Welcome to the second installment of the 2012 Touch’em All: Midwest League . Today, we have some players who might not be too familiar. Some are college players who are too old for the league, while others are late round draft picks or international signees who’ve “done good” so far. Either way, we are bringing you, the fan, the best of the minors. Let’s begin!
Colin Walsh, DH, Cardinals – age 22 – Walsh has already hit more homers this season than in his two-year career total with 9 long balls. The last bomb also moved him into the Midwest League lead. He’s attributing the power surge to an increase in his bat speed. Listed as a DH, Walsh has played infield and outfield this season. Would be good for his development to get an everyday spot, but nobody’s complaining while he hits .288 with 8 doubles, 3 triples, and those 9 dingers. Top it off with an impressive 20 bb/18 k in 111 at bats. Continuing this production means a definite promotion to the FSL soon.
Ender Inciarte, OF, Diamondbacks – age 21 – Ender is off to a good start hitting .327 with 9 doubles and 3 triples, and walking 19 times against 14 strikeouts in 98 at bats. He’s hitting with more power (.153 ISOP), carrying a better walk rate (16.1%), and getting on base (.432 OBP) better than his last full season in the MWL. Is he turning the corner? Or is this just a hot start? Well, with his .383 BABIP and 12% line drive rate, I’d like to wait and see. Love the walk rate though. Has some lead-off man potential.
Gregory Hopkins, 3B, Brewers – age 23 – A 24th round pick in 2010, Hopkins is kinda old to be repeating Midwest league, but the numbers show some encouraging improvement over last year. Currently, he’s hitting .320 with 7 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 homeruns, with .340/.505/.845. His strikeouts have trimmed so far from 19.6 to 12%. Walks are still a problem. He’ll need to work this production into a promotion in order to compete with a more age-appropriate crowd. Lukewarm in terms of excitement level here.
Jace Peterson, SS, Padres – age 21 (22 very soon) – A college kid picked in the first round in 2010 out of McNeese State, Peterson currently leads off for the Fort Wayne Tin Caps and has shown an advanced approach at the plate for a two-sport player widely reported to be sound athletically, but very “raw” in baseball skills. Last season, in the Northwest League, he walked 50 times and struckout only 53 while hitting .243 in 276 at bats. He may just duplicate that this season, but with a higher batting average, which is currently .304.
Paul Hoilman, 1B, Cubs – age 23 – The Cubs drafted the tall (6’4″) first sacker in the 19th round in 2011. Last year, in short season Boise, Hoilman showed a tremendous power stroke that produced 17 homeruns and 44 runs batted in in 246 at bats, but as usual with power hitters, bunches of strikeouts followed. So far, he’s started the year with less homeruns, but hitting .308, powered by a sky high .422 BABIP and he’s still striking out at a 30% rate. He’ll need to show some improvement there for the Cubs bosses to think he can hang at High-A anytime soon. Unfortunately, his age gives his prospecthood a very small window.
Dusty Robinson, OF, Athletics – age 22 – The 2011 10th round selection boasts a .283 batting average and a fantastic .330 ISOP off from 5 doubles, 3 triples, and 8 homeruns (one short of the league lead) and he has also swiped 5 bases. Those promising numbers come with a 10.8% walk rate and 18% K rate, so there’s a lot to like here. He will turn 23 in August, but he was just drafted last season, so the A’s seem to be easing him into full season ball. A High-A promotion by mid-season wouldn’t be out of the question.
Ryan Wright, SS, Reds – age 22 – Wright showed promise in his debut season in the Pioneer League. In 161 at bats, he hit .298/.348/.522/.870 with an awesome .224 ISOP. The 2011 5th round pick, now in full season ball, is still hitting .300, but the power is slow to show so far with only one homer in 113 at bats. The improvement comes in his improved plate discipline, so the power could still make an appearance.
Andrew Burns, SS, Blue Jays – age 22 – At the moment, Burns is showing everything you want in a SS prospect: a quick bat, good speed, slick defensive play, and so on. At the premium shortstop position, he has a nice .283/.337/.543/.880 line. Even though his strikeout rate is up to 22.4%, Andrew knows how to take a walk and his .265 ISOP is elite for the position. We’ll keep an eye on him.
Jeff Malm, 1B, Rays – age 21 – Malm has brought the power stroke he showed in the NY/Penn League to the Midwest league and Rays fans should take notice. The tall, rangy first sacker has had 15 of his 30 hits go for extra bases and his ISOP sits at .226. There isn’t a lot out there about this guy, so we’ll look to get some video later this year, that is, if he doesn’t earn a promotion first. If he does, we’ll catch him in the FSL.
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