The Cubs reportedly have completed a deal with the Red Sox which will send Marlon Byrd and some cash to Boston for RHP Michael Bowden and a player to be named later. Theo and Jed have been firm on their plan to be patient with prospects Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo, but in the aftermath of this deal, one has to speculate if their timetables will be altered. At .242/.342/.484 through 73 PA, Jackson’s performance in the early going at Triple-A Iowa isn’t demanding a call-up, but he could immediately be used to fill the void in center. On the other hand, Rizzo’s numbers (.367/.406/.733) are indicative of a guy who’s ready for the next level. The Cubs could surely shift David DeJesus to center and move LaHair to a corner outfield post. That’d make room for Rizzo at first. Perhaps most likely, though, the Cubs go with Tony Campana as their everyday guy in center – at least until the weather warms in Chicago, at which point I think Rizzo will get the first look, provided he’s still mashing, of course.
Danny Hultzen | SP, Mariners – After a rough debut, Hultzen has bounced back with two nice starts, bringing his season marks to 2.81 ERA and 11.81 K/9 at Double-A. I touched on James Paxton’s hot start in last week’s post, and it should be noted that Taijuan Walker is off to a great start at Double-A, too. Hutlzen’s progress, though, is emblematic of the polished approach that had many thinking he’d land a rotation spot in the bigs out of spring training. Back on the right track, Hultzen still figures to reach Seattle first among their big three pitching prospects.
Matt Barnes | SP, Red Sox – Through 11 IP at Low-A Greenville, Barnes has allowed just four baserunners while posting a 0.00 ERA along with 16 K’s. I suppose the 21-year-old is ready for High-A. Expect to see him there soon.
Evan Gattis | C, Braves – His line through 62 PA: .431/.500/.863, 6 HR, 21 RBI. I suspect his .400 BABIP is more a product of a guy who’s absolutely murdering the ball, rather than a guy who’s getting lucky. The drawback with Gattis is his age. At 25-years-old he’s a little old to be farting around in A-ball, but the circumstances around his arrival in pro baseball are less than ordinary – he spent some time in rehab prior to being drafted… yada, yada, yada… now his OPS is 1.363. I imagine the Braves will move him along at an aggressive pace going forward.
Will Middlebrooks | 3B, Red Sox – Middlebrooks is killing it at Triple-A, hitting .377/.406/.721 with 6 homers through 64 trips to the plate. Red Sox fans and fantasy owners can look forward to his full-time arrival in 2013. For now, it’ll be fun to see if he can keep up the impressive power production in the International League.
Nolan Arenado | 3B, Rockies - With Anthony Rendon shelved due to a fractured ankle, Arenado emerges as the undisputed premiere 3B prospect in baseball. The 21-year-old is hitting .353/.450/.529 through 60 trips to the plate at Double-A Tulsa. I think the Rockies would like to see a bit more from him in the XBH department, but there’s truly no one blocking Arenado from taking over at third in Colorado before this year is through.
Brad Peacock | SP, Athletics – Prior to March, most thought it’d be Peacock occupying a role in the A’s rotation out of camp rather than Tommy Milone, who’s been pitching rather effectively for Oakland so far. Peacock, though, has been impressive through his first three starts at Triple-A, posting a 1.42 ERA through 19 IP. It shouldn’t be long before he joins Milone in Oakland if should he continue to retire hitters with ease.
Billy Hamilton | SS, Reds - Hamilton led the minors in 2011 with 103 SB and he’s at it again in 2012, already having swiped 14 bags in 15 games with High-A Bakersfield. Clearly the dude has wheels. The rest of his offensive game ain’t bad, either: .386/.470/.632. He’ll be a tremendous fantasy asset when he arrives in the bigs, although don’t expect that arrival until the second half of 2013, at the soonest.
Wily Peralta | SP, Brewers – Chris Narveson looks like he’s headed for season-ending shoulder surgery and the Brewers have already recalled their top prospect, Peralta. He’ll pitch out of the ‘pen initially, but it shouldn’t be long before he’s worked into the Milwaukee rotation. The power righty had been solid in three Pacific Coast League starts, allowing just four runs through 17 IP while striking out 13. Still, don’t go too waiver-crazy for Peralta. He’s not a top-tier talent, but, assuming he’s starting games, he’ll be worth a look in most formats.