The Braves give yet another recent acquisition a chance to run with their fifth starter job.
The Situation: The Atlanta Braves optioned Mike Foltynewicz to Triple-A Gwinnett before Wednesday’s game following three consecutive rough starts that showcased his poor command. The Braves now need of a starter for Friday’s game to take his place, and they’ll give Matt Wisler his first major league opportunity.
Background: Wisler worked his way into a solid prospect after being drafted out of an Ohio high school in the seventh round of the pitching-heavy 2011 draft. He has consistently been regarded as one of the Padres’ top prospects, ranking as high as 47th in the top 101 before the 2014 season. He entered this season ranked 53rd. The Braves attempted to trade for him in the December deal that shipped Justin Upton to San Diego, but the Padres said no. A.J. Preller and company then came back to the Braves for Craig Kimbrel in April, and this time, they acquiesced.
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Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Royals third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert.
With no International or Carolina League games on the schedule and torrential rains wiping out most of the Eastern League slate, the MLU is a little lighter than it would be on most Thursday mornings. Not to worry, however. It’s been 90 degrees all week down here in Florida, so there’s nothing stopping the Update from carrying on, even with a limited schedule.
Player of the Night: Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Royals (Northwest Arkansas, AA): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K.
The pair of home runs Cuthbert hit on Wednesday night matched his total in 60 games in Wilmington last season. It’s important to see Cuthbert develop some power if scouts are going to continue to project him as a potential impact bat. Cuthbert has been pushed aggressively, but that can only be a crutch for so long.
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 over the weekend, including third basemen Kris Bryant and Ryan McMahon.
Friday, April 25
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Columbus, 1B): 3-5, R, HR, 2 K. Aguilar’s power has come in streaks this season, as he followed his home run on Friday with another on Saturday, giving him seven on the young season. He’s still striking out in bunches, too, but he’s also walking at a higher rate, making it an acceptable tradeoff.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Astros outfielder George Springer and Royals lefty Sean Manaea.
Hitter of the Night: George Springer, OF, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 2-3, R, HR
There’s not much left for me to say about Springer, who is clearly ready for a big-league challenge, but I’m going to continue to include him in the MLU when he does well to point out the absurdity of a system that encourages a team to keep an obviously superior player in the minors while putting an inferior major-league product on the field.
Pitcher of the Night: Sean Manaea, LHP, Royals (Wilmington, A+): 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K.
Manaea sat between 90-92 with his fastball on Monday and hit 95, and he missed bats with his slider. He’s still learning to be consistent with his stuff and how to use all of it, but his power arm is one that can’t be taught. (H/t to @CJWittJr for the velos).
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.
Kyle Crick, Colin Moran, and Stephen Piscotty come off the board to kick off picks 57 through 98.
Continuing with the theme of less filler and more of the good stuff, let’s jump right in here. If you want to revisit the parameters of the draft, they are all in the initial post of the series. If you don’t, you may skip right over this:
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:
Pitching prospects: the Padres have them. Jason speaks to one who's not too far from The Show.
With power stuff, a feel for pitching, and strong results at Double-A San Antonio, 20-year-old righty Matt Wisler has become the upper-level standout among the Padres’ impressive crop of minor-league arms.
A seventh-round pick out of high school in 2011, Wisler jumped on the prospect radar last season by posting a 2.53 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 114 innings at Low-A Fort Wayne. After showing a promising four-pitch arsenal that includes a plus fastball, he checked in at no. 8 on Baseball Prospectus’ Top 10 Padres prospects list entering this season.