Tacoma Rainiers (AAA)– Pacific Coast League

No. 1 Justus Sheffield, LHS
MON: 5.1 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 BB, 5 SO
2019: 27.1 IP, 19 H, 11 ER, 23 BB, 20 SO, 3.76 ERA

Sheffield was 91-95 with the fastball and showed better command of it than the majority of his previous outings. He couldn’t put hitters away, however, which forced him to keep throwing strikes and he walked a batter or two he shouldn’t have as a result. He gave up two hard hit balls, one a home run.


No. 8 Shed Long, 2B/3B/OF
MON: 2-5, 3B, 2 SO
2019: .277/.357/.464, 4-2B, 4-3B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 14 BB, 30 SO


No. 22 David McKay, RHR
MON: 1.1 IP, 3 SO
2019: 11 G, 5.50 ERA, 18 IP, 17 H, 9 BB, 30 SO

McKay had his plus curveball out for show and tell Monday and it was disgustingly beautiful.  The right-hander’s three strikeouts Monday night came versus Pat Valaika (.320), Sam Hilliard (No. 9 Rockies prospect) and Brian Mundell (.362).

He’s walked nine batters and his ERA is too high but he touches 96 with plane and that curveball is a big-time swing-and-miss pitch. Besides, eight of his 11 earned runs came in two outings. Big leagues this summer.

Here’s that curveball in action:


No. 31 Matt Festa, RHR
MON: DNP
2019: 6 G, 8.22 ERA, 7.2 IP, 11 H, 3 BB, 10 SO


No. 35 Tim Lopes, 2B
MON: 1-1, 2B, 3 BB, SB
2019: .267/.327/.395, 5-2B, 3B, HR, 8 BB, 20 SO, 5 SB


No. 40 Nick Rumbelow, RHR
MON: DNP
2019: 10 G, 12.34 ERA, 11.2 IP, 22 H, 9 BB, 7 SO


J.P. Crawford, SS — 4-for-5, strikeout, three-run home run. Crawford now is up to .321/.425/.464 with 10 extra-base hits, 19 walks and 25 strikeouts.

Been asked a bit about WHY he’s in the minors still. Service time is not the reason. He’s already surpassed the point where he’d end the season with two years of service because he needed 152 days of service this season to get there and there are only 147 days remaining.

What could be a reason or some reasons?

First off, results can’t be the driving force here. He’s performing, but it’s not like he’s embarrassing the Pacific Coast League. It’s a hitter’s league, a down year for arms in the circuit and the ball is of MLB caliber, unlike previous years in Triple-A, which is to say it likes bats.

But he is hitting.

Clubs often wait to see a hitter handle same-handed pitching to a certain level before making the move. Crawford is doing that in 2019, but it’s been just a month of baseball, so small sample.

Clubs sometimes want to see a hitter handle plus changeups from off-handed pitchers or same-handed sliders or big velocity or simply show a long-enough string of high-quality PAs, so they can say “yeah, we can trust now that the same quality PA is going to come in the majors.”

But the club does have to consider the most likely results of those PAs. You don’t set up a player to fail. Is he covering the plate? Is he swining at strikes and not chasing out of the zone? Is he hitting the ball hard consistently?

And then sometimes clubs ask hitters to do certain things for an extended period of time, such as a new timing mechanisim or a swing adjustment or to hit a breaking ball away to the opposite field or to drive fastballs more to the pull side, things like that.

Once the club checks off all the boxes — and it’s for a long enough period to buy into beyond small-sample streaking — the conversation is had and move is made. These convos are being had constantly, however. Jerry Dipoto, his assistants, and his player development staff are always talking about their players in the minors. It’s one of the most critical parts of building a good team and sustaining success once the club gets there.

Anecdotally, I can’t imagine Crawford making consistent hard contact with a little pop and regular high-quality plate appearances for another month and not getting the call to the big leagues.


MLB Mallex Smith, CF — Smith had two more hits and is now batting .429 with two doubles and three stolen bases for Tacoma in three games.


