Manuel Margot, CF
Margot's season isn't going splendidly, but let's take a step back and remember that he's 18 years old, and the New York-Penn League isn't exactly a hitter's paradise, either. The average hitting in that league is at .243/.314/.340 with a 654 OPS, and Margot has managed to prop up his line with the most important of the slash stats, on-base percentage. Considering his youth -- the average New York-Penn hitter is 21 -- that's impressive, even if it doesn't look the part.
He's kept the strikeouts to a good enough minimum, at 17 percent, especially when you consider the frequency with which his plate appearances become walks. He could use some work on the bases, and obviously some power and more hits per ball in play are things that need to happen, but for a player who projects to be a high-quality defender, this is a solid start to things.
Ty Buttrey, RHP
Buttrey's stat line presents an intriguing statistical quandary for development. Is he going to get hit hard soon, thanks to a lack of strikeouts and too many walks for his punch out frequency? Or, conversely, is Buttrey succeeding with effective pitching despite a lack of his best stuff? The latter suggests a player who is going to be ready for a move to Low-A Greenville in 2014, as he can handle his current competition without even being the Ty Buttrrey he's envisioned to be. If it's the former, though, then things could get a little hairy until he starts to miss bats.
He's about neutral with ground outs against air outs, so while he hasn't made up for the strikeouts on the ground, he hasn't exactly given the opposition too many opportunities for the long ball or anything, either. He's also shown flashes of putting it all together, like when he struck out four in five scoreless innings on July 14, and then followed it up with another four punch outs in four frames his next time out. With that in mind, there's probably a lot of the better scenario described above going on, in which Buttrey needs to figure out some consistency, but is plenty talented to thrive even when he doesn't have it.
Jamie Callahan, RHP
Callahan's year did not start out so well, as he allowed five runs in his second outing and then three a piece in his next three. He's come around of late, though, and in a way that's hard to avoid getting excited about despite the minuscule sample size. Callahan has allowed one hit in his last two outings and 12 innings, with 17 strikeouts against zero walks. He only allowed one baserunner -- that one hit -- in his July 26 start, and on July 31, Callahan threw six perfect innings with nine strikeouts before he was lifted.
That capped off a July where Callahan posted a 3.04 ERA in 26-2/3 innings, and also struck out 29 against four walks. That's good enough to impress on its own, but remember: Callahan is just 18 years old, and won't even turn 19 until the end of this month. He's pitching in such a way that, barring sudden disaster, he likely ends up as a teenage pitcher in Low-A, along with this summer's first-round pick, Trey Ball.
We're all understandably excited about the pitching prospects in the upper levels, but between Callahan, Ball, and Buttrey, let's remember the lower levels will shortly have some guys worth talking about, too, with the eldest of them all of 21 years old next summer.
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