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Minor League Monitor - Low-A South Atlantic League

Christian Villanueva – Rangers  3B  DOB: 06/19/91

The Rangers young third base prospect is having an excellent introduction to full-season ball. In 92 games he is hitting .274, 24 2B, 13 HR, 26/62 BB/K, 23/4 SB/CS. He was known more for his defense entering the season but he is showing he's no slouch with the bat either. The stolen bases are bit of a surprise since he isn't known as a burner but more than anything this shows he's an alert baserunner who gets everything out of the speed he has. There is a lot to like about this recently turned 20 year old's season.

Brandon Jacobs - Red Sox  LF  DOB: 12/08/90

Jacobs could stand to strike out less but that's about all there is to complain about with his offensive game. He has improved his BB/K ratio in June then again in July after posting a terrible 3/24 in May. In July it is an easy to swallow 12/19. His AVG is .321 and he has doubled 25 times while sending 14 over the fence. He is 25/7 on the bases and could be a five category threat. He has also been better than expected in the field and could move quickly through the Red Sox organization due to his athleticism and strong performance so far.

Corey Dickerson – Rockies  OF  DOB: 05/22/89

Dickerson showed he had some power potential by popping 44 extra base hits last year in the Pioneer League. He has legitimized those numbers by pounding out another 42 this year so far. His 20 home runs are tied for the league lead. In 550 pro at bats he has 33 home runs, 42 doubles, 11 triples and a modest 111 strikeouts to go along with a .315 AVG.

Jesse Biddle – Phillies  SP  DOB: 10/22/91

Yet another Phillies pitching prospect who is having a strong year. Biddle has a 3.18 ERA and ranks third in the league with 106 strikeouts. He also walks a lot of batters with 56 on the year, which ranks fourth. He gives up a lot of flyballs so he could run into some trouble when he leaves the pitcher friendly South Atlantic League. Lucky for him his stuff is hard to hit so as long as he keeps the free passes to a minimum the extra home runs allowed should do minimal damage.

Delino DeShields – Astros  2B  DOB: 08/16/92

Finally Deshields is starting to show something at the plate. In his last 10 games he is hitting .381, albeit an empty .381 (1 extra base hit and 3 walks). He has also stolen 4 bases in 5 tries during that time. For July he is hitting .329 with 9/2 SB/CS. Astros fans were excited about possibly having a future lead-off man but he struggled to reach base the first 3 months of the season. He is striking out a lot less this month so perhaps he is seeing the ball better. If he can maintain the gains he is making he should be back on track as a potential lead-off hitter.

A.J. Cole – Nationals  SP  DOB: 01/05/92

Cole has had excellent control this year with 10 walks in 54 innings and has handed out just 1 in his 4 July starts. His 2.83 ERA would ranks 5th in the league if he had enough innings to qualify. He ranked in the top 5 for most Nationals prospect lists heading into the season and many had him ranked right behind Bryce Harper. He may not have ace-like stuff but he has control of all his pitches and is a good bet to make an MLB rotation one day.

Christian Yelich – Marlins  LF  DOB: 12/05/91

Yelich has looked very good over the past 2 weeks and is showing off a skill-set that could put him in the running for the Marlins top prospect at the end of the year. In 88 games he is hitting .299 with 24 doubles, 10 home runs and 26 stolen bases.

Matt LipkaBraves  SS  DOB: 04/15/92

Lipka has had his name thrown around in trade rumors the past couple of weeks but the Braves would be selling low on him. After drawing raves reviews his first year as a pro many expected more from him. He has hit .238 and is 19/10 on the bases. He has a .282 SLG% and has been a drain on Rome's offense rather than the sparkplug he was expected to be. You have to expect more from someone with his athletic ability and speed. It's too early to throw in the towel on Lipka but if the Braves can get good value for him it might be worth unloading him and letting someone else worry about whether he can put it all together.