Down On The Farm: Minor League Update

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Connecticut Tigers (SS) 12-18

Connecticut has struggled this season, in large part because they didn’t have a lot of talent on offense to start the season. Their pitching staff has some talent, but it’s pretty raw, and it just got some reinforcements from the Gulf Coast League team.

Two guys I highlighted in the season preview have had very different seasons. Edgar De La Rosa is pitching well for the C-Tigers. He is 2-1 in his 6 starts with an ERA of 2.61. Endrys Briceno has struggled in his 5 starts, posting an ERA of 7.66. Both have good arms. Montreal Robertson is doing okay in his switch to starting pitching, posting an ERA of 3.98 in his 6 starts for the Connecticut club. Chad Smith and Hua-Wei Lo who had been dominating in the GCL, both recently got promoted. The C-Tigers best reliever thus far has probably been 2012 draftee William Clinard, who has 17 K’s in 12 innings pitched, giving up just 2 runs.

Offensively, Danry Vasquez has been a real good performer. Despite a recent terrible slump, Vasquez is still hitting .316 for the Tigers. Other 2012 draftees to follow on the team include 2B Devon Travis and OF Jake Stewart, who has shown a little bit of pop recently posting an .829 OPS in his last 10 games. Stewart is a good athlete that needs work on his swing and approach.

Gulf Coast League Tigers (Rookie) 18-8

The GCL Tigers are playing well, and part of that excitement is because of a couple of 2012 high school draftees, Austin Schotts and Jake Thompson. Schotts has led the GCL offense at the top of the order all season, currently hitting .380, while posting an OPS of .965 and stealing 10 bases. Two other stellar performances on offense so far have come from 2B Harold Castro and 3B Jesus Uztaris. Castro is hitting .307 on the season with an OPS of .749. He has also stolen 10 bases as well. Uztaris has shown some pop on a club that doesn’t have a ton of it, posting an OPS of .829, while maintaining a BB/K rate of 9/9. OF Tyler Gibson has struggled at the plate hitting just .180.

Jake Thompson has been good to start his career, going 1-1 in his 5 starts with an ERA of 2.18, striking out 24 in 20.2 innings. Yorfrank Lopez has done well this season as well. In his 8 appearances Lopez has an ERA of 2.95 while striking out 23 batters in 21 innings. Strong armed Gregorio Solano has posted an ERA of 3.54. Closer Jose Valdez has been really good, saving 8 games, while striking out 14 in 11.2 innings. The projectable Fernando Perez is struggling a bit with consistency, posting a 6.41 ERA, but showing some good stretches.

DSL Tigers (Rookie) 14-20

Offensively, the DSL Tigers don’t have a lot of guys to follow at this point. Their big bonus signing Adelyn Santa was released, but Ignacio Valdez is still around. He is hitting .234, and not for much power. SS Manuel Joseph is hitting .292 with an OPS of .784, and is having the best season offensively on the DSL team. Outfielder Felix Santana has some quality skills, and in his repeat season is hitting .266.

Pitching wise, projectable righty Janry Obispo is having a solid season. In seven starts, he has an ERA of 4.18. Confesor Lara has made a pretty successful switch to pitching. The ex-outfielder is posting an ERA of 1.59 in his 14 games this season.  Talented lefy Vijandrick Jacobs has allowed just one earned run in 11.2 innings while striking out 14.

VSL Tigers (Rookie) 25-32

The Tigers always seem to do better scouting in Venezuela than the Dominican, and this season doesn’t appear to be any different. In the VSL preview, I highlighted 3 pitchers to keep track of; Anthony Castro, Eudis Idrogo, and Eduardo Jimenez. All three are having solid seasons as 17 year olds, and I suspect that at least one or two will be coming stateside next year. From what I hear, Anthony Castro is the real deal, and the most advanced at this point. Castro has made 10 starts, posting an ERA of 3.49, and striking out 33 batters in 38 innings. Idrogo, a tall lefty, has worked pretty much extensively in relief and has compiled an ERA of 1.08 in 10 appearances, pitching 25 innings, while striking out 25. Jimenez has started 7 games and has posted an ERA of 3.96.

Offensively, there are some guys to follow as well. SS Jose Zambrano has superior plate discipline for an 18 year old, and has good athleticism, but is tiny at just 5’6″ and 150. I’ve heard really good things about 17 year old SS Javier Betancourt, and wouldn’t be surprised if he sees a trip stateside next year. Betancourt has some pop, and also does a good job of controlling the zone. Catcher Franklin Navarro, and outfielders Victor Padron and Orvin Tovar are worth keeping an eye on as well.