Sunday Pebble Report:

David Ohno reminded me last night that it's about time to update the PuRPs poll, so I think we'll have a general discussion thread tomorrow and start the polling on Wednesday.

Colorado Springs: L14-3

One person who figures to drop a little bit in the poll is Franklin Morales, who gave up ten runs on eight hits and seven walks in just four innings last night. At this point in the season, Morales was supposed to be doing for the Rockies what Greg Reynolds did last night, instead, we're left wondering if his mechanical problems will find a fix. At this point, it doesn't look like said fix will be easy, that's for sure.

Seth Smith and Ian Stewart both homered, Stewart finished with a pair of hits and a pair of RBI, Smith with three hits. Stewart's road OPS is now at .913 and still climbing.

Tulsa: W 12-8

There were a couple of late comebacks in the system last night, this being one of them. Tulsa scored seven in the eighth inning, most of them coming from a Daniel Carte grand slam. It was Carte's fifth homerun of the season. Carte's had a slow upward progression in his OPS at each level without taking a really great leap forward. He's got skills that suggest he should be a quality prospect, but a lack of plate discipline that keeps him from reaching his full potential. He's running out of time to take that necessary leap -at his age in Tulsa you'd be looking for the type of season Ryan Spilborghs had in 2005- but he's close enough and has the skills that would make it seem possible. There's just that one switch left to turn on for Carte, but if it does, he should be quick to get to an MLB level of play.

Jeff Kindel's another guy who's not quite at the level that makes an MLB projection comfortable, but going seven for ten in two games in Springfield helps. Bringing this up makes me just want to go through a list of other Tulsa position players that seem to be near MLB worthy at this point:

  • Dexter Fowler - This should be obvious, he's right now the best prospect on the team.
  • Eric Young - I've always been in his camp, but he seemed to be having a legitimate breakout campaign when he went down with an injury. And let me just make this very clear: a .185 isolated slugging percentage in the Texas League doesn't happen for slap hitters, and EY2's not that old either. Now, a broken wrist is a huge deal, and that power he's shown isn't likely to come back as quickly as we'd like, but I really think it would be a mistake to give up on him.
  • Corey Wimberly - Wimberly's game has to be based on getting on base and then using his speed, plus being able to adequately play multiple positions. An OBP of .414 is a huge plus in the first category, a 77% success rate on stolen bases is fine for the second, his defense needs quite a bit of work for the third.
  • Matt Miller - He's too old for the league, but the Rockies have been having to cut decent outfielders in Colorado Springs anyway because there's no space. At any rate, Miller's got nothing left to show at the AA level.

You'll note the absence of Chris Nelson. Thus far he seems to have taken a big step backwards in Tulsa and seems further away from being ready for MLB play than we thought at the beginning of the year.

Okay, sorry for the interruption. Anyway, Brandon Hynick's start would have looked a lot better if it weren't for the three extra base hits he gave up, including two two run homers. Cutting out mistakes like that will be his next challenge.

Modesto: W 8-4

The Nuts scored their runs in clumps, with six coming in the fourth and two more off a Michael McKenry homer in the seventh. Cole Garner is keeping his May hit machine in working order with two more last night, he has 25 total so far this month. Simon Ferrer had a pretty terrific start, which is nice to see, pitching one hit, one walk baseball through six before running into trouble in the seventh with two more BB's and a single.

Asheville: W 5-2

Cory Riordan had a sort of yeoman's effort last night without his best stuff, but it was still enough to get a quality start and keep some impressive numbers in his camp.  To me, that's a really good sign. Riordan went seven innings, allowing eight hits and two runs, striking out five and walking none.

I've not really spent much time praising Darin Holcomb lately, but that doesn't mean he's been any less impressive than he was in April, he had another two hits including his thirteenth double to crack the 20 extra base hit mark relatively early. He's on pace to come close to the 50/25 mark for doubles and HR's in a season, which is very impressive, even in Asheville. I was skeptical of him after Tri-City and Gonzaga last year because the scouts and coaches who talk to Baseball America didn't seem to like him that well, but after seeing him myself and seeing what he's doing this season, he's definitely in my top twenty. Everth Cabrera had two more stolen bases to cut Emeel Salem's lead at the top of the SAL to one.

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