First-month minor league review – Pacific Coast League

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OPS leaders
1. Jay Gibbons (Dodgers) – .400/.405/.757 – 1163
2. John Lindsey (Dodgers) – .410/.465/.654 – 1119
3. Joe Borchard (Giants) – .366/.464/.646 – 1110
4. Kila Ka’aihue (Royals) – .304/.466/.620 – 1086
5. Chris Lubanski (Blue Jays) – .307/.357/.693 – 1050
6. Brandon Boggs (Rangers) – .333/.437/.600 – 1037
7. Mike Baxter (Padres) – .338/.463/.554 – 1016
8. Brett Wallace (Blue Jays) – .289/.364/.629 – 993
9. Prentice Redman (Dodgers) – .311/.370/.622 – 992
10. Xavier Paul (Dodgers) – .361/.409/.574 – 983
– This list simply isn’t as interesting as the top 10 from the International League. Wallace is a top prospect and Paul, who is currently helping to fill in for Manny Ramirez in L.A., should be pretty useful, but most of the guys are vets taking advantage of big offensive environments.
– Of course, I do like Ka’aihue, who was promoted to the majors Tuesday thanks to Rick Ankiel’s injury. But I doubt he’ll get much of a look now. He has to hope that Jose Guillen continues to hit and turns himself into a desired commodity in trade talks.
Notable hitters
Mark Trumbo (Angels) – .311/.347/.556 – 903
Jack Cust (Athletics) – .267/.433/.467 – 900
Buster Posey (Giants) – .319/.420/.457 – 877
Chris Carter (Athletics) – .261/.364/.500 – 864


