This week I want to highlight a player from each of the full season minor league teams.
AAA Louisville Bats
RH SP pitcher Tim Crabbe is off to a good start for the 9-10 Bats. Crabbe is sporting a 2.57 ERA over three starts and one relief appearance. Crabbe was a 14th round pick in the 2009 draft and steadily worked his way up through the system. The 26 year old Crabbe is not someone you hear mentioned on prospect lists. He did have a great season last year posting a 3.27 ERA in 24 starts at AA and then a 0.71 ERA in 2 AAA starts. His SO rate has seemed to fallen off at the higher levels, but he walks very few and does not give up many HRs. Crabbe is a bit old and doesn’t have the eye popping stuff of the big name prospects, but is worth keeping an eye on as he continues to put up good results at the highest level of the minors.
AA Pensacola Blue Yahoos
LF Donald Lutz is off to a sizzling .353/.405/.662/1.067 start for the 8-12 Blue Wahoos. The 25 year old Lutz is a bit old for a top prospect. He put up pedestrian .245/.318/.424/.741 line in an injury shortened half season at AA last year. He doesn’t have as much plate discipline as one would like to see and strikes out quite a bit. I would think that if he continues to show a mastery of AA pitching as he is doing now, he and his big time power will moved to AAA Louisville pretty soon.
High A Bakersfield Blaze
RH SP Ben Lively has been nearly untouchable over four starts for the 14-6 Blaze. The 22 year old 4th round of 2013 draft pick is coming off of his first season of professioinal baseball where he posted a 0.73 ERA over 12 starts in the high offense Pioneer Rookie League and then added 2.25 ERA in one solid start at low A Dayton. Lively has a 0.39 ERA over 4 starts at high A Bakersfield after esentially bypassing low A. In 23 IP thus far Lively has allowed only 8 H and 1 BB while posting 33 K in the high offense California League. Lievely appears on top 10 prospect lists and it will be interesting to see how he handles adversity once he finds a level where batters start to show a little success against him.
Low A Dayton Dragons
LF/IB Sebastian Elizalde has a .283 /.443 /.566 /1.009 slash line for the 11-7 Dragons. Elizalde is proving thus far to be quite the find for the Reds. The Reds signed him from the Mexican League over the winter where he posted a .301 /.353 /.450 /.803 line in 289 AB over the last 4 seasons. The 22 year old bats LH and throws RH and played only the OF in the Mexican league. He appears to be splitting time between 1B and the OF for the Dragons this season, but he must not be slow afoot though, as he 3 of his 7 appearances in the OF have been in CF and he has 5 SB in seven attempts. Very encouraging signs for him are 15 BB in 70 PA and 8 extra base hits (3 HR). It will interesting to follow his progression this season.