Arkansas Travelers (AA) — Texas League

No. 3 Justin Dunn, RHS
MON: DNP
2019: 25.1 IP, 21 H, 9 ER, 8 BB, 33 SO, 3.20 ERA


No. 6 Kyle Lewis, OF
MON: DNP
2019: .242/.364/.404, 5-2B, 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 18 BB, 32 SO, SB


No. 7 Evan White, 1B
MON: DNP
2019: .273/.359/.400, 4-2B, HR, 6 RBI, 7 BB, 13 SO


No. 14 Ricardo Sanchez, LHS
MON: DNP
2019: 36 IP, 33 H, 7 ER, 7 BB, 26 SO, 1.75 ERA


No. 15 Dom Thompson-Williams, OF
MON: DNP
2019: .316/.404/.520, 3-2B, 3B, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 13 BB, 25 SO, 7 SB


No. 16 Jake Fraley, OF
MON: DNP
2019: .301/.379/.534, 5-2B, 2-3B, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 11 BB, 27 SO, 7 SB


No. 24 Wyatt Mills, RHR
MON:
DNP
2019:
12.2 IP, 19 H, 11 ER, 6 BB, 10 SO, 2 SVS


No. 23 Art Warren, RHP
MON: DNP
2019: 1-0, 5 SV, 1.04 ERA, 8.2 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 10 SO, 5 SVS


No. 27 Darren McCaughan, RHS
MON: DNP
2019: 6 GS, 4.28 ERA, 33.2 IP, 36 H, 2 BB, 30 SO


Modesto Nuts (A+) — California League

No. 5 Logan Gilbert, RHS
MON: DNP
2019: 24 IP, 14 H, 7 ER, 7 BB, 37 SO, 2.63 ERA


No. 9 Cal Raleigh, C
MON: DNP
2019: .221/.296/.394, 6-2B, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 10 BB, 28 SO


No. 13 Ljay Newsome, RHS
MON: DNP
2019: 7 GS, 39.2 IP, 32 H, 11 ER, 4 BB, 59 SO, 2.50 ERA


No. 18 Jake Haberer, RHR
MON: DNP
2019: 10 G, 14 IP, 7 H, 6 BB, 23 SO, 3.21 ERA


No. 19 Joey Gerber, RHP
MON: DNP
2019: 11 G, 10.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 16 SO, 3.18 ERA, 4 SV


No. 25 Luis Liberato, CF
MON: DNP
2019: .266/.339/.486, 3-2B, 7 HR, 4 SB, 12 BB., 27 SO


No. 34 Joe Rizzo, 3B
MON: DNP
2019: .355/.429/.455, 8-2B, HR, 16 RBI, 15 BB, 22 SO


No. 39 Connor Kopach
MON: DNP
2019: .255/.333/.404, 6-2B, 3B, 2 HR. 10 BB, 26 SO


MLB Sam Tuivailala, RHR — In his second rehab outing Sunday, the right-hander pitched a scoreless inning, walking a batter. He threw 17 pitches, 10 for strikes.


West Virginia Power (A) — South Atlantic League

No. 2 — Jarred Kelenic, OF
MON: 0-3, BB, 3 SO, SB
2019: .327/.429/.598, 11-2B, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 18 BB, 29 SO, 6 SB


No. 4 — Julio Rodriguez, OF
MON: (IL, wrist)
2019: .355/.429/.452, 3-2B, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SO


No. 12 Damon Casetta-Stubbs, RHS
MON: DNP
2019: 15.1 IP, 16 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 12 SO, 4.15 ERA


No. 20 Ryne Inman, RHS
MON: DNP
2019: 6 GS, 27 IP, 17 H, 9 ER, 10 BB, 44 SO, 3.00 ERA


No. 29 Nolan Hoffman, RHR
MON: DNP
2019: 9 G, 1.08 ERA, 4 SVS, 8.1 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 7 SO


No. 32 Joseph Rosa, 2B
MON: 0-4, 3 SO
2019: .272/.404/.370, 3-2B, 2 HR, 16 BB, 19 SO, 5 SB


No. 33 Dean Nevarez, C
MON: 0-4, 2 SO
2019: .242/.286/.606, 3-2B, 3 HR, BB, 11 SO


No. 36 Elias Espino, RHR
MON: DNP
2019: 5 G, 2.77 ERA, 13 IP, 7 H, 9 BB, 17 SO

Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI.

Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016.

Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.