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?
Austin Riley is a thing. New ball aside, he’s currently hitting .308/.378/.677 with 13 homers and 33 runs batted in for Triple-A Gwinnett. I’m a fan and own a share in my main squeeze league. In the preseason Top 100 I ranked him 24th overall and had this to say: “He [Riley] has plus power and hit 19 homers in 2018 between AA and AAA. He also hit .294 on the year, which is super. Only blemish is a 28% strikeout rate, but there will be some more seasoning in AAA this year for him to work on that. Speaking of blemishes, have you seen Grey’s backne? Gross!” That K-rate has come down to 20% so far in 2019. All of this is horseshit though, because what everyone really wants to know is when Riley will be up and playing every day for the Braves. I didn’t include him in the May stash list because I figured a currently healthy Donaldson would trap him in the minors until at least June. But a recent development has me thinking we could see Austin Riley up sooner. I’ll save that nugget for after the jump…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Indians prospect Bobby Bradley (4-for-4 with two homers) is enjoying a strong start for the Columbus Clippers. Through 28 games, he’s hitting .299 with six home runs and 11 doubles. The average is inflated by an uncharacteristic and unsustainable .419 BABIP. The real Bradley is a low-average power hitter with the potential for 25+ dongs over a full season in the majors. That low-average is probably going to be pretty low though. Think .230s, maybe worse. Since his promotion to Triple-A last year, Bradley has seen his walk rate decrease by about 3% and his strikeout rate increase by about 7%, all the way to 33%. That approach doesn’t bode well for success in the majors, especially since he is already limited defensively to first base. We should find out soon enough though. I suspect Bradley will be with the Indians at some point this summer, where he’ll be a power flyer in AL-only formats, and maybe even some deeper mixed formats. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
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…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ah yes, May. The month of mothers and flowers and regretting the guy you dropped in your fantasy league in the first week of April. I, for one, was born at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center, so every year I just send a Mother’s Day card there and hope it gets to the right lab technician. My ninety-five identical twins and I have been tirelessly combing the minor leagues for the prospects that could potentially receive a call to the majors this month. Cling to your chicken-wire and terrycloth milk dispenser and enjoy the fruits of our labor.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Kyle Tucker has started the 2019 season cold. Like really cold. Like, the freezing point of helium cold. Shout out to my unfortunately-named high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Richard Sores. But, there is hope for the flowers. Tucker has hit safely in each of his last three games with a double and two homers in that span. Why is this important? If you own Tucker, who was a favorite to get called up at some point this season, he needs to play well to avoid getting leapfrogged by Yordan Alvarez and Myles Straw on the road to Houston. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette broke his hand and is scheduled to see a specialist. It looked/sounded painful and my guess is it’ll be at least a month before he’s playing again. Bichette was a candidate for a 2019 call at some point, so obviously this sets things back quite a bit. Marcus Stroman tweeted “big prayers for my bro” to which Bichette replied “preciate it bro”. Bo and Stro are bros bro. There is so much bromance happening in that Twitter exchange I might vomit. Nope, yup. I’m definitely vomiting. We’re going to need a new keyboard. Here’s what else is happening in the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
As if it weren’t enough that the injury bugs are destroying our MLB fantasy teams in the early weeks of the season, they’re apparently coming after our precious pitching prospects now too. Brent Honeywell, number 21 in your programs but number one in your hearts, experienced some forearm soreness and will be shutting it down for at least a week or so. If somebody like me gets forearm soreness it’s no big deal and people just question what I do with my free time. But for Honeywell, who is coming off Tommy John surgery and was a sexy pick for some second half starts with the Rays, this is crappy news. Hopefully this is just a case of the Rays being extra cautious with a top prospect and in two weeks we can put the noose back in our underwear drawer. *assistant whispers in my ear that not everyone keeps a noose in their underwear drawer* Well then, Mr. Happy, here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?