Another week in the books in the minor league season, and with the New York-Penn League and Gulf Coast League now in full swing, let's get right to it. Check below the jump for updates on the recently promoted Domonic Brown, the debut of Jesse Biddle, a toolshed who has acquitted himself well in the NYPL's early going, and more.
Domonic Brown, OF-L, Lehigh Valley: The next time Dom Brown suits up in a Reading jersey, it's likely to be on a rehab assignment from the big league club. The organization's top prospect was promoted to Triple-A on Friday, and it was a well-deserved promotion, as Brown simply laid waste to the Eastern League: .318/.391/.602, 10.7% BB, 21.6% K (271 PA). A 3-for-4 effort on Sunday gives Brown an early .364/.417/.455 line (through 12 plate appearances) in Triple-A, and while he'll surely find the International League a bit more difficult, he's shown the ability to make adjustments and should have no problem doing so again.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B-L, Lakewood: We had to know that Singleton would cool off eventually, so a 3-for-15 week shouldn't be a huge surprise. But the good news is that this mini slump hasn't been a product of a poor approach. Singleton both walked and struck out once this past week, so what we're seeing is really just a BABIP regression. It's down to XXXXX (from .459 just a few weeks back), but all that's done is downgrade his season numbers from "zOMG" to "outstanding": .356/.441/.651, 13.0% BB, 18.1% K, .295 ISO.
Scott Mathieson, RHP, Lehigh Valley: The flamethrowing Canadian showed no ill effects from his demotion back to Triple-A, fanning 5 while walking 1 and surrendering 3 hits and 1 run across 3 innings. But let's go back to his MLB "re-debut" for a moment -- while Mathieson was responsible for 2 runs in 0.2 innings, he only really gave up one hard hit ball, saw a bunch of grounders find holes, and otherwise ran into a spate of bad luck. But the fastball averaged 95.8 mph, the slider showed some promise, and I'm still confident he can help the big league bullpen this year.
Tyson Gillies, OF-L, Reading: Spring training, when Gillies was the talk of the town (non-Halladay division) in Clearwater, seems like such a long time ago at this point. The speedster came off the DL in mid-June, but made just two appearances before hamstring problems forced him back out of action last week. It's a shame, but given that the incumbent center fielder in Philadelphia is signed through 2012, there's no need to rush Gillies; the important thing now is for him to focus on getting healthy, and getting as many at bats as he can when he returns.
Jesse Biddle, LHP, GCL Phillies: The Phillies' first round selection in the June draft made his pro debut on Friday, and turned in a workmanlike performance: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Reports had him touching 93 with his fastball, and even more encouraging than that is the control -- which was one of the knocks on him as a draft prospect. You never want to read too much into the Gulf Coast League numbers for high school draftees, but the solid debut is encouraging, and it will be interesting to see how Biddle fares from now until the end of August in his first taste of pro ball.
Jonathan Villar, SS-S, Lakewood: Villar smacked a home run as the starting shortstop for the SAL North All-Stars -- a slightly ironic result, seeing as he has just one dinger on the year for the BlueClaws. There are both positives and negatives here: his .281/.345/.361 shows some hitting ability and patience, and his 27 stolen bases show some secondary skills, but the lack of power (.080 ISO) the questionable contact ability (27.0%), and 25 errors on the season stand as evidence that some caution is necessary here.
Maikel Franco, 3B-R, GCL Phillies: The recipient of a $100,000 bonus back in February, Franco is a 17-year old Dominican third baseman who made his pro debut when the GCL Phillies started play last Monday. The organization must like what they see from Franco, because he's hit third in every game thus far -- pretty impressive for the youngest player on the team. The early results have been good, too, with Franco posting a .273/.333/.545 slash line (through 24 PA) with 2 BB and 4 K. It's really early to make any judgments, but Franco's one to keep an eye on.
Joe Savery, LHP, Lehigh Valley: News broke last week that Savery was being shifted to the IronPigs bullpen, but the 2007 first round pick proceeded to take the bump as the starter on Saturday (5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K). Whatever's going on here, a move to the bullpen would certainly be warranted, as Savery has quite simply not been up to the challenge of Triple-A this year -- as evidenced by his 5.42 FIP and 42:37 K:BB in 76.2 innings. He's still a lefty, so if his stuff ticks back up a bit in shorter stints, that might actually be Savery's best way forward.
Justin De Fratus, RHP, Clearwater: The right hander has been with the organization so long -- he was an 11th round pick out of Ventura College in 2007 -- that it's easy to forget that he's only 22. Moving one level at a time has De Fratus in High-A now, and he's been a huge success as the Threshers' closer, with a 2.35 FIP, 9.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 50.0% GB in 35.1 innings. Personally, I think it makes sense to give De Fratus at least some exposure to Double-A this year, as he's pretty clearly had no real issues in the FSL.
Kyrell Hudson, OF-R, Williamsport: It could just be a small sample, but credit where it's due to Hudson, the organization's third round pick in the 2009 draft: he's exhibited a great approach thus far in the NYPL. Notching as many walks as strikeouts (4) through 27 plate appearances is a great sign, so I'm not even worried that he's only 5-for-23 in the early going. He's got a double and a pair of steals, and the raw tools are still very, very good, so the early returns here are extremely positive.