Gyorko is splitting time between second and third base to begin the season, but will eventually move to the keystone full-time.
The situation: After hitting .328/.380/.588 with 24 home runs in 92 Triple-A games last season, Gyorko has little more to prove against minor-league pitching. The 24-year-old prospect has made the Padres out of camp and should see regular at-bats from the outset. Ultimately projecting as the club’s everyday second baseman, Gyorko provides more offensive upside than 2012 platoon partners Logan Forsythe and Alexi Amarista.
Background: A 2010 second-round pick out of West Virginia University, Gyorko has hit over .300 in each of his three professional seasons. He has clubbed his way through the minor leagues, hitting a cumulative .319/.385/.529 in 334 career games. Primarily a third baseman through college and the lower levels, Gyorko appeared in 47 games at second last summer and could remain there long-term. Coming into the 2013 season, Gyorko ranked fifth in the Padres farm system, and number 84 overall in baseball, according to Baseball Prospectus.
The young Red Sox center fielder shows up earlier than expected, but is he ready to contribute right now?
The Situation: With an injury to David Ortiz creating room on the roster, outfielder Jackie Bradley has officially made the Red Sox Opening Day roster after much buzz during spring training. The initial expectation was that the 22-year-old would start the season in the minors, with a potential call to the Show in the cards later in the season. However, Bradley showed such a high level of polish and maturity in camp that the organization deemed him capable of making the jump from Double-A to fill in while Ortiz mends, granting him a spot in the lineup and in left field.
Background: A standout at South Carolina in his first two seasons, Bradley entered his junior year as a projected mid-first round pick. A wrist injury ended up cutting his year short, and the outfielder fell to Boston in the supplemental round. Since entering the professional ranks, he hasn’t stopped hitting. Bradley received an accelerated placement to start 2012 in the Carolina League and took the competition by storm. A .359/.480/.526 line in 67 games with Salem offered a clue that he was trending ahead of the curve, with personal scouting looks revealing that he was in need of a greater challenge. Bradley got the mid-season bump to Double-A and continued to acquit himself well both offensively and defensively (with the scouting reports to match the stats) in the Eastern League. The 22-year-old entered 2013 the second-ranked prospect in the Red Sox farm system and 27th overall, according to Baseball Prospectus.
The situation: The Twins wanted the 23-year-old Aaron Hicks to win a starting job in the major leagues this season. In the offseason, they traded away Denard Span and Ben Revere, re-tooling their farm system but also leaving a void in center field. Hicks, fresh off a bounce-back season at Double-A New Britain, came into spring training with the same attitude the Twins did. He batted .370/.407/.644 while clubbing 4 home runs in the spring, all but cementing his place at the major-league level. While the general consensus was that Hicks could use some more play in the minors, his great spring as well as an empty spot gave the Twins enough reason to stick him in center field on Opening Day.
Background: Hicks took the scenic route to reach his final destination in Minnesota, spending time in the Gulf Coast League, two seasons in the Midwest League, a season in the Florida State League, and finally a season in the Eastern League. Drafted in the first round out of high school in the 2008 draft, he profiled as a toolsy outfielder with a rocket arm who could move to the mound eventually if he did not hit enough in the early going. He signed quickly and got an early test in the Gulf Coast League and hit well, showing good patience at the plate for an 18-year-old. After his inaugural season, Hicks took the logical next step to Single-A Beloit where he struggled in what was his first full season of professional baseball. After repeating the level and producing better results, Hicks struggled again in High-A Fort Meyers, leaving some doubters ready to claim he was a lost cause. The Twins did not believe so, of course, and pushed him to Double-A where he put those tools to use more often, finally showing game power. Going into the 2013 season, Hicks was ranked third in the Twins farm system and 46th in the Top 101 prospects list, according to Baseball Prospectus.
Jose Fernandez makes the Marlins roster; will skip the high-minors in 2013
The situation: On Sunday morning, we all woke to the news that 20-year-old Jose Fernandez would be starting the season at the major-league level. With only 11 Advanced A-ball starts under his belt, most assumed Fernandez would be slated for a full dose of Double-A in 2013, with a potential call-up late in the season if things progressed as planned. The opportunity for aggressive promotion arose because of injuries to pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez, as they will start the season on the shelf and the Marlins needed an arm capable of stepping up into the major-league rotation.
Background: After several failed attempts, Fernandez was finally able to escape Cuba in 2008 and set up residency in the United States in 2009. After blowing up on the showcase circuit, Fernandez was selected 14th overall in the 2011 draft by the Marlins and signed for a $2M bonus. Despite only two brief starts at the short-season level, Fernandez began his first full season in the Sally League, where the 19-year-old absolutely shoved it, making 14 starts and striking out 99 in only 79 innings, while allowing only 51 hits. Over the summer, he was promoted to the Florida State league, where he continued his dominance, logging 11 more starts and maintaining his strong peripherals against older competition. During the all-star weekend, Fernandez was selected to pitch in the Futures Game, where the big righty stood out as one of the top arms on either roster. Coming into the 2013 season, Fernandez was ranked number one in the Marlins farm system, and number six overall in baseball, according to Baseball Prospectus.
A scouting report on Manny Machado, who received a surprising call-up to the big leagues on Wednesday night.
The situation: Winners of five in a row and suddenly tied for the lead in the wild-card race, the Baltimore Orioles made an aggressive and surprising move Wednesday night, calling up their top position prospect in Machado, who just turned 20 last month. Machado was hitting .266/.352/.438 in 109 games at Double-A Bowie and was 16-for-33 with 32 total bases in his past nine games.
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A look at the immediate and long term future of Mike Olt with the Rangers.
The situation: Coming off their most dramatic win of the season in comeback fashion against the division-rival Angels, the Rangers made a move to bolster their offense by calling up Mike Olt from Double-A Frisco. In 95 Texas League games, Olt was hitting .288/.398/.579 with 28 home runs in 354 at-bats.
What to expect from Domonic Brown in the big leagues? It's a bit of a mystery.
The situation: With the Phillies trading both Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino on Tuesday, the club needed outfielders. That means another chance for Domonic Brown, who was once the organization's top prospect and among the top outfield prospects in the game.
The Diamondbacks called up Trevor Bauer and here's what to expect.
The situation: With Joe Saunders heading to the disabled list with a shoulder injury, the Arizona Diamondbacks made the highly anticipated move of calling up Trevor Bauer, the No. 3 overall pick in last year's draft, who will make his major league debut by starting on Thursday. Splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A, Bauer ranked second in the minor leagues with 116 strikeouts in 93 innings, to go with a 2.23 ERA.