Allie Headed to Florida
Not only has Stetson Allie re-established himself as a legitimate prospect, but the pitcher-turned-first baseman has earned a mid-season promotion, reports Tim Williams of PiratesProspects.com. Allie will join the Bradenton Mauraders of the High-A Florida State League.
The Pirates converted Allie into a position player last season after severe control issues limited his effectiveness on the mound. He's found a home at first base, and in his first full season as a hitter, he hit .324/.414/.607 with 17 home runs in 66 South Atlantic League games. He's due for some regression, as a player of his stature - he rotund, to be kind - is unlikely to keep up his .413 BABIP. Still, his .283 ISO is a strong demonstration of his power potential.
As a 22-year-old getting a late start as a hitter, it's good to see Allie take to the batter's box quickly, and it's good to see the Pirates demonstrate a willingness to promote him as he proves his worth. The biggest question going forward will be about his ability to make contact. The 27.7 percent strikeout rate he posted in Low-A ball is slightly alarming, even for a power hitter, but strikeouts are on the rise and becoming more and more acceptable, so it's possible that his power could get a chance to play even if his strikeout numbers become extreme as he moves up the Pirates organizational ladder.
Franco to Upper Minors
The breakout year for Maikel Franco has taken perhaps its biggest step, as the Phillies have promoted their third base prospect to Double-A Reading, according to Matt Winks of PhuturePhillies.com. Franco leaves High-A Clearwater behind having hit .299/.347/.576 in his first taste of the Florida State League, almost doubling his ISO from last season while also lowering his strikeout rate. His walk rate could stand to be higher than the 6.9 percent it's been last year and this season, but it's a good sign to see it at least stay at the same level despite the onset of more power.
Franco turns 21 this summer so he'll be young for the Eastern League, and it should serve as a good test for his development. The mid-season move could speed up his timetable, not for this year, but for a possible mid-to-late season call-up in 2014.
Quackenbush on the Doorstep
Players drafted out of college as relievers have the potential to move quickly through the minors, and that's exactly what's happening to Kevin Quackenbush, who the Padres have promoted to Triple-A, reports Corey Brock of MLB.com. His most recent promotion is just the latest attempt by the Padres to find a level of the minors that provides a challenge to the former South Florida Bull.
Quackenbush has posted a career 12.8 K/9 rate across minor league levels high and low while also demonstrating good control. Additionally, the only stint at any level that resulted in an ERA over 1.00 was his time in the Arizona Fall League last season, where he struck out 16 batters in 11 innings to the tune of a 2.45 ERA.
Quackenbush has certainly been the benefactor of some good luck, including astronomical strand rates, but his swing-and-miss stuff is undeniable and with his latest promotion, he's just one step away from a call-up to the majors. With the Padres working themselves back into contention, Quackenbush could be a potential piece to add later this summer.