For a refresher on the four types of players that are eligible for inclusion on this list, please see the first edition of the year to find out why players like A.J. Pollock, Michael Brantley, and Yu Darvish are not listed below.
Last week’s Stash List can be found here.
A.J. Reed, referred to by some around these parts as a Golden God, received a promotion to the majors on Saturday, and in case you weren’t entirely clear before, he’s a massive human being. As was mentioned last week, Reed’s powerful bat was starting to warm at Triple-A Fresno this month, as he hit for a .576 SLG and a .910 OPS with five home runs over his last 22 games. Although Reed has yet to get a big-league hit, he has started in four of the team’s five games upon his recall, making three starts at first base and one at designated hitter, and hitting sixth or seventh in the Astros order in each contest. All four of Reed’s starts have come against right-handed pitching, and it will be interesting to see how many starts the team chooses to give their slugging 23-year-old against left-handed pitching, as he didn’t exactly set the world on fire against them in the Pacific Coast League, hitting for a .222/.338/.444 line with three home runs in 63 at-bats.
If I had a dime for every book that Lucas Giolito’s grandfather has actually read, I’d be broke, but surely the former “Mr. Ross” was tuned in–like most of the baseball universe–to his grandson’s rain-shortened major league debut against the Mets on Tuesday. The Top Pitching Prospect in Baseball (™) allowed just one hit in his four innings of work against the currently-hapless Mets offense, striking out one. Stephen Strasburg’s strained upper back landed him on the disabled list, giving Giolito an opportunity to make his debut, and with his solid work against the Mets, he’ll likely make a few more starts while Strasburg is sidelined. Gio Gonzalez’s struggles (4.73 ERA) this season have led to much speculation that Giolito could stick around once Strasburg returns, but Gonzalez actually has a lower DRA this season (4.13) than 2015’s 4.17 mark and his 95 cFIP isn’t too far back from Jon Lester’s 93 cFIP, making it likely that Dusty Baker will give his lefty—on whom the Nationals hold a $12 million option for next season–a long leash.
Chad Kuhl made his major-league debut against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers at home on Sunday night, averaging 94.8 MPH on his fastball, according to Brooks Baseball. Kuhl picked up the win thanks to help from the Pirates offense, as he worked five innings and was charged with three runs on four hits. Kuhl walked four and struck out five in his debut, and will remain in the rotation while Gerrit Cole works his way back from his “right triceps strain.”
Dillon Overton also picked up a win in his major-league debut, as the former Sooner was called upon to make a road start against the Angels on Saturday. Overton, whose 3.18 FIP was good for second among Pacific Coast League starters, pitched 5 2/3 innings in his first big league start, holding the Angels to three runs on seven hits. Overton allowed three home runs in the outing, a surprise after seeing only two balls leave the yard this season in 83 2/3 innings of PCL action–which qualifies as quite an accomplishment in my eyes–and was the lowest rate in the league. With Rich Hill slated to return from the disabled list on July 2nd, Overton could be sent back to Nashville until one of the Oakland starters is moved prior to the trade deadline.
The Dropouts: None
Now, on to the 13th Edition of The Stash:
In his last order of Texas League business, Bregman went 2-for-3 at the plate and smashed a two-run home run in the league’s All-Star game on Tuesday. Bregman was promoted to Triple-A Fresno after the game, and with 30-year-old Danny Worth–the latest to be given an opportunity to claim the starting third base job in Houston–struggling (.160/.160/.240 in nine games) since his call-up, Bregman shouldn’t be in Fresno for long.
Conforto strikes me as this year’s Rougned Odor, a quality young player sent down to the minors to regain his footing, or more likely in Conforto’s case, his health. I don’t think Conforto will be in the minors for a lengthy period of time, as I feel as soon as he demonstrates a couple of weeks of solid production (and health), he’ll be back to help the struggling Mets offense.
The big news this week regarding Turner did not involve a trade or a callup, but that he’s received his first two starts in center field as a professional at Triple-A Syracuse. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said of Turner: “We feel offensively he’s major-league ready,” and that “to get him to the big leagues sooner rather than later, we need to make him more versatile. Also, Dusty just doesn’t feel like he’s bringing the right amount of #Natitude to the table right now.” Alright, I made that last part up. Turner started once again at his familiar shortstop on Wednesday night, but it sounds as though the team could be preparing to bring him to the majors and rotate him between second base, shortstop, and center field, and if he were to receive three starts a week, that still would likely be enough to make an impact in most leagues with his wheels.
Michael Taylor (.242 tAV, six home runs and 10 stolen bases in 193 PA this season) has reportedly been mentioned recently in trade rumors, and while a trade of Taylor would likely clear a spot for Turner at the major-league level, it doesn’t appear that the team intends to give him a regular job even if a trade does come to fruition.
