RHP Tanner Scheppers, OKC - Yes, you already know that Scheppers was promoted Friday from Frisco to Oklahoma City. No, he hasn’t pitched for OKC yet. But I think it’s worth mentioning what to watch out for as he tries to earn one more promotion. Scheppers has shown excellent stuff since he began pitching full time as a sophomore at Fresno State. But his lack of command and consistency have held his results short of dominant at every level, including short stints for independent league Saint Paul and in the Arizona Fall League last year. That changed at Frisco, where his strikeout to walk ratio was an unthinkable 19:0 in his eleven innings. He did catch too much of the plate with his fastball in hitters counts on a few occasions and generally did not pay for it, so it will be interesting to see how Triple-A hitters react to him. But with the elite quality of his stuff and his improved location it’s hard to imagine too many struggles at this level.
OF Engel Beltre, Bakersfield - Beltre is just 20 years old, but since he was playing in the U.S. when the Rangers traded for him as a 17 year old, he seems like a minor league veteran. Similarly, the minor league season is just 25 days old, yet Beltre has been through enough ups and downs already to account for a half-season. His last three series have been almost exclusively positive, as he is 11-35 in those ten games with his second home run (this one was inside-the-park), but most eye catching: five walks and two strikeouts. His power still has plenty of time to develop, but in his 2+ seasons with the Texas organization he had made little progress in developing a more advanced approach at the plate. This stretch has moved his walk to strikeout ratio for the season to a respectable 6:10 in 88 PA. It’s still a small sample and he is repeating his level, but that represents an improvement in his walk rate from 3.2% the past two years to 6.8% - more than double - along with a reduced strikeout rate. Mix in a handful of HBP and his line is now a much more aesthetically pleasing .273/.349/.403. His tools make him one of the most intriguing prospects in the system, but if he continues to play at this level, he will soon be considered one of the best.
IF Chris Davis, OKC - When baseball players experience disappointment like Davis has this season and are demoted, they often experience a let-down and perform well below their ability for a week or two. To Davis’ credit, he showed up ready to work his way back. Through seven games he is 14-31 (.452/.485/.677), and on Saturday he played third base (did commit an error). This stay in Triple-A could be a lengthy one for Davis, but he is too talented and too willing to work through his weaknesses to forget.
OF Mitch Moreland, OKC - Turning around slow start with five hit, three walk weekend, up to .243/.326/.446 overall
OF Mike Bianucci, Bakersfield - Delayed start due to injury but handling the Cal League much better second time around: .290/.405/.484 with 6:3 in 38 PA.
RHP Alexi Ogando, Frisco - Now officially a reliever and pitched twice over the weekend: 3 IP, 1 H (HR), 1 BB, 4 K
LHP Kasey Kiker, Frisco - Control continues to regress, as seven walk game Sunday raises season total to 22 in 23.2 innings
RHP Evan Reed, Frisco - Easy to lose in talented Frisco bullpen, 3rd round pick has performed well: 11.1 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 12 K, 63% GB rate.
LHP Michael Kirkman, OKC - He’s strung together a pair of very nice starts, including Friday: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Season K:BB of 24:13 still needs work.