Here’s a short list of the minor league super-prospects that have been on my radar (and a lot of other people’s) in a big way.
Buster Posey, C Giants. After 45 AAA games, Buster is hitting .343 with a .973 OPS. My feeling is that he needs another fifteen games at AAA, at which point, if he’s still has an OPS of at least .950, it’s time to call him up.
By that time, he won’t be a super-two for arbitration purposes, and given the Giants’ pathetic offense this year (currently 3rd worst in the NL in terms of runs scored—the Giants have four starters with ERAs in the NL’s top sixteen, and they’re only one game above .500), there just won’t be any reason to keep him in the minors any longer.
Mike Stanton, CF Marlins. Stanton has slumped a little in the last ten games, so his OPS in AA ball is now only 1.164. I’m kind of amazed that the Marlins haven’t promoted him to AAA. He has nothing left to prove in the AA Southern League, and the Marlins clearly won’t call him up until there’s no possibility of super-two status, so why not let him terrorize AAA pitchers for a little while?
Seeing new pitchers at the minor’s highest level can’t hurt Stanton’s development. Most likely, the Fish have decided to jump him to the majors from AA ball once he can’t be a super-two.
Stephen Strasburg, RHP Nationals. Everyone knows that Strasburg is ready, and the speculation has been entirely on whether he will be called up to start in Washington on June 4 or if the Nats will keep him at AAA Syracuse a couple of weeks longer.
Strasburg apparently has a clause in his contract that limits him to 100 major league innings pitched this year. If Strasburg is called up for a June 4 start, the Nats will probably have to shut him down in September to fulfill this contract term.
Of course, I’d call Strasburg up for the June 4 start. The Nationals are still theoretically in the NL East race, and if they are still in the race come September, I’d bet dollars to donuts that Strasburg would agree to waive the 100 IP limit.
It’s hard to tell a young pitcher he can’t pitch when his team is in a pennant race. As soon as the Nats are eliminated, then you shut him down.
Aroldis Chapman, LHP Reds. He’s definitely not ready for a promotion yet. He’s pitching well for the AAA Louisville Bats after eight starts, with a 3.98 ERA and a line of 40.2 IP, 39 hits, four HRs, 24 walks allowed, and 48 strikeouts. The high walks total indicates he doesn’t have major league command yet, and I’d leave him at AAA until he finds it (or at least until September call-ups, if he doesn’t.)
Even if the Reds have injuries in their starting rotation, right now both Sam LeCure and Matt Maloney look more deserving of a call-up than Chapman. In fact, a fourth Bats’ starter, 23 year old Travis Wood, has pitched as well as Chapman so far this season. Leave Chapman in the minors long enough until he’s really ready when the Reds call him up.
Carlos Santana, C Indians. Santana is absolutely ready, hitting .313 with a 1.020 OPS in the pitcher-friendly AAA International League. Obviously, the Tribe is waiting to call him up only once he won’t be a super-two, but since Santana is already 24 years old (and had a great year at AA in 2009), it’s absolutely time to get his major league career started.