4) Yulieski Gourriel, 2B/3B, Free Agent (Last week: NR)
The 32-year-old Gourriel appears close to signing with a major-league team, with the Mets viewed as the best fit for the Cuban import. A quick scan of his Instagram account shows that he’s worked out for the Dodgers, Astros and Mets, in addition to getting his picture taken with fake Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, just as anyone would expect. Gourriel, by most accounts, is much more equipped to make an immediate impact with the bat than last year’s Cuban darling Hector Olivera, and projects to have power in the 20-homers-per-year neighborhood.
Chad Kuhl, Glasnow’s rotation-mate at Triple-A Indianapolis received the call to Pittsburgh to make his major league debut on Sunday, and after not allowing a hit in his two previous starts, which spanned 13 innings, Glasnow was torched for two runs on four hits in six innings against Ozzie Albies and Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday.
It’s easy to be frustrated with the Pirates as a fantasy owner for the team not calling upon one of their most talented arms to provide help to a big league club that has drifted closer to the fourth-place Brewers in the NL Central standings than the second-place Cardinals, but Glasnow once again struggled with issuing free passes in his last start on Monday, walking four in his six innings of work. The outing upped his walk total to 26 in 34 innings pitched over his six June starts. Of course, Glasnow’s ERA over those six starts is a sparkling 0.79, and his WHIP sits at 1.03 on the month despite all the walks.
Gallo has made 12 of his 38 starts in the field at first base this season at Triple-A Round Rock, and has continued to crush baseballs all around the PCL, slugging .583 with 14 home runs in 207 plate appearances.
However, after showing a much improved strikeout rate over the season’s first two months, Gallo has punched out in 32 of his last 88 plate appearances, upping his seasonal rate to 29 percent, which is still well below his 40 percent rate at Round Round last season.
As Wilson Karaman pointed out in his Minor League Update from Wednesday, Berrios is good. But seriously, his 2.62 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and .185 batting average against this season in 11 starts are all indicators that he just doesn’t have much else to prove at the Triple-A level, and with Phil Hughes needing season-ending shoulder surgery, it would behoove the last-place Twins to give Berrios a shot to learn at the major league level ahead of Tommy Milone, and soon.
Severino struck out eight in six innings of work against Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday night, allowing two earned runs and walking only one. The outing lowered Severino’s ERA to 3.16 in six starts since his demotion. Meanwhile, Ivan Nova has a sparkling 7.52 ERA in six June starts, and his 111 cFIP doesn’t exactly foretell much improvement.
I was in the house for Reyes’ outing on June 23rd at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where the hard-throwing Cardinal righty tallied his season-high total for walks (four) and a season-low strikeout total (three) in five innings of work. Reyes walked home a run and allowed a grand slam to Will Middlebrooks, his five earned runs allowed also a season-high. Reyes’ fastball was crisp in the outing, sitting 95-96 MPH on the night and touching 98-99 MPH seemingly when he needed to. While the curveball that BP Prospect Team member Jeff Moore also gave a future 70 grade to in his viewing last season made my knees buckle a few times from the front row, his third pitch, a changeup, remains a work in progress. It’s easy to see how Reyes’ dynamite two-pitch combination (and his 13.9 K/9 rate) would help the St. Louis bullpen right now, but with only 16 career starts under his belt above High-A ball, it was also pretty clear to me that he’s probably not ready to step in and dominate as a starter at the major league level quite yet.
Reyes likely needs an injury to a member of the Cardinals rotation (bastion of health Jaime Garcia is always a candidate) to occur for any chance to join the rotation this season, and with St. Louis’ proclivity to bring up talented young arms and put them in the bullpen first prior to installing them into the rotation, a ‘pen role seems much more likelier to me at this point for Reyes this season, as things stand now.
10) Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees (Last week: 22)
Judge’s June power surge (six home runs in his last 10 games, bringing his total to 16 on the year) has buoyed him to the top of the International League home run leaderboard, just ahead of TINO Podcast favorite Jesus Aguilar’s total of 15. Carlos Beltran suffered a minor hamstring injury this week, and although it doesn’t appear serious, Judge could soon be roaming the outfield in the Bronx whether the Yankees decide to waive the white flag this season or not, particularly as Beltran’s 39-year old legs will likely require more time at designated hitter over the season’s second half.
Ryu threw 20 of 26 pitches for strikes before rain limited him to 1 2/3 innings pitched in his latest rehab outing, his fourth, at Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Ryu, who hasn’t pitched in a major-league game since Game 3 of the NLDS in 2014, ramped up to 77 pitches in his previous outing on June 23rd, where he was knocked around by Joey Gallo and Co., allowing eight earned runs on 11 hits and striking out four in four innings. Ryu will likely need two more rehab starts before being inserted into the Dodger rotation. Prior to his rain-shortened affair on Tuesday, Dave Roberts was optimistic about Ryu’s potential return to the rotation before the All-Star break, and indicated that the lefty bumped his velocity up from 86 MPH in his second rehab outing on June 17th at High-A Rancho Cucamonga to 90 MPH in his third start against Triple-A Round Rock.
