Pitching prospects are funny. Sometimes the best major league starters seemingly come out of nowhere. A mechanical tweak, or improved grip on a breaking pitch can sky rocket a prospect’S status to new heights. Sometimes, a high floor prospect that wasn’t getting too many prospect hounds or dynasty managers excited, progresses to the point of at least real mid-rotation upside. The later seems to be the case of the Reds AA righthander Tyler Mahle. On the heels of a perfect game just about a week ago. One in which, he made quick work of the 27 batters, throwing just 88 pitches. He produced another strong showing Friday, going 6 scoreless innings, striking out 6, and allowing 5 to reach. Mahle’s displayed pinpoint control throughout his time in the minors, and the results have been good outside a blip during his first go-at AA last season. A four pitch arsenal includes an average low 90’s fastball, a plus changeup, and a slurvy breaking ball. He’s not someone I foresee breaking a K per inning rate, but so far the swing and miss has been there, with 34 K’s in 32.1 innings. If Injuries to Reds starters begin to pile up, we might see Mahle in the big leagues by mid-July. As always Great America Ballpark is a horrible landing spot for any young starter, but I’m more inclined to believe in one with control and tendencies to induce weak contact (14.8%) and ground balls (44.4% GB).
- Another week, another strong performance from Cubs prospect Ian Happ. He hit his 8th homer of the season in grand fashion, crushing a grand slam. As he drove in 5 in Thursday’s game. I feel like every week is rinse and repeat with this guy.
- I wanted to update everyone on the status of super prospect Rio Ruiz. He hit a homer last night. .220 batting average be damned!
- Don’t look now, but Bradley Zimmer slugged his third homer of the season last night, and is now hitting .282. If he can manage to keep the strikeouts under a barely acceptable level, Zimmer could be a good fantasy asset this year.
- For the Gleyber believers like myself, there was a beam of light through the clouds yesterday. He struck his mighty thunder stick, the one producing a puke inducing .220 average, and hit a homer. His first of the season.
- Dylan Cease bounced back from his worst start of the season, with a gem on Saturday. The Cubs top pitching prospect struck out 10 in 4.2 innings of work, allowing 6 walks, 2 hits, and 1 run. The stuff is filthy with Cease, an upper registers fastball with sink, and a hammer curve.
- After struggling in his first callup to AA last season Christan Stewart is making the most of his second tour. At the moment the Tigers slugger is slashing .290/.395/.594 with 6 homers. The k rate is way down sub 20%, and the walk rate is still elite. He’s a fringe fielder, and a ready made DH type.
- Washington Nationals outfield prospect Daniel Johnson is making some noise down in Hagerstown. The 2016 5th rounder is hitting .296/.351/.606 with 6 homers, and 2 steals. He’s shown plate approach as well striking out only 15.6% of the time. Definitely a player to add if you’re looking for a lottery ticket at the end of your minors. The league would have to be pretty deep though.
- Update Callup: Rafael Bautista was called up by the Washington Nationals a hours after I posted this article. Bautista is an absolute SAGNOF, if he manages to see regular playing time. He should hit for a decent average, steal some bases and score some runs. There’s little to no power to speak of, but he could be Jarrod Dyson like with regular at bats. More than likely Michael Taylor sees the majority of at-bats.
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