The Rockies demote Franklin Morales to their bullpen and bring up one of their top pitching prospects to fill his shoes.
The Situation:Franklin Morales continues to turn in uncompetitive outings, and the Rockies have now decided to pull the plug on the starter and move him into the team’s bullpen. Colorado will fill the rotation spot by tapping into their starting pitching depth at the minor-league level, specifically by summoning Eddie Butler—the no. 2-ranked prospect in the system entering 2014—to the big leagues from Double-A Tulsa.
Background: The Rockies took Butler with the second of their two first round choices in the 2012 amateur draft, popping the right-handed pitcher out of Radford University with the no. 46 overall selection. Given Colorado’s unique home field environment at Coors Field, the Rockies felt Butler’s groundball generating arsenal would not only play well at the major leagues, but at their home ballpark. Baseball Prospectus identified Butler as a prospect on the rise within the Rockies system entering 2013, and he responded with an ERA of 1.80 across three minor-league levels. Butler’s continued his dominance in 2014, posting a 2.49 ERA across 68 2/3 innings of work this season with Double-A Tulsa. While Butler’s strikeout rate in 2014 is significantly lower than it was in 2013, we can attribute that to player-specific developmental focuses that had Butler pocketing his best offerings in order to strengthen the weaker links.
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Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rockies righty Eddie Butler and Padres outfielder Rymer Liriano.
Hitter of the Night: Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres (San Antonio, AA): 3-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 K.
One of the few impact position players in the Padres farm system that is close to being major-league ready, Liriano is hitting for more power now than he did before missing the 2013 season due to Tommy John surgery. He is still an overly aggressive hitter. which could hurt him in the majors.
Pitcher of the Night: Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies (Tulsa, AA): 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K.
Butler’s strikeout rates are down this season, but he is generating lots of weak contact thanks to his heavy sinking fastball.
Scouts' takes on Jose Abreu, Johnny Cueto, Billy Hamilton, Eddie Butler, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including outfielders Courtney Hawkins, Billy McKinney, and Joc Pederson.
Best of the Day
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. The general consensus on Aguilar over the years has been that his hit tool is going to hold his power back enough to keep him from being an everyday player, and that as a right-handed-hitting first-base-only player, he doesn’t fit well on the bench. If that’s going to be wrong, he needs to put up really great offensive numbers, because his defense and baserunning will provide little to no value. If Aguilar keeps hitting like he did this winter and is thus far this season (now hitting .563), he’s going to prove us all wrong.
A close look at the mechanics of a trio of top pitching prospects.
With one week to go until Opening Day, let's tackle one final Bush League installment of the offseason, taking a look at a trio of pitchers who rank among BP's Top 50 prospects: the Rockies’ Eddie Butler, the Pirates’ Tyler Glasnow, and the Twins’ Alex Meyer. These pitchers embody some of the more common traits of high-end prospects on the mound, from stuff to mechanics, and though each player saw his stock rise during the 2013 season, there’s still a heavy dose of development needed before they’ll be ready for the show.
Mookie Betts, Travis d'Arnaud, and Jorge Soler are among those who came off the board between picks 29 and 56.
In the first episode of the BP Mock Expert Draft, we went over the backstory and parameters of this draft, so there’s no need to rehash that here. Plus I know you’re all just going to skip past the intro anyway to see who else got picked and when. Sometimes you just have to give the people what they want.
So, without any further ado, here are the next two rounds (three and four) of the Baseball Prospectus Expert Mock Prospect Draft with analysis from the participants themselves:
A flashback to the high-school and college days of Archie Bradley, Eddie Butler, Austin Hedges, and many more top prospects.
As part of Perfect Game's partnership with Baseball Prospectus, David Rawnsley, Todd Gold, and Patrick Ebert will be conducting a “Before They Were Pros” series, providing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in baseball from when they were in high school attending PG events. This six-part series (one for each division in MLB) will appear once Baseball Prospectus has provided their own detailed scouting reports of the top prospects, team-by-team, as part of their “Prospects Will Break Your Heart” series.
We continue by looking at select top prospects from National League West teams. Be sure to read Baseball Prospectus' features on each of these five teams:
Jason talks to one of 2013's breakout pitching prospects.
One of the minors’ top breakout arms in 2013, Rockies farmhand Eddie Butler jumped three levels while putting himself squarely on the national prospect radar. Although Butler ranked no. 48 on Baseball Prospectus’ mid-season top 50 prospects list in June, he didn’t enter this season as one of BP’s top 10 Rockies prospects. The 22-year-old was instead listed as a name on the rise, with Jason Parkswriting that Butler “should see his prospect status elevate after a good full-season debut in 2013.”
To say that Butler saw his prospect status rise in 2013 would be an understatement. In fact, he’s likely to rank even higher than no. 48 entering next season, and he’s probably the Rockies’ top prospect at present. The former supplemental first-round pick opened this season by posting a 2.07 ERA in 22 starts between Low-A Asheville and High-A Modesto. He finished with a brilliant six-start stint at Double-A Tulsa, yielding just two runs on 13 hits in 27 2/3 innings while walking six and striking out 25.
Paul breaks down six pitchers who have succeeded in the upper minors and might provide fantasy value down the stretch.
For the third straight week now the Sporer Report has an eye on September. This time around, I’ve got six potential National League September call-ups, all pitchers, who could bring solid value down the stretch. This is some deep speculation, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to take the plunge. The recent news in Queens takes some punch out of a couple of these, but you’ll have to trust that they made my list last week when I compiled both the AL and NL lists.
Those of you in 10- and 12-team mixers likely don’t need to pounce just yet and in fact shouldn’t pounce just yet unless you’ve got remarkably deep rosters. Instead, use this as a cheatsheet of who to keep tabs on as we now sit just four days from September 1. Those of you in deeper leagues might find a few of these guys already rostered, but most should be available, and if you have the roster space, then you should consider getting the jump on your league mates. These are ranked in order of potential impact which accounts for the likelihood that they even get the call.
Of all the prospects in the minors, Baez’s status might have the most volatility, with the skill set to blossom into a superstar and the deficiencies that could terminate the dream before it begins. With elite bat speed and the type of raw power that can find a home in the middle of any major-league lineup, Baez could end up as the top prospect in the game. But his one-speed-fits-all approach on both sides of the ball can be limiting: His aggressive, see-ball-hit-ball mentality at the plate often puts him behind in counts and vulnerable to offerings out of the zone, and his tendency to rush the actions and the throws makes him error prone despite his exquisite hands at shortstop. Baez is warming up and is a good candidate to explode this summer, with a chance to sneak into the top 10 prospects in the game. But the Double-A test is looming on the horizon, and without more nuance to his game and a more refined approach, Baez could take a big step back against better competition. The talent is extreme. The risk is just as extreme. —Jason Parks