12) Brandon McCarthy, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 10)
McCarthy made his fourth rehab start of the season on Monday with Rancho Cucamonga, working five innings and allowing three earned runs on seven hits. McCarthy struck out three without issuing a walk and made 72 pitches, 56 of which were for strikes. McCarthy is now 14 months removed from his Tommy John surgery, and like Ryu, he will probably be given two more rehab starts before being reinserted into the Dodgers rotation.
Skaggs, making his first non-complex level start in nearly two-and-a-half months, struck out five (with no walks) on Monday with High-A Inland Empire. Skaggs threw 40 of his 58 pitches for strikes, and his fastball reportedly sat in the 93 MPH range while touching 95 MPH.
Skaggs is scheduled to make his next rehab start at Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday and if you’ve ever wanted to watch a television episode where the former Diamondbacks lefty drives a $140,000 car–and why wouldn’t you–now you have the chance! America’s excitement is palpable, I’m sure.
In his last 10 games, Swanson has hit for a .316/.381/.526 line that includes one home run, three doubles, one triple and seven RBI. Dansby’s quality work comes on the heels of his worst slump as a professional, as he hit for a .163 AVG in the ten games prior. He looks primed to join Ozzie Albies at Triple-A Gwinnett (or in the majors for that matter) very soon.
15) Ozhaino Albies, 2B/SS, Atlanta Braves (Last week: 18)
Albies has started each of his last 21 games with Triple-A Gwinnett at second base, and the youngest hitter in either Triple-A league finished his month of June at .257/.339/.333 with the bat, adding six stolen bases. The Braves have yet to give an indication of whether or not the move to second is permanent for Albies, but it sure looks like they are preparing him to play with Swanson very soon.
16) Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets (Last week: 12)
A doctor, presumably, injected Wheeler’s right elbow with a cortisone shot last week to help with nerve irritation as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery. After Wheeler’s visit to the doctor revealed no elbow damage, he resumed throwing at the team’s Florida complex on Monday, and early-August now seems like the likely timeline for his return to the Met rotation.
Ottavino has made four rehab appearances with Triple-A Albuquerque, upping his total to eight on the season as he works his way back from last May’s Tommy John surgery. Ottavino should be back in the Rockies bullpen “around the All-Star game.”
18) Nick Tropeano, RHP, Los Angeles Angels (Last week: 15)
19) Joe Musgrove, RHP, Houston Astros (Last week: 16)
Musgrove will represent the U.S. in the Futures Game next month, and made arguably his best start since his promotion to Triple-A Fresno his last time out on June 23rd at home against Albuquerque, working six innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and striking out seven.
Williams was benched for the second time in as many weeks at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, this time for not running out a groundball that was hit back to the pitcher, and his manager Dave Brundage said his time on the bench was aimed at “teaching him how to play the game right.” Sounds like a great relationship those two have. Williams returned to the lineup on Wednesday night, going 2-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBI. The unfortunate thing for Williams is that the benchings have overshadowed that fact that he’s putting the finishing touches on his best month with the bat since joining the Philadelphia organization, as he’s hit for an .872 OPS in 23 June contests.
Nick Williams 2016 Walk Watch: Zero walks (in five games) since last week’s list, keeping his total at 17 on the season in 291 plate appearances, and inching his walk rate back to just under six percent on the year (against 74 strikeouts). Williams’ seven walks this month mark his highest total since the trade from Texas.
Clevinger continued his masterful month of June at Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday, striking out six in six innings against Lehigh Valley, permitting six hits and one earned run. Clevinger has punched out 40 in his last 34 1/3 innings, limiting opponents to a .216 average against over that span.
As 1B John Jaso’s OPS continues to drift in the wrong direction at the major league level (.845 in April, .775 in May, .609 in June), Bell has found his power stroke at Triple-A Indianapolis, clubbing six of his 11 home runs on the season in his last 29 games. Bell’s .923 seasonal OPS is good for second among International League qualifiers and his .205 isolated power mark also places him inside the top-10.
Adding in Bell’s 35 games of Triple-A action from last season, he has now hit for a .325/.414/.516 line in 111 total games at the level, with 13 home runs, and has walked (59) nearly as many times as he’s struck out (67).
The Next 10 (in alphabetical order):
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/OF, Oakland Athletics (Last week: Not eligible)
Homer Bailey, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Jose De Leon, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ben Gamel, OF, New York Yankees
Ryon Healy, 1B/3B, Oakland Athletics
Trey Mancini, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
Tom Murphy, C, Colorado Rockies
Richie Shaffer, 1B/3B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Austin Voth, RHP, Washington Nationals (Last week: NR)
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