Results tagged ‘ MLB Prospects ’
Here are the transaction updates for this week (Tuesday, June 26th – Monday, July 2nd).
Jimmy Nelson (MIL, No. 8): Placed on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue on July 2.
Drew Pomeranz (COL, No. 2): Called up for the second time this season on July 2.
Tyler Skaggs (ARI, No. 3): Promoted to Triple-A Reno on July 1.
Erasmo Ramirez (SEA, No. 13): Placed on the disabled list with a right elbow flexor strain on July 1.
Johermyn Chavez (SEA, No. 17): Returned to action on July 1 after missing nearly two months with a broken hamate bone in his left hand.
Neftali Soto (CIN, No. 6): Returned on June 30 after two and a half weeks on the DL with lower back spasms.
Yasmani Grandal (SD, No. 3): Called up to big leagues for the second time this year on June 30.
Felix Starling (CLE, No. 9): Promoted to Class A Lake County on July 1.
Maikel Cleto (STL, No. 10): Called up to the big leagues for the second time this year on June 30.
Austin Wates (HOU, No. 13): Returned to action on June 29 after two weeks on the DL with a quadriceps injury.
Khris Davis (MIL, No. 12): Began a rehab assignment on June 29.
Chris Carter (OAK, No. 8): Called up for the first time in 2012 on June 29.
Edwar Cabrera (COL, No. 18): Called up to the Majors up for spot start on June 27 and returned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on June 29.
Simon Castro (CWS, No. 6): Placed on the disabled list on June 29.
Cory Spangenberg (SD, No. 5): Returned on June 28 after a DL stint with concussion-like symptoms.
Tony Zych (CHC, No. 20): Promoted to Double-A Tennessee on June 29.
Nick Tropeano (HOU, No. 17): Promoted to Class A Advanced Lancaster on June 29.
Dellin Betances (NYY, No. 2): Demoted to Double-A Trenton after going 3-5 with a 6.39 ERA in Triple-A.
Brett Marshall (NYY, No. 20): Returned on June 28, after a week and a half on the DL with bursitis in his left leg.
Trevor Bauer (ARI, No. 1) Made his Major League debut on June 28.
Xavier Avery (BAL, No. 6) Called up to the Majors for the second time this season on June 28, for a short stint.
Chris Archer (TB, No. 2) Returned to the Minors on June 28 after a week with the Rays.
Angelo Gumbs (NYY, No. 16) Placed on the DL on June 28.
Ehire Adrianza (SF, No. 8) Returned on June 28 after nearly two weeks on the DL with a left thumb injury.
Darrell Ceciliani (NYM, No. 16) Placed on the DL with a hamstring injury for the third time this season, on June 28.
Nick Delmonico (BAL, No. 4) Placed on the DL on June 28.
Rymer Liriano (SD, No. 2) Promoted to Double-A San Antonio on June 28.
Zach McAllister (CLE, No. 13) Called up for the second time this season on June 28.
Keenyn Walker (CWS, No. 5) Returned on June 28 after two and a half weeks on the DL.
Adam Warren (NYY, No. 10) Called up to the Major Leagues for the first time on June 28, but returned to the Minors two days later.
Chris Withrow (LAD, No. 6) Returned to action on June 28 after two weeks on the DL with a lower back strain.
Scott Barnes (CLE, No. 4) Called up for the second time this season.
Jose Iglesias (BOS, No. 10): Rejoined Triple-A Pawtucket on June 27, after a rehab assignment.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC, No. 1): Called up to the Majors on June 26.
Matt Lipka (ATL, No. 11): Placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury on June 26.
Scott Van Slyke (LAD, No. 17): Called up for the third time this season on June 28.
Jacob Turner (DET, No. 1): Returned to the Minors on June 26 after making his first MLB start of 2012 on June 21.
Santo Manzanillo (MIL, No. 18): Placed on the DL for the second time this season on June 26.
Brad Boxberger (SD, No. 10): Returned to the Minors on June 26 after two weeks in the big leagues.
Martin Perez (TEX, No. 2): Called up to the Majors for the first time on June 26.
Travis d’Arnaud (TOR, No. 1): Placed on the DL with a torn ligament in his left knee.
Destin Hood (WSH, No. 6): Returned to Double-A Harrisburg on June 26, after rehabbing a wrist injury.
