To the DL
Atlanta Braves C Alex Jackson was recently placed on the DL for an undisclosed injury. Jackson is in his first year for the Braves, after being acquired this past offseason. Similarly, this is also his first year catching. He is tied for second in home runs with Cincinnati’s Gavin LaValley in the pitcher friendly Florida State League with 10, behind leader Logan Hill whom has 13. Hill plays for the Pirates’s affiliate Bradenton Marauders.
In other Braves new, LHP Joey Wentz suffered a leg injury in his most recent start after taking a comebacker to his leg. A 2016 compensation round pick, Wentz has done well in his first full season, averaging at least a strikeout an inning and walking less than five percent of his batters faced. Furthermore, his 2.12 FIP is a well above average for the Southern League, rating second behind Mets prospect Jordan Humphreys. Oh, Wentz is also the second youngest pitcher in the Southern league to his teammate Bryse Wilson whom has also performed well.
Pirates prospect SS Stephen Alemais hit the DL. A Bronx-native, Alemais has a major-league glove, check out this play from last season, or this one of his at Tulane. Try nailing that throw on without bouncing it. Only one try. You got it? Nice, now do it with a runner sliding into you. I digress… He spent part of the offseason working with Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, but the results have not showed yet in A-ball. Alemais needs to improve his walk and strikeout rates, before he merits a promotion, in addition to a Cole Tucker promotion.
On the DL with a left oblique strain is former Tigers top prospect Steven Moya. Having cleared waivers after being out righted from the 40-man roster, things are not well for Moya. Batting .161 with an ISO of .194 and OBP of .196, Moya is slugging when he makes contact, but is not making contact often or taking a walk outside of that those slugs.
Seattle Mariners RHP Max Povse has been placed on the DL. No official word on the injury, but it seems related to his most recent appearance, on May 20th where he went a third of an inning. In the game log, it mentions he left with an “injured hip”. Furthermore, Ethan Novak at Lookout Landing also pointed out Povse did go 11 days between a recent start where he then went two innings. There could be more at play here. Povse, a 6-foot-8 right-handed pitcher, was a piece that brought Alex Jackson to the Braves, and is now pitching for the Mariner’s Double-A affiliate Arkansas Travelers.
Former Mariner, current Dodger SS Drew Jackson was placed on the DL. No word on the injury yet, but this is his first career trip to the DL. He was slashing .242/.375/.424 in High-A Rancho Cucamonga, though the nearly 25 percent strikeout rate is not pretty.
In Nationals related news, Carter Kieboom and Juan Soto are expected to miss a considerable amount of time. I wrote about their injury and placement on the DL in past Weekly Wraps – Kieboom and Soto. This is merely an update.
In related NL East news, Phillies RHP prospect Sixto Sanchez is sidelined with neck stiffness, as mentioned in Jarret Seidler’s Guarding The Lines released yesterday. A converted shortstop, Sanchez has an athletic delivery, clean arm action and throws strikes. For his pro career, which consists of a season in the Dominican Summer League, Gulf Coast League and five starts into his South Atlantic League, he has a 4.16 walk percentage and averages 15 strikeouts for every 1 walk. – Absurd. Sure, these are numbers impossible to maintain as competition improves, but ideal numbers nonetheless. His repertoire currently consists of a plus-plus sinking fastball, a firm changeup as well as tight, hard sliders and curveballs. As Phillies Director of Player Development Joe Jordan is quoted this article, Sanchez’s innings are also being limited since he is only 18-years-old.
Houston Astros RHP Akeem “The Dream” Bostick, a six-foot-six-inch starter, suffered a hand injury while pitching for the Double-A squad. A second round high school draft pick by the Texas Rangers in 2013, his numbers have been…okay in his first go. He was traded for C Carlos Corporan in 2014.
Colorado Rockies prospect Forrest Wall is out for the season after dislocating his shoulder in a collision with the wall. He was drafted in the competitive balance round in 2014, and was playing in High-A Lancaster.
Off the DL
Fresh off the DL and right onto the mound are Yankee pitching prospects RHP Albert Abreu and LHP Ian Clarkin. Abreu is coming off a right elbow inflammation, meanwhile Clarkin’s injury is undisclosed. Abreu’s first appearance was limited and mixed, allowing three walks to five strikeouts in three innings. In my limited look, he showed an easy delivery with an unclean, short arm action. Of that delivery, he served four pitches: an 93-98 mph fastball with below average movement that induced more hard contact than swing and misses; an above average curveball with edge and natural feel, putting away both lefty and righty hitters; a deceptive, yet inconsistent plus changeup that he used for both lefties and righties for swings and misses; and an occasional slider that was used mostly versus righties.
