This part of the minor league season is one of my favorites: prospects reach the majors, and others rush to fill their place. There’s been a streak of promotions this week, as well as some zany hijinks that just happen to end up in thumb surgery. Let’s get to it!
Movin’ On Up
Good news for Brewers fans: Josh Hader has been promoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs. In 11 starts at Double-A, the left-hander posted a 0.95 ERA and a WHIP of 1.00. More fun facts: Hader never allowed more than one earned run per start and struck out 73 batters in 57 innings. These are good stats, people.
Toolsy center field prospect JaCoby Jones has been promoted to Triple-A Toledo after mashing in his opening stint at Double-A Erie. The Tigers acquired Jones from the Pirates in the Joakim Soria trade (remember that one?) and thus far he has delivered on the promise of a power/speed profile.
As if Cubs fans needed another reason to smile these days, the organization has promoted a bevy of prospects to Triple-A Iowa. Jeimer Candelario, Mark Zagunis, Corey Black, and Miguel Mejia all will be making the jump to Triple-A. Candelario, a switch-hitting third-baseman, has been improving his defense and power, but still needs to find continued success in one of those areas to make his final jump. Zagunis has impressed with his solid-average hit tool, mature approach at the plate, and successful conversion from catcher. It’s tough to nail down his floor and ceiling, but his achievements in the minors just keep rolling. Corey Black was the return in the Alfonso Soriano trade, which is a pretty impressive resume-builder for a teenager. Black likely profiles as a reliever at this point, but the Cubs have continued to give him opportunities to stick in the rotation.
Rangers infield prospect Andy Ibanez has been promoted to Double-A Frisco. The Cuban native left the South Atlantic League as the leader in slugging percentage, mostly due to his dominating stretch at the start of the season.
The Padres have stolen the spotlight by making the flashy move of promoting three (3) High-A prospects this week. Selfish move, San Diego. Jose Torres, Dinelson Lamet, and Yimmi Brasoban have been promoted to Double-A San Antonio. Torres is a standard fastball/slider type with enough velocity to handle high-leverage innings if his command can take a step forward. Brasoban had a strong campaign in Low-A last season, and has been impressive in 13 innings at High-A thus far, posting a 0.68 ERA. Lamet has a similar profile to Torres but has an overall stronger fastball/slider combination, a chance to stick in the rotation, and inconsistency issues.
On The Shelf
In what feels like one of the stranger stories of the season, Miami prospect Josh Naylor (rated second in the system on BP’s Marlins Top 10 Prospect List) injured Stone Garrett (rated eighth on that same list) with a “prank” involving a knife. Garrett will undergo thumb surgery while Naylor undergoes endless laps around the field as penance (or whatever punishment the Miami organization deems appropriate). Somehow, I get the sense that Naylor’s pranks are really, really lame.
Giants shortstop prospect and CEO of Wayne Enterprises Lucius Fox has hit the DL with an undisclosed injury. 80-grade name aside, the Bahamian has struggled in his first season in the minors, slashing just .208/.293/.299 in 176 PA at Low-A Augusta.
Nick Ciuffo, a catcher in the Tampa system with some serious pedigree (selected 21st overall in the 2013 draft) has broken his left pinky finger, causing him to miss his appearance in the Florida State League All-Star Game. This is tough news for Ciuffo, who has hit for an impressive average but still lacking in the OBP and power departments. When asked about his injury, Ciuffo replied, “I’ve been better. I never knew how important the pinky finger was!”.
Oscar Mercado has hit the 7-Day DL with an unspecified injury. The Cardinals shortstop prospect is having a rough go of it this season, hitting just .200 in 218 PA and a downright strange stolen base percentage (he’s 16 for 29).
More vague Cardinals injury news: C.J. McElroy will also miss time with an unspecified injury. A third-round draft pick, McElroy has struggled to hit for power in Double-A but has not made an error in the outfield thus far.
Back in Action
Boston’s first-round pick in 2014, Michael Chavis, has rejoined Low-A Greenville after recovering from a thumb injury. Drafted as a shortstop, Chavis has already made the switch to third-base, where his defensive profile will be better suited. He’ll need to cut down on the strikeouts and stay healthy to receive his next promotion, which shouldn’t be too far off.
More Cubs updates: Jen-Ho Tseng has been activated from the Disabled List. Meanwhile, Dallas Beeler has recovered from a shoulder inflammation injury. Beeler should serve as pitching depth for the Cubs, and will pitch out of the bullpen during his brief rehab stint.