With the short season Advanced Rookie affiliates well into their seasons, it's a good time to check in on how the notable prospects are doing.
A few of the better prospects who started at Great Falls have already moved up but 2013 fourth-round selection RHP Andrew Mitchell is regular starting opportunities in the hitter-friendly Pioneer League and is acquitting himself well. In nine starts, he's thrown 33⅔ innings, struck out 33 and given up 33 hits and 15 walks. Many think the TCU product is destined to be a late inning reliever but the White Sox are giving him plenty of opportunity to hone his arsenal, which includes an excellent low 80s curveball and a low-90s fastball.
Signed for well under slot money, 6th round pick RHP James Dykstra is getting the kid gloves treatment after piling up significant innings during his collegiate season. He's made four appearances, all one inning, and has given up seven hits, while walking two and striking out none. He's a reliever long-term with a decent low 90s fastball and unremarkable secondary stuff.
Nineteenth-round pick CF Adam Engel signed for $100K. While he has good tools, he's a rather raw hitter. His collegiate career wasn't particularly impressive on offense, though he is a plus defender with plus speed. in 152 plate appearances, he's batting .271/.358/.338 with 14 steals in 18 tries.
Out at Bristol, 2013 second-round pick RHP Tyler Danish is the headliner. In 11 games he's thrown 22 innings, striking out 18 and giving up 13 hits and 5 walks. That's pretty good for an 18-year-old. His low-90s sinker and hard slurve are both rated as plus and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to being a starter in 2014.
Fellow 18-year-old Thaddius Lowry is having a tougher time. The fifth-round pick out of Texas high school has transitioned into a starting role the past few weeks. His overall line is not impressive: 12 G, 4 GS, 27⅓ IP, 39 H, 18 BB and 21 K. However, he only began pitching this spring so this shouldn't be surprising.
Seventh-round pick 3B Trey Michalczewski is also 18, having come out of Oklahoma high school. The switch-hitter's line in 161 plate appearances is .221/.317/.300. He's projected to add power as he develops.
Eighth-round pick LHP Chris Freudenberg had a delayed start to his season, which is a good thing considering he was ridden pretty hard during his college season. The 20-year-old shows a 90-mph fastball, along with a cutter and curve, all of which are average offerings. His line: 6 G, 3 GS, 15 IP, 14 H, 10 BB, 17 K.
Eleventh-round pick RHP Matt Ball signed for an over-slot $150K bonus. He's a big guy and his repertoire is still quite raw. 10 G, 15.1 IP, 15 H, 7 BB, 14 K.
C Sammy Ayala signed for an overslot bonus last year after being drafted in the 17th round. The left-handed hitting 19-year-old is very raw, both behind the plate and in the batter's box. His .232/.300/.256 line isn't much better than what he did last year at Bristol and he's given up 14 passed balls, a large spike from 2012, as well. After throwing out only 15 percent of basestealers last year, he's thrown out 43 percent this year, so there is some improvement.
2012 first round pick Courtney Hawkins, of course, is at a much higher level. He's still struggling at High-A but this analysis of his offensive problems should give some hope that he can resolve them. The 19-year-old's 40-percent strikeout rate is obscene but, as I've mentioned before, successful major leaguers have had similar issues, with Glenallen Hill's 39.8-percent strikeout rate as a 20-year-old in the Carolina League being an example.
In transaction news, INF Carlos Sanchez was placed on the DL retroactive to Aug. 8, which suggests the injury is minor. RHP Chris Beck was promoted to Birmingham, where he had a good first start: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 K.
Also, Andrew Brackman was released and he's apparently contemplating attempting to return to basketball. Well, he is tall.