Same time, same place, new House of Shlain.
Let's take a look at some of the prospect who have caught my eye in the past week.
It's about time. Nelson appears to have been called up to the big leagues to stay after 32 starts with Triple-A over the last two seasons. He's been particularly good in the Pacific Coast League this season, carrying a 114:32 K:BB in 111 innings and posting a 1.46 ERA and 0.91 WHIP (just three homers allowed) in the process. Drafted by the Reds in 2007, Nelson decided to attend the University of Alabama. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, he sits in the mid-90s with his four-seam fastball and his slider is also a plus pitch. He'll rack up strikeouts, induce groundballs with his two-seam fastball, and rarely get taken deep, which might prove to be a valuable skill with half of his starts coming at Miller Park. Nelson struggles with his command on occasion and he walked 50 batters in 83.1 innings with Triple-A in 2013, but he seemed to adjust nicely this year. He could go through a break-in period with his command, but Nelson has a very bright future.
Alcantara was supposed to just have a cup of coffee in the majors, but his magnificent major league debut has bought him some more service time. Alcantara, 22, went 4-for-5 with three RBI, two infield singles, a double, and a triple. If there's one offensive prospect in the Cubs' system that gets overlooked, it's Alcantara. There was plenty of hype about getting Javier Baez to the big leagues at the end of spring training and early in the season, but it's really been Alcantara who has played better since then. He was hitting .307/.353/.537 in 89 games with Triple-A prior to his call-up. He doesn't have much more to gain from going back down there nor does he seem far away from claiming the second base job for himself. The Cubs put him in the leadoff spot for Friday's game against the Braves.
A fifth-round pick out of Arizona in 2012, Refsnyder has been on fire this season hitting .331/.401/.549 in 91 games between Double-A and Triple-A. The most noteworthy piece of information about Refsnyder right now is that he's played right field and not second base for the last three games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Given that in the last week Alfonso Soriano was designated for assignment and Carlos Beltran broke his nose fouling a ball off of his face in batting practice, it would seem that Refsnyder is getting ready to play outfield in the Bronx sometime soon. That's just speculation on my part from reading the tea leaves, it could also be that the Yankees aren't satisfied with his defensive play at second, or even worse, they are buying into a hot stretch from Brian Roberts. We shall see how it shakes out, but Refsnyder could be called up sooner rather than later.
I've liked Olson ever since I laid eyes on him when he was with Beloit in the Midwest League last season. I'm no scout, but his power was obvious then and he finished the season with 32 doubles and 23 home runs in 134 games. With the lack of home run power around the league, it became clear this was a prospect to take seriously. This season in the California League he's joined Kris Bryant (31 home runs in 91 games) and Joey Gallo (31 in 85 games) in the great minor league home run race with 25 home runs in 89 games. His approach at the plate has also improved. Olson is always going to strike out, but his walk rate has jumped to 19.3%. A decade later, Billy Beane has his Kevin Youkilis (only he's left-handed and can't play third) and he might even trade him before the end of the month.