Zach Putnam (COL, No. 7): Called up for the second time this season on June 25.
Here’s the latest in prospect movement of guys found on team’s Top 20s over on Prospect Watch.
Alex Castellanos (LAD, No. 13): Returned to Triple-A Albuquerque on June 12.
Matt Den Dekker (NYM, No. 15): Promoted to Triple-A Buffalo on June 12.
Jeimer Candelario (CHC, No. 14): Joined the Boise Hawks on June 12.
Zack Cox (STL, No. 6): Returned from the DL after a concussion.
Marco Hernandez (CHC, No. 16): Promoted to the Boise Hawks from extended spring camp on June 12.
Kole Calhoun (LAA, No. 13): Returned to Triple-A Salt Lake on June 13, after 12 at-bats in a Major League callup.
Hector Gomez (COL, No. 16): Began a rehab assignment on June 13 after a groin injury.
Jimmy Nelson (MIL, No. 8): Promoted to Double-A Huntsville on June 13.
Stephen Pryor (SEA, No. 9): Strained his left groin and was placed on the disabled list on June 13.
Matt Purke (WSH, No. 4): Placed on the disabled list on June 13.
Erasmo Ramirez (SEA, No. 12): Called up to the Mariners for the second time this year on June 13, but then returned to Triple-A Tacoma.
Eddie Rosario (MIN, No. 3): Hit in the face by a line drive on June 12, and will miss 6 weeks with a fracture.
Austin Wates (HOU, No. 13): Placed on the disabled with a quadriceps injury on June 13.
Marcus Semien (CWS, No. 9): Sidelined by a hamstring injury on June 14.
Jarrett Parker (SF, No. 19): Placed on the disabled list as a precaution, after being hit in the head by a pitch.
Neftali Soto (CIN, No. 6): Placed on the disabled list on June 12 with lower back spasms.
Juan Rodriguez (LAD, No. 11): Joined Class A Great Lakes on June 14.
Kevan Smith (CWS, No. 12): Returned to action on June 14 after a week on the DL
Forrest Snow (SEA, No. 14): Demoted to Double-A Jackson on June 14 after struggling early in the season.
Tyler Thornburg (MIL, No. 4): Suspended for three days for brawling, but was promoted to Triple-A shortly after his return.
Scott Barnes (CLE, No. 4): Returned to Triple-A Columbus on June 15 after two weeks in the big leagues.
Leonys Martin (TEX, No. 4): Called up to the big leagues on June 15.
Liam Hendriks (MIN, No. 7): Returned to the big leagues on June 16.
Casey Crosby (DET, No. 4): Returned to Triple-A Toledo.
Justin Grimm (TEX, No. 20): Called up to the Major League club on June 16.
Ehire Adrianza (SF, No. 8): Placed on the disabled list on June 16, with a left thumb injury.
Kyle McPherson (PIT, No. 10): Made his first 2012 start with Double-A Altoona on June 16, after shoulder inflammation.
Chih-Hsien Chiang (SEA, No. 19): Designated for assignment on June 16.
Taylor Jordan (WHS, No. 18): Began a rehab assignment in mid-June.
Billy Bullock (ATL No. 17): Promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Matthew West (TEX, No. 17): Rejoined High A Myrtle Beach on June 17.
Eury Perez (WSH, No. 6): Placed on the disabled list with an oblique injury in mid June.
Oswaldo Arcia (MIN, No. 4): Promoted to Double-A New Britain on June 17.
Forgive the brief transaction hiatus. That whole Draft thing kind of got in the way (I hope to have some Draft-related posts this week). Here are the latest moves in the Minors involving the prospects found on Prospect Watch. My thanks for producer extraordinaire Chris Barth for putting this together.
- Brandon Jacobs (BOS, No. 7): Returned to High A Salem after time on the disabled list with a left hand contusion.
- Oscar Tejeda (BOS, No. 14): He returned to action in early June.
- Chris Reed (LAD, No. 5): Promoted to Double-A Chattanooga.
- Jack Marder (SEA, No. 16): Placed on the DL on June 3.
- Tyrell Jenkins (STL, No. 5): Placed on the DL due to fatigue and soreness.
- Chris Withrow (LAD, No. 7): Placed on the DL for the second time this season, with a strained lower back.
- Tony Sanchez (PIT, No. 7): Promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis.
