Nate Pearson has enjoyed a strong start in the Florida State League, and the Blue Jays rewarded him with a promotion to Double-A on Friday. Pearson was 3-0 with 35 strikeouts and just three walks in 21 innings pitched in the FSL. He gave up just two runs. In the offseason, I wrote about how an injury in 2018 shelved him for about a month and could cost him an MLB promotion in 2019, but this start and the quick promotion might put the bigs back in play this summer. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

Casey Mize, RHP | DET – Threw a no-hitter in his first start in Double-A. Followed that up with five shutout innings yesterday. He’s now 2-0 with Erie and could find himself in Triple-A or the majors by the end of 2019. I figured a fast track for last year’s first overall pick, but he’s straight cruising like Hurricane Spencer in Thunder in Paradise.

Skye Bolt, OF | OAK – Promoted to Oakland, where he’ll likely play the role of fourth outfielder. Bolt didn’t make my preseason Top 10, mainly due to high strikeout percentages and no standout tools. However, give him credit for a strong start in Triple-A. Prior to the promotion he’d hit .325 with six long balls and three steals. Deeper AL-only teams might be interested, but shallow/mixed leagues can safely ignore him.

Josh VanMeter, 2B | CIN – Will be brought up to Cincinnati this week. VanMeter’s thirteen homers and .346 average at Louisville will have folks rushing to the wire for a pickup, but in mixed leagues I’d slow down. For one, he’ll likely be a utility infielder for the big club, spelling the regulars here and there when David Bell goes mad with matchups and not really playing every day. Further, he hit only 12 homers in four times as many games last season and only five dingers the year before that, so unless this is a serious change in swing/approach (I honestly don’t know), he could turn back into a pumpkin against MLB arms.

Pssst…hey. Come over here for a second. This is a good time to talk about the new ball being used in Triple-A. So, how do I explain this? Last year, MLB and the minor leagues used different balls. This year, Triple-A is using the same ball as MLB. Two things are happening…Triple-A is seeing the same spike in offense (especially homers) as MLB, and it’s creating a divide between Double-A and Triple-A. Two different balls make it hard to evaluate a player’s performance between the two levels. This change will help pitchers in the sense that they’ll learn to throw the big league ball prior to getting there, but it muddies the waters for hitters, who are facing not-so-great pitching in some extreme AAA hitting environments with a ball that flies farther. Comparing AAA players to other AAA players this year is no big deal, since they’re all playing with the same ball, but be careful when comparing a player to himself when he’s promoted from AA to AAA, or a player’s AAA 2019 to his AAA 2018. 

Zac Gallen, RHP | MIA – After that educational sidebar, pitching performances in Triple-A might be more impressive than they were two minutes ago. Take Gallen, who was included in Wednesday’s stash list and struck out another ten batters in seven innings on Friday. Gallen is a good example of a pitcher who has weathered the change and has performed extremely well, perhaps earning himself a spot in Miami’s rotation soon.

  1. thatguy says:
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    Latest thoughts on Cavan Biggio?

  2. Alex says:
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    Any idea when Mike Manning will be called up? Gallen more likely to make an impact?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d prefer Gallen at this point because of the AL/NL difference, but they’re about equal. I’d guess June for Manning if he keeps it up in Double-A, possibly sooner if they need somebody.

  3. malamoney

    malamoney says:
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    Another three hits for Alvarez…

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Man, it’s just a video game for him.

      • malamoney

        malamoney says:
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        I realize they have roster issues in Houston, but how long can they keep him in AAA?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Yeah he’s going to force the issue at some point.

  4. Chud says:
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    Good stuff!

    Who would u rather own in a dynasty:

    E.Saurez or T.Pham?

    Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks! Tough one. I’d go with Suarez.

  5. Stumanji! says:
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    Mitch Keller seems to be struggling this year. Is his upside high enough to hold onto, or would you swap him for Gallen hoping the latter will give some 12 tm mixed league value (QS, K/9) at the back of your fantasy rotation? If Keller isn’t going to do anything this year and he loses his shine, I don’t think I’d be able to fit hom into my keepers for 2020.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      With pitchers I’d go bird in hand. So like a year ago A Reyes versus Paddack Reyes would be ranked higher everywhere and most people would say hold, but at this point I don’t think you’d have many people still holding Reyes over Paddack.

      I’d give Gallen a whirl and see what happens. Worst case, you move on to the next guy that might actually help your team.

      • Stumanji! says:
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        Thanks, Mike! Go Phils.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Anytime…go Phils!

  6. Terrance Mann says:
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    You expect Mercado to be up anytime soon?

