To The DL
Yankees placed 2015 30th-overall pick SS Kyle Holder on the DL with an undisclosed injury. With a silky smooth glove and actions, he can stick at short gracefully. However his bat and power are easy 30s; projecting him to be an emergency utility infielder.
Braves placed LHP Chase Johnson-Mullins on the DL. A donkey, I reported on him a time ago: I liked what he displayed and he has showed more stuff than fastball (two-seam and cutter) mix and curveball. He has shown a changeup in other outings, as well as struggling with control—to be expected with a guy his size and delivery.
A Bucco’s update on OF Austin Meadows. Last week, he left the game with a hamstring strain. This week, it was reported he received a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection and should be out about a month. As Meadows is a possible midseason reinforcement, a hasty return would be a positive for the Pirates.
What is a platelet rich plasma injection? Click here to learn via a short two minute video.
Tigers RF Mike Gerber has been placed on the DL with a right oblique strain. Normally an injury that lingers and lingers and requires a decent amount of rest, no word yet on the expected length of stay.
Marlins RHP Cody Poteet was sent on a rehab assignment to GCL Marlins. Poteet is not going to strikeout batters, but he will throw strikes and pitch to contact.
Mets sent OF Ricardo Cespedes on a rehab assignment to the GCL Mets. He has been on the DL since mid-May with an undisclosed injury.
Reds sent RHP Rookie Davis on rehab assignment to the AZL.
Dodgers sent SS Drew Jackson on rehab assignment to the AZL.
Off The DL
In better Pirates SS Cole Tucker is off the DL after fracturing his right thumb. A frequent visitor to the DL, this was one of his shorter stints at only 20 days. I profiled Cole Tucker in an eyewitness report a few months ago, which you can read here. Additionally, RHP Mitch Keller has been activated—he had gone down with a bad back. You can read my narrative on him here.
The Mets activated RHP Chris Flexen off the Double-A disabled list. Here is the shimmy, per Jeffrey Paternosto: FB 90-96, 93-95 early and 91-93 late with good plane. He complements it with a hard slider that flashes plus, a curve that is for a change of look, and a change that he seldomly uses. His command is average. The tempo is easy, and there is health/durability questions. He has the stuff to be a 3rd/4th guy, but is likely a set-up guy.
Astros activated RHP Dean Deetz for the Triple-A squad.
Up the Ladder
Twins promoted SS Jermaine Palacios from the Midwest League to the Florida State League. He has shown more power now (11 HR) than ever before (a previous career high of 2), and has managed not to sacrifice contact, slashing .320/.362/.544. This has come in a repeat year at A-ball, take it with a grain a salt if you may, but one simply does not just nearly triple his career total in one year. Perhaps he is a minor leaguer who is a participant in the Launch Angle movement.
Twins also promoted RHP John Curtiss to Triple-A. In 25 innings in Double-A, he struck out 35 batters, held them to a .140 batting average against and 0.96 WHIP. He is off to a good start in Rochester, striking out three and walking one in 3.1 innings.
Cardinals promoted RHP Zac Gallen from Double-A to Triple-A. A command-pitchability guy with fringy to average stuff, Gallen spent little time in Double-A, a total of four games. In his first start in Triple-A, this was his stat line where he received the loss: 5 IP 6 H 3 R 3 ER 1 HR 0 BB 2 HBP 8 SO. Here is my eyewitness report, written during his time in the Florida State League earlier this season.
Brewers promoted MIF Mauricio Dubon from Double-A Biloxi to Triple-A Colorado Sky Sox. A light-hitting speedy infielder, the soon-to-be 23-year-old was traded to the Brewers, along with RHP Josh Pennington, 3B Travis Shaw and INF Yeison Coca from the Red Sox for RHP Tyler Thornburg, a trade that now is lopsided in the Brewers favor. Dubon has made news for his Honduran heritage, but look to him make news at the major league level soon.
Boggled with injuries in the upper levels and consequential transactions, Yankees promoted INF Jorge Mateo. Having spent about a season and a half in High-A, which was lengthened because of off-field matters, Mateo is a premium talent with athleticism—having 80 speed, speedy pop (20 triples and 12 homeruns in 895 PA at High-A), capable defense at SS with a major league average arm. The question, as with most prospects, is the bat. Though Mateo has been able to conceal his deficiencies against High-A talent, doing damage on poorly placed pitches in the zone, Mateo has a tendency to chase pitches and exhibit poor planning at the plate, swinging early and not making adjustments to breaking balls designed to expand the zone. Mateo can be a very exciting table setter at the top of any major league lineup, he will be very good for baseball. However, until he learns to take pro at bats and make adjustments, it is difficult to see him succeed at advanced levels.
Another FSL promotion is LHP Jake Brentz. A flamethrower with a killer slider, he is another Pirate I was fortunate enough to profile. For someone who throws as hard as he does, it is a big question mark why he does not incite more Ks. He does walk guys, and would need to cut that down to reach his potential as a seventh-inning guy.
Chicago White Sox promoted their 2016 second-round pick, RHP Alec Hanson to High-A, Kannapolis. Our own Jarrett Seidler wrote an Eyewitness Report, detailing his 6-foot-7 size as well as his major-league stuff, which you can read about here.
