Minor League Monitor - Texas League

Shelby Miller - Cardinals  SP  DOB: 10/10/90

Still only 20 years old, Miller is flat out dominating what is supposed to be a hitter's league. In 7 starts he is 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA, 43/10 K/BB and 36 hits in 42.2 innings. With the rate he is going he should make his MLB debut some time next season. He had 6 straight quality starts until his last start when he went only 4.2 innings, giving up a run. The shorter outing is likely due to Miller's playing in the Futures Game and possibly a step to limit his innings seeing as he is already at 95.2 after tossing 104.1 last year.

Martin Perez - Rangers  P  DOB: 04/04/91

After a bumpy June, Perez seems to be back on track in July. He gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, in five innings on the 3rd, then came on in relief for a scoreless inning on the 7th. Perez is even younger than Shelby Miller and has shown similar stretches of dominance but struggles with consistency. If the young lefty can gain better command he should find that consistency and join the top pitching prospect debate.

Garrett Richards - Angels  SP  DOB: 05/27/88

Richards is 10-1 this season and has 2 complete games. He threw 143 innings last season and is proving to have a durable arm with 106 already this year. He doesn't have the strikeout capabilities of other top prospects but gives up few hits and walks. The lower strikeout ceiling puts Richards a step below Miller and Perez for fantasy appeal but Richards could grow into a bit more of a strikeout pitcher as he progresses.

Jedd Gyorko - Padres  3B   DOB: 09/23/88

Now that Trout is in the majors I have Gyorko as my top position prospect in the TL. After 6 games he has 2 HR, 7 RBI, .375 AVG, 1.153 OPS. James Darnell also plays third in the Padres organization and is closer to the majors than Gyorko. This could be a problem for Gyorko fantasy-wise as he may remain in the minors longer or be forced to move from third base to a less scarce position. Gyorko is a slightly better fielder so there's a chance it could be Darnell who moves once Gyorko is ready.

Robbie Erlin - Rangers  SP  DOB:  10/08/90

The Rangers lefty had a stretch where he gave up 14 runs in 3 starts but seems to be back on track after giving up 3 earned runs in his last 3 starts, including an outing in which he struck out 14. He has a 3.70 ERA in 48.2 innings in the Texas League and has struck out 48 while walking 6. Erlin is a flyball pitcher so he is going to have his rough outings when he gives up the longball. Still, his 2011 K/BB rate of 10 to 1 is about as good as it gets.

Jose Altuve - Astros   2B   DOB: 05/06/90

Despite similar numbers to Jean Segura it was Segura who garnered most of the prospect hype among 2B prospects. Altuve's size, listed as 5'7", has been held against him until this year when he is showing he has a big bat. After 85 games between High-A and AA he is hitting .387/.425/.585 with 24 SB. His bat has been just as good in the Texas League as it was in the California League. Altuve has a clear path to the majors and is one of the best 2B prospects to have in keeper leagues. He should reach the majors by 2013, if not sooner.

Joe Wieland - Rangers  SP  DOB:  01/21/90

Wieland had only 4 walks in 85.2 innings in the Carolina League but already has 6 in 16 Texas League innings. Weiland could struggle in the TL  and he will need his command to return closer to his Carolina League levels because he may get hit around a bit in AA.

J.D. Martinez - Astros  LF  DOB: 08/21/87

Altuve is the top prospect in the Astros system but Martinez is making a case for #2. He is batting .333/.407/.516 with 34/46 BB/K. His bat is getting better as the year goes on and he is .424 with a double, triple, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 7 BB, 4 K in 9 July games.

Leonys Martin - Rangers  CF  DOB: 03/06/88

Texas has been searching for a center fielder for some time and may have found their man in Martin. He got off to a late start but hit .348/.435/.571 in 29 Texas LEague games before his recent promotion to the PCL. In his first AAA game he went 2-4 with 2 runs, a walk, a strikeout and a stolen base.

Blake Tekotte - Padres  CF  DOB: 05/24/87

Tekotte was struggling when he was called up to San Diego at the end of May so it's no surprise he didn't hit well in his time up. Sent back to AA, he continued to beat up Texas League pitching. In 9 July games he is hitting .371 with 5 home runs. He could turn into a .280, 15 HR, 20 SB type of player in the majors.

Vincent Belnome – Padres  2B  DOB: 03/11/88

The Padres should have a constant flow of young talent arriving in the majors over the next few years. They have multiple players with MLB potential having breakout seasons this year and Belnome is one of them. His success at AA legitimizes his strong numbers in the lower minors and he is one of the top 5 second base prospects in the minors and perhaps the top power prospect at the position. He is hitting .322 with 14 HR and 43/57 BB/K in 2011.  I would highly recommend checking him out for your team.

Kelvin Herrera – Royals  RP DOB: 12/31/89

Projecting possible future closers is a hard thing to do but Herrera could be earning saves in the majors one day. He has thrived since being switched to a bullpen role this year. He started in High-A but proved too good for that level and was bumped to AA. In 42.1 innings he has 48 K, 5 BB, and 28 H. The Royals have a lot of great bullpen prospects so don't count on him being a closer but he is worth keeping an eye on.

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