Allen Lessels' On Baseball: Phillie of the Future?
Fisher Cats pitchers did something on Friday night that not many folks in the Eastern League have been able to do this season: They kept Reading Fightin' Phil Cameron Perkins in control, for the most part.
A 6-foot 5-inch and 205-pound outfielder and first baseman, Perkins went into the game with a batting average of .406. He went 0-for-4 with a walk and run scored.
Perkins, listed as the No. 12 Philadelphia Phillies prospect by Baseball America, has been on a tear to start the Double-A portion of his career.
"He's kind of a baseball player," said Reading manager Dusty Wathan, whose father is John Wathan, the former Major League player and manager. "Tools-wise, there's nothing that really jumps out at you. He doesn't have an unbelievable arm or unbelievable power. But he's got the one thing you look for in a hitter and it's hand-eye coordination. He has a knack for putting the barrel on the ball and he's done it consistently this year."
Perkins, 23, got off to a fast start last year too, with Single-A Clearwater. But a fractured wrist cost him time and slowed him down when he came back. He hit .295 with 30 doubles in 103 games with Clearwater.
Going into Saturday night's game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, Perkins was hitting .382 and was second in the league with nine doubles.
He was the designated hitter on Friday and left fielder on Saturday.
"He plays all three outfield positions and he plays first base and he's played great defense for us," Wathan said. "He runs the bases well. He's just a fun guy to watch play. He's a very good fielder and his baseball IQ is high, which always helps."
Perkins was drafted by the Phillies in the sixth round in 2012 out of Purdue.
"I think some of those guys get overlooked a bit in the draft and then once you get them in the organization, you realize, wow, this guy has some intangibles that are really going to help him in his career," Wathan said.
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Kevin Nolan of Nashua was back from Triple-A Buffalo and in the Fisher Cats lineup, hitting second and playing shortstop, on Saturday night.
Nolan played seven games with the Bisons in the past week and went 5-for-23 for a .217 batting average.Mike McDade, who played with the Fisher Cats in 2011 and 2012, was in the lineup at first base. McDade split time between the Triple-A teams from the Indians and White Sox last season. He signed back with the Toronto organization in March and has been rehabbing a hamstring injury.
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Durham's Sam Fuld didn't take long to make an impact with the Minnesota Twins. Designated for assignment by the Oakland A's on April 11, Fuld was claimed off waivers by the Twins last Sunday.He joined the team for its series at Tampa Bay, his old team, on Wednesday and had five hits in 10 at bats with three doubles and three runs batted in between a 5-4 win in 12 innings on Wednesday night and 9-7 win on Thursday afternoon.
He played center field on Wednesday and left field and was 3-for-5 on Thursday.
"This was a good place for him to start," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters after Thursday's game. "He put some really nice swings out there, driving the baseball. An exciting player. That was big. He had a big series here, and we needed him to."
An outstanding fielder, Fuld, 32, was a popular Ray in his three years with the team from 2011-13.
Fuld followed up the Tampa Bay games with a two-for-four outing in a 10-6 loss to Detroit on Friday night.
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Right-handed pitcher Jordan Cote of Sanbornton has picked up the pace in his conversion to the bullpen with the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs, a Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees in the South Atlantic League.
After struggling a bit early, Cote has come on strong. In his latest three outings through Friday, Cote had allowed five hits, no runs, struck out six and walked none over six innings.
Thursday's outing was his best yet. He went a season-high three innings and allowed one hit and struck out three while combining with lefty Caleb Smith on a 6-0 shutout of the Delmarva Shorebirds, a Baltimore Orioles farm team.
The only hit Cote allowed was a single in the ninth inning to outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl.
Cote, 21, is 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds and was a third round pick of the Yankees out of Winnisquam Regional High School in Northfield in 2011.
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Second baseman Mookie Betts and left-hander Henry Owens, considered by some to be the top two Boston Red Sox prospect, continue to shine at Double-A Portland.
The Fisher Cats play eight games against the Sea Dogs in the next month. The teams play a four-game set in Portland May 8-11 in their first meetings of the season and the Sea Dogs are at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium for four more, May 23-26.
Betts, who is in his first season of Double-A, extended his hitting streak to 13 games at home against Trenton on Saturday. He has reached base safely in his first 18 games this year, which ran his overall streak to 53 games dating back to last season. He was hitting .431 entering Saturday's game.
Owens has a 3-0 record with a 2.28 earned run average and is scheduled to make his next start today at home against Trenton. He has allowed 16 hits in 23 and two-thirds innings and has 25 strikeouts with nine walks.
Betts and Owens are listed as No. 2 and No. 3 on the list of Boston's farm guys at soxpropects.com.
Move them up a spot, though. No. 1 is Xander Bogaerts, who is starting at shortstop for the Red Sox.
Catcher Blake Swihart, No. 4 on the prospects list, is hitting .339 for Portland.