To The DL
Reds placed Cuban RHP Vladimir Gutierrez on the DL. He features a sinker in the 88-93 mph range with fringe-average movement. His secondary offerings are led by his big 11-5 curveball that projects to be fringe-average. His slider needs improvement coming out soft from the hand, but his changeup needs more work, as it is presently well-below average. As for the delivery, it is not efficient as he occasionally over rotates. Take this with a grain of salt, however, because this information stems from his last outing before landing on the DL. He could have been pitching hurt.
Pirates placed LHP Taylor Hearn on the DL with a strained right oblique. I missed Hearn here in Southeast Florida, but you can read Steve Givarz’s report here. Hearn, six-foot-five and lean, has the potential to close. On the same High-A team, Mitch Keller left the game after being struck on the shin with a line drive. The positive from this game is that he was straight fire, hitting 101 mph according to our own Josh Turner. He recently came off the DL for his back issue. No word on the severity of this potential injury.
Mets LHP Thomas Szapucki is having Tommy John surgery. His stuff is well liked by a few BP prospect writers, however, the delivery is a concern. He is the third-ranked player on the Mets Top 10. RHP Marcos Molina, though not scheduled to have TJS, was placed on the DL with an undisclosed injury. You can read about the Mets pitching prospects’ woes here.
Mariners’ recent first-rounder Evan White was placed on the DL with a strained quad. He is a leaner, more athletic first baseman, different from the big and thick types.
D-Backs’ RHR Tommy Eveld was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to July 15th. He has been dominant since turning pro, striking out 73 guys to 20 walks over 64 innings pitched and facing 239 batters. I wrote about Eveld in a previous Weekly Wrap, highlighting his multi-sport background.
Astros OF Kyle Tucker has been placed on the DL for the Double-A team with a back issue. At 20 years old, back issues are never a good thing, but it was more of a precaution. In 162 plate appearances, he has slashed .301/.360/.548 with eight home runs, six stolen bases, 38 strikeouts to 11 walks.
Reds placed C Tyler Stephenson on the DL with a sprained right thumb. He is the Reds first-rounder in 2015. The 20-year-old is in his second turn in Low-A Dayton.
An update on Dodgers Yusniel Diaz and Will Smith, both of whom I discussed last week. Diaz is on the DL with a hand injury that is not considered serious. Meanwhile, Smith is scheduled to be on the DL for six weeks due to a hand fracture suffered from two hit-by-pitch in his first game in Double-A.
An update on Mets RHP Jordan Humphreys, his injury is elbow related as he just had an MRI.
Off the DL
Athletics RHP Logan Shore was activated from the High-A Stockton Ports disabled list.
Staying on the West coast, Mariners CF Kyle Lewis is back in High-A, after being sent to AZL to rehab. He is a dynamic player with the chance to be an above-average right fielder. He is the number two prospect in the Mariner’s system.
RHP Hunter Harvey is on a rehab assignment with the GCL Orioles. The 22-year-old is recovering from Tommy John back in 2015. In his first professional outing in over a year on July 19th, he pitched one inning, allowed two hits and struck out one GCL hitter. He is to pitch once a week. Do yourself a favor, check out the Comparable Players on his player card. There are some serious names.
Not yet off the DL, RHP Justin Maese were sent on a rehab assignment to the GCL Blue Jays from their Low-A team. Maese is their third-round pick from 2015, and has been out since May 30th with a sore shoulder.
Marlins 2014 first-rounder RHP Tyler Kolek pitched for the first time since 2015. Unfortunately, things did not go well, resulting in a 108 ERA. Most descriptively, he only recorded one out, walked two guys, and hit one batter. They all scored, however, when the next guy, 2017 fourth-rounder, RHP Colton Hock came in.
Up the Ladder
R you ready?
Rafael Devers, in case you haven’t heard, was promoted to Triple-A, and had a monster game. Devers went 4-for-4, with a homer, double and two singles. In chatting with scouts who have seen him, there are some big major league implications.
