Happy Hump Day (cue the Geico camel) fellow prospect hounds! Another week of minor league action is in the books as the top prospects continue jockeying for spots on various “up and coming” lists, and try to better position themselves for promotions closer to their ultimate goal — a call to “The Show”. Time for our weekly look at some of the prospects that have made some noise recently in the hope of climbing a little closer to the big leagues, whether that step ultimately comes this season or a little further down the road. Refill your coffee cup, get comfortable, and let us guide your continuing research as we try to help you scoop your fellow fantasy competitors with our Wednesday Twelve-Pack.

We’ll start by mentioning the obvious, Cubs fans that follow me on Twitter got the news Monday afternoon that Javier Baez was on his way to join the big club in Denver for last night’s game. Batting second and playing 2B (where he likely winds up for the long haul at this point), he struck out against Brett Anderson in the 1st, grounded out to Nolan Arrenado in the 3rd, struck out against Franklin Morales in the 4th and 6th, and lined out to Brandon Barnes in RF with the bases loaded in the 7th against Matt Belisle after the Rockies pen imploded and walked half the guys on the Cubs’ 40-Man Roster. (EDIT: Baez did deliver his first big league hit, a solo shot off of Boone Logan in the top of the 12th, and was 1-6 with 3 Ks at publishing deadline.) Don’t fret Chicago hopeful, Kris Bryant isn’t far behind.

A couple of the guys we’ll take a look at this week had help clearing their way when the smoke cleared on one of the wackier non-waiver trade deadline days in memory as players on their organizations’ big-club rosters were moved. The deals won’t necessarily create immediate openings for them at the MLB-level, but they’ll help move timetables and ETAs along. Here’s who I’m watching closer going into week 19…

1.) Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC

Player/Coach Manny Ramirez is going to have plenty of time to focus on Jorge Soler’s development soon Iowa Cubs followers. With Almora and Baez having already received their calls and the trading deadline passed, Theo and Jed have bumped Bryant’s number to the top of their speed-dial list. Kris has slashed .387/.548/.774/1.322 over his last ten games, clubbing half of his hits for extra bases (3 2Bs, 3 HRs) with an 8/10 BB/K Ratio. He’ll be in Chicago before September.

2.) Brian Johnson, LHSP, BOS

Johnson’s now delivered back-to-back gems for Portland (AA) following his dominant start Monday – 8 shutout IP, with 5 Ks and 0 BBs to go with his 7.1 IP, 1 earned run on one hit start last week. With several Pitchers above him on Boston’s Pitching Totem Pole, I’m not sure where he needs to go now, but it’s definitely somewhere other than the Eastern League. He’s sporting a 3/1 K/BB Ratio over his last 10 appearances while limiting opposing hitters to a .189 BA. He may be trade-bait before the smoke clears, but he should get a shot at cracking someone’s big league rotation after the break next season.

3.) Lucas Giolito, RHSP, WAS

While Lucas struggled a little bit yesterday, he remains on the fast-track to Nationals’ Park. He’s now struck out 94 SALLY League hitters in 83 IP. He should see a couple starts a little closer to the decision-makers with Potomac (Hi-A) before the Nats shut him down for the season so they can get a better feel for exactly how fast they want to push him in 2015.

4.) Addison Russell, SS, CHC

Russell now sits at number two on the aforementioned Chicago brain-trust speed dial following Baez’ promotion. After a bit of a slow start following the trade and his assignment to Tennessee, Addison’s started to catch fire. He’s hit 2 2Bs and 3 HRs in his last 41 ABs to go along with his .341/.372/.610/.982 slash covering his last ten games. He may not see meaningful time in Wrigley before the end of this season, but Theo and Jed are going to have to finish position juggling while deciding which SPs they intend to spend around $200 million on this winter because Addison may be ready to join the other kids in the Cubs’ Opening Day lineup next April.

5.) Aristides Aquino, OF, CIN

Aquino continues terrorizing Pioneer League (Rookie) Pitchers and has hit 4 2Bs and 3 bombs while driving in 9 runs during his last 10 games. Like most of the young power threats we look at there’s plenty of swing-and-miss in his game, but that will hopefully become less evident when he begins to grasp the strike zone better as he gains more experience. It appears that the league hasn’t developed a better book on him with second and third looks as his .300/.349/.634/.992 slash line over those last 10 games falls right in line with the numbers he put up through the first 35 games this season.

