To The DL
Cardinals placed RHP Junior Fernandez on the DL. Last time Fernandez was placed on the DL, it appeared to save innings, as he spent the minimum on the DL. This time however, the transaction comes after his fastball velo was down 87-91 mph.
Off the DL
Braves southpaw Chase Johnson-Mullins was activated from the DL. His injury was not disclosed. Johnson-Mullins is a big donkey reliever. Despite his 3.9 BB/9—and walks are something he has always struggled with—the 23-year-old has pitched a 1.63 DRA in 32.1 innings with 35 strikeouts.
Blue Jays RHP TJ Zeuch was assigned to the GCL on a rehab assignment. His injury is undisclosed, and last pitched on May 27th. I highlighted Zeuch’s groundball rate, 61.1 percent, earlier this season when he initially landed on the DL.
Also from the Blue Jays, LHP Justin Maese was activated from the DL and then sent to Low-A.
Red Sox C Blake Swihart was sent on a rehab assignment, to the GCL Red Sox. He has been banged up more than a handful of times this year.
Nationals INF Carter Kieboom was assigned to the GCL on a rehab assignment. I caught his first game and he barreled the two balls he put into play. Kieboom is rehabbing a right hamstring strain. Nationals also moved RHP Joan Baez, whose control makes him a reliever. When you see his fastball, with its mid-90s velo and late life, makes him more of a set-up man. The curveball is 77-79 with plus bite and average depth. The changeup is firm with mild bottom—not a very good pitch. Fun fact: he was the starting pitcher in a recent no-hitter double-header.
Pirates sent OF Austin Meadows on rehab assignment to the GCL as well. He is down with a right hamstring strain. He has been out for over a month. He is playing with the Triple-A squad, slashing .248/.313/.358 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases to 23 walks and 47 strikeouts over 281 plate appearances.
Up the Ladder
Padres RHP Jacob Nix was promoted to Double-A San Antonio. Nix was Ten-Packed earlier this year by Wilson Karaman, labeling him with an innings eater No. 4 starter with below-average command.
Cardinals RHP Ryan Helsley was promoted from High-A to Double-A. Helsley’s better pitches are a high spin fastball that can top out at 97 (sitting 94-97), generating swings and misses up in the zone and an average cutter, 87-91, that acts more like a slider, with late bite. The below-average control and lack of other secondaries prime him for a set-up reliever role than a back-end starter.
Rays promoted 2B Brandon Lowe (finally) and C Brett Sullivan from High-A to Double-A. Lowe, the Florida State League OPS leader with .927, can hit and can lift the ball from the left field line and to right field line. I foresee Lowe hitting more doubles than homers, and to stay at second with a solid glove, better than average speed, and a solid-average arm. As for Sullivan, he is a solid hitter, with below-average power and an average arm. Not drafted as a catcher, he needs some work behind the dish. However, his athleticism can get him to reach a second-division role.
Dodgers promoted OF Johan Mieses, OF Yusniel Diaz and SS Drew Jackson to Double-A. Wilson wrote about the potential for Mieses here. Mieses had started the season in Double-A, but was demoted to High-A after striking out in nearly 30 percent of his plate appearances. As for the 20-year-old Diaz, he slashed .278/.343/.414 in 374 plate appearances in his second go at High-A. Karaman also wrote an Eyewitness Report him here.
Dodgers also promoted C Ramon Rodriguez to Short-Season A Ogden and LF Starling Heredia to Low-A. The 18-year-old Heredia signed for $2.6 million in 2015. As for the other 18-year-old, Rodriguez, he is a Puerto Rican 30th round 2016 draftee.
Giants catching prospect Aramis Garcia was promoted to Double-A Richmond. He has his 2016 season cut short due to a facial fracture, after getting a knee to the head while breaking up a double-play..
Red Sox promoted 1B Josh Ockimey from High-A to Double-A. A well-documented Three-True-Outcomes guy, the 21-year-old is still striking out, walking, and homering a lot, with 112 strikeouts, 67 walks and 11 homers in 101 games.
The Yankees made a series of organizational moves:
Hendrix covers a lot of ground and has plus instincts in centerfield (Exhibit A). However, his defensive value is dragged down due to his 40 arm. Overall, the bat is more for singles and occasional doubles, and while we are on the power topic, you cannot expect that from him either—over 1012 minor league plate appearances, he has it three home runs. Hendrix best profiles as a fourth outfielder.
Solak’s carrying tool, on the other hand, is his bat, not defense. And though he has had a home run surge this season, he is built for more doubles than homers. He can steal some bags, too, but his rough second base defense pushes him to left field. Solak plays hard, always giving you hard 90s, and knows the game.