Red Sox also promoted LHP Dedgar Jimenez from High-A to Double-A. A 21-year-old Venezuelan, he features a FB-SL-CH-CB repertoire, with his fastball in the upper 80s and low 90s, both the slider and changeup in the low 80s and the curveball in the mid 70s. I have also been told he knows what he is doing and works quickly.
Rooker did not spend too long in Elizabethton, as he was recently promoted to High-A Fort Myers. He made quick work in Elizabethton. Over 22 games, he slashed .282/.364/.588 with seven home runs and 21 strike outs to 11 walks.
Rays promoted RHP Drew Smith to Double-A from High-A. Acquired as the PTBNL in the Mikie Mahtook trade, Smith is a reliever who can make an impact on a major league pen early. The 23-year-old repeats his deceptive delivery well with projectable major league average offerings. His sinker/fastball is 95-96, cutter 95-96, change-up 85-87, and CB 78-80. The sinker action is small and aims for either corner. The cutter is flatter more often than you would like, but he is still able to place in on lefties. The changeup projects to be average, selling the good bottom it shows. The curveball has big 11-5 depth with bite down to which he can command. The control projects to be average. Rays also promoted SS Jake Cronenworth from High-A to Double-A. Cronenworth is an average defender with bat to ball skills and well below average power.
Reds promoted RHP Jesus Reyes from High-A to Double-A. A fastball that reaches as high as 96, he sits 92-93 comfortably with a natural sinker due to his low-three-quarters slot. He aims for the corners, and generates groundballs, to the tune of 58.9 percent for the Daytona Tortugas in 2017. His secondary offerings are a changeup and slider that both are in the mid-80s. The slider, however, is ahead of the changeup presently, projecting to be a future average pitch, and the changeup projecting as fringe-average. Also, Reyes’ control is below average, making his projection as a starter risky. Though he could conceivably start, thanks to his above-average groundball percentage and above-average velo, I like him as a reliever. In this role ,with his ability to maintain the sinking action with double-plus velo, partnered with his biting slider, he could be a solid seventh-inning reliever.
As Jarrett Seidler put it, the Pirates group promoted a few shortstops in Kevin Newman to Triple-A, Cole Tucker to Double-A, and Stephen Alemais to High-A. All have made mentions on my Weekly Wrap previously. Newman for a concussion, Tucker for a right thumb injury, and Alemais for a hamstring. You can read Greg Goldstein’s report on Newman here and my report on Tucker here. Not much yet on Alemais, but I am sure Josh Turner, Givarz, or I will get something up soon. Meanwhile, watching his slick-fielding abilities, here and here.
SS 3B Ryan Mountcastle to Double-A. Putting on muscle with controversial Brady Anderson this offseason has paid off, as the 20-year-old has already slugged 15 homers, surpassing his career total of 14. That is not at a sacrifice of the bat either, as his batting average in a more difficult level is .314 with 14 walks.
Brewers promoted 2B Keston Hiura from AZL to Low-A. Hiura made quick work of the desert. In 15 games, he slashed .435/.500/.839 with four home runs to 13 strikeouts.
Cardinals promoted RHP Mike O’Reilly from Low-A to High-A. I caught his appearance at Roger Dean Stadium, and this is what he showed: an average fastball, though the velocity is well-below average, at 87-91, sitting 87-90 mph. The changeup, 80-83, is fringe, generating some swings and misses to both righties and lefties. The better of the pitch is his tight 10-4 breaking that is in the 79-81 mph range. He can place this pitch in the zone for strikes or out for chases with much confidence. O’Reilly’s stuff plays up more because of his tempo, ability to throw strikes and mix.
Another guy who I caught at Roger Dean Stadium is Cuban RHP Hector Mendoza. A very quick arm and delivery that he repeats well to a H3/4 release point, Mendoza features four pitches—a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, knuckle curve and changeup. The command is fringe-average, but all these pitches play. The fastball looks harder than the gun readings, showing tailing action. The fading changeup works well against lefties as it fades and disguises with the double-plus arm speed, while the knuckle-curve is tight and has 12-6 bite. I like him coming out of the ‘pen in a future seventh-inning role.
M&Ms, do you like?