6.) Trea Turner, SS, SDP

Enjoy Trea for a few more days Fort Wayne Tin Caps faithful – his Midwest League (Lo-A) time should be coming to a close soon. Turner’s in the midst of a 13 game hitting streak, and his 3 hit night Monday gives him a slash line of .477/.521/.750/1.271 with 7 runs scored, 6 2Bs, 2 HRs, and 3 SBs (17/20 on the season) over his last 10 games. He should start 2015 at AA San Antonio with a realistic shot at becoming the Padres’ regular SS after the All-Star break if Everth Cabrera doesn’t start showing signs of life soon.

7.) Jose Urena, RHSP, MIA

In what’s been described as a “surprising move”, the Marlins DFA’d Jacob Turner earlier this afternoon. I can’t imagine he makes it through waivers unclaimed, but the Miami brass may have a hush-hush deal worked out with one of the teams with the earliest shots at claiming him. If he’s dealt, Urena may well get a look before the end of the season. Jose’s coming off back-to-back spectacular outings for AA Jacksonville – a pair of 7 shutout inning efforts, allowing only 8 hits total while striking out 11 against only 2 walks. Urena’s yet another young Marlins’ arm with a mid-90s fastball and a plus changeup. If his breaking ball continues to improve he could be a rotation candidate next spring.

8.) Brandon Drury/Jake Lamb, 3B, ARI

Drury and Lamb just keep hitting, and with Martin Prado now playing RF in the Bronx there’s no reason we shouldn’t expect to see Lamb getting some time at the hot corner with the big club while Drury slides into his spot at AAA Reno. Over his last 4 games Lamb is slashing .533/.563/.933/1.496 with 3 2Bs and a HR while Drury’s delivered at a .308/.357/.846/1.203 clip while smacking a 2B and 2 HRs over the same period. Look for the two of them to wage a battle for the regular job during camp next spring.

9.) Jon Gray, RHSP, COL

The #3 overall pick in last year’s Draft is coming off arguably his best start at AA Tulsa – 7 IP, allowing 2 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 6 and walking 3. He’s likely going to get a few starts at altitude before he’s shut down with an eye toward giving him a shot at claiming a rotation slot during camp next spring. Some of those starts may come at AAA Colorado Springs, but I expect him to get at least one start for the big club before the book is closed on his 2014 campaign.

10.) Cody Bellinger, 1B, LAD

The power will take some time to develop, but 8 of Bellinger’s 29 hits have gone for extra bases, so there’s reason to think it will come as Cody learns more about loft and turning on the inside pitch. Through 18 Pioneer League games at Ogden he’s slashing .363/.422/.500/.922 with 15 RBIs and 24 runs scored. As a 6’4″/180 lb. 19 year old, there’s also hope that he’s still got some filling out to do.

11.) Willy Adames, SS, TBR

Adames is the wildcard the Rays received in the much-maligned three-way David Price deal late Thursday afternoon. He didn’t crack BA’s preseason Tigers’ Top 10 list, but has had some helium of late. Signed out of the Dominican Republic, the Tigers were aggressive with his first full-season assignment  – starting the 18 year old at West Michigan (Hi-A) this season where he was slashing .269/.346/.428/.774 with 14 2Bs, 12 3Bs, 6 HRs, and 50 RBIs in 353 ABs. He’ll continue his Midwest League work with Tampa’s Bowling Green affiliate, and could well be the Rays’ SS of the future if he doesn’t outgrow the position.

12.) Sean Manaea, LHSP, KCR

The Royals’ 2013 First Rounder seems to finally be beginning to settle in at the professional level. A player considered a Top 5 talent, he slipped to the Royals at #34 overall after injuring his hip labrum late in his Junior season at Indiana State and didn’t pitch professionally at all last season following surgery to repair it. Manaea has struggled with control (49 BBs in 89.2 IP) since his return but has shown flashes of the dominance that led to his pre-draft hype by striking out 10.9 batters per 9, and is coming off his best performance at Wilmington (Lo-A) – 7.1 scoreless IP allowing only 4 hits while striking out 7 and only walking one. He’s only allowed 12 hits over his last three starts covering 19.1 innings with an 18/8 K/BB Ratio and has only given up 1 ER over that stretch.

39 Comments
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trick dad
trick dad
8 years ago

Any chance Archie Bradley gets called up in 2014?

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
8 years ago

Right totally seperate deal to the one above. Owner’s made Stephenson (prosp) and Yordano ($0) available and I like them both. Currently have Paxton ($0) and Gausman on my farm, but not hugely high on either, Gausman due to mediocre K’s and big fastball reliance and Paxton due to injury worries.

