In September, Major League Baseball plays a different game than in the other months of the regular season. With teams allowed to carry as many as 40 active players, the dynamics of every game are different. Every team has more pitching depth. Every team has better pinch-hitting and defensive replacement options. Since pitching depth and quality bench players are two of the game’s most scarce resources these days, the opening up of the rosters can force us to totally reevaluate teams on whom we were just starting to really get a handle.
About this time for each of the past few years, there have been calls for some sort of countermeasure, some game-to-game roster limitation that would turn September from an analog of baseball’s regular season to a more honest extension of it. I’m all for that, or alternatively, for replacing years of jail time for nonviolent crimes with a mandatory sentence of watching Terry Francona manage a close game in September. Until such a change comes, teams will continue to generate box scores that look like your history notes from freshman year of high school: loaded with more names than one can possibly keep straight, painstakingly footnoted, indented every so often for good measure, but ultimately, indecipherable, even to their creators.
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The Rangers summon their second top prospect of the week.
The Situation: Fans of the Texas Rangers held their collective breath when Adrian Beltre came out of the game on Sunday after a hard slide into second base. That turned to a mixture of sadness and rampant speculation when it was announced that Beltre would miss at least two weeks with a thumb sprain and laceration, opening the door for a replacement third baseman. The organization has multiple options at the hot corner, but many minds immediately jumped to top prospect Joey Gallo, who has crushed Double-A pitching this year, to the tune of a .314/.425/.636 line, with a strikeout rate of 33.6 percent. So rather than recall Rougned Odor to man second base, while shifting either Adam Rosales or Hanser Alberto over to third, the Rangers have decided to make a splash with their empty 40-man roster spot.
View from the turtle during batting practice at this year's MLB Futures Game during All Star Weekend.
The Baseball Prospectus prospect team is constantly on the road, getting eyes on the top talent throughout baseball -- from the amateur ranks up through the majors. Moving forward I'll be working to bring you inside my travels (hopefully with contributions from others on the prospect team), including pictures and video. There will be a lot of baseball and some broader travel stuff if I think you might find it interesting.
Notes on prospects who stood out this weekend, plus an obligatory Gregory Polanco update.
Friday, May 16
Miles Head, 1B, A’s (Midland, AA): 3-4, R, HR. Head is struggling once again, now in his third go-round in Double-A. It was already a tough profile as a right-handed-hitting first baseman, but Head’s power outage is enough to diminish his status as a prospect. For what it’s worth, Head also homered again on Sunday.
In the first installment of this series, Ben and Craig take you from Domingo Santana to Jonathan Schoop.
We’ve done it, Internet. We’ve compiled a Big List of Players just for you.
Craig and I have spent the past six weeks breaking down each division, forming individual top-30 U25 dynasty rankings and comparing those lists with some witty (read: tired) commentary in each installment. We’ve also been debating each list on TINO, with the help of Dear Leader Bret Sayre and Mauricio Rubio, and have fielded many questions and concerns on Twitter and via the comments section, too.
Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Nationals righty Lucas Giolito and Astros outfielder Delino DeShields Jr.
Friday, May 9
Delino DeShields, OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. By now, you’ve probably seen the photo of DeShields after he got hit in the jaw with a pitch. He returned to action on Friday in tremendous fashion with a pair of home runs, something he doesn’t normally contribute.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Twins righty Jose Berrios.
Hitter of the Night: Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 3-4, 4 R, 2B, 2 HR, BB, K. Remember when there were teams that had fellow college third baseman Colin Moran rated ahead of Bryant on their draft boards? The next time you want to berate the Cubs for their decision-making, let’s remember the one they most definitely got correct.
Pitcher of the Night: Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 5 IP, H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K.
Berrios still has a ways to go with his fastball command, but the life on it is electric, and he’s pairing it with a plus changeup that was dominant on this night.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco and Diamondbacks righty Chase Anderson.
Hitter of the Night: Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies (Lehigh Valley, AAA): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, K.
Franco isn’t the only Top-101 prospect whose ultra-aggressive approach at the plate has run him into some trouble at a new level this year, and his natural ability to put the barrel on the ball leads to some bad contact when he’s cold. When he’s hot, however, it leads to nights like these, and the Phillies are ready for him to heat up with the weather and take Cody Asche’s place in a month or two.
Pitcher of the Night: Chase Anderson, RHP, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 7 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K. A
Anderson’s mediocre stuff plays up thanks to a plus changeup, which, when it’s working, can miss a lot of bats. He’s also 26 now and back in Double-A after getting trounced in Triple-A last year. He’s more depth than anything else at this point, though he could still carve out a back-end/long-relief role.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo and Twins righty Alex Meyer.
Hitter of the Night: Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 3-4, 4 R, 3 HR, 3 BB. Apparently the laws of physics cease to exist not only on Mr. Tipton’s stove but also in the air surrounding the Frederick Keys’ stadium on Wednesday night, as Gallo put his power on display to its fullest extent but also showed off his patient eye, one which will serve him well as the ultimate three-true-outcome prospect in the minors.
Pitcher of the Night: Alex Meyer, RHP, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 11 K.
After a trio of lackluster starts, this is the outing the Twins were hoping to see from their top pitching prospect. Even when he struggles, he misses bats, the product of an upper-90s fastball and a big breaking curve.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon.
Mac Williamson, OF, Giants (San Jose, A+): 2-4, 3 R, 2B, HR. We know Williamson has power. The question is whether he will hit. There’s some serious swing-and-miss to his game, but thus far in a repeat of the California League, he’s controlling the strike zone better than he did last year.
Zoilo Almonte, OF, Yankees (SWB, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. I’m almost afraid to mention Almonte because I talked about him a lot this winter, but a pair of home runs is a day worthy of any update. With the injuries the Yankees have already put up with, Almonte is just a pulled hamstring or tweaked quad away from being called on for big-league duty.
Notes on prospects who stood out during the past three days, including Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo and Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco.
Friday, April 11
Mike Montgomery, LHP, Rays (Durham, AAA): 5 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 5 K. It should tell us something about where Montgomery stands within the Rays organization that, even after two solid starts to begin this season and with a rash of injuries to their majo- league pitching staff, Montgomery is still in Triple-A. He’s off to a good start, missing bats and throwing strikes, but his inconsistent mechanics and fringy off-speed stuff still have him destined for a bullpen role.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo and Marlins lefty Andrew Heaney.
Hitter of the Night: Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 4-4, 4 R, 2B, 2 HR.
Gallo features the best raw power in the minor leagues, and it translated into game power on Thursday night in a big way. It’s hard enough to hit a ball out of Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium, but Gallo managed to put one of his over the scoreboard in left-center field.
Pitcher of the Night: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 8 K.
Heaney was expected to be on the fast track this season if he got off to a hot start, and that’s exactly what he’s done. With two plus pitches (fastball, slider), he’d probably be able to hold his own in the majors right now, but if his changeup catches up with the rest of his stuff, he’ll fit in as a solid no. 2 behind Jose Fernandez.