With Dylan Bundy having returned to live baseball, the focus around the 21-year-old phenom shifts from “when will he throw again?”, to “when will he throw in the bigs again?”. At the time of this writing, Bundy is preparing to take mound in Aberdeen for a start in the short-season New York Penn League. It’ll be his second outing since Tommy John surgery — the first one was quite good: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Now, while it’s terrific see Bundy pitching so well upon returning to game action, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s still a long rehab process ahead of him, and the O’s won’t jeopardize his progress by pushing him too quickly. Baltimore has scripted Bundy’s recovery, and barring any setbacks, I believe their plan includes some big league action this season, but I wouldn’t expect more than 1 or 2 starts in August/September.
Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Cardinals: Jenkins doesn’t have anywhere near the hype of Bundy, but he’s a quality prospect in his own right, and he returned to the mound this week this week after major surgery too. In his first start since shoulder surgery last August, he posted 6 hitless frames, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts at High-A Palm Beach. A plus-plus athlete with superb size and stuff, Jenkins brings legit front-end potential.
J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies: At age 19, Crawford has already pushed through to the High-A level. Last year’s 16th overall pick stole 14 bags, and posted an OPS at .804 in 60 Low-A games before his promotion this week. When the over-the-wall power eventually takes form, Crawford could enter the uppermost tier of fantasy prospects.
Kyle Schwarber, C/OF, Cubs: Also getting a bump up the Cubs organizational ladder this week was Kyle Schwarber, this year’s 4th overall pick. Schwarber is now at Low-A Kane County, spending time both behind the dish and in the outfield. Through his first 7 games as a pro, the 21-year-old is hitting .577 with 5 HR.
Joe Panik, 2B, Giants: San Francisco has called-up Joe Panik for his big league debut. The 23-year-old was the 29th overall pick in 2011, and he brings a nice hit tool. There’s immediate potential here to post a decent average, but don’t expect much else.
Trevor May, RHP, Twins: With an upper-90s heater, May has always been an intriguing prospect, but severe command issues have held him back. This year has been different, though, as the 24-year-old carries a 2.77/1.11/78 line through 74 IP at Triple-A Rochester. The buzz around the Minnesota farm this season is mostly concerning Alex Meyer, but given Meyer’s workload constraints, it is May who offers the higher impact potential for this fantasy season.
Ben Lively, RHP, Reds: After posting a 2.28 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP, and a K/9 at 10.8 through 13 starts at High-A Bakersfield, Lively has been promoted to Double-A Pensacola. 2014 has truly been a breakout year for the 23-year-old to this point, and I’m excited to see if it continues in the upper levels.
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres: Also making his upper levels debut is Hunter Renfroe, 2013’s 13th overall pick. He’d been mashing at High-A all year, with 40 XBH (16 HR) in 316 PA. Granted, that’s a Cali League line, but Renfroe can rake anywhere, and he’s on track to surface in San Diego sometime next season.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates: Through his last 2 starts, Glasnow has tossed 11 scoreless innings, allowing 5 hits and 4 walks while striking out 14. It’s a nice step in the right direction for the 20-year-old, who’s been struggling with command this season. Glasnow’s ceiling is as good as just about any SP’s in the minors.