Marlins promoted 2B Justin Twine from Low-A to High-A. He has practically made Greensboro home, with this season being his third go. And though it is his third turn, he has not exactly improved statistically slashing .185/.251/.286 over 247 at-Bats with three home runs, five triples and six doubles. Interestingly is though he has shown speedy-pop, he has only stolen three bags and has been caught stealing twice. Twine is 21 years old and stocky standing at five-foot and 205 pounds.
Marlins also promoted 3B Brian Anderson from Double-A. Anderson is one of the few bright spots in the Marlins system, playing a solid third base and providing decent pop. Be sure to see how Anderson’s ranking holds at the end of this season with the addition of talent as the Marlins sell their Major League assets, beginning with RHP David Phelps.
Mariners promoted RHP Thyago Vieira from Double-A to Triple-A. The walks are no Bueno—roughly a 10 percent walk percentage—but the strikeouts are a bright spot, with Vieira whiffing 23 percent of Double-A hitters. The 24-year-old Brazilian made an appearance in this year’s Futures Games in Miami.
Mariners also promoted RHP Nick Neidert and 2017 third-rounder RHP Wyatt Mills. Neidert, pitching in High-A since the start of the season, has above-average control and is only 20 years old. He was selected in the second-round of the 2015 draft. Mills was simply getting up to speed in short-season, striking out 11 batters in seven innings of work. Mills is a Gonzaga product, who can touch the mid-90s from a sidearm motion, which generates plus sink on the ball. He’ll also show an above-average slider and could be ticketed for a set-up role down the line.
Mets promoted wiry INF Hansel Moreno from the GCL to Kingsport. He is a switch-hitter who has infield versatility. He has average run speed, but it plays up because of his aggression. He sprays balls around the field, but the approach is raw as he is swing-happy. There is some gap-to-gap potential in the bat, though he would need to create more leverage to reach anything more than 30 power. The 20-year-old projects to be a glove option off the bench, with the chance of being a second-division regular heavily contingent on his approach and knowledge of the zone.
Braves promoted LHP Corbin Clouse from High-A to Double-A. From a three-quarters slot, the 22-year-old reliever has a four-seam, cutter, changeup and slider with better-than-average command. The four-seamer he can spot to either corner, and with the cutter he can get in on right-handed hitters. The changeup, he sells well to right-handed hitters and has good drop at 83-84 mph. The slider is 79-81 mph with 2-7 depth to which he can place. This pitch grades as average.
Braves also promoted OF Drew Waters and SS Kevin Maitan from the GCL to short-season Danville. Waters, an 18-year-old, slashed .347/.448/.571 in 58 AB. The 17-year-old Maitan is well-like here at BP. Here is what was said in our 2017 Annual:
As is typical with international talent, fans were freaking out about Maitan before they even knew about him. It’s usually not that justified, but Maitan could be the exception, so go ahead and freak out now. Scouts sometimes like to mention Miguel Cabrera when comparing a young international prospect, but they usually do so with only specific parts of a kid’s game, such as his opposite-field power potential, swing or body. With Maitan, you kind of see it all. He has the potential to be a plus hit/plus power switch-hitter on the left side of the infield (growth could move him to third). He was born in 2000 (we’re all getting old), so he’s forever and a day away and so much could happen over that span, but this kid has the ingredients to be the real deal.
The Blue Jays promoted RHP Nate Pearson from the Gulf Coast League to their short-season team. Pearson is their first-round pick in the 2017 draft. He pitched one inning in the GCL, striking out two and allowing one hit. Jays also promoted LHP Ryan Borucki from High-A to Double-A. Drafted in the 15th round in 2012, Borucki has battled arm injuries and was 40-man’d this past offseason, despite only reaching High-A in five professional seasons. He has rewarded them by pitching in 98 innings over 18 starts accumulating 109 strikeouts to 27 walks in 411 batters faced and more descriptively, a 1.93 DRA.
Angels promoted 2B David Fletcher from Double-A to Triple-A. He’s a small-guy, standing at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds. I will reference our 2017 annual: “A grinding, scrapper of a dirt dog who grinds his way through scrappy at-bats and isn’t afraid to get dirty, dog, David Fletcher is a quintessential plays-above-his-tools little guy.”
