We’re beyond the traditional super two date, which did not occur to me until I was pondering Oakland’s decision to call up RHP Mason Miller. I’m glad they did it, of course; it’s fun for everyone, and I could really use him in the two dynasty leagues where I’m lucky enough to employ him. Thing is, Miller has only thrown 28.2 innings as a professional. I was trying to think of others who’ve pitched so little in the minors and had Spencer Strider and Mike Leake on the mind yesterday. Hard to imagine two more opposite righties. Leake pitched zero minor league innings. Strider threw 94. Though he had three times the experience of Miller at the time of his promotion, Strider is a pretty solid comp for Miller, stuff-wise, particularly in terms of their incredible fastballs. Both have elite spin and shape, climbing the zone and creating a little gravity well just under the baseball.
Here’s what I wrote about Miller during Sunday’s Prospect News: Morel Improves, Beatings Continue, Neato Neto:
“Athletics RHP Mason Miller was sitting 100 mph in his Friday night start. He struck out 11 batters over five perfect innings and probably belongs in Oakland’s rotation already. I doubt he’ll get there soon. Always tougher to predict these cases where service time–not skill–is the primary determinant of a prospect’s timeline.”
So there’s me being right and then wrong in back-to-back sentences but then hedging in the final sentence, mirroring my process for a typical faab run.
Joining Miller in Oakland will be 2B Jordan Diaz, who might take the lineup spot of OF Brent Rooker considering he left Tuesday’s game with a hamstring issue. Diaz doesn’t offer the big raw power of Rooker but is a career .290 hitter in almost 1500 minor league at bats, and he’s always minimized strikeouts. Should be a good fit for a juicy ball in a post-shift world.
Eric Hosmer is a threat to the insect population of Chicago, hitting grounders at a 65 percent clip. Luckily for the worms, this is not an Armageddon scenario, though Hosmer might be a fun weapon if Karl Morton and company ever develop with a new version of Worms Armageddon. Who doesn’t love sinking some worms with an exploding sheep? Anywho, Hosmer is slugging .300 with a 72 wRC+, just 28 percent worse than the average major league hitter. No big deal for a starting first baseman because they’re so crucial on defense, I guess. Except that he isn’t good at defense either, although, in Hosmer’s defense, the team has won four consecutive series, so he must be leading them in the clubhouse via excellent word choice and timely butt-patting delivered with the perfect amount of Newton-force to convey confidence, trust and support. Glue guy, is what he is. Can’t really hold the offense or defense parts against him, ya see.
Sorry about that. Got carried away. The National League Central is up for grabs. The Cubs are surprisingly well positioned to make a run at it. They gotta feel something watching Oakland call up a guy with about a month of professional experience for no other reason than the guy looks ready for his next challenge. What does Oakland care about wins and losses? They probably don’t, except maybe in the inverse, but with super two in the rear view, it’s time to goose the gas pedal. If Miller shuts the Cubs down today, perhaps they’ll want their own rookies. Matt Mervis is slashing .293/.456/.585 with three home runs, 13 walks and nine strikeouts in 12 games. Nobody in Triple-A wants to throw him a hittable pitch. It’s been impressive to watch him throttle down and wait, but then I guess he’s grown accustomed to waiting.
Marlins OF Peyton Burdick has seven home runs and three stolen bases in 14 games, slashing .351/.422/.769 with a whopping 25 strikeouts (36.8 percent). He’ll fit right in whenever he rejoins the big club. He struck out at a 34.3 percent clip in 32 major league games last year and produced a 91 wRC+ thanks to the thump. He’s already 26 but could walk a Patrick Wisdom type career path if he can continue to improve.
The Reds have an exciting group in Low-A, led by Cam Collier, Carlos Jorge, Leonardo Balcazar, Sal Stewart and Hector Rodriguez, who hit his third home run (in nine games) on Tuesday. The Mariners have a good group, too, but I think Cincinnati has the most interesting Low-A lineup in the business. Rodriguez came from the Mets in the Tyler Naquin trade. He’s an easy plus runner with plus contact skills. If the power he’s showing in the early going sticks, he’ll be a dynasty piece everyone wants.
Twins SS Jorel Ortega might be next in a long line of middle-round draft dubs for the Twinkies. A sixth-round pick in 2022, Ortega played just one real season at Tennessee due partly to the pandemic. He did log 13 uninspiring games in 2020 but then slashed .323/.398/.672 with 18 home runs in 66 games for the Vols last year. He played just three games in the minors after being drafted and is so far off the fantasy radar we can probably take our time and monitor him in the free agent pool, but be ready to move in quickly. He reached base in his first seven games this year and homered on Friday.
Nobody’s hotter than Orioles 1B/C Creed Willems. He’s repeating the level at Low-A, but he’ll be 19 until June 4, so he’s still clear in the age-to-level math, and he’s slashing .406/.513/.875 with six walks and four home runs in just eight games. Might spend his 20th birthday packing his bags for High-A.
Thanks for reading!