Let me start you with a rather significant move. Not pertaining to a TOP PROSPECT, but one that caught my eye for its international significance: the Phillies assigned LHP Anton Mikhailovich Kuznetsov to the GCL Phillies from the DSL Phillies. It’s no surprise, the 19-year-old hails from Moscow, Russia, and was signed this offseason. A move like this is often a political move—no, no one in the Phillies org is trying to get elected in Russia. Rather, it is an easy negotiation icebreaker for the next Russian baseball player. For example, when the next bidding war for a Russian talent comes…if that ever happens…the Phils can say, “Hey! We signed Kuznetsov back in 2016…So clearly, we believe in the Russian talent. Can you at least give us a consideration?” Kuznetsov may one day achieve many baseball milestone, but for guys like me, Steve Givarz, and others, he isn’t going to be something more than a novelty until he cracks 90 mph. If you do a quick Google search and you find this: a recording of an indoor bullpen session, and here’s a side view. Things I like so far, aside from a lefty throwing a white spherical object from a dwarf-sized mound: his shameless Call-My-Agent shirt.
Welcome to Clearwater, Florida, Kuznetsov!
We now return you to your normal programming…
To The DL
Pirates 2B prospect Kevin Kramer was placed on the DL with a fractured right hand. Providing solid defense in Double-A, he is slashing .297/.380/.500. Many thanks to Greg Goldstein, here is his insight on him: Kramer is a solid, but unspectacular prospect that is overshadowed by his fellow middle infielder, Kevin Newman. Nevertheless, his hit tool should still play as average because of his ability to spray the ball all over the field. He doesn’t have a power approach, so he won’t make much of an impact there, but he does have the fielding chops and a reasonable enough arm to play second base effectively. Kramer could start as a second division regular if he begins to handle inside pitches better, but his upside is not so high. You can also read his eyewitness report here.
Toronto Blue Jays 2014 first rounder C Max Pentecost was placed on the DL. With a career marred by injuries, Pentecost did not play in 2015 and only appeared as DH in 2016. This season for High-A Dunedin his playing time as been split between C, 1B and DH. Recently a MiLB article was written featuring an interview with him, it is a good read, highlighting his successes this year as well as gives insight to Pentecost’s thoughts in particular managing injury. Another Blue Jays prospect, 2016 fourth-round draft pick OF Joshua Palacios is on the DL for A-Ball Lansing Lugnuts. While at Auburn, he had a nagging wrist injury though no word on what the injury is this time.
The leading run producer in the Florida State League Rays 2B Brandon Lowe was placed on the DL with an undisclosed injury. Leading the FSL in OPS, wOBA and wRC+ with 1.063, .473 and 206, respectively, Lowe has been able to take his walks, at a roughly 14 percent clip, and limit his strikeouts at just under 15 percent. He is slashing .335/.433/.63. Lowe has suffered a broken fibula and a torn anterior cruciate ligament while at UMD, and has been clean since turning pro.
Cubs DL’d third base prospect Wladimir Galindo with a lower left leg injury. Born in Maracay, Venezuela in 1996, Galindo was a part of the major 2013 Cubs signing class that included INF Gleyber Torres, OF Eloy Jimenez, and RHP Erling Moreno. He was recently selected to the Midwest League All-Star Game. You can read Nathan Graham’s scouting report on Galindo here.
Nationals LHP Tyler Watson was placed on the temporary inactive list (for reasons evading the BP extemporaneous investigation team) after leaving his last start in the third inning. He is leading the Hagerstown team along with McKenzie Mills, who is mentioned below, striking at least a guy per inning and decent walk numbers. His FIP in A-Ball is 3.44, a bit of a yawn, but something of an interest coming from the 34th rounder in 2015.
Phillies placed OF Roman Quinn on the DL, retroactive to June 8th, with a sprain left UCL that simply requires 4-6 weeks of rest – An interesting injury as Quinn is a switch hitter who throws right. A speedy OF, he has a deep history on BP providing several Eyewitness Reports in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Staying in the NL East, Mets placed RHP Corey Oswalt on the DL after exiting early in his June 8th start. A guy who can mix with at least four pitches, he has done well in Double-A Rumbling Ponies, pitching to 2.45 ERA starting 10 games with a rather average DRA of 3.17. The Columbia Fireflies also placed Desmond Lindsay on the DL. He is the 2015 2nd round draft pick who is slashing .190/.320/.356 with 60 strikeouts in 53 games.
