The Graduates: Travis d’Arnaud (Previous Rank: 7), Dwight Smith, Jr. (23)
After missing three weeks, d’Arnaud was activated from the disabled list Tuesday.
Smith might have been a little too cute for this exercise in a standard-depth mixer, but I like his modest power-speed combination and thought the context was ripe for him to step in and secure consistent playing time. The day after his promotion and first big-league start, the Jays brought up Anthony Alford to play left field. Shows you what I know. Alford subsequently broke his hamate, which may give Smith that chance after all.
The Dropouts: Harrison Bader (22)
Ain’t no shame in dropping off the end of the list through no fault of your own.
1. Yoan Moncada (2B)—White Sox (Previous Rank: 1)
Moncada is in Chicago! OK, OK, it’s just for a doctor’s visit. He remains on the disabled list, but should be back in game action before long.
2. Julio Urias (LHP)—Dodgers (Previous Rank: Unranked)
Urias finds himself back at Triple-A Oklahoma after consecutive ugly outings against the Rockies (in Coors, to be fair) and Marlins (no excuses for getting beaten up by J.T. Riddle). As concerning as his ability to prevent runs in those starts was his struggle to throw strikes in the three previous. Despite only allowing two runs in 17 innings in those three turns, Urias walked 10 batters.
3. Hunter Pence (OF)—Giants (Previous Rank: Unranked)
It’s fair to be wary of a 34-year-old who’s had trouble staying on the field the past two seasons. Still, he’s nearing a return from the hamstring injury that’s had him out for two weeks, and though his early-season numbers were all underwhelming, there’s no reason for Pence to be owned in fewer than a quarter of ESPN leagues.
4. Lewis Brinson (OF)— Brewers (Previous Rank: 2)
Brinson was plunked on the hand over the weekend and has missed a few games since. It’s not fractured, and Brinson should be back in Triple-A Colorado Springs’ lineup any day. Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana are tearing the cover off the ball—albeit with unsustainable BABIPs and worrisome strikeout rates—and Ryan Braun remains in Milwaukee. How much past the Super-2 deadline Brinson gets the call probably depends on the extent to which the currently-in-first-place Brewers continue to compete and how hard the regression comes for their current outfielders.
5. Blake Snell (LHP)—Rays (Previous Rank: 3)
Snell struck out 12 batters in 5 1/3 innings in his first start since being demoted to Triple-A Durham. That’s impressive, but strikeouts aren’t going to get him back to the big-league club. We know he can whiff Triple-A competition. Whether he can avoid ball four is another matter.
6. Carlos Rodon (LHP)—White Sox (Previous Rank: 4)
Rodon participated in his fourth simulated game Monday, throwing 60 pitches in front of his general manager, Rick Hahn, who was in town for the Sox’s series against Arizona. Hahn said he hopes to announce a rehab assignment “in the coming weeks,” whatever that means.
7. Wilson Ramos (C)—Rays (Previous Rank: 5)
8. Tom Murphy (C)—Rockies (Previous Rank: 6)
Ramos is working out fully behind the plate and could go on a rehab assignment next week. If all goes well, he will return to the Rays in mid-to-late June. His surgery to repair a torn ACL was less than nine months ago. Murphy is out of his arm brace and should beat Ramos back by a week or two.
9. Rhys Hoskins (1B)— Phillies (Previous Rank: 8)
Tommy Joseph is up to .323/.400/.646 in May after posting a 25 wRC+ in April. Hoskins has little chance of unseating Joseph at the moment, even though the former leads the International League in homers (13), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.682, best by a mile). This feels like a situation that won’t resolve until the trade deadline.
10. Archie Bradley (RHP)— Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: 9)
Fernando Rodney hasn’t given up a run in nearly a month. What a world.
11. Amed Rosario (SS)—Mets (Previous Rank: 10)
12. Franklin Barreto (SS)—Athletics (Previous Rank: 16)
13. Austin Meadows (OF)—Pirates (Previous Rank: 11)
Rosario has 26 hits in his past 16 games, 11 of which are of the extra-base variety. Susan Slusser reported this week that we should expect to see Barreto by mid-summer. I’m a little concerned about what the spike in strikeout rate at Triple A means for his ability to hit major-league pitching in the near term, though wouldn’t be surprised if his preternatural skill keeps him above water as a 21-year-old in the bigs. I’d like to see more power from Meadows, but he’s walking and strikeout out in equal measure this month, a good sign that he’s locking in after a slow start.
14. Jharel Cotton (RHP)—Athletics (Previous Rank: 12)
15. Brandon Finnegan (LHP)—Reds (Previous Rank: Honorable Mention)
With apologies to whomever pointed this out on Twitter recently for not being able to cite you, the gap between Cotton’s fastball’s actual velocity and perceived velocity is the worst among all pitchers who’ve thrown 50 fastballs. Marco Estrada is at the bottom of the list too, so this doesn’t necessarily prohibit useful results. It sure doesn’t help. Finnegan threw a 21-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, his first since hitting the disabled list in April. The Reds are eyeing a June activation.
16. A.J. Reed (1B)— Astros (Previous Rank: 13)
17. Dan Vogelbach (1B)—Mariners (Previous Rank: 14)
18. Ketel Marte (SS)—Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: 15)
19. Raul Mondesi (SS)—Royals (Previous Rank: 17)
I thought we might be rid of Mondesi this week, but he didn’t last more than one game in Kansas City before being sent back to Triple-A Omaha. He’s up to 18 strikeouts against four hits in 15 major-league games this season, and will have to run nearly every time he gets on base to provide value whenever he comes back up for good.
20. Jacob Faria (RHP)—Rays (Previous Rank: 20)
21. Jose De Leon (RHP)—Rays (Previous Rank: 18)
22. Sean Newcomb (LHP)—Braves (Previous Rank: 19)
23. Reynaldo Lopez (RHP)—White Sox (Previous Rank: 21)
Faria turned in another dominant performance over the weekend. Wilmer Font is the only minor leaguer with more strikeouts than Faria in 2017. After two rehab starts at High-A Charlotte, De Leon moved up to Triple-A Durham for his most recent outing. In four innings of work, he allowed four earned runs, struck out four, and walked one. After issuing six free passes in four innings last time out, Newcomb’s walk rate is up to 13.2 percent and north of five batters per nine innings.
24. Derek Fisher (OF)—Astros (Previous Rank: 24)
25. Dustin Fowler (OF)—Yankees (Previous Rank: 25)
There are no shortage of outfielders I could slot it here. Take your pick among these guys and the several mentioned below.