The Top Prospects
Michael Fulmer on Saturday: 6 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, HBP.
This was only his fifth start back from knee surgery. In 24.2 innings, he’s allowed just 20 hits, so opponents are hitting .222 against him, which is good. To me it speaks to the difficulty batters have against his fastball.
However, Fulmer has just a 18/12 K/BB ratio, that’s a K/rate of 16.7% and a walk rate of 11.1%. Neither is top-prospect-worthy. I suspect that the walk and strikeout number reflect both underlying command issues and his inability to use his slider for strikes to keep batters off his fastball.
Kevin Plawecki caught Friday and Sunday and played first base on Saturday and reached base safely in all three games. By my count, the 22-year-old has reached base safely in 33 of his 38 games in advanced-A on his way to a .323/.423/.417 line with 13 walks against 13 strikeouts. That’s an 8.7% walk and strikeout rate. His on-base percentage is also sustained by 9 HBP. He really knows what he’s doing at the plate. At this point, he should start 2014 in AA.
RHP reliever Bret Mitchell threw a scoreless inning and a third on Saturday with a hit, a walk and two more strikeouts. He’s fanned 21 in 17.2 innings in the FSL while alloweing 10 hits. That’s good. The bad: 13 walks. He has a good arm at 92-94 with a potential MLB breaking ball in his hard curve. I’ve been told his feel for his changeup is strong, but he almost never threw it against SAL competition. He missed the 2012 season with surgery on the labrum in his hip, so as a 25-year-old on Opening Day 2014, he should be AA ready.
- Lucas Duda had a big game Friday, going 3-for-3 with a homerun, his first mult-hit game in his 11-game rehab so far. He singled Saturday and took the collar on Sunday so he’s now hitting .250 (7-for-28) with two walks and seven whiffs in seven games in advanced-A. <sarcasm font> Hey, with David Wright out a while, why not just try Duda at third. </sarcasm font>
- Cory Vaughn has been playing right field nearly every day for St. Lucie. A knock Saturday snapped his six-game streak without a hit and after two hits, including a double on Sunday, he’s up over .200 to .205/.354/.282 in 12 games in advanced-A coming off an elbow problem. If indeed, Cesar Puello is suspended officially on Monday, there will be an open spot in the AA outfield for the 24-year-old.