Top MLB Prospect Call-Up Radar Report, Week 23
Over the course of the 2014 season, a number of notable prospects have received call-ups to the major leagues. With the final month here, rosters are expanding and changing all the time, meaning more young talent will be arriving—and soon.
Heck, take a deep breath and read through this rundown of just some of the big-name prospects who were promoted in the past week alone: Taijuan Walker, Daniel Norris, Joc Pederson, Andrew Heaney, Dalton Pompey, Maikel Franco, Marco Gonzales, Alexander Guerrero, Dilson Herrera, Steven Moya and Anthony Ranaudo.
More will be joining the mix too. Who will be the next to reach the majors? In order to predict estimated times of arrival with what's left of this season, we've classified the prospects on this list using the following color-coded scale:
- Red: September call-up, if that.
- Green: Call-up within a week/call-up is imminent.
Here's a look at the top prospect call-up report for Week 23 of the 2014 MLB season.
Others on the Cusp
Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals
Christian Binford, RHP, Kansas City Royals
Andrew Chafin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Mike Wright, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Alex Colome, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
Garin Cecchini, 3B/OF, Boston Red Sox
Edwin Escobar, LHP, Boston Red Sox
Dariel Alvarez, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Robert Refsnyder, 2B/OF, New York Yankees
Manny Banuelos, LHP, New York Yankees
Tim Cooney, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Reed, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
J.T. Realmuto, C, Miami Marlins
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets
Matt Reynolds, SS, New York Mets
Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Matt Davidson, 3B, Chicago White Sox
Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins
2014 Stats (Triple-A): 7-7, 3.52 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 153:64 K:BB (130.1 IP)
The longest-tenured member of the Call-Up Radar, Alex Meyer has a dead-red reading and won't be making his MLB debut in 2014 after all.
The 24-year-old left what was his last start at Triple-A after just one inning and all of six total batters, as Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports: "He exited after facing two batters in the second inning because he had trouble getting loose. Meyer's fastball velocity was reportedly at roughly 90 mph, according to reporters covering the game."
A promotion to Minnesota still could have come this month, but the Twins decided to put Meyer on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The good news is that friend and fellow right-hander Trevor May conveyed to Berardino that Meyer isn't experiencing any pain and nothing is structurally wrong with Meyer's shoulder.
The bad news? One of the more big league-ready pitching prospects will have to wait until 2015 to reach the majors.
A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals
2014 Stats (Double-/Triple-A): 13-3, 3.16 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 111:32 K:BB (134.0 IP)
While the Syracuse Chiefs are headed to the playoffs, A.J. Cole won't be. The Washington Nationals essentially have decided to shut down the right-hander after 134 innings, as Lindsay Kramer of The Post-Standard reports.
"He's maximized his pitches,'' Nats assistant general manager Doug Harris said, taking care to note that Cole is not hurt. "We're going to shut him down. We go into these things with certain parameters. But it's also what the eye test tells us.''
Cole, 22, put together a fine season and could have been a candidate for bullpen duty with Washington, but signs point to his tiring down the stretch. In five August starts, he allowed 13 earned runs on 32 hits in 27.1 innings.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
2014 Stats (Double-/Triple-A): .325/.428/.661, 118 R, 78 XBH (43 HR), 110 RBI, 15 SB, 162:86 K:BB (594 PA)
While just about every other big-time Chicago Cubs prospect who spent significant time at Triple-A this season has been called up—like Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara—the same fate won't carry out for Kris Bryant. Even knocking his first triple of 2014, as the 22-year-old did on Aug. 27, won't convince the club's front office to reward him with a game on the North Side.
Despite Bryant being the most talented of the bunch and baseball's overall home run leader, as well as the USA Today's Minor League Player of the Year, Cubs president Theo Epstein ruled out—once and for all—any chance of Bryant making a September appearance, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune:
I think he’s close enough to where he can start setting his sights on the big leagues. Whenever that time comes, we don’t know, but it’s getting closer. There’s a good chance that as he continues to develop, he’ll spend the vast majority of 2015 in the big leagues.
Citing that the team isn't in contention and the fact that Bryant is still in his first full professional season, Epstein stressed the importance that the third baseman rest up for next season, which Bryant could start in the majors.
Carlos Rodon, LHP, Chicago White Sox
2014 Stats (Rookie/High-/Triple-A): 0-0, 2.92 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 38:13 K:BB (24.2 IP)
In his third start at Triple-A, Carlos Rodon turned in his longest outing as a pro yet, hurling five full innings while allowing two runs on seven hits to go with seven strikeouts and three walks.
The No. 3 overall pick in June, Rodon has had some bouts with command and control as evidenced by his 13 free passes in 24.2 frames. But he also has yet to surrender a home run and has whiffed 38, which speaks to his nasty stuff.
That stuff, though, won't be reaching Chicago this year, according to Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. Here's GM Rick Hahn on the 21-year-old Rodon:
It just wasn't the right time in his development to bring him to the big leagues…and ask him to get big-league hitters out. We are very pleased with how he finished up his first several weeks as a pro. We fully expect him to come to big-league camp next year and compete for a spot on the 2015 White Sox. That's how far along he is in his development.
While Rodon wasn't able to match Chris Sale's feat of getting to the bigs in the same year he was drafted, he should team with his fellow southpaw on the South Side soon enough.
Jacob Lindgren, LHP, New York Yankees
2014 Stats (Rookie/A-/High-/Double-A): 2-1, 2.16 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 48:13 K:BB (25.0 IP)
The New York Yankees' top pick this past June, Jacob Lindgren was shooting through the minors so fast he even had caught the attention of manager Joe Girardi, per Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.
