As a new feature here at Talking Chop every Monday morning we will present to you the list of Who's Hot and Who's Not from the minor leagues, and our selections for which player's stock we believe is on the move up and whose is on the way down.
- Chris Masters - 12IP 4H 0ER 3BB 19K - The Hefty Lefty has been downright dominant in his first exposure to full-season professional baseball. Masters throws a pretty filthy palmball and has a fastball which sits in the high 80s most of the time. Combine that with impeccable control and you have a pitcher that could blaze through A ball.
Brent Clevlen - 12-30 6 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4/7 BB/K - I was trying to keep with mainly prospects for this list but combining Clevlen being the only guy hitting consistently for Gwinnett and how hot he has been gets him on this list. He has 7 XBH so far this season which ties for the organizational lead. His .400 AVG is also second to only Kyle Rose.
Julio Teheran - 9.2IP 3H 1R 4BB 12K - Teheran has been damn near unhittable in his two appearances this year allowing just an .097 BAA. To lefties he actually has been unhittable, allowing just 2 walks against them. Scouting reports also have him getting his fastball up to 97 in both starts with his predictably solid control. He could be ready to skyrocket.
Gerry Rodriguez - 11-37 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 10 RBI 7/12 BB/K - Rodriguez has teamed early on with Adam Milligan to be an offensive force for the Pelicans though he has been just a little bit better than his teammate posting a 1.179 OPS so far.
- Freddie Freeman - 7-39 2 2B, 1/11 BB/K - Freddie comes into the season as the Braves top position prospect and really looked good in spring training with the big club. To reward him the Braves pushed him to AAA which surprised many folks, but I don't think anyone expected him to struggle as much as he has so far. He just picked up his first walk on Sunday and has shown little power thus far.
- Zeke Spruill - 8.1IP 17H 12R 1BB 4K - Spruill was the most polished of the young pitching staff in Rome last season and started the year strong becoming the starting pitcher in the Sally League All Star game. This season hasn't gotten off to such a great start. The 17 hits show that his stuff hasn't been up to par in the Carolina league as do the 4 Ks. He is still pitching to contact, generating groundballs and not walking many batters but he isn't fooling anyone thus far.
Brandon Hicks - 5-34 1 2B, 1 RBI, 4/10 BB/K - Hicks has been worse offensively than Freeman has but I feel expectations are a little higher for Freddie than Brandon especially considering Hicks performance in AA last year. He actually got off to a solid start but is hitless in his last 16 ABs with no walks and 4K. Not good.
- Cory Harrilchak - 7-33 1 2B, 4 RBI, 4/4 BB/K, 2/4 SB/A - Harrilchak came into the season with the reputation of being an advanced hitter with excellent contact ability, good speed and maybe a little pop in his bat. He has shown a good feel for the strike zone so far but his hits aren't falling in and there has been very little pop in his bat. His plate discipline gives hope for future success, but he needs to get it going if he is going to man the 3-hole for Rome.
Stock Up: Stephen Marek, Mississippi - 6.2IP 3H 0R 1BB 11K - Marek, you may remember was the throw-in to the second Mark Teixeira trade that brought the Braves Casey Kotchman. A lot of folks thought Marek would help the Braves sooner rather than later and he looked good in 2008, but in 2009 Marek regressed, posting a 6.00 ERA for the year while walking more men than he struck out. Marek almost fell off the map completely after last season but he regrouped in the off-season and has returned stronger than ever in the early going and may get the call to Atlanta before studs like Kimbrel and Gearrin simply because he is hot and on the 40 man already.
Stock Down: Mike Minor, Mississippi - 9IP 9H 11R 5BB 13K - I hesitate to say anyone's stock is down this early in the season but for consistency's sake I will go ahead and list the 7th overall pick here. There are a couple of guys who could drop here (Freeman, Hicks maybe even Kyle Cofield after his strong Spring) but I had high hopes for Minor just cruising through the minor leagues without a whole lot of trouble. In the early going this year he has looked like a slightly different pitcher than he did last season. Reports say his velocity is actually up and sitting in the low-90s, touching 94 at times. On the surface this looks like a good thing but if his control suffers and his plus fastball movement degenerates his entire approach would have to change to accommodate.