- Zack Cox (STL, No. 6): Placed on the DL with a concussion.
- Scott Van Slyke (LAD, No. 18): Returned to Minor Leagues when Juan Rivera rejoined the Dodgers.
- Shawn Tolleson (LAD, No. 9): Called up to the Major Leagues for the first time.
- Oliver Drake (BAL, No. 18) Placed on the DL with shoulder soreness.
- Nick Castellanos (DET, No. 2) Promoted to Double-A Erie.
- Chris Marrero (WAS, No. 9) Began a rehab stint after starting the season on the DL with a torn hamstring.
- Cole McCurry (BAL, No. 20) Promoted to Double-A Bowie.
- Will Smith (KC, No. 14) Returned to Triple-A after three big league starts.
- Joey Terdoslavich (ATL, No. 7) Demoted to Double-A after struggling with Triple-A Gwinnett.
- Tyler Moore (WAS, No. 13): Called up to the Majors for the second time this season.
- Rob Brantly (DET, No. 15): Promoted to Triple-A Toledo.
- Bobby Bundy (BAL, No. 9): Returned to Double-A Bowie after being placed on the DL with an ankle sprain in May.
- James McCann (DET, No. 19): Promoted to Double-A Erie.
- Jose Ortega (DET, No. 9): Got his first taste of the big leagues when he was called up to the Tigers. Returned to Triple-A Toledo a few days later.
- Kevan Smith (CWS, No. 14): Placed on the DL.
- Mike Wright (BAL, No. 19): Placed on the DL with a hamstring injury.
- Leonys Martin (TEX, No. 4): Returned to Triple-A Round Rock after a DL stint due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
- Francisco Martinez (SEA, No. 6): Placed on the DL with a left hamstring strain.
- Roman Mendez (TEX, No. 5): Placed on the DL.
- Tanner Scheppers (TEX, No. 9): Called up to the Major Leagues for the first time.
- Dan Jennings (MIA, No. 20): Returned to Triple-A New Orleans after nearly two weeks in the big leagues.
- Khris Davis (MIL, No. 13): Briefly rejoined the Huntsville Stars, but returned to the DL on June 9.
- Donnie Joseph (CIN, No. 7): Promoted to Triple-A Louisville.
- Cole McCurry (BAL, No. 20): Promoted to Double-A Bowie.
- David Holmberg (ARI, No. 7): Promoted to Double-A Mobile.
- Julio Teheran (ATL, No. 1): Made a spot start for the Braves, before returning to the Minors.
- Ben Wells (CHC, No. 12): Placed on the DL with a right elbow strain.
- Jorge Alfaro (TEX, No. 6): Returned to action with Class A Hickory after his second trip to the DL with a strained hamstring.
- Brad Boxberger (SD, No. 10): Made his Major League debut on June 10, pitching a scoreless inning against the Brewers.
- Joe Kelly (STL, No. 11): Made his Major League debut on June 10, in a start against the Indians.
- Domingo Santana (HOU, No. 9): Placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, but returned to the High A Jethawks on June 10.
- Keenyn Walker (CWS, No. 6): Placed on the disabled list.
Have to be quick today guys, what with the Draft less than a week from now (Speaking of which, check out the Draft Top 100, which has be shuffled a bit in terms of order). So no time for rank on a team list, but here’s what we’ve got. My thanks for MLB.com colleague Chris Barth for assembling the list.
Zoilo Almonte (NYY): Rejoined Trenton Thunder after missing a month with hamstring spasms and rehabbing in Florida.
Joe Benson (MIN): Underwent surgery on the hamate bone in his left wrist, will miss 6-8 weeks.
Jed Bradley (MIL): Returned to the Manatees after time on the DL with a groin strain.
Zach McAllister (CLE): Returned to the Minors after four starts in the Majors.
Mike Wright (BAL): Called up to the Double-A Bowie Baysox.
Conor Gillaspie (SF): A groin injury landed him on the DL.
Darrell Ceciliani (NYM): Rejoined the St. Lucie Mets after missing over a month with a hamstring injury.
Dan Jennings (MIA): Called up to the Marlins for the second time and picked up his first Major League win.
Chih-Hsien Chiang (SEA): Sent down to Double-A after 40 games in Triple-A.
