First-month minor league review – International League

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OPS Leaders
1. Steve Pearce (Pirates) – .349/.452/.605 – 1057
2. Dan Johnson (Rays) – .304/.375/.674 – 1049
3. Chris Carter (Mets) – .348/.408/.607 – 1015
4. Carlos Santana (Indians) – .300/.446/.550 – 996
5. Mike Hessman (Mets) – .297/.353/.637 – 990
6. Chase Lambin (Nationals) – .333/.385/.583 – 968
7. Dustin Martin (Twins) – .311/.400/.554 – 954
8. Justin Ruggiano (Rays) – .330/.419/.527 – 943
9. Jason Donald (Indians) – .323/.440/.500 – 940
10. Tyler Flowers (White Sox) – .286/.398/.543 – 940
– Santana is the elite prospect on the list and he could take over as the Indians’ catcher sometime around June 1, but Donald has a chance to beat him to Cleveland, possibly as a replacement for the slumping Luis Valbuena.
– Flowers is the other top prospect on the list. The White Sox would likely be better off right now with him DHing and Andruw Jones starting over Juan Pierre. However, it makes more sense to let him keep catching in Triple-A in the hopes that he’ll be the long-term replacement for A.J. Pierzynski.
– Carter deserved to make the Mets over Mike Jacobs this spring and he could still be of use now as a replacement for Frank Catalanotto. Unfortunately for him, too many teams like their bench players to be former regulars.
Notable hitters
John Mayberry Jr. (Phillies) – .300/.387/.511 – 898
Jose Tabata (Pirates) – .340/.404/.456 – 860
Chris Valaika (Reds) – .341/.380/.459 – 839
Hank Blalock (Rays) – .347/.407/.431 – 838
Jordan Danks (White Sox) – .276/.366/.471 – 837
Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) – .260/.333/.500 – 833


