It’s been a few moons since I caught a Trenton Thunder game. Is Katmandu still a thing? “The Kat” was one of those clubs you’d hit after the ball game. It literally shared a parking lot with the stadium along the Trenton waterfront. But god almighty, you’d better leave before the house lights came on. You did not want a good look at the 45-year-old divorcee you’d been grinding on. Karen!? What brings you here? Aren’t you my son’s teacher? Anyhoo, big news out of Trenton last night. Yankees pitching prospect Deivi Garcia struck out fifteen Flying Squirrels. Yes, that’s the name of a minor league baseball team. I have the greatest job on the planet. Garcia is now rocking an even 3.00 ERA with 67 punch outs in 42 innings pitched since being promoted to Double-A. Let’s see, where did I rank this guy in my preseason Yankees Top 10? Nowhere! Excellent. Wonderful. He wasn’t on my radar. If your league mates are like me (god I hope not) and slept on Garcia, he might be available for a scoop in dynasty formats. Redrafts? Sorry, but I don’t think he’ll be up this year. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…fade Usher’s Yeah! and cue the house lights…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Short-season ball kicked off on Friday, allowing us to dig even deeper into the prospect player pool for some performance data. Short-season is a melting pot of players. You’ll get your injury recovery guys, your recent draftees, and your teenagers getting their first taste of pro ball. It’s also a great season to follow if you happen to live close to one of these parks. Small, intimate stadiums, cheap prices, good food, and good baseball. That’s what it’s all about, especially if you’re a dad teaching your son or daughter about the Game for the first time. By and by, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads reading this today. Here’s what’s happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
The White Sox front office announced that top pitching prospect Dylan Cease could be up in July. My guess is it will be post All-Star Break, which by and by is the perfect time to make roster moves while the rest of your league is in rest mode. Cease is one of my favorite pitching specs, even though he hasn’t had the best of seasons in Triple-A (4.10 ERA) and his player photo looks like a second grader who was told to say ‘cheese’. I still think Cease is one of the best stashes for the second half of 2019 and will eventually round into a 2/3 starter in the majors. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
I’m becoming increasingly infatuated with Zac Gallen. Like any good researcher, I’ll first call attention to a significant bias. I could chuck a rock from my hometown and hit his hometown. South Jersey for the win. But home cooking aside, Gallen is currently the best pitcher in Triple-A, and it isn’t particularly close. This year that kind of dominance is especially impressive. Triple-A started using the same juiced ball as MLB, and the Pacific Coast League of Triple-A was already notoriously friendly to hitters. To quote a caller from the Mike Francesa show on Friday: “They took the juice out of the players and put it into the ball.”
We’ll dive deeper into the specifics of Gallen’s performance after the jump. In the meantime, take a hard look at stashing Gallen in all formats if you haven’t already done so. He’s begun to appear in Grey’s buy column, and has been a member of both the May and June stash lists. Consider today’s individual spotlight on Gallen similar to the giant neon sign I put up about Austin Riley a few weeks ago.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ah, June. Stats and standings have settled. At least a quarter of your league has given up. Hot dogs, school’s out, the beach, and Father’s Day. I myself was raised by a baboon troop in a controversial experiment at Stanford. Therefore, Father’s Day is less about cookouts and ties and more about giving thanks that I didn’t fall victim to competitive infanticide. Thanks, pops, for not letting that rival male kill me. Here’s a gift card to Home Depot and some figs. *Eats gift card, hurls figs at my head* Damn you and your primatology Sapolsky! I want a real father! Anyhoo, here’s a list of prospects I think will get called up in June. It’s not exhaustive, but definitely exhausting.Please, blog, may I have some more?
San Diego middle infield prospect Luis Urias had another strong night at the dish, going 2-for-4 with a slam (13) and legs (4). He’s now slashing .364/.462/.741 with a ten-game hit streak for Triple-A El Paso and joins a short list of prospects that could force the issue with their performances as the calendar flips to June. Urias is currently prosblocked by Ian Kinsler and – to some extent – Greg Garcia. Kinsler is batting a lusty .185, so I’d imagine the next time Urias is up it’ll be for the remainder of the 2019 campaign. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
I’ll set the stage. Jeff Luhnow is on Let’s Make A Deal, dressed as Raggedy Andy. George Springer is injured. Will he take what’s behind door number one? That’s Kyle Tucker – the prospect extraordinaire who is hitting .364 with nine homers and four steals in May and is already on the 40-man roster. Hard pass. Okey-dokey. Let’s go for door number two! That’s Yordan Alvarez. *crowd goes crazy* Alvarez is hitting .374 with 19 home runs this season. Luhnow thinks hard. Nope. He wants to see what’s behind door number three!! It’s Derek Fisher! Not what we were expecting folks. Fisher’s been fine, hitting .314 with eight homers, but man we came oh so close to a really sexy call up. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
We get a fun one today because Miami Marlins prospect Chris Vallimont wasn’t on my radar. Last night, he threw seven no-hit innings and struck out nine batters. That gives him a 2.70 ERA on the season with a 10+ K/9 and a crisp 2.7 BB/9. All three stats are massive improvements over his performance last season. At 22, he’s probably just beating up on the younger competition in A ball, but there could also be a legitimate change in him that’s causing the success. Either way, I think he’s earned our attention moving forward in a Marlins system that features some nice pitching talent. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Cleveland return for Yan Gomes is looking sharp. Not only did they land Jefry Rodriguez (3.45 ERA in five big league starts), but they also received Daniel Johnson, an outfielder who is one of the hottest hitters in Double-A at the moment. Johnson is on a ten-game hit streak with six homers this month and nine homers overall. Power isn’t even his best tool. He has 70-grade wheels and is 6-for-9 in stolen base attempts this season. More good news…he’s nearly doubled his walk rate from last year and has cut about three percent off of his strikeout rate. Luckily, the Indians don’t need any outfield help. Oh wait. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Well, we’ve had quite a week, eh? Lots of sexy promotions. Being a prospect writer is a touch bittersweet. It’s like watching a child grow. Once they graduate to the bigs in real life, they kinda graduate here too, moving up in the world of blog posts from minor league reports to the Grey League. Good luck Keston and Austin…I know you’ll make us proud. Back in the minors, our good friend Sixto Sanchez got a promotion to Double-A. His debut went swimmingly – even for a Marlin – striking out seven batters in six shutout innings. I was conservative in my ranking of Sanchez in the preseason, so if he continues to pitch well in the upper minors he’ll be a big riser when the midseason rankings come out. Despite the early promotion, I don’t think we’ll see Sanchez pitching meaningful innings for the Marlins this summer, if only because he hasn’t built up enough innings in previous seasons and the Marlins have other options such as Zac Gallen and Jordan Yamamoto in hand. Next year, Sanchez could be a very interesting flyer though. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?