Top minor league prospects (cont.)
11. Matt Moore, Rays lefthanded pitcher. One scout claimed only two lefthanders have better stuff ... CC Sabathia and Jon Lester. Moore throws 92-96 with a plus changeup and curveball. "Electric stuff,'' the NL exec called it about the pitcher who is 2-2 with a 4.60 ERA with 41 strikeouts and only six walks in 29 1/3 innings at Double-A Montgomery. Moore could be ready late this year. But the Rays have five good young arms in the rotation and don't like to rush anyone's arbitration clock.
12. Zack Wheeler, Giants righthanded pitcher. He's another excellent arm -- a 93-to-96-mph thrower with a "great'' curveball, one scout said of the pitcher who is 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 27 innings at Class-A San Jose. The Giants' No. 1 choice in 2009 could be a couple years away. He's also the natural request in any Reyes trade discussion. "The Mets would have to make that trade if they could. But I'm not sure San Francisco would offer it,'' the NL exec said.
13. Shelby Miller, Cardinals righthanded pitcher. The Cardinals' 2009 No. 1 pick is on the same track as Wheeler. Has a nice repertoire and could be up within two years. He is 1-2 with a 3.21 ERA, with 42 strikeouts in 28 innings at Class-A Palm Beach
14. Matt Harvey, Mets righthanded pitcher. He wowed Mets people throwing as hard as 98 mph in spring, and he's looked outstanding in the high Class-A Florida State League, going 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings at Class-A Port St. Lucie, after signing late as their No. 1 pick last year.
In addition to the teams (the Cardinals, Giants, Brewers, Twins, Red Sox, Mariners)listed in this space last week as possible contenders for Reyes, who remains red-hot, with a league-leading six triples and a .331 batting average, three other teams that could make some sense are the Angels, Reds and Tigers.
If Atlanta's Derek Lowe could become trade bait by midseason, he helped his value with a big win over the Phillies. The Braves, who have excellent pitching at the major-league and Triple-A levels, are looking like a threat in what appears to be baseball's toughest division.
Word is, the Mets are getting more interest in their minority stake or sale than one might expect. Also, the team is being said to be valued at about $1 billion, above the $750-million initial estimate -- though with the Wilpons intending to retain control, the eventual sale price may not reflect the $1 billion value. Stevie Cohen, a friend of the Wilpons, has long been regarded as a natural buyer. But he's been getting some unwanted publicity lately, with a couple of his traders at his SAE Capital pleading guilty to insider trading (though there is no evidence of any tie to Cohen himself).
The Mets haven't released the full result of Chris Young's shoulder MRI, which is worrisome, though they are expressing some optimism because they say it's not the exact problem that sidelined Young for most of the 2010 season. The Mets did put him on the disabled list, though.
Andre Ethier's 30-game hitting streak was stopped by Mets spot starter Dillon Gee and a couple relievers after Young, who does not have a good history vs. Ethier (six home runs in 29 at-bats, a .414 batting average), was scratched.
Justin Verlander joined Roy Halladay and Mark Buehrle as active pitchers with two no-hitters with his second such gem on Saturday against the Blue Jays. One of the most impressing things about Verlander's game was him throwing consecutive pitches of 99 and 100 mph to the last batter he faced.
The Rangers hope Leonys Martin will help them sometime this year. The Reds were among several other teams to bid on the speedy centerfielder.
Congrats to Mike Scioscia on his 1,000th victory. He is arguably the majors' best manager.
Kyle McClellan is off to a 5-0 start as Adam Wainwright's rotation replacement in St. Louis after positing a perfect 4-0 record in spring. Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan is performing his usual magic.
Best wishes to the White Sox' Jake Peavy, who worked hard to return after shoulder surgery and has his first start Wednesday.
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