An update on Red Sox LHP Jason Groome status was changed to Rehab Assignment with the Lowell Spinners. I mentioned his DL’ing in this year’s first edition of Weekly Wraps.
Off The DL
On paper, Phillies technically transferred RHP Sixto Sanchez from the Williamsport Crosscutters to Lakewood, but as mentioned here, part of the move was because he had a neck issue. Nonetheless, he pitched well in his first start back, getting the win for his team. This was his line against the Hagerstown Suns: 5 IP 1 H 0 R 0 BB 4 K.
Nationals LHP McKenzie Mills was activated off the DL. Pitching well alongside the other lefty Watson, Mills is striking out at least a guy an inning as well as allowing hits and walks less than one an inning.
Royals right-handed pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer is activated for the Omaha Storm Chasers. 26 in September, Zimmer’s development has experienced multiples trips to the DL, training rooms and shutdowns. Last year, he had his season shutdown due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. You might ask yourself, is Kyle Zimmer related to Bradley Zimmer? The answer is yes, with Bradley being younger by 14 months.
Red Sox RHP Roniel Raudes has been activated off the Salem Red Sox disabled list. I wrote about him in a previous Weekly Wrap.
Dylan Cease, Cubs right-handed pitching prospect, also came off the DL. He too, I briefly profiled in another previous Weekly Wrap. You can also read Nathan Graham’s scouting report here. Be sure to click on the video provided by Graham as well.
Braves SS Ozzie Albies is off the DL after fouling off a ball on his foot. He missed seven games for the Gwinnet Braves, Triple-A.
Tigers RHP Joe Jimenez was activated, and placed on the High-A Lakeland team. He was initially placed on the DL because of a back issue. Jimenez who has closer stuff, is likely to get his feet wet on the team that works out of the Tigers Minor League Complex, and will be later moved to Triple-A Toledo where he was killing it. In 6.1 IP, he allowed two walks to 13 strikeouts. He is 2-for-2 in Save Opportunities as well.
Up the Ladder
The Nationals, in a rush to have bullpen arms, converted Erick Fedde from a starter to a reliever about a month ago. He has performed well in this role, with a role in the DC’s bullpen seemingly possible. For those thinking the Nats might do the same for the troublesome-but-filthy, recently-drafted first-rounder Seth Romero, they have already quashed that bug.
In a series of High-A promotions…
LHP Tyler Pike is back in Double-A, this time with the Braves, obviously. While with the Mariners, beginning in 2014, he started in 16 games accumulating 60 innings with an ERA and WHIP of 6.90 and 1.90, respectively. There is hope for better success this time, as he has arguably experienced his best pro season thus far. His 2.20 ERA, 2.96 FIP and 9.6 percent walk rate—especially that walk percentage which has really hindered his success overall—are career numbers when you adjust for competition level. His ERA in 2012 is technically better at 1.78 but he was in rookie ball. Much different competition than High A, needless to say, as he was roughed up in his first start. Pike walked five, struck out four scattering three hits for four earned runs in three innings and a third.
Yankees RHP Zack Littell was promoted to Double-A. I wrote an eyewitness report on him a few weeks ago. Understanding swings and contact, Littell has an advanced feel for pitching. He can generate swings and misses with his off-speed stuff, but with a soft, below-average fastball, that cannot. Should be interesting to see how Double-A hitters treat it.
Athletics LHP AJ Puk, 2016 sixth overall pick, has completely dominated High-A. A pitcher I have followed all year, seemingly every stat line produced significant differential between innings pitched and strikeouts. Thus, it is not surprising that he has struck out 38.5 percent of his batters faced. The not-so-pretty number is high walk rate, at 9.1 percent, which is quite bad, but almost acceptable considering the strikeout total and 1.06 DRA.
RHP Daniel Bard, after getting cut from the Cardinals, has caught on with the Mets, and was assigned to Port St. Lucie Mets, High-A.
Down the Chutes
Milwaukee Brewers promoted RHP Bubba Derby from Double-A to Triple-A to make a spot start. Derby was a player sent to the Brewers, along with C Jacob Nottingham, for OF Khris Davis to the Athletics. Having bad results as a starter in High-A, the Brewers have moved him to the pen where he has taken off (though he oddly made his the Triple-A appearance as a starter and performed well). Though more than a year old now, you can read Steve Givarz’s scouting report on him here where he suggested a move to the pen. Hey Bubba, at least you are now a viable option for future situations…