Top MLB Prospect Call-Up Radar Report, Week 17
The 2014 season has seen a number of notable prospects receive call-ups to the major leagues. Undoubtedly, there are more to come—and soon.
Highly regarded youngsters like George Springer (currently on the disabled list), Marcus Stroman, Jonathan Singleton, Gregory Polanco and Ken Giles have been seeing regular run for their respective clubs for quite some time now. Others like Oscar Taveras, Taijuan Walker and Kevin Gausman (no longer prospect-eligible) have been shuttling up and down between the minors and majors.
With a week to go until the July 31 trade deadline, there should be plenty of promotions of prime prospects as the wheeling and dealing opens up 25-man roster spots on teams that are selling and building for the future.
Meanwhile, contenders are finding ways to fit youngsters into the mix to help down the stretch. That's the story in Toronto, where the Blue Jays have called up Aaron Sanchez, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Normally a starter, the 21-year-old right-hander will try to provide a boost out of the bullpen and looked great in his first appearance Wednesday, throwing two perfect innings of relief.
Not every call-up works out right away, as was the case with Andrew Heaney, Domingo Santana and Mookie Betts.
Heaney, a 23-year-old left-hander in the Miami Marlins system, went 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA in his first four big league starts; Santana, a 21-year-old outfielder with the Houston Astros, went 0-for-13 with 11 strikeouts in his initial four games; and Betts, a 21-year-old infielder/outfielder, was demoted after all of 10 contests. Each is back in Triple-A to work on some things.
Regardless, they could be back in the bigs soon enough, and more young impact talent will join the mix. Who will be the next to reach the major leagues? In order to predict estimated times of arrival this season, we've classified the prospects on this list using the following color-coded scale:
- Red: September call-up, at best.
- Yellow: Call-up within a month.
- Green: Call-up within a week/call-up is imminent.
Here's a look at the prospect call-up report for Week 17 of the 2014 MLB season.
Others on the Cusp
Trevor May, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Kyle Parker, 1B/OF, Colorado Rockies
Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres
Micah Johnson, 2B, Chicago White Sox
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Boston Red Sox
Mookie Betts, 2B/OF, Boston Red Sox
Matt Davidson, 3B, Chicago White Sox
Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins
Allen Webster, RHP, Boston Red Sox
Jacob Lindgren, LHP, New York Yankees
Heath Hembree, RHP, San Francisco Giants
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets
Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Eddie Butler, RHP, Colorado Rockies
Robert Refsnyder, 2B/OF, New York Yankees
Domingo Santana, OF, Houston Astros
Maikel Franco, 1B/3B, Philadelphia Phillies
Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs
2014 Stats (Rookie/Double-A): .409/.495/.807, 19 R, 20 XBH (7 HR), 28 RBI, 0 SB, 21-16 K/BB (79 PA)
Jorge Soler won't hit it big until next season, but the 22-year-old has it in him to be Major League Baseball's next Cuban-born star.
After missing most of the first half of the year with hamstring troubles, Soler obliterated the Southern League with a 1.355 OPS in 22 games. That got him bumped up to Triple-A during the week—per Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago—where he joins fellow top-tier prospects Bryant and Baez in a lineup that is undeniably more dangerous than the one the Chicago Cubs are deploying.
Because Soler signed a major league contract for $30 million over nine years with the Cubs in June of 2012, he's already on the 40-man roster and not subject to the same kind of service-time manipulation that Bryant and Baez are. While it might be a stretch that Soler is up in September, perhaps the Cubs will give him—and their fans—a brief glimpse of the future.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
2014 Stats (Double-A/Triple-A): .280/.353/.391, 52 R, 23 XBH (6 HR), 48 RBI, 26 SB, 6-40 K/BB (396 PA)
Like Soler, Francisco Lindor earned a promotion to Triple-A this week, which makes the shortstop very much worth mentioning here, even if a call-up isn't necessarily imminent.
That said, the 20-year-old, who is a mix of solid contact-making with the bat, base-pilfering speed with the legs and defensive wizardry with the glove (see video above), is an Asdrubal Cabrera trade away from making his big league debut.
Even if the Cleveland Indians don't move Cabrera by the trade deadline, however, Lindor is polished enough for a late-season cameo. And frankly, he'd help their league-worst defense right now.
Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
2014 Stats (Rookie/Double-A/Triple-A): 2-4, 3.52 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 48-27 K/BB (53.2 IP)
It's been a tough year for Archie Bradley, who nearly made the Arizona Diamondbacks out of spring training, only to be among the final cuts before getting shut down for nearly two months with elbow soreness.
Well, the 21-year-old former No. 7 overall selection (2011) had his best outing of the season last time out, hurling seven innings of three-hit, two-run ball with a season-high 10 strikeouts.
That prompted the following from D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, via Steve Gilbert of MLB.com: "What I want Archie to do is continue to throw the ball well like he did his last start, get on a roll and be prepared for an opportunity should it arise...You come up and get a taste, it's valuable going into next year, for sure."
Sounds like Bradley might have a chance to make his debut in 2014 after all, especially since Arizona could use another arm for a rotation that recently has lost Bronson Arroyo to Tommy John surgery and Brandon McCarthy to trade, and features Trevor Cahill, who's plain lost.
