Prospect Pulse: August 20th, 2012 - C.J. Cron and Jake Esch

The Prospect Pulse is a recap of some of the top performances in the minors from the previous day. Prospects are sorted by the league in which they play with their parent club listed in parentheses. In each of the 14 leagues this series follows I will select what I feel is the single best performance and may mix in a few “honorable” mentions as well. Then at the end of each days’ recap I will pick a hitter and pitcher of the day from among the 14+ players covered.

Appalachian League (Rk)

RHP – Thomas Lee, Johnson City (St. Louis): 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO

DH – Ariel Ovando, Greeneville (Houston): 2-2, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB

Pioneer League (Rk)

SS – Corey Seager, Ogden (LA Dodgers): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB

1B – Carlos Sanchez, Billings (Cincinnati): 4-5, 4 2B, 3 RBI, 4 R

New York-Penn League (A-)

RF – Preston Tucker, Tri-City (Houston): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R

Northwest League (A-)

RF – Carlos Ramirez, Vancouver (Toronto): 2-5, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 R

RHP – Taylor Cole, Vancouver (Toronto): 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO

Midwest League (A)

1B – Daniel Paolini, Clinton (Seattle): 3-5, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R

RHP – Archie Bradley, South Bend (Arizona): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO

South Atlantic League (A)

RHP – Jake Esch, Greensboro (Miami): 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO

For the second day in a row, a Georgia Tech grad captures one of the player of the day slots. Yesterday it was OF Tony Plagman, and today it’s Jake Esch who was drafted by the Marlins in the 11th round of the 2011 draft. Before he made his way to college, Esch was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota (bonus points in my book) and attended Cretin-Derham Hall in his high school days. That high school has produced it’s shared of MLB and NHL talent – including Paul Molitor, Matt Birk, Steve Walsh, Chris Weinke and of course Joe Mauer – but it also had a knack for bouncing my high school out of the playoffs in football seemingly every year (so subtract a few of those bonus points).

While he primarily played SS in his final year with the Yellow Jackets, the Marlins have had him on the mound from day one of his professional career and while he remains a bit raw, he’s turned in a very solid 2012 season so far. In 55.2 IP, split between Jamestown and Greensboro, he has a 3.40 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 45-22 SO-to-BB and has allowed 46 hits. There is a lot of untapped potential here but he already throws comfortably in the low-90s and can add a little extra to that when he needs to. The Marlins have used him primarily out of the bullpen to date but his last two appearances have been starts for the Grasshoppers.

Miami doesn’t have the deepest farm system in – far from it in fact – so Esch should start popping up on some of the team’s top-30 and perhaps even top-20 prospect lists that are published this offseason.

3B – Maikel Franco, Lakewood (Philadelphia): 4-5, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

California League (A+)

RHP – Josh Bowman, Stockton (Oakland): 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO

DH – C.J. Cron, Inland Empire (LA Angels): 4-6, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R

As the Angels 2011 1st round selection, Cron hardly needs any introduction. If his lofty draft status weren’t enough he hit 0.308/.371/.629 in 34 games with Orem last year after he signed and pushed his way to #5 in Baseball America’s Angels’ Top-30 this past offseason.

This year he’s continued to show off his plus-plus power by belting 31 2B and 25 HR in 122 games with Inland Empire. It may be the California League, but there’s no doubt the power is for real. As evidenced by his 6.3 BB% last season and a 3.2% rate this season, Cron generally doesn’t get on base by way of the free pass. However for a power bat he has an excellent 12.5 K% and has shown quite a bit of improvement in that area this year.

At the time he was drafted he was viewed as a potential middle of the order hitter with excellent power and solid bat. Now a full year removed from the draft, he remains on course to live up to that projection and should easily claim one of the top-3 spots in the Angels prospect rankings heading into the 2013 season.

Carolina League (A+)

LF – Steven Bumbry, Frederick (Baltimore): 2-3, 2B, HR, RBI, R

Florida State League (A+)

No Games Scheduled

Eastern League (AA)

RHP – Patrick Cooper, Erie (Detroit): 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO

DH – Robbie Widlansky, Bowie (Baltimore): 2-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, R

Southern League (AA)

LHP – Aaron Miller, Chattanooga (LA Dodgers): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO

Texas League (AA)

LHP – Kevin Siegrist, Springfield (St. Louis): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO

RHP – Cody Buckel, Frisco (Texas): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO

International League (AAA)

RHP – Miguel Batista, Gwinnett (Atlanta): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER , 1 BB, 7 SO

RF – Vinny Rottino, Columbus (Cleveland): 3-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

RHP – Claudio Vargas, Nashville (Milwaukee): 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO

C – Brett Hayes, New Orleans (Miami): 5-6, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R

Tags: C.J. Cron Greensboro Grasshoppers Inland Empire 66ers Jake Esch Los Angeles Angels Miami Marlins

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