  7. Dr p says:
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    Austin Riley vs Luis urias in terms of stashability? What’s your eta on the pair? Also, with taillon going down, does Keller get the call?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I think Urias is closer, but Riley should be up at some point this season.

      Looks like Breault and Kingham will get the first crack in Pitt.

  8. John says:
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    Hey Mike! Would you trade Max Muncy for Luis Urias is a keeper league? Assuming 3 years of control for Urias and 2 years of control for Muncy. It’s a H2H points league for context. Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yeah, I’d make that swap.

  9. Davido says:
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    Do you think Chavis will stay up in Boson ROS? I just don’t see how you can play Holt, Nunez or Pedroia over him.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yeah, he’s playing too well to mess with that.

  10. Grey

    Grey says:
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    FWIW, I’ve heard June for Gallen

    FWINW, I’m about to bid all my cheese on VanMeter bc I need dat upside, yo!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Ah ok. Thanks!

      Go get em!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Spending so much cheese call him Josh Van Cheddar!

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          haha

    • Marti says:
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      Would you pick up van meter in an N/L only league. Don’t really need a bat but its dynasty auction league. Any long term value?

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        I would in that format.

  11. Mo Money says:
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    Where would you rank Gallen, Cease and Manning for 2019?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Cease ahead of the other two by a good bit, with Gallen slightly ahead of Manning. Cease might be the last of the three to come up, but I think he makes the most impact once he’s here.

  12. Silent Heat says:
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    Thoughts on Harold Ramirez (Miami AAA)? Looks close to coming up.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’ve always liked him, back to Pitt days. I’d take a flyer in NL only for sure.

  13. Dave_W says:
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    What do you thin the year looks like for Ryan Mountcastle? It’s hard to believe he wouldn’t contribute and be an upgrade in a few spots in that lineup

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      He’s playing mainly 1B in Norfolk. I could see him coming up in June(ish) and being an immediate add for teams that need pop.

  14. Drew says:
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    who do you like as NA stash in a 16-team OPS keeper: D. Waters, Larnach, Julio Rodriguez, N. Hoerner?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d go Waters or Hoerner. Prefer Hoerner.

  15. Kruk_Ain't_An_Athlete says:
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    Who comes up as an impact bat first? Mateo, Harold Ramirez, Mountcastle, or Mercado?

    14-team OBP roto. We get two spots for stashing Minor Leaguers.
    I own Mercado and Mateo. If we pick them up as Minor Leaguers their starting salary is $5, if we don’t grab them until they are called up they are tagged with a $10 salary. Big difference come keeper/auction time next year.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Impact? I’d bet on Mateo or Mercado for steals. Mountcastle for pop. First one up is probably Mercado or Mateo.

  16. jose says:
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    Mike, Thanks for keeping us up to date on these guys.

    I picked up Forrest Whitley in a keep 25, 10 team, h2h points league. It’s not a dynasty league so he’s just sitting on my bench. I knew when I picked him up he wasn’t going to be up for a while after last years low inning total, but watching him struggle to start the season isn’t fun either.

    Any insight on what hasn’t been working? I’ve just checked the box scores and oooff, it’s hard to keep checking in. Just PCL trouble? Is he working on something, specific?

    I know Peacock and McHugh have been inconsistent, but can’t imagine any of them are getting bumped for Whitley, who isn’t even on the 40 man, until June or the All Star break?

    Thank Mike!

    • jose says:
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      * I picked him up as a secondary piece in a trade. He wasn’t just sitting out there as a FA

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      He could be a victim of the new ball. I’d give him a bit of time to adjust, but I think you’re right we won’t see him until the end of this summer if at all in Houston.

      • jose says:
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        Yeah, between the PCL, the new balls, and maybe some early season apathy knowing he isn’t coming up any time soon. I think I saw he was even used as a reliever in a game a couple weeks ago. It was a multi inning appearance, but it’s been a peculiar start to the season compared to expectations it seems.

        Thanks again Mike!

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Anytime man!

  17. Weird Fishes says:
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    Who’s up earlier and more impactful this year – Gallen or A Reyes?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d bet on Gallen at this point

      • Weird Fishes says:
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        Thanks!

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Anytime man

  18. JACK says:
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    For the next few years who You think wilL be the better starter between Cease and Manning?
    I read that Cease have only two real good pitches and He’s not so tall.
    Manning has workhorse size and a three pitch mix. Minors stats lines are both exciting.

    What You think about their ceiling?

    Tnx

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d bet on Cease.

      • Jack says:
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        Tnx

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          No problem

  19. Silent Heat says:
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    Mike, Know anything about Anthony Shew (STL AAA)? Tearing it up this year

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