Pack in the Pros: Low Minors Edition

Rob Foldy-US PRESSWIRE

Is it too soon to drop another "Easley does it" pun?

Josh Easley didn't debut until April 24th, but the rangy right-hander has picked up right where he left off from his stellar 2013. Easley has a save and has yet to allow a run in three appearances, each spanning an inning. His pro career ERA sits at 0.53. That 12 strikeouts to 1.3 walks per nine innings thing is pretty ridiculous. Easley made it all the way to high A ball after starting in rookie ball last year, albeit just for a game. He is back a step in the SALLy league at Greensboro to start the year, but I expect him to climb the ladder to high A ball and perhaps even AA before year's end.

Chris Diaz does not appear likely to follow his brother's long road to The Show. The elder Diaz, if never a heavy hitter in the minors, was at least always an everyday player. Little brother is with West Virginia in the SALLy league, where he's batting just .225/.262/.275 and starting less than half of his team's games (14 of 31). Chris Diaz is also without a regular position, as he's bounced around at second, short, and third.

Ryan Mathews put up solid numbers (.260/.337/.446) for Beloit last year, but any enthusiasm for his status as a prospect must be tempered by the fact that he was 1.5 years older than the average player in the Midwest league. He didn't get promoted to start 2014, and his .242/.282/.470 line so far this year at Beloit isn't overly encouraging (nice slugging though). He needs to get his on-base average up and get himself to high A ball ASAP to be considered even a fringe prospect. Mathews had the honor (or drew the shortest straw) of finishing out a blowout for the Snappers this year. He showed he had been paying attention to Logan Jernigan and Anthony Tzamtzis by hitting a batter, walking a batter, and allowing a hit while managing to get just two outs. His ERA from the game: 13.50.

Pratt Maynard is another player whose ascent has stalled. Despite posting a very good .360 OBP in high A ball last year, the backstop did not get a promotion to start the season. He actually ended 2012 at high A, so playing at the same level for a third straight season has to be a bit disappointing for the Franklinton native. Also disappointing is that Maynard hasn't taken the field since April 14th and is on Rancho Cucamonga's disabled list. He was hitting just .219/.308/.375 before getting hurt.

Danny Canela raked (.360/.455/.582) in the independent Frontier League last season after going undrafted from Lee Preparatory School for Keggers or wherever the heck it was he went after bailing on his senior year at State. His play with the River City Rascals (he was the FL rookie of the year) earned him a shot with the Cubs, but he does not appear to be materializing as a prospect. Canela is hitting .278/.304/.352 as a part-time DH for Kane County. Like Mathews, Canela is way too old for the Midwest league unless he is absolutely dominating. He ain't. I suspect his release will come immediately after the June draft, and nice features like this one from the Beacon News will be a thing of the past. (Also, the heck? The Cubs sent Jed Hoyer to watch him? The GM? Well that is something.)

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