Angels’ first-rounder in 2015, C Taylor Ward was promoted to Double-A. He played in the Fall League in 2016, showing solid catch-and-throw skills with a below-average bat. He projects to be a backup catcher.
Angels also promoted their second-round draft pick in 2015, CF Jahmai Jones from Low-A to High-A. The soon-to-be 20-year-old showed better than average speed, some power and a decent bat with the bulk of his time coming in center field. Coming into this season, Jones is the number one-overall prospect for the Angels system.
Yankees promoted LHP Trevor Lane from Low-A to High-A.
Dodgers promoted RHP Walker Buehler from Double-A to Triple-A. Buehler has serious chance to make an impact on the Dodgers this season, with some of the filthiest stuff in baseball. Here’s what JH Schroeder said about him:
Lean, but strong frame. Listed at 6-foot-2, looks shorter. Good athleticism and body control. Three-quarters to high-three-quarters arm slot. Explosive arm action, with good deception, smooth arm circle, particularly out back. Can work too fast at times, get out of sync. 1.65 to plate w/speed. FB 96-100, worked mostly 97-98. 4S & 2S. Late run away to LHBs. CB 79-84, 11-6, preferred secondary. Backdoored to LHB. SL 87-89, 11-5, could get cutterish. Command was spotty, especially in leverage situations. Seemed to set up middle/middle. More comfortable commanding away to LHBs, had hard time getting FB glove-side. FB heavy repertoire. Attacks hitters, trusts stuff.
Dodgers also promoted RHP Yadier Alvarez, RHP Mitchell White and RHP Dennis Santana from High-A to Double-A. Wilson profiled all three guys, you can read about Alvarez here, White here and Santana here. Additionally, 2017 sixth-rounder RHP Wills Montgomerie was promoted from the AZL to Low-A. Montgomerie is a UConn product.
After crushing the AZL for four games, White Sox seventh-rounder C Evan Skoug is moving up to Low-A. He was drafted from Texas Christian University.
Some trade/draft assignments:
Though not yet formally assigned or activated, RHP Hunter Greene is in Billings, Montana with the Short-Season A team.
Orioles assigned Canadian SS Adam Hall and LHP DL Hall to their GCL Orioles team.
Dodgers assigned dynamic OF Jeren Kendall to Ogden Raptors, Short-Season A.
Tigers assigned newly acquired SS Sergio Alcantara to High-A Lakeland, SS Dawel Lugo to Double-A Erie and SS Jose King to GCL Tigers West. He is profiled in the Transaction Analysis, which you can read here.
Unsurprisingly, Athletics assigned LHP Jesus Luzardo to their AZL team. Pitching in the Nationals GCL team, I wrote about Luzardo in the TA here. You can also read about 3B Sheldon Neuse in that transaction, or you can read Greg Goldstein’s eyewitness report here.
White Sox assigned LHP Ian Clarkin to their High-A affiliate. Clarkin was pitching in High-A for the New York Yankees. Similarly, OF Blake Rutherford was assigned to their Low-A team. OF Tito Polo has yet to be assigned. You can read about him and other players in the Transaction Analysis here. SS Yeyson Yrizarri was also assigned to the High-A squad, in a trade that resulted in the Texas Rangers receiving an international slot from the White Sox. Read about that transaction here.
Down the Chutes
Brewers SS Gilbert Lara was demoted from Low-A to Short-Season. Lara is a 19-year-old who was slashing .193/.226/.269 with 79 strikeouts. The bat is light, the contact is even lighter, the approach is very raw and the speed is unideal for a middle infield glove. Changes need to be made, you think?
Another shortstop who was demoted was switching-hitting 18-year-old Panamanian Jonathan Arauz of the Houston Astros. A slick fielding, instinctive shortstop, but below-average runner, Arauz makes contact, but a lot of it is weak due to his swings handsy nature. Fortunately, time is on his side to put both clean weight and power behind that bat-to-ball ability. Maybe use his legs more?
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