Freddie Freeman (Braves) – .277/.330/.479 – 8009
Chris Heisey (Reds) – .241/.307/.430 – 737
Josh Bell (Orioles) – .253/.282/.434 – 716
Dayan Viciedo (White Sox) – .267/.283/.422 – 705
Jesus Montero (Yankees) – .238/.304/.381 – 685
Fernando Martinez (Mets) – .239/.286/.394 – 680
Danny Valencia (Twins) – .267/.309/.356 – 665
Josh Reddick (Red Sox) – .187/.225/.413 – 638
Ruben Tejada (Mets) – .243/.288/.324 – .612
Juan Francisco (Reds) – .189/.208/.365 – 573
Todd Frazier (Reds) – .180/.311/.262 – 573
Brandon Snyder (Orioles) – .198/.303/.267 – 570
Josh Thole (Mets) – .180/.246/.279 – 525
– It looks like the White Sox made a mistake pushing the 21-year-old Viciedo up to Triple-A in his second year in the U.S. He wasn’t very impressive in hitting .280/.317/.391 in Double-A last season, and it would have made sense to let him conquer the level before promoting him. What little damage he’s done in the International League has come against lefties. He’s hitting .224/.234/.316 with a 21/1 K/BB ratio in 76 at-bats versus righties.
– Ike Davis got off to a fabulous start, of course, but the Mets have to be very disappointed in how the rest of their Triple-A prospects are progressing. Martinez, especially, has been a disappointment after such a promising spring. He’s walked just once in 71 at-bats, and it’s actually HBPs that have boosted his OBP.
ERA Leaders
1. Chris Resop (Braves) – 1.40 ERA, 32/14 K/BB in 25 2/3 IP
2. Jake Arrieta (Orioles) – 1.50 ERA, 30/19 K/BB in 36 IP
2. Andrew Kown (Nationals) – 1.50 ERA, 15/8 K/BB in 24 IP
4. Armando Galarraga (Tigers) – 2.30 ERA, 28/6 K/BB in 31 1/3 IP
5. R.A. Dickey (Mets) – 2.33 ERA, 22/5 K/BB in 38 2/3 IP
6. Ivan Nova (Yankees) – 2.43 ERA, 32/12 K/BB in 37 IP
7. Jeremy Hellickson (Rays) – 2.57 ERA, 35/7 K/BB in 35 IP
8. Sam Lecure (Reds) – 2.67 ERA, 25/10 K/BB in 30 1/3 IP
9. Alfredo Figaro (Tigers) – 2.76 ERA, 21/9 K/BB in 29 1/3 IP
9. Dillon Gee (Mets) – 2.76 ERA, 27/4 K/BB in 29 1/3 IP
– With Chris Tillman struggling to find any consistency, Arrieta is probably going to be the next pitcher added to Baltimore’s rotation. He doesn’t have the upside of Tillman or Brian Matusz, but he could be a nice long-term No. 4 behind those two.
– Gee is expected to be the choice to join the Mets rotation if anyone is needed. I’m skeptical that he’ll make it in the majors as a starter, but he is worthy of the opportunity. With his control, he should at least be able to give the team some innings.
Notable starting pitchers
Matt Maloney (Reds) – 3.05 ERA, 28/2 K/BB in 20 2/3 IP
Aroldis Chapman (Reds) – 3.12 ERA, 30/13 K/BB in 26 IP
Jeff Manship (Twins) – 3.48 ERA, 13/3 K/BB in 20 2/3 IP
Carlos Carrasco (Indians) – 3.49 ERA, 25/14 K/BB in 28 1/3 IP
Travis Wood (Reds) – 3.77 ERA, 32/8 K/BB in 31 IP
Chris Tillman (Orioles) – 3.98 ERA, 24/7 K/BB in 31 2/3 IP
Brad Lincoln (Pirates) – 4.76 ERA, 18/9 K/BB in 28 1/3 IP
Lucas Harrell (White Sox) – 5.00 ERA, 15/11 K/BB in 27 IP
Zach McAllister (Yankees) – 5.52 ERA, 24/8 K/BB in 31 IP
Shairon Martis (Nationals) – 6.20 ERA, 20/10 K/BB in 24 2/3 IP
Daniel Hudson (White Sox) – 6.56 ERA, 28/10 K/BB in 23 1/3 IP
Brandon Erbe (Orioles) – 6.66 ERA, 18/12 K/BB in 24 1/3 IP
Michael Bowden (Red Sox – 6.86 ERA, 12/13 K/BB in 19 2/3 IP
Hector Rondon (Indians) – 9.13 ERA, 22/9 K/BB in 22 2/3 IP
Collin Balester (Nationals) – 11.57 ERA, 10/13 K/BB in 21 IP
– I really like Rondon — I probably would have ranked him as the circuit’s fourth-best pitching prospect behind Chapman, Tillman and Hellickson at the beginning of the year — but he’s already given up eight homers this year. That’s just three fewer than he allowed in 146 1/3 innings in a 2009 season split evenly between Double- and Triple-A. His command has also gone downhill in a big way, so it’s possible he’s hurt.
Relievers
Jay Sborz (Tigers) – 0.00 ERA, 7 Sv, 10/4 K/BB in 9 1/3 IP
Scott Mathieson (Phillies) – 0.71 ERA, 4 Sv, 12/4 K/BB in 12 2/3 IP
Anthony Slama (Twins) – 1.10 ERA, 6 Sv, 20/7 K/BB in 16 1/3 IP
Craig Kimbrel (Braves) – 1.20 ERA, 6 Sv, 21/5 K/BB in 15 IP
Daniel Schlereth (Tigers) – 1.46 ERA, 0 Sv, 15/12 K/BB in 12 1/3 IP
Mark Melancon (Yankees) – 1.76 ERA, 3 Sv, 15/5 K/BB in 15 1/3 IP
Robbie Weinhardt (Tigers) – 4.15 ERA, 0 Sv, 11/3 K/BB in 13 IP
Jess Todd (Indians) – 4.50 ERA, 2 Sv, 15/8 K/BB in 12 IP
– With Billy Wagner apparently out of the picture for 2011, Kimbrel is even more interesting as a fantasy prospect. He may well take over as Atlanta’s closer at some point during 2011, if not right from Opening Day.

Yankees sign top two draft picks

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The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.

Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.

Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.