Around the Minors: the first week

Jonathan Schoop not exactly looking confident after a week in Bowie. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Be prepared for a lot of meaningless slash lines. No updates on the blueberries, though I will try to add some pictures soon. Lots of rain here in the northwest. Evil plot to grow blueberries may be working.

In Norfolk, the Tides are off to their customary last position. Xavery is struggling as he adjusts to AAA pitching, striking out 10 times in 24 at bats, and OPSing 630. Matt Antonelli has 7 walks in 19 plate appearances, but has also managed 2 singles in the 12 at bats. Jai Miller has 13 strikeouts in 22 at bats. Many of which are the soul crushing variety. He does have an 860 OPS in 7 games. Chris Tillman gave up 4 earned in 4.1 innings in his first start of the season, striking out 2 and walking 2. So not too much to report in Norfolk, prospect wise.

More below the jump!

Better news to report in Bowie. Through 7 games, Manny Machado has started off strong, 296/387/593/980 with 4 walks and 7 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances. Jonathan Schoop is off to a slow start. In 5 games, his slash line is 105/105/158/263 without a walk and with 5 strikeouts. Tyler Townsend continues to adjust well in AA, 375/500/750/1250, though those nice round numbers are only going to tumble as the season wears on. But with 6 walks and 6 strikeouts in 30 plate appearances, I'll take it. In addition to the walk rate, his health is the other big question mark. LJ Hoes is off to another slow start, 222/344/222/566. The ignored older brother Bobby Bundy is doing OK in Bowie after 2 starts, 8/2 K/BB in 11 innings, though it looks like hitters are getting the ball up on him, hitting 2 homers and getting more fly ball outs than ground ball outs.

The Keys have won 3 of their first 5 games. Trent Mummey is not off to the best of starts, 211/286/263/549. But I would expect those numbers only to climb, and like with Townsend, his health is something to watch for. He has 3 strikeouts and 2 walks in 21 plate appearances, so it is not entirely discouraging. Clayton Shrader continues to inspire, 3.2 innings so far in 2012, 0 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts (that's 7 out of 11 outs) and 0 runs. Mike Wright had a nice debut in the Carolina League, going six shutout innings with five hits, 3 strikeouts and 0 walks and keeping the ball on the ground. Kyle Simon struggled in his debut, going 3.1 innings, with 3 earned runs on 8 hits, walking 1 and striking out 3. With his heavy sinker, he kept the ball not the ground (6.00 GB/FO), so one wonders about the defensive prowess of the Key infielders. Wright and Simon were both college pitchers drafted last year, so Frederick is the right level for them. Hopefully they can do well and move up to Bowie by mid-season. Thankfully nobody is seemingly blocking their paths.

The Shorebirds are 4-3 after their first 7 games. Dylan Bundy is the big story of course, striking out 12 in his first six professional innings, having yet to allow a baserunner. Feel free to read that sentence again. Parker Bridwell went 5 innings his first time out, striking out 3, walking 1, and allowing 4 hits which resulted in 1 earned run. It looks like he also kept the ball up in the zone in his first start. Tim Berry struck out 7 in his first 4 innings of 2012, but allowed 2 earned runs on 5 hits and a walk. 19 year old Eduardo Rodriguez went 4.2 innings to start off 2012, allowing 2 unearned runs on 2 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 4. Fellow GCL teammate from last year, Miguel Chalas has thrown six innings so far this season, striking out 4, walking 6 and allowing 4 earned runs on 5 hits. Jake Cowan is another Shorebird hurler I like, primarily because of strong K/IP ratios in Aberdeen last year. In 3.2 innings this year, he has struck out 2 and walked 2 and allowed 1 earned run on six hits. Zach Davies drew a lot Mike Leake comparisons in last year's draft, and the Orioles paid quite a bit to keep him from going to Arizona State. Out of the Delmarva bullpen this year, he has thrown 4.1 innings, striking out 5 walking 2. He has allowed 2 earned runs on 3 hits.

As far as the Shorebird bats go, there are also a number of interesting names. Nicky Delmonico is slashing 293/429/353/782 after a handful of games. You have to like his 4/4 K/BB ratio. Glynn Davis (D-Day Davis?) is hitting 273/357/273/630 with 4 stolen bases in six games. Sure would be nice to see some extra base hits though. Jason Esposito is struggling though, 167/286/208/494 with 11 strikeouts and 2 walks in 26 plate appearances. 18 year old Venezuelan catching prospect Gabriel Lino is batting 261/320/348/668 with 2 walks and 6 Ks in 25 plate appearances. The other catcher is 20 year old Wynston Sawyer, who is posting the following line so far: 167/444/278/722, which is all on the one 5 walk game last Saturday. Johnny Ruettiger is off to a strong start, 348/483/391/874, 4 out of 5 SBs, 6 walks and 5 strikeouts in 29 plate appearances.

It is a mantra of teams with a lousy farm system to say that their best prospects are in the lower minor leagues. After Machado and Schoop, the pickings are slim for the top 3 teams. But I hope the prospect strong Shorebirds aren't just false hope.

And as always, throw in your suggestions for prospects to follow!

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