Minor League Monitor - Southern League: Nick Franklin, Reds Second Baseman Of The Future And More...

Chris Withrow   Chattanooga Lookouts   04/01/89

After a slow start to the season, or pro career for that matter, Withrow may finally be coming around. In 5 June starts he was 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA. Withrow has the stuff to be an above average big league starter but has let command issues stand in his way. He issued a manageable 10 walks in 27.2 June innings. If he can keep that BB rate, which is about 3.25 per 9, he could start performing more like the potential #2 starter many saw him as.

Trey McNutt - Cubs  SP  DOB: 08/02/89

McNutt's season was rolling along when he bruised some ribs then tried to pitch through it. When he returned after spending nearly 3 weeks on the DL he pulled from his start without recording an out after handing out 4 walks and a hit. He followed that up with a 3 inning, 6 hit, 3 walk performance. Needless to say the injury is clearly affecting him as he has a 14.40 ERA in 3 starts that have lasted all of 5 innings compared to a 2.34 ERA in 34.2 IP prior. McNutt has the talent to pitch at the top of a rotation but his numbers at the end of the season may not reflect that type of talent.

Matthew Moore - Rays  SP  DOB: 06/18/89

Matthew Moore is simply too good for AA. Over his last 10 starts he has gone 60.1 innings, giving up just 34 hits, 19 walks and striking out 74 for a 1.04 ERA. Just 34 hits amounting to a .165 AVG. With the way he is dominating the Southern League he could probably be holding his own in the majors right now. The Rays are known to take things slow with their pitching prospects but if a team comes to them offering a solid bat for one of their MLB arms they should probably listen. A path needs to be cleared for Moore.

Luke MontzMarlins  C  DOB: 07/07/83

Because of his age in relation to his level Montz is not a player to run out and grab in your dynasty league. It is curious, however, that a player whose OPS' the past 2 seasons have been .603 and .601 would suddenly rank second in the Southern League with a 1.007 OPS. The only man ahead of him is Paul Goldschmidt and his 1.076.

Nick Franklin - Mariners  SS/2B   DOB: 03/02/91

So far so good for Franklin in AA. The offensively potent shortstop has 9 hits in 15 at bats with Jackson including a double and a home run. Franklin is still only 20 but the Mariners are moving him up aggressively. It appears like they are hoping for a 2013-2014 debut for the Florida native. He is on the 7 day DL with a possible concussion after being struck by a bat during batting practice on Monday.

Henry Rodriguez   - Reds  2B  02/09/90

The young second baseman lit up the California League earlier this season but has merely kept his head above water at AA. That's not a knock on Rodriguez as he is quite young for the level but he is showing that his game still needs work. His bat is coming around and he is hitting .283 over his last 10 games. He is a great mix of AVG, power and speed and is looking like a prime prospect for those in keeper leagues. Look for him to be one of the top candidates to take over when Brandon Phillips leaves town.

Neftali Soto - Reds  1B  DOB: 02/28/89

Soto's bat has been blazing hot with 6 home runs and 3 doubles in his last 9 games and is hitting .378 over that span. His 11/40 BB/K ratio will need to improve if he doesn't want his free swinging ways to be exploited at the higher levels.

Ryan Flaherty - Cubs  2B/LF/SS  DOB: 07/27/86

A personal favorite of mine, Flaherty is certainly helping his case for an MLB job by hitting the stuffing out of the ball. He is already valuable due to his ability to play all over the field but he is also contributing with the bat as well. In 73 games he is hitting .305 with 18 doubles and 14 home runs. His BB/K is a solid 33/47 and he has been consistent all season long. the former first round pick continues to improve his numbers and could be the Cubs answer at second if Darwin Barneyis unable to stick. DJ Lemahieu is younger than Flaherty and ahead of him on the depth chart so first crack may go to him but Flaherty could see time as a role player coming off the bench. If he can produce when given the opportunity he could work his way into a full time job.

Cody Puckett - Reds  2B  DOB: 04/03/87

Puckett has allowed a horrendous May and even worse June spoil a spectacular start to the season. After hitting .351 with a 1.131 OPS and 6 SB in April hit just .206 with a .615 OPS and 4 SB in May then .190, .596 and 0 in June. A high whiff rate is keeping Puckett from reaching his power speed potential. There is still plenty of time to turn his season around and a hot streak or two could make his numbers look very pleasing. His monthly BB/K totals have gone from 10/17 to 10/25 to 3/19. He will need those numbers to trend in the opposite direction before I begin suggesting keeper leaguers start picking him up.

Yasmani Grandal  - Reds  C  DOB: 11/08/88

Grandal has made a smooth transition to AA. In 8 games he is hitting .367 with 5 doubles and a home run.

A.J. PollockDiamondbacks  DOB: 12/05/87

Pollock has had a good end to June and has kicked off July on the right foot. In his past 10 games he is hitting .372 and is 7/1 on the bases. He is batting .302 for the season and has been one of theSouthern League's most proficient runners on the bases.

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