Minor League Monitor: Brad Meyers Is In Total Control, Derek Norris Continues To Slump, Eastern League Review

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 01: Jacob Turner #50 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the first inning during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 1, 2011 in Lakeland, Florida. The Tigers defeated the Blue Jays 6-2. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Jacob Turner - Tigers  P  DOB: 05/21/91

The Eastern League's top prospect has had 2 sub-par starts in a row but his season ERA remains a respectable 3.13 after 5 starts. He has a 26/7 K/BB ratio in 31.2 innings with opposing hitters batting .225 against him.

Eric Surkamp - Giants  P  DOB: 07/16/87

The Giants pitching factory keeps churning out winners and the next great hurler in line may be Surkamp. He struck out 169 in 131 innings in his first full pro season in 09, then followed it up with more than a K per inning last season. In 2011 he is back at it with 41 knockouts in 26.1 innings. He could enter the league as a polished prospect ala Jeremy Hellickson.

Derek Norris - Nationals  C  DOB: 02/14/89

Norris continues to struggle at the plate with only 2 extra base hits in 15 games and a .133 AVG. The AVG can be partly blamed on a BABIP near the Mendoza line but I think the K% north of 40, maybe, just maybe is partly to blame as well. He is still walking often with 10.

Tony Sanchez - Pirates  C  DOB: 05/20/88

Sanchez's power is also missing with only 2 XBH in 23 games but, unlike Norris, Sanchez isn't expected to hit for much power. Sanchez has a .282 AVG and .411 OBP

Casey Crosby - Tigers  P  DOB: 09/17/88

Crosby opened the season with 2 poor starts then followed them with 2 gems. His most recent start fell in the former category and brought his season ERA up to 4.94 after 5 starts. He is striking out more than a batter per inning and limiting hitters to a .229 AVG but has been hurt by walks. He has given up 12 in 23.2 innings. Crosby is inducing plenty of groundballs and remains one of the top prospects in the league. I expect him to string together more strong starts than poor starts going forward.

Austin Hyatt - Phillies  P  DOB: 05/23/86

Vance Worley may have reached the majors sooner but it is Hyatt who has the higher upside. A strikeout monster last season in AA, this year he isn't fanning as many but is just as effective. He has 32 Ks in 33 innings and holds a 3.27 ERA with a 4-1 record.

Joe Benson - Twins  CF/RF  DOB: 03/05/88

After pounding the ball for a .354 AVG with 8 doubles in his first 17 games he has slumped big time in the past 10 games. He has hit just .103 and one doubles in the past 10 games while striking out 16 times.

Alex Hassan - Red Sox  LF  DOB: 04/01/88

Hassan continues to lead the Eastern League in AVG, OBP and OPS with marks of .391, .496 and 1.017. He is also perfect in 5 stolen base attempts. His fantasy ceiling is fairly low as he doesn't have much power or speed but he has just enough that mixed with solid contact and on base skills he could end up a decent player. His torrid start to the season make him worth keeping an eye on.

Brad Meyers - Nationals  P  DOB: 09/13/85

Meyers has the most eye popping statistic in the Eastern League, 36/0 K/BB. He ranks second in the league in strikeouts without walking a single batter. He is going deep into games which could mean the Nationals are preparing to bring him up soon. He should make an appearance in the rotation this year and based on a strong track record he could be there to stay.

Brad Peacock - Nationals  P  DOB: 02/02/88

Peacock has arguably been the top pitcher in the Eastern League this year with a 1.16 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 10.45 K/9 and 1.16 BB/9. His BABIP and LOB% point to regression but his 1.68 FIP suggests the Nationals prospect may have turned a corner.

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