nd baseman and also got hit by a pitch. Marcus Knecht went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. K.C. Hobson went 1-for-3 with a walk.

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