Small samples abound, so let’s freak out about them, shall we? Wait, did I say that out loud?
“It’s going to take a little more time, but don’t give up on Tomas. And hopefully the progress will come more quickly now, since the Diamondbacks have played him in the outfield in each of his first five games this year at Triple-A. Arizona has no incentive to keep him down in the minor leagues, so don’t expect him to still be in the minors in June for any reason other than disappointing performance” is what I wrote five minutes before news broke that Tomas had been called up. These five days he’s spent in the minors either were the greatest five days of his professional career, or he just didn’t believe his teammates when they told him there was a place called “New Mexico.” If he’s really up to be a bench bat, the Diamondbacks deserve all of the eye rolls they’ll get.
Soria gets the boot because he’s now the closer, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon. They could remain in the periphery for a trade as the season goes on, but that’s only likely to happen if Soria falters in the role.
The Dropouts: None. Yet.
Whether it’s one or two weeks, Bryant is certainly not long for this list. And unless something strange happens in the short-term, he’s going to accomplish a rare minor league statistical feat—he’ll have an OPS north of 1.000 at each of the four full-season stops in the minor leagues. The next stop will be the toughest to do that at, but doubting him has proven to be a mistake thus far.
Every day that Hector Noesi goes out there and does Hector Noesi things (like walk six Twins without getting out of the fifth inning), fantasy owners and White Sox fans alike will travel to Rodon’s Baseball-Reference page for solace. Then the solace will turn into anger—each strikeout causing a single additional hair to fall out, until all that remains is the equivalent of Noesi’s fastball. Nothing.
Considering he’s in a major market and signed a very large contract, Castillo still flies under the radar because he was overshadowed by larger free agent signings this winter, was beat out for a job by a 22-year old wunderkind who is the answer to every question ever asked, and he’s not even the most famous Cuban signing his team has made in the last year. On top of that, he’s now on the minor league DL with a shoulder injury, which may keep him out until the end of April. There’s still plenty of time left in the 2015 season, but this is not how Castillo (and his owners alike) wanted things to begin.
It’s a minor setback, but Saunders left his rehab assignment with a mild hamstring injury and had to take a couple of days off. Assuming he’s recovered, he’s still on track to be back with the Blue Jays in the next 7-10 days—and will take his place as a strong candidate to surprise on the positive side.
Here’s what we know. Heaney can get minor league batters out, regardless of level. The Angels play in a very friendly ballpark with a very good defense. Heaney is next in line for a rotation spot. Said rotation is currently full. The only two non-locks for the rotation are Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago, barring injury. Whether Heaney would perform better than them right now is something we’ll hopefully find out soon.
The good Salazar was on display in his 2015 debut for Columbus, as he allowed no runs and no walks in six innings. With the initial struggles of Zach McAllister and T.J. House, there may be a little more opportunity on the horizon for his return than many optimistic analysts projected just a week ago. Thankfully, the opportunity doesn’t appear to be coming at the expense of Carlos Carrasco’s injury—as he’s projected to make his next start.
Still no news on the Olivera front, as we still await the completion of his contract with the Dodgers and the end of the great mystery that is his UCL.
With a rehab start that could kick off as soon as the second half of this week, Hardy looks like he should be penciled back in the Orioles’ lineup by the last week of April. However, shoulder injuries and aging power hitters don’t make the world’s greatest bedfellows, so tread a bit carefully here—especially given his power outage in 2014.
He’s still just a phone call away, but it wasn’t the greatest start to the season for Syndergaard. Results are close to meaningless at this point, but the reports on him weren’t great, as he wasn’t missing many bats and was struggling with all of his secondary pitches. It’s far too early for long-term concern, but he’s going to have to show better than this to force his way into a crowded rotation.
10) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Ugh, I don’t want to. Don’t make me.
The presumptive Rays second baseman hasn’t quite felt up to starting a rehab assignment yet, but that should come in the next week or so, leaving him with a chance to make it back to the majors by the end of the month. Looking at Logan Forsythe as his main competition upon return, he should be able to play regularly even if he only lives up to a portion of his potential.
12) Bobby Parnell, RHP, New York Mets
Rehab assignment? Check. Get guy ahead of me on the closer depth chart busted for PEDs? Check. Put the finishing stitches on Jeurys Familia voodoo doll? Check. Get velocity back to where it needs to be? [awkward silence] Finishing up that voodoo doll? Check.
13) Alex Guerrero, Hitter, Los Angeles Dodgers
This is both a ranking for Guerrero in his own right, and also a hedge on Olivera’s ranking—mostly because they’re essentially lining up in direct competition with each other, barring roster turn over. Juan Uribe is the weak cog on the current roster, despite his high fashion sense, and both Guerrero and Olivera are capable of standing around long enough at third base to warrant holding a bat. If he found himself in a starting role, he has enough talent at the plate to be ownable in all mixed leagues, but there are a few impediments to that at the moment.
14) Javier Baez, 2B/SS, Chicago Cubs
It’s been an awful week for Baez, as his sister unexpectedly passed away and he’s obviously taking time away from the team to be with his family. It’s unclear at this point when he’ll start his season.
Five extra-base hits and four walks in his first five games this season is a good start for Franco, but it still remains just a good start. For comparison, last season he had five extra-base hits and six walks in the entire month of April—and that season started nearly a week earlier than the current one. With the Phillies trotting fantasy darlings Jeff Franceour and Odubel Herrera out there, and the specter of half their roster getting injured, Franco is a very strong bet to be in Philadelphia by the end of June.
16) Addison Russell, SS, Chicago Cubs
The issue will be forced at some point, but let’s not get too concerned about that right now. After all, Russell is still the third-youngest player player in the Pacific Coast League, and the fourth youngest across the entire Triple-A level.
This was slider week for Corbin, as he busted out the pitch that helped ascend him to must-own fantasy starter (it wasn’t that long ago) for the first time since his Tommy John surgery. With a simulated game scheduled for next week, he’s on the path to a return—and there will be open arms awaiting him in the Diamondbacks rotation when he does.
With Brad Miller continuing to do Brad Miller things in Seattle (read: not much) and Taylor already on rehab assignment, this is shaping up to be a knock down drag out battle by the start of May. Taylor may consistently be the underdog, but he’s the better player.
19) Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
Patience is required here, as Lindor still needs to develop a bit more with the bat, and Jose Ramirez ain’t so bad as a placeholder. However, the Indians won’t be able to hold down his defense for long, and Lindor is exactly the type of player who can hold his own the first time around against major league pitching (to speak nothing of his ability long-term).
20) Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
It’s almost unfair how many Dodgers’ offensive players are on this list, but Seager is both the best of them all and the least likely to lead the trio in at bats in 2015. He is currently destroying Southern League pitching (again) to the tune of a .583/.560/.750 line—and it’s only a matter of time before he’s in Triple-A.
21) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
22) Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox
23) Rafael Montero, RHP, New York Mets