Jose Berrios' slight adjustments have had big payoffs, as 23-year-old thrives in Minnesota's rotation.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
Jose Berrios entered 2017 with his career arc somewhat in doubt. Formerly a top prospect, he’d struggled—no, he had outright failed—in his first extended look in the majors, and despite his youth and his raw stuff, even his most enthusiastic supporters were forced to admit that big changes were needed if he was going to turn himself into a valuable big-league hurler.
One change, and a little more trust in his dominant raw stuff, could take James Paxton even higher.
Something about Mariners left-hander James Paxton makes people grab the nearest hyperbole and fire it at the wall with gusto.
Over the winter, Mariners manager Scott Servaissaid that Paxton’s slider “grades out better than [Clayton] Kershaw’s,” an eye-popping bit of exaggeration made all the more odd by the fact that what Paxton throws is much more cutter than slider. Jeff Sullivan (God bless him, because without him you’d just have to take my word for it that this happens often) recently called Paxton the AL’s best left-handed pitcher—implicitly pushing him past Chris Sale on that list.
On the fourth episode of DFA, Bryan, R.J., and Shawn discuss the Marlins and the difficulty of rebuilding a rotation from nothing at all. After that, the guys cover the Mariners' slow descent into madness, which obviously had an effect on them as well, as they spent too much time riffing on Adam Rosales.
It's Baseball Prospectus's newest podcast: DFA! Host Bryan Grosnick (Baseball Prospectus), co-host R.J. Anderson (CBS Sports), and producer Shawn Brody (Beyond the Box Score, BP Mets) are talking about all the transactions and roster moves that make MLB go. From trades and signings to callups and disabled list stints, DFA is here to provide analysis and commentary on all things baseball.
On the fourth episode of DFA, Bryan and R.J. discuss the Marlins and their rotation choices after the untimely death of staff ace Jose Fernandez. After injuries to Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez, is the team too flawed to move forward, or can their vaunted bullpen shoulder the load. Then it's on to talk about the Mariners once again, as James Paxton's injury reminds us to never love pitchers, and Mike Zunino's demotion gets the guys talking about the devaluation of pitch framing. Finally, during our batting practice segment, things get a little weird when the topic of Adam Rosales randomly comes up.
Javier Baez retains the top spot, but there's a new hot prospect ranked second.
Yes, there was no Stash List for the past two weeks, but that was all part of the plan. Any changes would be extremely minimal, as no one wants more overreaction to small sample sizes and there was never going to be much roster movement. Of course, then the Astros go and call up George Springer, and now everyone is eyeing the prospects on their benches and asking “why not me?”
Well, realistically, not for a while. The most impactful area of this column for the first two months of the season deals with prospects, and if you haven’t read Zachary Levine’s analysis on service time, it’s extremely important for stashers like you and me. We all know about Super Two, approximately when the deadline is and why teams do it. But it’s often forgotten that there are some big prospects who come up in the second half of April, once their teams have ensured that they don’t lose a full year of control.
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Scouting and fantasy takes on five pitching prospects promoted to the majors this month.
We’ve devoted full articles to the most promising prospects promoted to the majors late this season, but we’ll be offering scouting and fantasy takes on the best of the rest in a two-part series running today and tomorrow. First up: the pitchers, with position players to follow on Friday.
Brian Flynn, LHP, Marlins
Scouting Take: Flynn, a former seventh-round draft pick (2011) out of Wichita State, was one of the pieces the Marlins acquired at last season’s trade deadline in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade, and is the last of the trio to make it to the majors (following Rob Brantly and Jacob Turner). The 6’8”, 240-pound left-hander has seen his strikeout rates spike this season, precipitating a rise through the Marlins system that saw him start the season in Double-A Jacksonville and end it at Marlins Park pitching in front of a similar-sized crowd. He has good control for a tall pitcher and features a low-90s fastball with a good downward plane to go with a pair of usable off-speed pitches—a slider and changeup—and a show-me curveball. The improvement in his changeup is what helped him jump from striking out 7.0 batters per nine innings in 2012 to 8.2 in the 2013 season, and it gives him a chance to stick as a back-end starter. He should compete with Henderson Alvarez, Tom Koehler, and others for a spot in the back of the Marlins rotation next season. —Jeff Moore
When rosters expand, American League clubs are likely to add these seven pitchers, who could also bolster your fantasy team down the stretch.
For the second straight week, the Sporer Report has an eye on September. On the one hand, I’m sad because we’re winding down the regular season. On the other hand, it’s been a tremendous season and the races to the finish in both MLB and my fantasy leagues should offer plenty of thrills, too. Speaking of those fantasy races, some of them will turn on guys who did little or nothing in the first five months of the season. I’ve got seven potential American League September call-ups—all pitchers—who could bring some solid value down the stretch.
This is some deep speculation, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to take the plunge. Those of your in 10- and 12-team mixers likely don’t need to pounce just yet and in fact shouldn’t pounce yet unless you’ve got remarkably deep rosters. Instead, use this as a cheatsheet of who to keep tabs on as we get closer to September 1. Those of you in deeper leagues might find a few of these guys already rostered, but otherwise 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.
The Baseball Prospectus 2013 Top 101 Prospects, by Position, by Organization, and by Age
Yesterday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect crew released our Top 101 Prospects of 2013, also newly available in printed form in the now-shipping Baseball Prospectus 2013 annual. The festivities were wild and raucous for all, perhaps tempered slightly for fans of the Chicago White Sox. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, and by prospect age. Enjoy!
Jason Martinez of MLBDepthCharts makes his Minor League Update debut ...
I'm new here, so let me introduce myself. My name is Jason, and I'm kind of obsessed with baseball, especially when it comes to prospects and how they fit into an organization's depth chart. If you're familiar with MLBDepthCharts.com, you know what I mean. I'll be doing these updates regularly, so you're stuck with me for awhile. Be sure to leave feedback in the comments section and let me know your preferences for this feature. You can also find me on Twitter @mlbdepthcharts.
A trio of perplexing pitchers leads off today's Ten Pack.
Dylan Axelrod, RHP, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)
The fact that Axelrod even reached the big leagues is quite an achievement. A 30th-round pick in 2007 by the Padres, Axelrod lasted a year and a half before landing in Indy ball, but all he did was get better. His primary skill is the ability to throw strikes. He pounds the strike zone with an 88-91 mph fastball, has a decent slider, and a somewhat-less-than-decent curve. He has no changeup, but he hits his spots and keeps hitters off balance; while that's the kind of pitcher who should hit a wall, he just hasn't yet. With 7 2/3 shutout innings on Sunday, he now has a 1.08 ERA in four starts for the Knights to go with 26 strikeouts and just four walks. He's already a great scouting find for the White Sox, and has to upgrade that status by becoming a usable arm as a No. 5 starter or middle reliever, which exceeds any expectation ever put on him.
A quick look at ten players with notable opening weekends in the minors.
Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)
Though he was last year's Texas League MVP, Adams still hasn't gotten a lot of love, as he was a 23rd round pick out of a small school in Pennsylvania and he looks more like a cleanup hitter for a 16-inch softball team than a professional baseball one. He gained more support from scouts with an impressive spring, and while he went 0-for-3 on Sunday, he's still off to one of the hotter starts around: after going deep in Thursday's opener, he hit another on Friday and just missed a third, and after initially getting an off day on Saturday, he ended up providing a pinch-hit three-run shot in the ninth inning. No prospect is going to make anybody forget Albert Pujols, but Adams could make the loss a little less painful for Cardinals fans in 2013, if not earlier.