Minor League Monitor - Midwest League: Nick Castellanos Is Cooking, Cardinals 1st Rounder Kolten Wong debuts

Billy Hamilton - Reds  SS  DOB: 09/09/90

When we last checked in on Hamilton his bat was starting to heat up but wasn't walking at all. His hot bat has continued and he has hit in every game since. From June 16 he is 9-27, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 9 K 1/0 SB/CS. The 1 stolen base attempt in 6 games is surprising, especially considering he was on base at least 11 times. For the season he has 65 hits and 23 walks with 62 base stealing attempts, 54 of which were successful. As you can see when he gets on base he usually runs and runs efficiently.

Carlos Martinez - Cardinals  SP  DOB: 09/21/91

Martinez has dominated the league with a 2.33 ERA, .196 AVG, 50 K, 14 BB, 1 HR, 38.2 IP. The next stop for him is Palm Beach in the High-A Florida State League. The hyped 19 year old is emerging as a top 50 talent and could be a top 10 prospect before he reaches the majors.

Nick Castellanos - Tigers  3B  DOB: 03/04/92

After scaring some Dynasty League owners with a .179/.222/.209 April and a slow start to May, Castellanos has been wailing on the ball. He finished May with a triple slash of .303/.347/.477 and is now .400/.427/.563 after 20 June games. After looking like a let-down to start the year he is looking like a candidate for promotion. As long as he doesn't go into another April-like slump  I expect him to end the year in High-A.

Keyvius Sampson - Padres  SP  DOB: 01/06/91

Sampson's latest outing continued his streak of pitching 5 innings or more each time out this season. The Padres want to keep his inning count down otherwise he would be pitching even deeper into games. His most recent 5 inning start was one of his best. In 5 innings of work he allowed 2 hits, an unearned run, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts. He is now 7-1 with a 2.60 ERA, 72 strikeouts in 62.1 innings and his 0.96 WHIP ranks third in the Midwest League.

Garrett Gould – Dodgers  SP  DOB: 07/19/91

After reeling off three starts that included 1 earned run in 16 innings, Gould had his first sub-par start in a long time.  He lasted just 4 innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), while walking 4. The start raised his ERA from 1.54 to 1.70. The 2nd round pick that the Dodgers went over slot to sign is having an excellent sophomore season in the minors.

Josh Smith – Reds  SP  DOB: 08/07/87

After an impressive debut as a reliever in 2010, the 21st round pick has spent 2011 as a starter and is having a his way with opposing hitters. In 77.2 innings he has a league leading 95 Ks to only 15 walks. His 0.94 WHIP ranks second and his 1.97 ERA is fifth. He is approaching his 24th birthday so the Reds will want to try him at a higher level in order to see whether they've found themselves a draft bargain.

Taijuan Walker - Mariners  SP  DOB: 08/13/92

Walker's previous two starts display the inconsistency that is keeping his numbers from being even better. After pitching 7 innings of 2 hit ball with 11 strikeouts and 2 walks, he goes 5 innings allowing 5 earned runs with 5 walks and 8 strikeouts. He doesn't have the minuscule ERA of some of his league-mates but he could have the best stuff now that Martinez has left. Walker is in the talk about top prospect remaining in the Midwest League and could be #1 with more consistency.

David Holmberg - Diamondbacks  SP  DOB: 07/19/91

The Diamondbacks got the better end of the Dan Hudson/Edwin Jackson deal even if those were the only players involved. However, Holmberg also went over to the Diamondbacks and is the cherry on top. His scoreless streak now extends 4 starts and 27 innings. In that time he has 24 strikeouts, 1 walk and 9 hits. His 2011 ERA is 2.61  over 76 innings with 13 walks and 74 strikeouts. If his fastball grows into his size (6'4") and becomes an above average MLB pitch he could be a nice addition to fantasy teams a few years down the line. Even without the booming fastball he has the command the be a solid major leaguer.

Jonathan Garcia - Dodgers  RF  DOB: 11/11/91

If the power I was talking about was the power to make middle aged women shriek like they were their daughters at a Justin Bieber concert, Garcia would have Oprah power. Instead he has the power to smash baseballs far, far, very far. The problem is he has no consistency when using that power in games. After hitting 7 home runs in April he hit just 1 in May and had a .309 SLG% . He then went 8 games into June without putting one over the fence before hitting dingers in 4 straight games. If he can keep the dry spells shorter he has the potential to be an above average power hitter at the major league level.

Donavan Tate - Padres  DOB: 10/01/90

Tate, the extremely athletic but raw third overall pick in 2009, started the season in the Midwest League but an outfield collision with a teammate knocked him out for two months. He is making his return in the Northwest League and is hitting well. Through 10 games he is batting .311/.354/.533 with 5/1 SB/CS. He should work his way back to the Midwest League quickly and hopefully he can avoid injury long enough to see him put that athleticism to work and rub off some of the rawness.

Kolten Wong – Cardinals DOB: 10/10/90

St. Louis' first round pick from this year's draft didn't take long to sign and has already made his pro debut. He went 2-2 tonight with a walk and a run scored. He had a sacrifice fly for his first RBI and was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for his second. An interesting way to record your first 2 pro RBIs.

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