Tigers prospect Matt Manning threw another gem this week. That makes two great starts to kick off the 21-year-old’s 2019 campaign for Double-A Erie. In 12 innings pitched, the former first round pick now has 15 strikeouts compared to three walks and has allowed just one earned run on two hits. In deep formats, I’d consider stashing him away now in case the Tigers decide to promote. In shallow leagues, he’s a name to be familiar with if you’re desperate for pitching and don’t mind some rookie nookie later this summer. Here’s what else is happening in the minor leagues…
Touki Toussaint, ATL – Called up to the Braves bullpen but should see some starts at some point this summer. He was one of the names I mentioned in the April call ups post, but I’m bummed it’s in this role and not in the rotation from the get go. If you’re in a deep format, Toussaint could be a source of cheap strikeouts in long relief.
Keston Hiura, MIL – After a slow first week, Hiura turned things on – going 5-for-16 with three homers in his last five games. I’m a little concerned he’s only taken one walk so far, but he’s also only struck out three times in his last 16 at bats compared to 11 times over his first 17, so he’s at least putting it in play more often.
Myles Straw, HOU – Moving from the outfield to shortstop. Position changes for prospects are sometimes a positive sign, and could even mean that a promotion is imminent – i.e. the organization likes a spec but they’re currently choked up in a crowded position. So far, Straw is hitting .314 with a .400 OBP and five steals in Triple-A. He’s a cheap SAGNOF play and should already be on your radar in AL-only formats.
Ke’Bryan Hayes, PIT – Another spec that could reach the bigs this summer, Hayes has really turned it up over his past two games – hitting four doubles and a homer for Triple-A Indy.
Sean Murphy, OAK – One of the better catching prospects in baseball and a name you should know for 2019, Murphy is slashing .391/.500/.609 through his first six games in Triple-A.
Grayson Rodriguez, BAL – Ten strikeouts for the second consecutive outing. Baltimore took Rodriguez in the first round last summer, and so far this season he hasn’t disappointed. Through eleven innings, he’s punched out 20 batters and hasn’t allowed an earned run. The only blemish has been his control, with a BB/9 north of four so far in the Sally. A bright spot for an Orioles organization that’s seen better days.
MacKenzie Gore, SDP – The Padres farm is an embarrassment of riches, and Gore is just another in a long list of quality pitching prospects for San Diego. He now has ten scoreless innings under his belt with 15 strikeouts compared to just two walks. I don’t think he’ll be up this summer with their depth, but he should be pitching in Double-A by the end of the season.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr, TOR – 2-for-2 with a homer, double, and four RBIs for Triple-A Buffalo as he returned from a rehab assignment. That’s pretty impressive considering the only thing I could do when I returned from my rehab assignment was make a sandwich and find all the drugs I’d hidden. Spoiler alert…they were in the dog.