The Nationals call up a pitching prospect to fill in for the injured Ross Detwiler.
The Situation: Following a breakout 2012 season, Karns seemed destined for another full season in the minor leagues blocked by a loaded Washington rotation. With just one injury, though, things can change, and they changed to Karns’ benefit when Ross Detwiler injured his oblique, creating a need for another starter.
Background: After battling inconsistency at North Carolina State and Texas Tech, Karns’ draft stock plummeted in 2009, as he was routinely touched up throughout the spring. He was finally popped in the 12th round by the Nationals and signed for $225,000. Almost immediately after signing, Karns came up lame with a torn labrum and missed the remainder of the 2009 season and all of 2010. Back on the hill in 2011, Karns posted a solid 3.44 ERA in eight starts for the New York-Penn League’s Auburn Doubledays. His breakout came in 2012 with good health and monster showings at both Low-A and High-A. On the season, he recorded a 2.17 ERA in 116 innings with just 70 hits allowed, 47 walks, and 148 punchouts. Karns has handled the jump to Double-A reasonably well this season, pitching to a 4.60 ERA in nine starts, allowing less than a hit per inning, and fanning 11 batters per nine.
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The Mariners replace Dustin Ackley with Franklin, Seattle's fourth-best prospect on our offseason rankings.
The Situation: Second baseman Dustin Ackley came out of college considered an elite-level hitter who would quickly establish himself in the big leagues. Ackley has never fulfilled his potential in three seasons in Seattle, totaling a .237/.307/.344 line in 1,215 plate appearances. With his continued struggles (.205/.266/.250 this year) and a Seattle offense that is hitting just .241/.310/.392 as a team, changes needed to be made. Enter Nick Franklin. Franklin, the team’s fourth-ranked prospect entering the year, has been called up to replace Ackley, who was optioned to Triple-A.
Background: A first-round pick in 2009, Franklin signed for $1.28 million and hit .333/.354/.476 in a 16-game debut that spanned the rookie-level Arizona League and short-season Northwest League. The following year Franklin exploded with a .281 average in the offensively difficult Midwest League, punching 22 doubles and a whopping 23 home runs as a 19-year old. With lofty expectations in the California League in 2011, Franklin stumbled as myriad injuries took their toll. After hitting .275 in 64 games for High Desert, Franklin was tested with an assignment to Double-A Jackson where he ripped off a .325/.371/.482 line in 21 games. The Mariners returned Franklin to Double-A in 2012 and he again torched the Southern League with a .896 OPS and 25 extra-base hits in 57 games. He struggled after a promotion to Triple-A in the second half, hitting just .243, though he did knock 27 extra-base hits in 64 games. Back in Triple-A to start the 2013 season, Franklin made the necessary adjustments and has hit .324/.440/.472 so far this season.
Desperate for a starter, the Jays call up their no. 2 pitching prospect from Double-A.
The Situation: After an active offseason that included the acquisition of starting pitchers Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, and Josh Johnson, the Blue Jays are now prepared to send their 10th starting pitcher of the season to the mound. In addition to Johnson’s injuries, J.A. Happ has been dealing with injuries of his own and Ricky Romero has been struggling through the first two months of the season. As if that weren’t enough, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison are still several months away from returning to the mound and the club was forced to send Ramon Ortiz to the hill this week. All of that leads to the call-up of left-hander Sean Nolin, the team’s no. 2-rated pitching prospect.
Background: A sixth-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2010, Nolin has had little trouble motoring through the minor leagues. After a 6.05 ERA in six New York-Penn League starts during his professional debut, Nolin has improved at every stop. With Low-A Lansing in 2011 he posted a 3.49 ERA in 108-1/3 innings, allowing just 102 hits and 31 walks while fanning 113 batters. He followed up that strong performance with a dazzling 2.19 ERA in 17 games (15 starts) for High-A Dunedin in 2012 before being promoted to Double-A New Hampshire. In just three starts with New Hampshire, Nolin notched a 1.20 ERA and better than a strikeout per inning. After some missed time early this season due to a pulled groin, Nolin has continued his Double-A dominance with a 1.17 ERA in three more starts.
