For the past few seasons, Jose Abreu has been regarded as Cuba’s best offensive talent. The 26-year-old slugger has spent the past decade playing pro ball in Cuba where he routinely was at the top of the league in AVG, OBP, SLG, RBI, and HR. Well, it now seems he’s played his last game in Cuba, as reports earlier this week explain that he has left his homeland and has begun the process of becoming a MLB free agent. At 6-3, 250, Abreu is a large man with next to zero defensive appeal. He’s a 1B/DH type, so he’d fit best with an AL club, but scouting reports suggest he has enough glove to get by at first, so don’t rule out the NL entirely. Wherever he signs, it’s gonna be for big money and an immediate big league opportunity. Abreu is an MLB-ready masher, and at age 26, there’ll be no reason to start him in the minors. If all goes as planned, he should be occupying a regular MLB role by Opening Day 2014. There’s upside here in the neighborhood of .300 AVG and 30+ HR. It’ll be interesting to see how early he’s off the board in mixed league drafts next spring.
Travis d’Arnaud | C, Mets — The Mets have called him up. Here’s what I said just a few days ago in my most recent Prospect Power Rankings: “John Buck is expected to take paternity leave any day now, and word from New York suggests d’Arnaud will be his replacement. The 24-year-old has missed much of the past two seasons with lower-body injuries, but he’s a polished hitter with immediate upside in the fantasy game, and he’s ready for a look in the bigs.” I’d add him for upside’s sake.
Rafael Montero | RHP, Mets –– With a 21/2 K/BB through his last 3 starts at Triple-A Vegas, Montero is looking like he’s ready for the next step. The 22-year-old could be a useful fantasy piece for the stretch run if the Mets choose to call him up. More likely, we don’t see Montero until early next season.
Kris Bryant | 3B, Cubs — The Cubs promoted Bryant from Short-season Boise to High-A Daytona, skipping him over the Low-A level. I was kinda bummed at this development, considering I’m only a short drive from the Cubs’ Low-A Kane County affiliate. Oh well. Bryant drilled homers in each of his first two games at Daytona. He’ll be fun to watch as he pushes through to the upper levels next season.
Dan Vogelbach | 1B, Cubs — Vogelbach also was promoted to High-A Daytona earlier this week, and he, too, knocked a homer in his first Florida State League ballgame. Those of you unfamiliar with the 20-year-old should know that he’s a little tubby, and also that he can mash (.298/.379/.519 across 3 pro seasons).
Javier Baez | SS, Cubs — Baez is 10-for-22 with 3 homers and 2 steals in 6 games since we talked about him here last week. He’s up to 31 homers on the year, and he’s now batting .293/.355/.631 in 172 PA at Double-A Tennessee. It’s tough to find another hitter in the minors whose upside matches Baez’s.
Miguel Sano | OF, Twins — Sano has had his struggles at the Double-A level, hitting .236/.338/.556 in 52 games at New Britain. The power stroke hasn’t yet betrayed him, though — the 20-year-old collected 3 more homers this past week, including #30.
Mark Appel | RHP, Astros — Jeff Luhnow has announced that the Astros will shut down Mark Appel after two more outings. This comes as no surprise. The 2013 #1 overall pick should be in for a significant workload increase next season.
Kyle Zimmer | RHP, Royals — Zimmer has been outstanding for the past two months, earning a promotion to Double-A where he posted a 1.93 ERA and a K/9 at 13.0 through 4 starts. Shoulder stiffness shortened his most recent outing, and now it appears that the Royals will shut him down for the duration of the season. Provided the shoulder isn’t anything serious, Zimmer should be ready for big league ball at some point next season.
Alen Hanson | 2B/SS, Pirates — The Bucs promoted Hanson to Double-A a couple weeks back, where the 20-year-old has been slow to heat up. With 5 hits in his last 14 ABs, including his first Double-A homer, Hanson appears to be getting more comfortable versus upper levels pitching. The middle infielder features a well-rounded offensive skill set, and he should offer five-category appeal in the fantasy game once he surfaces.