Hank Conger (Angels) – .282/.346/.479 – 825
J.P. Arencibia (Blue Jays) – .264/.329/.444 – 774
Brandon Allen (Diamondbacks) – .216/.352/.405 – 757
Peter Bourjos (Angels) – .276/.316/.425 – 741
Michael Taylor (Athletics) – .235/.297/.441 – 738
Jay Payton (Rockies) – .284/.322/.395 – 717
Mike Carp (Mariners) – .203/.301/.405 – 706
Aaron Cunningham (Padres) – .250/.290/.398 – 688
Ivan DeJesus (Dodgers) – .261/.298/.352 – 650
Jason Castro (Astros) – .221/.369/.250 – 619
Michael Saunders (Mariners) – .195/.276/.208 – 484
– DeJesus missed all of last season with a broken leg, so his slow start is understandable. The Dodgers have mostly used him at second base this season, with Chin-Lung Hu playing shortstop for the Isotopes.
– Disastrous is the word that best describes Saunders’ April. He’d already be in prime position to push Milton Bradley to the DH spot and Ken Griffey Jr. off Seattle’s roster if he were playing up to his ability. But he’s been dreadful.
ERA leaders
1. Derek Holland (Rangers) – 0.93 ERA, 37/7 K/BB in 38 2/3 IP
2. Luke French (Mariners) – 1.41 ERA, 19/9 K/BB in 32 IP
3. Bryan Bullington (Royals) – 1.63 ERA, 19/8 K/BB in 27 2/3 IP
3. Eric Hacker (Giants) – 1.63 ERA, 31/5 K/BB in 27 2/3 IP
5. Thomas Diamond (Cubs) – 1.65 ERA, 23/11 K/BB in 27 1/3 IP
6. Jhoulys Chacin (Rockies) – 1.69 ERA, 21/11 K/BB in 21 1/3 IP
7. Michael Kirkman (Rangers) – 2.12 ERA, 24/13 K/BB in 29 2/3 IP
8. Radhames Liz (Padres) – 2.14 ERA, 30/9 K/BB in 21 IP
9. Marco Estrada (Nationals) – 2.48 ERA, 25/8 K/BB in 29 IP
9. Jay Jackson (Cubs) – 2.48 ERA, 20/7 K/BB in 29 IP
– Last year, Holland made just one start in Triple-A before the Rangers called him up and added him to their pen. The team has handled him much better this year, and it looks like he’s about ready to fulfill his potential. He could well be the team’s best pitcher by this time next year.
Notable pitchers
Brandon McCarthy (Rangers) – 2.51 ERA, 18/5 K/BB in 28 2/3 IP
Will Inman (Padres) – 2.57 ERA, 16/13 K/BB in 21 IP
Vin Mazzaro (Athletics) – 2.59 ERA, 27/12 K/BB in 24 1/3 IP
Cesar Carrillo (Padres) – 3.24 ERA, 13/12 K/BB in 25 IP
Ryan Tucker (Marlins) – 3.57 ERA, 14/6 K/BB in 22 2/3 IP
Cesar Valdez (Diamondbacks) – 3.80 ERA, 25/5 K/BB in 23 2/3 IP
James McDonald (Dodgers) – 3.97 ERA, 21/11 K/BB in 22 2/3 IP
Clay Mortensen (Athletics) – 3.98 ERA, 24/9 K/BB in 31 2/3 IP
Guillermo Moscoso (Rangers) – 4.30 ERA, 18/9 K/BB in 23 IP
Robert Ray (Blue Jays) – 4.55 ERA, 20/15 K/BB in 27 2/3 IP
Lance Lynn (Cardinals) – 4.56 ERA, 17/17 K/BB in 25 2/3 IP
Trevor Reckling (Angels) – 4.85 ERA, 16/17 K/BB in 26 IP
Madison Bumgarner (Giants) – 5.25 ERA, 16/8 K/BB in 24 IP
Rick VandenHurk (Marlins) – 5.33 ERA, 19/9 K/BB in 27 IP
Josh Lindblom (Dodgers) – 6.23 ERA, 25/6 K/BB in 26 IP
Scott Elbert (Dodgers) – 8.00 ERA, 22/14 K/BB in 18 IP
– McCarthy figured to be next in line for a spot in the Texas rotation at the beginning of the year and he got off to a promising start, but he’s again on the shelf with a stress reaction in his shoulder.
– What was expected to be a strong Albuquerque rotation isn’t providing pitching alternatives for the Dodgers. McDonald, though, has been decent outside of one start in which he suffered from cracked fingernails on his pitching hand. Also, Lindblom must be dealing with some bad luck. To go along with the strong K/BB ratio, he’s allowed just three homers in his 26 innings. Albuquerque is one of the toughest places to pitch in the minors.
Relievers
Matt Reynolds (Rockies) – 0.00 ERA, 0 Sv, 18/0 K/BB in 13 2/3 IP
Ernesto Frieri (Padres) – 0.00 ERA, 5 Sv, 17/7 K/BB in 12 IP
Zach Braddock (Brewers) -0.00 ERA, 1 Sv, 22/4 K/BB in 11 1/3 IP
Ryan Webb (Padres) – 0.00 ERA, 1 Sv, 10/2 K/BB in 10 IP
Henry Rodriguez (Athletics) – 0.00 ERA, 3 Sv, 14/3 K/BB in 9 1/3 IP
Josh Roenicke (Blue Jays) – 0.00 ERA, 0 Sv, 8/1 K/BB in 8 2/3 IP
Henry Sosa (Giants) – 1.29 ERA, 0 Sv, 11/9 K/BB in 14 IP
Blake Wood (Royals) – 2.57 ERA, 5 Sv, 11/7 K/BB in 14 IP
Carlos Rosa (Royals/D’Backs) – 3.14 ERA, 0 Sv, 11/7 K/BB in 14 1/3 IP
David Purcey (Blue Jays) – 3.27 ERA, 0 Sv, 15/10 K/BB in 11 IP
Chad Cordero (Mariners) – 4.63 ERA, 2 Sv, 10/3 K/BB in 11 2/3 IP
Shane Lindsay (Rockies) – 6.17 ERA, 0 Sv, 18/14 K/BB in 11 2/3 IP
– Webb and Rodriguez just received callups. I had Webb down as a fantasy sleeper at the beginning of the year, only to be disappointed when the Padres didn’t give him much of a chance to win a bullpen spot.

Report: Cardinals are scouting Cuban outfielder Luis Robert

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.

There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.

Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.

Cubs extend Pedro Strop through 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Pedro Strop #46 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.

Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.

The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.

Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.