The Cardinals look for bullpen help from their top starting pitcher prospect.
The Situation: With the worst bullpen in the major leagues as measured by ERA, the Cardinals are in desperate need for relief help. Just as they turned to right-hander Trevor Rosenthal down the stretch and in the playoffs last year, the Cardinals will again turn to a young, hard-throwing right-hander in Carlos Martinez.
Background: Previously known as Carlos Matias, Martinez failed a background inspection and was suspended for a year by Major League Baseball rather than being allowed to sign with the Red Sox in in 2009. After the suspension was up, the Cardinals gave him a massive payday, ponying up a $1.5 million signing bonus. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League in 2010, Martinez started 12 games en route to posting a miniscule 0.76 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 59 innings.
The Situation: Though he has played only 10 games above High-A, the Marlins are looking to 22-year-old outfielder Marcell Ozuna to fill the void left created by Giancarlo Stanton’s trip to the disabled list with a hamstring injury. The Marlins added Ozuna to their 40-man roster over the offseason, which made the decision to call him up now that much easier. The 22-year-old, who was ranked no. 10 on BP’s Marlins Top 10 list by, was hitting .333 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 10 games for Double-A Jacksonville.
Background: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, Ozuna debuted with the Marlins’ DSL affiliate that summer, posting a .279 batting average while knocking 14 doubles and six home runs as a 17-year-old. Playing in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2009, Ozuna continued to excel at a young age, this time hitting .313 in 55 games and blasting another 22 doubles and five more home runs. After starting with Low-A Greensboro in 2010, Ozuna broke a bone in his left wrist, forcing him to miss the next two months. After recovering, Ozuna tore through the New York-Penn League, leading the league in home runs (21) and runs batted in (60). The Marlins gave him another crack at Low-A in 2011, and he handled it well, posting a .266/.330/.482 line in 131 games. After a promotion to High-A for the 2012 season, Ozuna nearly duplicated his batting line (.266/.328/.476) while leading the Florida State League in home runs (24) and RBI (95).
The Rockies pull the trigger on a long-awaited promotion.
The Situation: Rockies infielder Chris Nelson could not duplicate the success he experienced in 2012, posting a .242/.282/.318 line in 22 games this year, and the club designated him for assignment over the weekend. Nelson’s departure opened the door for Arenado, ranked third on the Rockies Top 10 list by Baseball Prospectus over the offseason, to make his major-league debut on Sunday.
Background: Drafted in the second round in 2009, Arenado raked at every stop through his first three years in the minor leagues. His professional debut in the Pioneer League was a rousing success, with an even .300 batting average and 17 extra-base hits in just 54 games. Pushed to the Low-A South Atlantic League as a 19-year-old in 2010, Arenado responded with a performance worthy of top-prospect praise, highlighted by a .308/.338/.520 line in 92 games. Promoted another level in 2011, Arenado hit .298 with 32 doubles and 20 home runs in the High-A California League. The jump to Double-A in 2012 proved a little difficult for him, as he “struggled” to the tune of a .285 batting average, 36 doubles, and 12 home runs. Through 18 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs this season, he was hitting .364/.392/.667.
Background: The Phillies gave Pettibone an aggressive $500,000 signing bonus as a third-round pick in 2008 and assigned the 17-year-old right-hander to the Gulf Coast League for one start in his debut summer. In 2009, Pettibone moved on to the New York-Penn League, where he tossed 35 1/3 innings with a 5.35 ERA as one of the younger players in the league. The Phillies continued to promote him a level at a time as he moved to Low-A in 2010 and put together his first truly successful season, posting a 3.49 ERA in 131 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox summon a groundballing righty to face the Royals.