Yordano’s stuff is just filthy and even if he flames out his arm in a few years which seems inevitable throwing such cheese with a wiry frame, those 2 years could be great. And Stephenson has acelike potential, even though he’s had some control issues this year. I have more confidence in Yordano providing good fantasy value next year than either Paxton or Gausman. Time to make the switch?

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Swfcdan
8 years ago

@Swfcdan: And yeah he’s suggested Paxton ($0) and Gausman (prosp) for Stephenson (prosp) and Ventura ($0) obviously.

goodfold2
goodfold2
8 years ago

you know you’re reading a deep prospects post if 3 of these guys are available come next january’s draft in 30 man league with 20 minor guy limit currently. aquino/turner/bellinger. also since i’m forced to keep up drury/urena all of this season to get them next year for free (and league minimum for 4 years at that price even when i bring them up) i certainly wouldn’t mind urena getting some starts this year.

D-mase
D-mase
8 years ago

Any chance for sept call up for Urias, Saeger, and Pederson

james
james
Reply to  D-mase
8 years ago

@D-mase:

if the teams needs them then maybe. Pederson has the best chance without injury.

Urias- so young that it may not be worth exposing him to anything major league until he is a little older- kid is 17.

Seager- also really young, but far from developed enough to compete in MLB today. May be better to wiat another year to give him a taste..

Pederson- he is ready, has some holes in his swing, and i see Mike Cameron here, but i may be wrong.

Superfan
Superfan
8 years ago

Hi Chris,

I have to pick up a pitching prospect in a league where we have to sign players to contracts in year 2. How would you rank these guys knowing that I might not see them pitch in the majors before having to sign them?

Taillon, Rodon, Urias, Stephenson

Thanks!

SF

james
james
Reply to  Superfan
8 years ago

@Superfan:

Urias
Rondon
Taillon
Stephenson

Urias and Rondon are close, Taillon and Stephenson are close. Basically it is the number of question marks. Stephenson really struggled for long stretches this season, and Taillon had TJ surgery. both create question marks. Rondon also struggled a little in college ball this year so he has some minor question marks. urias is the only guy there without any major questions (he is 17 and in hi A i think, so it is not like he is a sure thing)

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
8 years ago

Who’d you like more long term, or I should say WHAT do you like more long term.

A 1st round prospect pick next year (possibly 1st overall)
or
Xander Bogartes starting at $6 next year and renewable long term (likely 3 more years for $14).

I’m thinking take the surer thing in Xander. I had 4th overall in our prospect draft this summer, took Appel after Bryant, Tanaka and Abreu. Look how that worked out…

Al koholic
Al koholic
Reply to  Swfcdan
8 years ago

@Swfcdan: some will disagree with me but Bogartes is far from a difference maker in a league,id rather have the number 1,depends on how many teams also

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Chris
8 years ago

@Chris: Great response about Bogartes. Realised I didn’t give enough info about my league, so here it is:

1. Im not nearly guaranteed to finish 4th (1st place in our prospect draft next year), 4th-6th is really close and I actually find myself 6th as of now (meaning 3rd overall pick in the draft next year, and would that even get me an elite prospect?). There is incentive for me to finish 4th even if I trade the pick though, as I’d get the next highest pick in round 2 (11), and having Xander would help me even now over Lowrie where im very weak.

2. I only gave one option regarding contracts, and one that is probably not worth doing with Xander. We can also just offer long term deals straight up, so I could give him a 3 year deal next year at just $8 a year (or $6 for 2).

3. As for Xander himself I think yes he is more valuable than those guys you mentioned if he cranks 25 bombs a year, power is much rarer than speed these days. I think you’re being a bit harsh on him seeing as it’s his first full taste, he has shown promise in what has been a poor lineup overall.

Anyway that’s the extra stuff I wanted to add about our league set-up, see if that moves the needle on him for you.

Al koholic
Al koholic
8 years ago

another great job Chris,thanks and yes i have Bryant waiting for me also,Lamb isnt in the espn player pool yet and i make to many moves to be high waiver pick,i love his power 100 doubles in last 280 games is pretty impressive

Eric S Bateman
Eric S Bateman
8 years ago

I only have Alcantara(whos hit a little slump) and Aybar at SS. 5X5 HTH, 12 team 4 keeper league. I have plenty of keeper candidates(Cano, Freeman, Stanton, Springer, Frazier, Ellsbury, Taveras or Arenado for the 4 keeper spots.