Rays promoted 1B Dalton Kelly and LHP Genesis Cabrera from Port Charlotte to Montgomery. A lean, mobile first baseman with playable speed, bat control and good carry to opposite field, Kelly is unusually athletic for the position. He has both struck out often in the low minors (nearly 20 percent the last two seasons) and has walked at a decent clip (around 10 percent), all while providing a solid hit tool. Due to his position versatility and bat, you give him chance. The Kelly promotion lead to a series of moves below him, where Rays promoted 1B Nathaniel Lowe to take Kelly’s position in High-A, and 1B Bobby Melley, a UConn New Englander, to the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
As for Cabrera, the 20-year-old has a double-plus fastball with an athletic delivery. He is working on both the changeup and curveball (as well as his control), with the curveball being the more promising of the two. He made his first start for the Biscuits, pitching this line: 7 IP 2 H 1 R 0 ER 2 BB 8 SO.
Rays also promoted OF Cade Gotta from Double-A to Triple-A. You want to see a funky swing that has worked? You Gotta see Cade. You can also read his Eyewitness Report here to get an idea of who he is.
Astros promoted Cuban LF/DH Yordan Alvarez from A-Ball to High-A. He signed for a bit of money, from the Dodgers, and was later traded for pitcher Josh Fields. He has a good offensive profile, minus the speed. For now and from a distance, he looks the part of a LF/DH guy, but he will have to hit.
Phillies promoted 2B Scott Kingery to Triple-A, and has already made impressive plays – 1 and 2. UMD product Greg Goldstein wrote about him in a recent Ten Pack. Phillies also moved LHP Cole Irvin up from High-A to Double-A. Irvin is a groundball pitcher with good control who projects to be a back of the rotation starter at best.
In other NL East moves, Braves promoted right-handed relief pitcher Devan Watts to the Mississippi Braves, Double-A. Watts made quick work of High-A, striking out 31 percent of batters and walking about six percent of them. A 17th rounder out of JUCO in the 2016 draft, Watts could be a MLB bullpen arm.
Some Draft assignments:
Twins assigned first overall pick SS Royce Lewis to the GCL Twins. ICYMI, he homered in his first pro ab. Tough expectations to set, boy. Twins assigned also RHP Landon Leach to the GCL Twins, and OF Brent Rooker to the Rookie plus team, Elizabethton Twins in the Appalachian league.
Marlins assigned 3B Joe Dunand to A-Ball, Greensboro Grasshoppers. Alex Rodriguez’s nephew.
Yankees assigned C Ryan Lidge to A-Ball, Charleston RiverDogs. A cousin of former closer, Brad Lidge.
Cardinals assigned C Zach Jackson to the GCL Cardinals, their sixth rounder who signed for over slot at $400 K. The pick is valued at $243,500. They assigned CF Scott Hurst to State College, their Short Season Low A affiliate in the New York-Penn League.
Blue Jays C Hagen Danner was assigned to the GCL Blue Jays. Two-play with some pop in the bat. Athletic.
Braves assigned OF Drew Waters to the GCL Braves. He homered in his first professional game, no video though. Waters is a switch-hitter with bat to ball skills and good defense. He has a good feel for the game.
Staying in the NL East, SS Mark Vientos was assigned to the GCL Mets.
Brewers assigned their second round pick LHP Caden Lemons to the AZL Brewers. Padres assigned their second round pick LHP Mackenzie Gore to the AZL Padres.
Athletics assigned 2B Kevin Merrell to the Vermont Lake Monsters. This guy is a future major leaguer who can play second, but is likely to be moved to center field to maximize his 80 speed.
Royals assigned 1B Nick Pratto to the AZL Royals.
Reds assigned SS Jeter Downs and OF Stuart Fairchild to Billings Mustangs.
Down the Chutes
Braves also demoted former fourth-round pick RHP Chad Sobotka from Double-A to High-A. Not the first time Sobotka has been in High-A, but everything was pointing up until this year. His ERA is north of 5, as is his DRA. A groundball pitcher, he will need to limit hard contact and hits allowed with better placement of his pitches.
Rangers have been converting Jairo Beras to pitcher this season, and assigned him to Hickory Crawdads, A-ball. Here is a snippet of his action on the mound. LoneStarBall.com detail Beras better than I would, so I encourage you to read their story.
Tigers demoted Aussie 3B Zac Shepherd to A-ball. He has showed solid defense at third as well as power for the position, slugging 11 homers, not to mention an inclination to walk (10.4 percent) this season. The problem lies in his strikeouts. 41.2 percent of his plate appearances this season have ended in a strikeout, an unfavorable increase from the already high strikeout rate of 33.1 percent in 2016 at the same talent level. Shepherd, 21, is still relatively young for High-A where the average age is about 22, Tigers have reason for optimism. Though he likely will always have strikeouts attached to his name, Shepherd needs to make sure he isn’t patient to the point of passive at the plate. Fun Shepherd Fact: he struck out 159 times in 121 games last year, three short of the FSL record at 162 set by Taylor Sparks in 2015. This year, he has struck out 107 times in 65 games. At that rate, assuming he were to play in 121, he would have broken the FSL strikeout record with 199. There are some records to hold in baseball, Shep. This is not one of them.
Another Tiger who strikes out a lot—107 times in 94 games in the single full year he spent in High-A—OF Steven Moya has been demoted to Double-A.
Several releases were made this week. Most notably (for me) is Shepherd’s teammate on the Lakeland Flying Tigers, OF Ben Verlander. Sure, he was a selection made out of nepotism—yes, he is the brother of the more famous Verlander by the name of Justin—but he played the game hard and seemed like a good teammate. Nonetheless, this is no surprise for the High-A outfielder slashing .230/.303/.291. Au revoir, Verlander! Au revoir!
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