The Blue Jays stud has arrived. What does it mean?
The Situation: As the Blue Jays strive to hang around the playoff race, their bullpen needed support and the club opted to look for that in the form of their top prospect. Sanchez will arrive in Toronto to fill a relief role in the middle innings.
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Rather than re-printing the BP Prospect Staff Midseason Top 50 debates—much of which involves discussion of multiple players at the same time—we thought it would be interesting to call out some of the more interesting pairings of players who have been in consideration for the #BPTop50 and allow an advocate for each to make his case as to why that player should be ranked ahead of the other.
The Red Sox bring a high-average hitter and multi-position player to the big leagues.
Note: This Article was originally published on Saturday, June 28.
The Situation: With the Red Sox wallowing in fourth place in the American League East, and their outfield combining for a putrid .232/.306/.334 line through 80 games, the club had to do something to try and spark its moribund offense. On Saturday, we discovered what that something would be: a call-up for up stud prospect Mookie Betts in the midst of a breakout .345/.437/.520 season that includes 21 doubles, eight home runs, and 29 stolen bases.
The Situation: The Tigers have struggled to find production at shortstop since Jose Iglesias went down with stress fractures in his lower leg, and this move is the next step in a continuing process to correct that problem. The club’s offensive production from shortstop has included a .167/.219/.233 line from the sinced-release Alex Gonzalez, a .167/.217/.190 line from the now-DFA’d Danny Worth, and a .200/.252/.252 line from the soon-to-be-backup Andrew Romine. Take a look at those numbers again and you will quickly understand why the Tigers decided to call-up BP’s no. 9 Tigers prospect.
The Braves call up a hit-first second baseman whose performances have carried him up the ladder.
The Situation: The Braves incumbent second basemen, Dan Uggla (.177/.254/.257) and Tyler Pastornicky (.200/.317/.257), have struggled mightily so far this season, and as a result, the club is looking for a spark to help their offense. On the horizon, the Braves' no. 6 ranked prospect (by Baseball Prospectus) Tommy La Stella will get a chance to have an impact with the big-league club.
The centerpiece of the package the Tigers received in return for Doug Fister is about to arrive.
The Situation: When Anibal Sanchez went on the disabled list with a finger laceration, the Tigers knew they would need another starter on May 6. The speculation as to who that starter would be ended when Detroit announced that the headliner in the Doug Fister trade, Robbie Ray, would take the bump next Tuesday in place of Sanchez.
Looking for a boost at the plate, the Cardinals turn to the prospect they acquired from the Angels for David Freese.
The Situation: With the Cardinals offense continuing to struggle, posting just a .242 batting average to date, the club made some moves looking for a spark. Calling up Greg Garcia and Randal Grichuk could give the Cardinals the boost they need to get their offense rolling in support of a pitching staff that has posted a cumulative 2.76 ERA through the season’s first 26 games.
Background: Possibly known better for being the player the Angels took one pick before popping Mike Trout, Grichuk was a legitimate first-round selection in his own right. After raking in the Arizona League in 2009 and 2010, Grichuk kept right on hitting after a promotion to Low-A Cedar Rapids, posting a .292 average in 52 games during his first full-season experience. Grichuk battled injuries in 2011, and then put up a California League-bolstered .298/.335/.488 line in 135 games, as he regained his prospect stock in 2012. The 2013 season saw Grichuk struggle at times, as he garnered his first exposure to higher-level pitching. In the end, Grichuk managed to pop 22 home runs and rip 27 doubles en route to a .780 OPS with Double-A Arkansas. An off-season trade sent Grichuk to the Cardinals in exchange for third baseman David Freese, and in his first 21 Triple-A games, Grichuk has hit .310 with eight doubles and three home runs.
Looks at Ricardo Sanchez, Christian Binford, Samir Duenez and Zach Eflin.
(3/17) LHP Ricardo Sanchez (Angels)
Short but strong build; noticeably athletic on the mound; arm speed is very good; it can look very smooth and easy; from ¾ slot, can create some angle by staying over the ball and working down; delivery features a high/tucked leg; wasn’t loud on the frontside; has good balance and explosion to the plate; it's compact and efficient, but had a tendency to finish across his body; fastball was 89-92; popped a few 93s and 94s on the gun; some cutting action because of the cross-fire; struggled with command in his inning of work; inning was banged before three outs were achieved; hit a batter and had multiple walks; showed a slow, loopy curve in the low 70s; can spin the ball and achieve some two-plane shape, but the pitch wasn’t effective; was slow to the plate with runners on (1.5); struggled to stay in his delivery and establish mechanical rhythm. Outing wasn’t sharp but I love the arm and I’m glad we [Baseball Prospectus] ranked him in the Angels' top 10 despite no professional record. We should have ranked him higher. Will pitch the entire season as a 17-year-old; athletic lefty with stuff and swagger; lacks size but body could be strong and hold stuff. Mid-rotation type if everything clicks; extreme risk but I was impressed despite the results. –Jason Parks
The final installment of a seven-part series on the top tools in the minors.
Scouts spend countless hours watching and evaluating players, carefully considering the appropriate grade for each tool or each pitch a player offers. Throughout the course of the season and particularly throughout the course of ranking season, grades are tossed around with near reckless abandon. This player has plus power, and that player has a below-average fastball. This player offers above-average hit projection while that player buries hitters with a potential plus-plus curveball. It's easy to talk about the quality of an individual tool, but what does it all mean in the context of other players?
In the second edition of the annual Top Tools Series, the Baseball Prospectus Prospect Staff debated long and hard over how individual players’ tools stack up against those of their counterparts. Drawing upon our own eyewitness accounts and opinions from scouts across the league, the team debated and compiled the following ratings. The end result is a product that captures the oft-missing context of how individual player tools compare and who has the best of each tool in baseball.