The Situation: With a doubleheader scheduled on Sunday against the Royals, the Red Sox require a spot starter to help bolster the starting rotation. With Webster rested and pitching extremely well in Triple-A, he gets the call to make his big-league debut.
Background: Acquired as part of the package sent to the Red Sox in exchange for Josh Becket, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez, Webster may end up the most important piece of that deal for the Sox. Drafted by the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2008 draft, Webster has endured an up-and-down professional career. After breezing through the lower levels during his first three seasons as a pro, Webster hit a bump in the road when he reached Double-A as a 21-year old in 2011. In 91 innings with Chattanooga that summer, the right-hander was touched up for a 5.04 ERA and over 10 hits per nine innings.
The Situation: After an impressive 127 2/3 innings with the Brewers in 2012, right-hander Mike Fiers has fallen flat on his face to start the 2013 season. As a result, the Brewers will give fellow 2009 draftee Hiram Burgos a try in the rotation. Burgos will be called up in time to make his major-league debut against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Background: A native of Puerto Rico, Burgos was drafted by the Brewers in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. The then-21-year old product of Bethune-Cookman College scuffled to a 5.62 ERA in his professional debut with rookie-level Helena. After showing significant improvement in a return trip to Helena in 2010, Burgos was promoted to Low-A, where he posted a 4.48 ERA in 74 1/3 innings split between the rotation and bullpen. Burgos struggled again in 2011, sporting a 4.89 ERA in 22 High-A starts and allowing 142 hits in just 119 2/3 innings.
The Reds have called up pitching prospect Tony Cingrani to start in place of Johnny Cueto
The Situation: Not even two years after being drafted out of Rice, left-hander Tony Cingrani is on his way to the big leagues to help fill a significant void in the Cincinnati Reds rotation. Johnny Cueto, the club’s top starter, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his back, creating an opening for Cingrani to return to the majors after making three relief appearances last fall. Cingrani has gotten off to a blazing start for Triple-A Louisville, hurling 14 1/3 innings across three starts, allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out 26 batters.
Background: Drafted in the third round in 2011, Cingrani had found success in the bullpen after struggling as a starter in his first year (2010) at Rice. As a senior, Cingrani posted a 1.92 ERA and fanned 62 batters in 52 innings out of the bullpen. The Reds moved him to the rotation after he signed and he responded with a spectacular 1.75 ERA in 13 starts for rookie-level Billings. Jumping two levels to High-A in 2012, Cingrani torched the hitter-friendly California League with a 1.11 ERA in 10 starts, punching out 71 hitters in 56 2/3 innings. After a promotion to Double-A, Cingrani continued to succeed with a 2.12 ERA and a strikeout rate north of 10 per nine innings. The Reds purchased his contract in September and he allowed a solo home run in five innings while striking out nine hitters.
Arcia might only be up for a few days, but a strong first impression could lead to an everyday outfield role before long.
The Situation: As outfielder Wilkin Ramirez heads to New York for the birth of his second child, the Twins will call up 21-year-old Venezuelan Oswaldo Arcia to take his place. Ranked fourth in the Twins’ farm system, Arcia has gotten off to a blazing start by hitting .414/.500/.793 in his first nine Triple-A games. Ramirez is expected to be away from the team for three days, giving Arcia a brief window to make an impression and start to lay claim to a position that will likely be his long term.
Background: Signed as an international free agent in 2007, Arcia has raked throughout his professional career. After two solid seasons in the rookie-level Dominican Summer and Gulf Coast Leagues, Arcia exploded onto the scene with an MVP performance in the Appalachian League in 2010, backboned by a massive .375/.424/.672 triple-slash line. The Twins started him in Low-A in 2011, and while he missed time with an elbow injury, his performance forced the organization to promote him to High-A before the conclusion of the season. Back in High-A to start the 2012 season, Arcia hit .309 with 26 extra-base hits in just 55 games, forcing another promotion. Once in Double-A, Arcia turned his offensive output up a notch with a .328/.398/.557 line in 69 games.