Im currently 7th and 8.5 games out of the 4th spot for the playoffs with only 3.5 weeks left. I’d like to upgrade at SS if possible since Im getting very little production. Ive tried shopping 2 of Prado, or Mendy for a SS upgrade but to no avail.

Would you consider moving a guy like say Ellsbury(rest of OF would be Springer, Gardner, Stabnton, Morse and Prado) for 4 OF spots, also have Mendy and Pollock whose on the DL, for a SS, and if so what kind of return should I expect? The best candidates to move a SS own Dee Gordon/Andrus, next owns Desmond and the last Zobrist and Baez. Another guy owns Tulo but who knows when he’ll be back and he wants more than Ellsbury alone.

Waiver wire is Alcides and Evereth Cabrera…sigh.

Eric S Bateman
Eric S Bateman
Reply to  Chris
8 years ago

@Chris: I had alcides earlier in the year but I was doing well in SB’s with Gardner, Ellsbury, Frazier, and at one point Pollock and Wong. I picked up Mendy because I was looking for more RBI/power with some speed, Mendy flashed that and then faded lol.

First off, thanks for the reply. I was leaning that direction but Evereth returned and is playing well so I was stuck at who was the most help down the stretch. Lets say I dump Mendy for Alcides. Then Im stuck with who to drop when Springer returns from the DL…Im assuming it would have to be one of Prado, Wong, Aybar or Morse because I have Cano at 2nd, Arenado at 3rd and Frazier who can back up 1st and 3rd.

Any sage advice on that one? I like the security of having a back up at SS but maybe I’m putting too much into that. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Eric S Bateman
8 years ago

@Eric S Bateman:

Now’s the time to get a jump on your competitors and try to shore up areas that most owners usually wait until September to address. Unless Cabrera stays hot, Escobar should be an upgrade over him – the Padres can’t stay this hot with that many games left against GOOD Pitchers down the stretch. Then you’d be set up to drop Wong when you activate Springer – Prado should still have 2B eligibility in most leagues, giving you backups at both MI spots.

Eric S Bateman
Eric S Bateman
Reply to  Chris
8 years ago

@Chris: Thanks Chris….really appreciate the insight!

KB
KB
8 years ago

Hasn’t Epstein repeatedly said Bryant won’t be called up this year? I know you can’t trust him 100%, but …

Dkohn15
Dkohn15
8 years ago

Hi Chris,

As a feverent supporter of the past prospect writer Scott Evans, filling his shoes was nearly impossible in my mind.

So keeping in mind my irrationality I’m a little confused as to what Minor Accomplishments has become. In the past Minor Accomplishments was more prospects who were studs, that weren’t necessarily close to being called up, but we were just keeping an eye on their progress.

The Prospect Power rankings post was where the 1-10 prospects were ranked in which these were the best prospects in the minors, and were close to being called up, but their skill level and relative ETA were both taken into consideration in the ranking, or at least that was the feeling I got from the posts.

So I guess my question is when you are doing Minor Accomplishments, what exactly is the main criteria you’re using when doing the rankings?

Also think we could get an ETA on your rankings? You have them in some rankings, and I know ETA’s are more or less complete guesses but still kinda enjoy having them.

Sincerely,
A prospect addict Dkohn

james
james
Reply to  Dkohn15
8 years ago

@Dkohn15:

I gott the feeling that this is now a top few, and then a profile of notable guys. Not really a ranking anymore

hifi
hifi
8 years ago

I’ve got both Bundy and Owens in a keeper league for minimum bid. When do you think we will see these two?

Would you grab any other minor prospect SP’s over Bundy/Owens? <–from the context of career ceiling & not for ROS.

Sparty Scott
Sparty Scott
8 years ago

Do you see any of the SS prospects developing into early round fantasy relevance in the next year or two? Correa, Russell, Lindor, Seager…

Sparty Scott
Sparty Scott
8 years ago

Who is more likely to make an impact, both this year, and to begin the season next year – Soler or Joc?

Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb
8 years ago

Soler should be next on the speed dial. He is looking like a 20/20 guy with a .250 ISO, 14/20 BB/K, and .300/.400/.500 future.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  Chris
8 years ago

@Chris: i noticed you saying that before, it’s why i don’t have baez in one league (but only got scooped to him in that league), i dropped baez around trade deadline to NA stash (only 1 spot) joc.

Matt
Matt
8 years ago

Bryant! hope you are right!