Can the A's top prospect make regretting the Josh Donaldson trade a thing of the past?
The Situation: As infielder Chad Pinder heads to the disabled list with a hamstring strain, the A’s turn to their top prospect to help fill the void. Just days after calling up Matt Chapman, and as the team looks to retool in the second half of the season, Barreto has an opportunity to make an impression and stick around despite struggling at Triple-A so far this season.
Every streak has an exception, and we've got the weird teams to prove it.
Saturday, in an 8-3 victory over the Rays, three Orioles pitchers (Dylan Bundy, Donnie Hart, and Mychal Givens) ended Baltimore’s streak of 20 straight games with five or more runs allowed.
I’d become aware of the streak a week earlier, at the BP Ballpark Event in Baltimore. (If you haven’t been to these before, they’re really fun, and you can still get tickets for the events in Pittsburgh and Minnesota.) Sitting in the stands, watching the Orioles beat the Cardinals 15-7, a couple of the knowledgeable fans who were with us pointed out that the O’s had given up five or more runs in what was then a near-record 13 consecutive games.
Trea Turner's first 162 games have featured some greatness, some goodness, and a few remaining questions.
No matter what happens during Trea Turner’s career on the field, he forever left his mark off the field by motivating Major League Baseball to change the way it handles trades of recent draft picks—the Trea Turner Rule, unofficially. Turner was drafted 13th overall by the Padres in 2014 out of North Carolina State, where he hit .342 with 113 steals in 173 games. After signing quickly for $2.9 million, he debuted by hitting .323 with 23 steals in 69 games between rookie-ball and low Single-A, establishing himself as a consensus top-100 prospect right away. And then that winter the Padres traded him. Sort of.
New general manager A.J. Preller was hell-bent on turning a 77-85 team into an immediate winner, giving up prospects, young major leaguers, and piles of cash to bring in Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Matt Kemp, James Shields, Melvin Upton, and Derek Norris, among others. Myers was acquired from the Rays in a three-team blockbuster that involved Turner being dealt to the Nationals. However, because he was just six months removed from signing and MLB rules prohibited draft picks from being traded for a full year, Turner’s inclusion in the swap had to be masked as a “player to be named later.”
Jason Groome, LHP, Boston Red Sox (short-season Lowell) Leading up to the 2016 amateur draft, Jason Groome was considered to be a possible 1-1 selection. However, he ended up falling to Boston at 12th overall due to concerns about signability and maturity. He eventually agreed to a $3.65 million bonus and his work ethic has impressed the Red Sox. He began the year in Single-A Greenville, but struggled mightily in his first start and left with a lat injury. His next start was not until June 19th for Lowell, which lasted only 2 1/3 innings due to rain. Boston’s top pitching prospect should return to Greenville once he proves that he can pitch deeper into games.
Separating signal from noise can be difficult in the prospect landscape.
My first look at Phillies pitching prospect Adonis Medina this spring was so boring that I managed to not write about it at all—not in a Ten Pack or Eyewitness Report, not in my column, not even as a throwaway line in a bit about someone else. He was, more or less, the same guy we wrote up in the Phillies offseason top ten: 90-94 with a heavy fastball, a slurvish curve and a firm change that both needed generous projection to get to average, but a strong feel for pitching and good command for his age. With more physical projectability left than you’d think, we snuck him onto the back of the offseason 101 as the 91st-best prospect in baseball. There are dozens of pitching prospects with this rough outline and they populate around the 75th-to-150th spots in any given global top 101 list. I marked him as a guy to check back on and probably Ten Pack on a rainy week.
Mike Montgomery has been effective for the Cubs as a starting pitcher. But what does that have to do with the price of beans as it relates to your fantasy team?
The first two months of this season, Mike Montgomery was a solid option out of the bullpen for the Cubs. In those initial 36 2/3 innings, he held a 2.21 ERA and struck out 26 batters. While he was getting opportunities to pitch, he wasn’t going to get save chances. Thus, Montgomery wasn’t on the radar of many fantasy owners. Montgomery’s situation changed June 9.
The Cubs were looking for a pitcher to fill a spot in the starting rotation due to Kyle Hendricks' stint on the disabled list, and Montgomery ran with the opportunity. In his first start, he gave up two earned runs against the Rockies in four innings. He surrendered two earned runs in his next start. Montgomery hasn’t given up an earned run in his past two starts, and he’s struck out 10 over the course of those 12 innings. That’s the kind of production that will get the attention of fantasy owners.
The first-half All-Stars from the Single-A California League.
With the California League’s All-Star game in the books, the season’s first half has shuffled off this mortal coil. After a down year for top-end talent last year, the league has been defined thus far by significantly more “wow” talent, mostly concentrated among the top rungs of pitching staffs far and wide. Below you’ll find the complete All-Star rosters for reference, and then we’ll get into the league’s best and most interesting fantasy prospects.