Mesa, 24 in 9 days and Rule-5 Draft eligible after the end of this season, is the son of major leaguer Jose Mesa. He has had the best season of his career thus far, to a DRA of 1.89.
Also promoted were CF Estevan Florial and MIF Hoy Jun Park from Low-A to High-A. The Haitian Florial played in this year’s Futures Game, and I wrote about his notable yet non-notable performance and touched on his tools. As for the Korean 21-year-old, he slashed .262/.258/.367 over 373 plate appearances in his second-go in Low-A.
We’re not done yet…3B Dermis Garcia was promoted from short-season to Low-A. The quick and dirty story: 70 raw power with potential for more, big swing-and-miss, and big legs that bite into his athleticism for third. Though the arm is strong, the glove is not, nor is the run. He will need to continue to post plus walk rates and shore up some of the swing and miss to reach his potential.
Braves continue to promote their prospects, with a relative aggressiveness. This time C Alex Jackson, whom I raved about in a previously Monday Morning Ten Pack. Jackson was DL’d with a left forearm injury that kept him from playing for a month.
The Braves also promoted 2017 first rounder Kyle Wright from the GCL to High-A. Wright, to no surprise, made easy work of GCL players. Clearly, he was just warming up, pitching in only 5 2/3 GCL innings. Having pitched in 103 1/3 college innings, expect Wright to pitch limited innings this season.
Tigers promoted RHP Mark Ecker from High-A to Double-A and with a corresponding move, promoted LHP Zach Houston from Low-A to High-A. Houston, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound relief pitch and a 2016 draftee from Mississippi State, struck out 71 and walked 22 Low-A batters in 46 1/3 innings of work.
Reds promoted RHP Tanner Rainey from High-A to Double-A. Rainey has good stuff, as evident by his pro career 248 strikeouts over 208 1/3 innings, but has well-below-average control, as evidenced by his 116 walks. Rainey is projected to be a middle reliever.
Nationals 2017 first rounder LHP Seth Romero was assigned to Short-Season A, Auburn (NY). Despite getting kicked off his college team, Romero and Boras signed for $2.8 million, $269,000 over-slot.
Rangers promoted SS Chris Seise to short-season Spokane. A 2017 first-rounder who was drafted out of Central Florida, Seise slashed .336/.395/.509 in 27 games with five doubles, three triples, three home runs and five stolen bases to nine walks and 30 strikeouts.
Brewers promoted their 2017 second-round draft pick OF Tristen Lutz to short-season ball.
Cubs assigned RHP Alex Lange to the short-season Eugene Emeralds. Lange was their first-round pick in this year’s draft.
Marlins promoted RHP Colton Hock from GCL to short-season. A 2017 draftee from Stanford, Hock peppers the zone, specifically the corners, with small 90-93 sinkers and cutters. He has two breaking balls, both grade below average, and, in my viewing, relied on his 12-5 curveball to which he could place for strikes and down. Both breakers sit in the same velo range 79-82, with the slider have 10-5 break. Hock works to a good up-tempo, finishes and repeats. Despite the head whack and wrist wrap, the 21-year-old has plus control. Hock has the look of a long reliever/swingman.
Marlins assigned RHP Merandy Gonzalez to their High-A Jupiter squad. Merandy features a naturally cutting fastball, slider and curveball with solid depth and bite. The changeup is a work in progress but an average-plus changeup is in there…somewhere. As for Ricardo Cespedes, he was assigned to short-season. You can read the TA here.
Tigers 3B Jeimer Candelario was assigned to Triple-A, while SS Isaac Paredes was assigned to Low-A West Michigan Whitecaps. Paredes also suffered a minor injury, leaving his first game due to a left eye contusion after a ball struck him. He was day-to-day. You can read the TA here.
2B Willie Calhoun and RHP Taylor Scott were both assigned to the Triple-A Rangers affiliate, Round Rock Express. Calhoun was part of the return in the Yu Darvish trade, to which you can read the TA here.
Blue Jays RHP Thomas Pannone was assigned to the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Pannone was a part of the return that brought reliever RHP Joe Smith to Cleveland, which you can read in further detail here
Down the Chutes
A’s demoted SS Richie Martin from Double-A to High-A Stockton. Evidently slashing .224/.306/.315 in 86 games while being primarily rated a plus defender at the six plays second fiddle to newly acquired Jorge Mateo.
RF Austin Aune, Yankees second-rounder from 2012, was released as a result of the several roster moves for the Yankees system.