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MLB teams saw their minor league squads open the season this past weekend. Who stood out?
Our MLB coverage at Call To The Pen is fairly well-balanced, but in an effort to give you better breadth and depth of coverage of the minor leagues, we will begin a number of weekly posts.
This one is coming out a day late, but weekly, we will examine the big news items along with the top performers in the minor leagues each Monday. Tuesday will bring a review of the weekend highlight series. Wednesday will bring draft news and college baseball news until that is complete. Thursday will preview the weekend series of note in minor league baseball to watch. Friday will feature a new series, “The Video Room”, where CTTP contributor Benjamin Chase will examine one game from the week from a scouting perspective and break down the game.
Scouting Reports will be scattered throughout the week and weekends as well, so keep on the lookout for those as well. As always, if there is anything you would like to see covered more thoroughly here at CTTP, let us know in the comments section below!
For now, we’ll continue into this first week’s review of the top performers of the weekend. This is coming a day late this particular week, but we’ll see it Mondays going forward.
Coming into the season, Anthony Alford wasn’t even a consensus top-100 prospect after having a slow path to high-A ball and then struggling in his repeat at the level in 2016.
However, Alford’s incredible athleticism that allowed him to spend multiple years playing college football while also playing minor league baseball began to iron out into true baseball skills as 2016 wore on, and in 2017 to open, they’ve been extremely evident.
In his opening weekend in AA, Alford hit .700/.727/.700 over 3 games, and his ability to make contact wasn’t just due to poor competition, as he was hitting hard breaking stuff and top end velocity.
A review of big moments that happened this week across the minors…
Chicago Cubs prospect Ian Happ hit home runs in three consecutive games for AAA Iowa, while Philadelphia Phillies prospect Cornelius Randolph did the same for high-A Clearwater, Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Max Moroff did the same with AAA Indianapolis, Ben Paulson did the same with the Twins AAA Rochester club, Yu-Cheng Chang did similar for the Indians AA Akron affiliate, and Ti’Quan Forbes did the same for Texas’ low-A affiliate in Hickory.
Miami Marlins prospect Aaron Knapp stole 4 bases in a game on April 7th for low-A Greensboro.
Diamondbacks Kevin Cron hit three home runs in a single game for AA Jackson. Tigers prospect Christin Stwart hit 3 HR across a double header on Sunday for AA Erie.
Low-A West Michigan opened their season without allowing a run, going 32 innings of scoreless baseball by the time Sunday was complete over 3 games.
Rockies prospect Pat Valaika hit for the cycle for AAA Albuquerque.
Leader across the minors: Home runs: Kevin Cron, AA Jackson, Arizona Diamondbacks organization – 4 Stolen Bases: Brantley Bell, low-A Dayton, Cincinnati Reds organization – 5 Strikeouts: Brent Honeywell, AA Montgomery, Tampa Bay Rays organization; Ben Sheckler, low-A Fort Wayne, San Diego Padres organization; Luis Escobar, low-A West Virginia, Pittsburgh Pirates organization – each with 12
Oh, and some former football player hit two home runs while also striking out in 35.7% of his plate appearances and hitting .231. Somehow, he ended up on Sportscenter, and nearly none of the guys mentioned above did…