The Phillies paid a shizzload of dough to sign the big league-ready Cuban RHP, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. The deal is worth up to $60 million, $40+ million of which is guaranteed. So, if we’re taking for granted that Ruben Amaro knows what he’s doing, then it’s a safe assumption that Gonzalez is going to quickly blossom into a front-end starter and a coveted fantasy asset, a la Yu Darvish, who signed for similar money. But I’m not so sure about all that. Gonzalez is 26 years old and he’s been pitching in international ball long enough for talent evaluators to have come to a consensus on his projection, so it’s surprising to find such mixed opinions on the guy. The Phillies are paying him starter’s money, but there are plenty of folks around baseball who don’t even see Gonzalez working out long-term in a starter’s role. Clearly I’m skeptical about the Phillies’ financial commitment, but even so, I’m not completely writing off the possibility of M.A.G. earning every dime of that contract on the mound. With a deep arsenal of fastballs and various off-speed offerings, all of which he throws with deception and good command, Gonzalez appears to be a guy who’ll keep hitters guessing and tally up the whiffs — there’s certainly enough upside to be stashing him in deep leagues. Still, my inclination is that there’s not $60 million dollars worth of talent here.
Kris Bryant | 3B, Cubs — In his first professional game, Bryant made three errors at the hot corner. Oof. The Cubs now have Mike Olt projecting as their future 3B, and Bryant, who’s 6-5, seems destined for a corner outfield post, so these defensive blunders aren’t of major concern. The 2nd overall pick from last month’s draft is currently playing short-season ball with Boise. He’s one of the best sluggers in the minors, and I treated him as such, ranking the 21-year-old #13 on my Mid-Season Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list.
Miguel Sano | 3B/OF, Twins — Miguel Sano, #6 on that list, did some showboatin’ after launching a homer earlier in the week. He’s been riding the bench for 4 straight games because of it. Here’s the clip. It takes him 10.1 seconds to reach first, and while we knew Sano wasn’t a plus runner, that’s a pretty poor time.
Victor Roache | OF, Brewers — Before Kris Bryant was the best slugger in college baseball, that title belonged to Victor Roache. Roache, however, suffered a broken wrist in his final collegiate season, and since the injury his power stroke has not been as potent as we all anticipated. But the 21-year-old seems to be rediscovering himself over the past few weeks, hitting .366/.409/.707 with 4 homers in his last 10 games at Low-A Wisconsin. Roache will climb the ladder in a hurry if he continues producing.
Kole Calhoun | OF, Angels — Calhoun is on fire at Triple-A Salt Lake, hitting .500/.583/1.000 with 5 homers through his last 50 trips to the plate. On the year, the 25-year-old is hitting .354/.431/.617, and he has little left to prove in the minors. Expect to see him playing in Anaheim before the year is through.
Carlos Rodon | LHP, North Carolina State — Rodon is almost surely the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft, and his talents were on display earlier this week as the big lefty faced the Cuban national team. He lasted 6.2 frames, allowed only 2 hits, walked zero, and whiffed 11. His slider is otherworldly good.
D.J. Peterson | 3B, Mariners — Peterson, the 12th overall pick in last month’s draft, made his full-season debut earlier this week, as the M’s promoted him to Low-A Clinton. He should be one of the quickest to the bigs from this year’s draft crop. More on him here.
Travis d’Arnaud | C, Mets — Good news for Mets fans and dynasty owners, as Travis d’Arnaud has returned to action after breaking his foot some two months ago. It’s tough to say whether or not he’ll reach Citi Field this season, but for fantasy purposes, he remains in the top tier of catching prospects.
Javier Baez | SS, Cubs — Javier Baez was slow to get going after promotion to Double-A earlier this month, but he’s been crushing the ball lately, drilling 6 home runs in his last 10 games. The 20-year-old has enormous potential and came in at #8 on my mid-season list.
Marcus Stroman | RHP, Blue Jays — I know I probably write about Marcus Stroman more often than I should, and maybe that’s because I’m always surprised by impressive lines from Stroman when I’m digging through box scores. I suppose I’ve been conditioned to believe that this 5-foot-9 22-year-old is never gonna cut it as a starter, but for months now, he continues to turn in exciting line after exciting line (6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K in his most recent outing). I’m thinking it’s probably time to start expecting this type of production from Stroman going forward. His overall 2013 line at Double-A New Hampshire reads: 2.99 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 10.3 K/9.
Carlos Martinez | RHP, Cardinals — Martinez has returned to Triple-A Memphis, where he’ll resume working as a starting pitcher. He’s still an option for the Cardinals’ big league rotation if there’s a need later this season.
Kyle Zimmer | RHP, Royals — Zimmer was on fire before his promotion to Double-A, and he hasn’t cooled off whatsoever in two outings since. The 21-year-old has posted a 0.00 ERA and a 19/3 K/BB through 12 IP at Northwest Arkansas.
Phillip Ervin | OF, Reds — The Reds drafted Ervin 27th overall last month out of Samford University. He’s playing rookie ball right now, but there’s little doubt that he’ll make his way to full-season ball before long. The 21-year-old has connected with 5 homers in his last 6 games.