Alexander Guerrero, INF, Los Angeles Dodgers
2014 Stats (Rookie/High-A/Triple-A): .373/.419/.720, 28 R, 25 XBH (12 HR), 35 RBI, 1 SB, 24-10 K/BB (167 PA)
With his Miguel Olivo-bitten ear having healed, it might not be long before Alexander Guerrero is up with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yes, he's missed almost two months with the injury, but Guerrero is a 27-year-old who played professionally in Cuba for several seasons, so it's not like he's a young prospect working his way through the ranks.
For now, Guerrero is rehabbing at High-A, and what's interesting is he's been playing the left side of infield, which means the club could be considering him for a backup/utility spot at short and third in the second half.
Those positions are manned by Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe, who aren't going anywhere, but each has faced his fair share of ailments in 2014, and Guerrero would provide some impactful insurance.
Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
2014 Stats (Triple-A): .325/.453/.585, 68 R, 37 XBH (20 HR), 49 RBI, 24 SB, 107-71 K/BB (386 PA)
With his home run Wednesday, Joc Pederson reached the 20-20 plateau for the second straight season. He only missed in 2012 by two homers, too.
At this point, Pederson is mostly just biding his time before something gives that gets him to Los Angeles, where he very well could be the Dodgers center fielder if the club can unload one of its big-money outfielders in a deal.
Regardless, the 22-year-old is almost guaranteed to get a look, and the trade deadline is very likely to determine just how much playing time he gets over the second half—and in which city he gets it.
Chris Taylor, SS, Seattle Mariners
2014 Stats (Triple-A): .329/.397/.497, 63 R, 34 XBH (5 HR), 37 RBI, 14 SB, 74-35 K/BB (346 PA)
One has to wonder just how much longer the Seattle Mariners can keep using Brad Miller at shortstop. Not only is he back to struggling after an uptick in production in June, but he's doing so while Chris Taylor is tearing it up at Triple-A.
To wit, Miller has gone 10-for-52 (.192) in July so far. Taylor, 23, is 14-for-28—that's .500 for those of you scoring at home—over the past week's worth of games.
With the M's very much in the AL playoff chase and all over the trade market, there's a good possibility that this situation could be switched up one way or another in the very near future. At worst, the righty-swinging Taylor could be platooned with Miller, who hits from the left side.
Tim Cooney, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals
2014 Stats (Triple-A): 9-5, 3.55 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 85-41 K/BB (116.2 IP)
For an organization steeped in pitching, the St. Louis Cardinals rotation has been more than a little fluid of late. That could continue with a call-up of Tim Cooney, a polished college left-hander who was picked in the third round in 2012.
Cooney, 23, has had a few blips at Memphis—it is, after all, the Pacific Coast League—but he's mostly been what he was projected to be, a solid back-of-the-rotation arm who can contribute quality innings. He's also been on a nice run his past three starts, allowing just 19 baserunners and three earned runs in 22.0 innings while whiffing 17.
St. Louis has been jockeying around right-handers Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez, and the duo will switch roles again, for now, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. If the Cardinals, who are in the market for an arm, don't address that in a deal, Cooney is ready for an opportunity.
James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners
2014 Stats (Low-A/Triple-A): 0-2, 6.23 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 11-4 K/BB (8.2 IP)
James Paxton is getting closer. The 25-year-old started the season in the Seattle Mariners' five-man before injuries to his lat and shoulder, and while his recovery has taken longer than expected, it's progressing.
Paxton made his second rehab start of the month on July 22, this time at Triple-A Tacoma, and he threw 60 pitches over three innings. He surrendered a pair of home runs in the first inning but then settled down to retire six of the next seven batters, two via strikeout.
"I think the most important thing is being healthy and making sure that nothing's wrong," Paxton said afterward via Adam Lewis of MLB.com. "The second thing is just starting to tighten things up and get that good feel back."
The plan now is for Paxton to make another start for Tacoma on Sunday, according to Jayson Jenks of The Seattle Times. Whether he'll need another one after that before returning to the M's will depend on how he throws, how high his pitch count reaches, and most importantly, how he feels.
There's at least a chance, then, that Paxton is back in Seattle at the start of August, especially since fellow prospect Walker was sent back down after another walk-filled start (and loss) Wednesday.
Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins
2014 Stats (Triple-A): 5-4, 3.11 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 115-47 K/BB (101.1 IP)
There's no way Alex Meyer isn't one of the five best starting pitchers in the Minnesota Twins organization right now. And that doesn't need to be qualified by "healthy."
The club is without the likes of Ricky Nolasco and Mike Pelfrey due to injury. Fellow right-hander Kyle Gibson, who has been one of the Twins' more reliable starters this year, is battling back pain that caused him to miss Wednesday's scheduled start.
There's a chance Gibson could go Saturday, according to Tyler Mason of Fox Sports North, but if the injury is more serious, that would open the door even more for Meyer.
The 24-year-old Meyer wouldn't be able to take that turn because he just threw at Triple-A on Wednesday, but he's been too good to ignore much longer, having allowed just five runs on 18 hits in his past 32.0 innings (five starts) to go with a 32-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
It's worth noting here that the Twins' 40-man roster now includes only 39 players after they designated veteran reliever Matt Guerrier for assignment, per La Velle Neal of the Star Tribune. That gives the Twins a chance to get a little creative by adding one more player to fill out the final spot.
Between Meyer's recent performance, Minnesota's bare rotation and the roster room, it shouldn't be long before he gets the call.
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