Minor League Report: Five Players To Watch

James Paxton, LHP, Jackson Generals, Southern League, Seattle Mariners – It is hard to deny the Mariners 2010 4th rounder(drafted out of the indy league American Association)  a place on this month’s list. While he’s had some struggles overall, the twenty-three-year-old has shined in many ways in June and July, earning himself a spot on the Futures Game roster, where he pitched a scoreless inning. He left Class-A Clinton with a 2.43 ERA, a 1-2 record in six starts, with with 80 strikeouts under his belt. Highlight: On July 1st, Paxton skipped a level and earned a promotion to Double-A Jackson.

Dayan Viciedo, RF, Charlotte Knights, International League, White Sox – Viciedo has raised his average every month since the start of the 2011 season. He finished June hitting .371, 43 hits, nine of them doubles. He’s begun July at an excellent pace. He’s gotten nine hits in his last ten games, hitting .325. July also saw him being selected to play in the Futures Game. Overall, he leads the league with 62 RBI and 16 home runs. Highlight: Hard to choose between the July 1st two-home run-game or the July 7th three-RBI-game.

Michael Maness, RHP, Batavia Muckdogs, New York Penn League, St. Louis Cardinals – Maness has a 0.32 ERA in three starts in July, allowing just 2 earned runs in 28 innings. In four innings of relief he had a 0.oo ERA. Since June 19th he’s walked just three batters. Highlight: On July 1st he went six innings, allowing a run (unearned) a hit, and a walk.

Darin Gorski, LHP, St. Lucie Mets, Florida State League – Gorski has dominated the league all season. He has not had a loss yet and collected 9 wins. He’s also leading the league in strikeouts with 102 and his 1.82 ERA is the FSL lowest. Between June 12th and mid-July he has been a revelation: 9 hits, 10 earned runs, 29 strikeouts in 37 innings. He finished June with a 0.79 ERA. Highlight: A one-hitter on June 27th against the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Tyler Townsend, 1B, Frederick Keys, Carolina League, Baltimore Orioles – Townsend is on the 7-day DL, but before July 13th he was on an offensive tear. Between June 1st and July 11th he put together a seven-game hit streak. He leads the league with 50 RBI. He’s also collected 23 doubles and 13 home runs. Highlight: On July 9th he had a 3-hit, 4-RBI game. He also hit a home run and drew a walk.

My eye on… Anthony Gose, CF, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Eastern League, Toronto Blue Jays

Gose is putting up good numbers for the Fisher Cats, hitting .256, with 39 RBI and 9 home runs in 88 games this season. 

“I think he’s definitely gotten himself in place to be a better player,” said Fisher Cats manager Sal Fasano. “Defensively he’s doing ok. I think he’s got the potential to be Gold Glove caliber in the outfield. If he can consistently bring it on a day to day basis it can be.”

In a a game in early July, Gose exhibited quick thinking and feet on the bases, laying a bunt down, as well as getting a hit off of Phil Hughes. His speed and ability to use it smartly showed improvement. He appears to be translating his tools into skills.

“He’s gotten better on the bases. I think his getting caught percentage is a lot better than last year,” Fasano said.

Gose is in his first season at the Double-A level and exhibiting good pitch recognition and even better patience at the plate than earlier in the season.