With our season in full swing, the Three-Day Weekend can finally do what has been intended all along—get you ready for a nice long weekend of prospect action!
Early story lines
The big test for Mike Trout, generally regarded as the top prospect in baseball who actually had seen a professional pitch, was thought to be the jump to Double-A. In Double-A, the pitchers are more advanced and typically have grown from being throwers to pitchers. The off-speed stuff is better, the control is more precise, and a hitter’s weaknesses are exposed more easily.
So much for the test.
After going hitless in his first two games, Trout has homered three times in his last four, and has posted a .318/.423/.727 line through the first six games of the season.
Also getting off the homer-less wagon this week was Bryce Harper, who has flashed the tremendous talent that has made him so hyped, but has also shown the inconsistency you would expect from a 18-year-old in full-season ball. After collecting two hits and a stolen base in his first game, Harper went hitless in three of his next four. He’s going to strike out (sometimes in bunches, as evidenced by his three-whiff game against Lexington), but he appears to be focused on being more patient at the plate as well as having a more all-around game.
Also making his professional debut was Mets pitching prospect Matt Harvey. The University of North Carolina product has been dominant on the mound in his first two career starts despite being sent directly to High-A ball. Harvey has yet to give up an earned run in 11 innings, and has struck out 17 batters, reminding everyone why he was taken seventh overall in last year’s draft.
Unfortunately, the news isn’t all good. Another first rounder from 2010, Alex Wimmers, experienced a bout of extreme wildness that has all the makings of the “yips” if not corrected immediately. Wimmers made his first start of the season for the Fort Myers Miracle, the Minnesota Twins affiliate in the Florida State League. Wimmers not only walked all six batters he faced before being removed, but he threw three wild pitches that reportedly went straight to the backstop, a la Nuke LaLoosh. The Twins are naturally a little worried about Wimmers, especially given that he is known for his command. For the time being, he has been removed from the Fort Myers rotation to work on his mechanics. The Twins hope this is just a minor glitch, but the situation is worth monitoring.
It’s early yet, but a few injuries have already popped up. The Phillies have placed pitcher Brody Colvin on the DL with a back injury. The Padres had prospects take one another out when oft-injured Donavan Tate collided with Everett Williams while going after a fly ball. Tate is headed to the DL but has no structural damage; Williams should miss only a few games.
If you can be only one place this weekend
So you’re probably not looking for a place to travel to see the best minor league action, but if you could go to only one town this weekend to see some games, you should go to…
Besides being a nice place to watch a game and adjacent to a few fine eateries and beverage distributors and the Wilmington waterfront,Wilmington has the Blue Rocks, the Carolina League (High-A) affiliate of the stacked Kansas City Royals farm system. They will send two intriguing pitching prospects to the mound – Jake Odorizzi, acquired in this offseason’s Zack Greinke trade, and Noel Arguelles, the Cuban defector who missed all of last season due to injury. Both are worth watching.