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Minor League Monitor - Low-A Midwest League

Derek Dietrich – Rays  SS  DOB: 07/18/89

The accolades continue to roll in for Dietrich. After being named to the Midwest League All-Star game at the end of June, he earned Player of the Week honors last week. He is hitting .291 this year with 20 2B, 11 HR and 47 RBI. He still has a lot to prove in the minors but the Rays have to like what he has shown them so far.

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

Walker had a good week, going 2-0 with 2 earned runs, 18 strikeouts, and 3 walks in 15 innings. He is the most dominant pitcher in the Midwest League and he is just 18. There has been a lot of talk about the minor leagues' top pitching prospects and I believe this time next season when the conversation comes up again we may be throwing Walker's name into the mix. He would need to improve his command to enter the game's elite but his stuff is as good as anyone's.

More after the jump...

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

Hamilton's bat has improved from month to month and is hitting .302 for July. He now has 68 stolen bases in 79 tries. His BB/K is at 5/9 in July and a massive improvement from the 3/25 he put up in June. If he can continue making contact he will be able to leg out enough hits to have a passable OBP. If he can reach base more than 31% of the time he should be capable of stealing 60+ bases in the majors. It's not very often a player this fast comes along.

Rymer LirianoPadres  RF  06/20/91

Hamilton may be faster but Liriano has the better hitting package. He is batting .311 in 71 games and has 29 extra base hits. He is also 44/13 on the basepaths. He has struck out 69 times while walking 30. When he reaches the majors he could have some of his home run power sapped from playing at Petco but he has the tools to play that park well as he will hit a lot of doubles and triples.

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

Sampson has had an ERA under 3.00 every month except for June when he had a 9.00 ERA in 3 starts, one of which was 5 shutout innings. A few bad starts have made his brought his ERA up but he has done a nice job of pitching well after a bad start. I look forward to seeing what he can do at the higher levels.

Kolten Wong – Cardinals  2B DOB: 10/10/90

The Cardinals newest first round pick has been excellent since becoming a pro. The second baseman is hitting .324 with 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR and 11 RBI in 18 games. He has 10 walks to 6 strikeouts but only one successful stolen base attempt in 6 tries.

Greg Billo – Royals  SP  DOB: 07/15/90

Billo is miles ahead of the competition with his 1.38 ERA. He has logged 84.2 innings, striking out 83, walking 17. He was a 28th round pick in 2008 and aside from a strong ERA in the Appalachian League in 09 he hasn't produced great results. He has always been around a K per inning as a pro while limiting the walks. The big improvement he has made is his ability to avoid hits. He is learning how to place his pitches and work batters and is rapidly climbing prospect charts. He is still not a top prospect but is making a case to be noticed.

Mike Rayl – Indians  SP  DOB: 11/01/88

After producing a 0.00 ERA in 16.1 June innings he has a 10.50 ERA in July. Rayl has had excellent command all year, even during this rough stretch. In 76.2 innings he has issued only 12 walks while striking out 80.

Marcus Knecht - Blue Jays  LF  DOB:06/21/90

Knecht now has a professional All-Star appearance under his belt. His bat has been one of the best in the Midwest League this year and he has shown consistency with his lowest monthly AVG being .282. He has 34 XBH and his BB/K ratio is coming along. He has 42/73 BB/K and is 8/9 in July.

Matt Szczur - Cubs  OF  DOB: 07/20/89

The Cubs promoted Szczur to High-A after he hit .314 with 17 SB and 21/28 BB/K. He has an excellent hit tool and advanced approach at the plate. He has shown some power but not a lot, although he does have some projection there. He won't be a 30 HR guy but he could crack 20 on occasion. I liken him to an even more athletic Shin-Soo Choo.

Jake Marisnick - Blue Jays  CF  DOB: 03/30/91

Marisnick joined his teammate Knecht at the All-Star game after hitting .319/.388/.493 before the break. He has been just as good in the second half with .310/.368/.494. He is 22/8 on the bases.