Along the way, the 21-year-old reliever earned the nickname "The Strikeout Factory" for all the whiffs he racked up: 48 in 25.0 innings, or a whopping 17.3 per nine. Alas, his last outing for Double-A Trenton was easily his worst as a pro (5 R, 1 H, 4 BB in 0.1 IP), and it looks like that's how Lindgren's first season will end.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that, in light of the club's acquisition of left-hander Josh Outman, it's "unlikely" the Yankees will call up their young southpaw, who already has thrown more than 80 innings this year between the minors and his collegiate campaign at Mississippi State.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
2014 Stats (Double-/Triple-A): .276/.338/.389, 75 R, 31 XBH (11 HR), 62 RBI, 28 SB, 97:49 K:BB ( PA)
At this point, it appears that Francisco Lindor will retain the label of Cleveland Indians' shortstop of the future through the offseason.
Lindor managed to hit better a month into his promotion to Triple-A, going 16-for-45 (.356) over the Columbus Clippers' final 10 games. But there's no need to rush a top prospect who is still only 20 years old and has a few aspects around the fringe of his game to clean up (like getting caught on seven of 10 stolen-base attempts and sporting a 36-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio at the minors' highest level).
Plus, the Clippers are in the International League playoffs, which will be a good experience for Lindor, who likely wouldn't see much playing time with the Indians as they try to make a second straight late-season postseason push.
It's possible Lindor makes a cameo in Cleveland once Columbus' season concludes, but don't be disappointed if that doesn't happen. He'll have all of 2015 to become the team's shortstop of the present.
Matt Barnes, RHP, Boston Red Sox
2014 Stats (Triple-A): 8-9, 3.95 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 103:46 K:BB (127.2 IP)
As a 2011 first-rounder, Matt Barnes needs to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. That, as well as a midseason turnaround, helps his cause for a possible September call-up to Boston.
Alex Speier of WEEI.com detailed the 24-year-old's strong second half, which Barnes capped off by allowing five runs in seven innings but netting 10 strikeouts against no walks in his final turn, which matches a season high:
The outing was the fourth straight, fifth in six starts and sixth in eight starts that [Barnes] pitched into the seventh inning, a noteworthy development for a pitcher who had struggled with his pitch efficiency in the past.
Barnes entered the All-Star break with a 4-7 record, 5.06 ERA, 6.9 strikeouts per nine and 3.7 walks per nine. In eight starts after the break, however, he went 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA, 7.8 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per nine.
Whether that will get Barnes some innings with the Red Sox before the season is over remains to be seen, but there's more to like here than there was only a couple months ago.
Christian Walker, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
2014 Stats (Double-/Triple-A): .288/.357/.489, 73 R, 53 XBH (26 HR), 96 RBI, 2 SB, 132:56 K:BB (599 PA)
The Norfolk Tides' season is over after they failed to qualify for the IL playoffs, but the Baltimore Orioles' postseason hopes are very much alive considering they possess the largest division lead in baseball.
The Orioles, who over the last few years have proven that they don’t like to be unprepared, will hold a taxi-squad-type camp at their complex in Sarasota, Fla., starting Saturday.
The whole point is for players on the roster bubble -- guys who were on the fringes of being September call-ups but weren’t initially added to the team -- to stay active in case they are needed this month. Knowing the way the Orioles have done things in the past few seasons, it would be a surprise if at least one wasn’t recalled at some point before the regular season ends.
Among the players in this mix is Christian Walker, who could soon be brought up to provide depth at first base or as a power bat off the bench. With the AL East well in hand, it wouldn't be a bad idea for Baltimore to give some of their youngsters a little experience.
Domingo Santana, OF, Houston Astros
2014 Stats (Triple-A): .296/.384/.474, 63 R, 45 XBH (16 HR), 81 RBI, 6 SB, 149:64 K:BB (513 PA)
Domingo Santana needs to be recalled by the Houston Astros if only so he can finally get his first hit as a big leaguer and change the obligatory narrative that surrounds and defines him at this point.
The 22-year-old, who debuted on July 1, has had a pair of blink-and-you'll-miss-it stints with the 'Stros. So far, he's oh-for-17 with a silly 14 strikeouts.
Since getting sent back to Triple-A Oklahoma City for the second time in mid-August, Santana went 17-for-53 (.321) with a 22-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the final two weeks of the RedHawks' season. Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle speculates that a September return should happen for Santana.
At this point, why not? Better just to get Santana back up so he can get that first knock out of the way and can concentrate on adjusting to the majors in preparation for 2015.
Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Kansas City Royals
2014 Stats (High-/Double-A): 0-4, 1.33 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 26:4 K:BB (27.0 IP)
Kansas City Royals fans waiting to get a look at this year's first-round pick and No. 17 overall, Brandon Finnegan, won't have to wait much longer.
The TCU product was the victim of some poor timing that was out of the club's control over the weekend in advance of the Aug. 31 deadline to get players on the 40-man roster in order to have them be eligible for the postseason roster. But not only is Finnegan, 21, expected to be called up at any time now, he also likely still should be eligible for October, as Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star details.
A starter by trade who worked in that capacity at High-A, Finnegan switched to a relief role upon being promoted to Double-A, with the idea that he will be a reinforcement for an already stacked Royals' bullpen down the stretch as Kansas City makes its playoff push.
Once he's officially brought up, Finnegan will be the first member of the 2014 MLB draft to reach the majors.
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