Abreu’s numbers since being promoted have gone the opposite direction, with his hits, walks, and runs allowed increasing over a similar batters faced total. Acquired in the Brian McCann trade, Abreu has potential to be a mid-rotation starter with three potential plus pitches, but needs to better his control and consistency.
As for Clarkin, he too was limited but fared better striking out five, walking one and serving up three hits in three innings. Clarkin has an average sinking fastball, sitting at the low 90s threshold, a curveball with two distinct shapes – one for strikes in the zone, another to put hitters away- a straight changeup that he generally throws to righties with decent bottom, and slider that he tends to stay glove side with, often back-footing to righties and expanding down and away to lefties. Clarkin has been unable to avoid the DL since 2014 season, and being 22-years-old, Clarkin still has some room for growth, especially in the command and control facet. At best, and that is a big IF, Clarkin projects to be backend starter with the ability to throw several pitches for strikes and command them all, with pitchability feel.
Having started the season on the DL, Stephen Gonsalves is finally off the DL, and on the mound for the Minnesota Twins Double-A affiliate Chattanooga Lookouts. In his first start of the season, he went four innings (likely limited to a pitch count) facing three over the minimum, striking out three, allowing two hits and two runs, and one homerun, a decent start nonetheless for the lefty. Additionally, LHP Tyler Jay was activated. He too was on the DL since the beginning of the season with bicep tendonitis. His first appearance was no bueno, allowing two walks, one home run, and one earned run in one inning of work.
Cleveland Indians C Francisco Mejia returned from a groin injury. He was profiled in last week’s Weekly Wrap. Still young for his league, he is hitting .299/.333/.505 for the Akron RubberDucks (Double-A).
Dodgers OF prospect Ariel Sandoval is off the DL. He possesses power and speed potential, per his 14 HR and 14 SB for his 2016 totals from his split time in High-A and A-Ball. However, his K-rate is up this season in his second go at High-A, and that has drastically affected his batting average, .193. For example, if he were to trade roughly four strikeouts for one hit—so now 24 hits instead of 17, and 27 K’s versus 34, his batting average rises to .261, a completely different picture than .193 and average for the Cal League.
Up the Ladder
New York Yankees top prospect, and our 15th rated prospect Gleyber Torres was promoted to Triple-A Sunday, playing his first two games at third base. At 20-years-old, Torres is the youngest player to ever win the Arizona Fall League MVP award, and the second youngest prospect in Triple-A, with Braves Ozzie Albies being the youngest. Having a plus hit tool, average glove and potential for more power, complimented with instincts that allow for his talents to play up, Torres is a special talent. With Chase Headley producing a .4 WARP, Torres is definitely applying pressure to Headley, which may be the Yankees subtle intent.
Another player applying pressure is San Francisco Giants 1B/LF prospect Chris Shaw whom was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A. As discussed in our Slack group, Shaw has been starting in left field this year, after only playing at first in all of the previous seasons. Karaman pointed out on Wednesday, May 24th, “The Giants LFers have posted the worst ISO and second worst OBP in the Majors.” Batting .301/.390/.511 in Double-A, perhaps Shaw is now the fast track to left field position in AT&T Park?
After inconsistency as a position player, Tigers player Anthony Gose is now a left-handed pitcher. He made his debut on the Monday, the 22nd, touching 99-mph for the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers. It was a good step in the right direction for the converted lefty pitcher.
Down the Chutes
After a positive performance patching up the injured outfield of the St. Louis Cardinals, Magneuris Sierra was optioned to Double-A. In 32 PA, Sierra accumulated 11 hits, 8 runs, 2 RBIs slashing .367/.406/.367. His major league stint warranted a .2 WARP. Good job, Magneuris. Cardinals 2016 2nd round draft pick Bryce Denton was demoted from A-ball to Extended Spring Training. He was slashing .157/.200/.257 through 19 games. Eek!
Houston Astros first base prospect Jon Singleton was briefly suspended and reinstated yesterday. No word on why, but, a self-confessed marijuana addict, this is not the first time he has been suspended. Singleton is most notably known for receiving an unprecedented $10 million dollar contract prior to ever taking an appearance at the major league level. This past offseason he was removed from the Astros 40-man roster. He is on the Corpus Christi Hooks.
Chicago White Sox minor league third baseman Trey Michalczewski was demoted from Double-A to High-A, after k-ing in 30% of his appearances and slashing an….underwhelming .210/.322/.306. Michalczewski had time in the AFL last year, too, but was quite…underwhelming. A 7th-round high school draft pick in 2013, he pro stats have been…underwhelming. Understandably unranked in our 2017 top prospects rankings, Michalczewski is ranked 17th on MLB’s Prospect Pipeline for the team on the South Side Sox.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now