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April 12, 2005

Minor League Notes: 4/12/05
by Fabian

Note: Numbers in parentheses are hitters’ totals in the respective category at this point in the season.

AAA Columbus (International League):

Robinson Cano continued his rampage on International League pitching tonight. The 22-year-old 2B was 2 for 5 with a double (3), a triple (1), and a strikeout (5). While I’m normally a stickler for walks, I have no qualms about Cano only having 1 of those thus far as he seems to be hitting everything hard right now and once he cools down I expect a more patient approach, leading to more walks, will emerge.

Chien-Ming Wang was dominant in his second start of the season for Columbus. The injury insurance for the Yankee rotation went 7-2-0-0-1-6-0 (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO-HR) and was in complete control against the B.J. Upton-led Durham Bulls.

AA Trenton (Eastern League):

Steven White was much improved in his second start at the AA. The right-hander with the impressive fastball did a much better job of keeping his pitches in the strike zone and as a result was able to go deeper in the game, but was unable to pick up a victory due to the thus far disappointing Trenton “offense”. White’s final line of 6-3-2-1-1-3-0 was only missing the strikeouts I covet in top pitching prospects’ statistics.

Prospects’ Row was a big part of the poor Trenton offensive showing. Melky Cabrera had the best night of the 3 as he went 1 for 4 with a single and extended his empty hitting streak. Bronson Sardinha was also 1 for 4, but threw in 2 strikeouts (6) for good measure. Eric Duncan was 0 for 3 and also with strikeout (4), but he also ended the game with a very good at bat where he walked (5). I’m frustrated by the early season performances of all 3 guys, but not worried about any of them, yet.

A+ Tampa (Florida State League):

Hector Made had a decent game from the leadoff spot in the Tampa lineup; the SS was 1 for 4 with a single and a walk (2). Made is the prime example of why early season stats are so fluky. One bad game turned an excellent start into a poor one and this decent game has brought him back to decency. Erold Andrus was the brightest spot on the Tampa team for this day; the LF went 1 for 3 with a home run (1), 2 walks (3), and a strikeout (3). Andrus has been solid thus far. Rudy Guillen…has been far from solid, but it’s too early to give up. The RF was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts (8), and has not had a hit since his opening day double.

Tyler Clippard followed up an excellent opening day start with a very mediocre second one. T-Clip gave up a career high 3 home runs and had an overall line of 6-5-4-4-2-3-3. I’m very high on Clippard and doubt that there will be many, if any, more games like this while he is in the FSL, especially at Tampa.

A- Charleston (South Atlantic League):

Brett Smith followed up a dominant opening day start with another dominant effort. The right-hander nearly pitched a complete game shutout despite working on a pitch count, but instead had to settle for 8-4-0-0-1-5-0. Smith was considered a good college pick by any and has thus far been making SAL hitters look silly. At no point did any of the hitters from the Columbus squad, of the extremely good Dodgers organization, pose a serious threat.

While Smith was dominant on one side of the ball, Marcos Vechionacci took care of business on the other side. The SS has broken out of his early season doldrums and following a 3 for 4 night with 2 doubles (3) and a walk (2) his overall numbers to date look solid for an 18-year-old in full season baseball though they are not at the Delmon Young/B.J. Upton level…yet.

Tim Battle hit a wind aided blast to the opposite field for his first home run of the season, but still managed an uninspiring night at the plate as he was 0 for his 4 at bats outside of that one and struck out twice more (12). Jon Poterson displayed signs of life in his first 2 at bats getting a single for his first hit of the year and a double for his first extra base hit of the year and then struck out in his next two at bats. To be fair to him, his 3rd at bat was pretty good as he ran the count full and fouled off some pitches until he got caught chasing a high fastball. Estee Harris was 0 for 3 with a strikeout (8) and HBP and has no hits outside of a mammoth home run. Irwil Rojas went 1 for 3 with his customary single while shockingly managing not to get HBP or draw a walk.