Tommy Joseph (SF): Returned to the Flying Squirrels after missing almost two weeks with concussion symptoms after being hit by a batter’s backswing while catching.
Marcus Semien (CWS): A right shoulder injury landed him on the DL.
Andrew Romine (LAA): Called up to join the Major League club.
Kevin Mattison (MIA): Called up to the Major League club for the second time this year, after Austin Kearns landed on the DL.
Charlie Culberson (SF): Rejoined the Triple-A Grizzlies after getting his first start in the Majors.
Jace Peterson (SD): Returned to the Fort Wayne TinCaps after missing nearly two weeks due to concussion symptoms after colliding with a teammate.
Avisail Garcia (DET): Landed on the DL.
Kolbrin Vitek (BOS): On the DL with an intercostal strain.
Santo Manzanillo (MIL): Rejoined the Double-A Stars after shoulder tightness.
Pat Corbin (ARI): Returned to Triple-A Reno after stint in the Majors.
Brandon Jacobs (BOS): Hit the DL with a left hand contustion.
Will Smith (KC): Called him up to the Major Leagues.
We’re back with a look at Minor League transactions for the week, focusing on the team Top 20s over on Prospect Watch. This is for May 14-20. Wherever it just says “On the DL” I wasn’t able to get detailed info, but will add as I get it:
- Yordy Cabrera, SS (OAK, No. 8): Recovered from a back issue, Cabrera made his 2012 debut with Stockton in the California League.
- Ryan Adams, 2B (BAL, No. 13): On the DL with a broken right thumb.
- Kyle Russell, OF (LAD, No. 21): Promoted from Double-A to Triple-A (Yes, he’s not in the top 20, but he’s close).
- Kevin Eichorn, RHP (DET, No. 13): On the DL.
- Anthony Ranaudo, RHP (BOS, No. 5): Assigned to Double-A and made his 2012 debut (9 ER over 8 2/3 IP)
- Oliver Drake, LHP (BAL, No. 18): Made his 2012 debut with Double-A Bowie (allowing just one run over 6 IP)
- Adrian Salcedo, RHP (MIN, No. 8): Salcedo was hit in the face by a comebacker on April 30, made 2 more starts, then was put on the DL. He reportedly broke his nose.
- Wil Myers, OF (KC, No. 2): Promoted from Double-A to Triple-A (5-for-15 in his first 5 games).
- Jake Odorizzi, RHP (KC, No. 4): Promoted from Double-A to Triple-A (3 ER in 6 2/3 IP in his debut).
- Jed Bradley, LHP (MIL, No. 2): On the DL wiht a groin strain.
- Brandon Guyer, OF (TB, No. 13): On the MLB DL with a shoulder strain.
- A.J. Jimenez, C (TOR, No. 14): On the DL with a sore elbow, most likely headed for Tommy John surgery.
- Jedd Gyorko, 3B (SD, No. 4): Promoted from Double-A to Triple-A (6-for-20 in first five games)
- Christian Bethancourt, C (ATL, No. 4): Returned from DL to Double-A (4-for-11 since return)
- Mark Canha, 1B (MIA, No. 17): Returned from DL to Class A Adv Jupiter (3-for-15 since return)
- Trevor Bauer, RHP (ARI, No. 1): Promoted from Double-A to Triple-A (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K in debut)
- Robbie Erlin, LHP (SD, No. 6): On the DL with tendinitis.
- Juan Oramas, LHP (SD, No. 14): On the DL with forearm tightness.
- Alexi Amarista, INF (SD, No. 20): Called up to the big leagues.
- Jeff Locke, LHP (PIT, No.9): Called up to the big leagues.
- Matt Adams, 1B (STL, No. 8): Called up to the big leagues.
- Stolmy Pimentel, RHP (BOS, No. 15): Returned from DL (blister) to Double-A (6 shutout innings)
- Jordany Valdespin, SS/2B (NYM, No. 9): Optioned to Triple-A.
- Johnny Barbato, RHP (SD, No. 16): Returned from DL to Class A Fort Wayne with two scoreless relief outings.
- Carlos Martinez, RHP (STL, No. 2): On the DL with mild shoulder tendinitis.
- Guillermo Pimentel,OF (SEA, No. 18): On the DL
- John Gast, LHP (STL, No. 9): Promoted from Double-A to Triple-A (3 ER in 6 IAP in debut)
- Phillippe Aumont, RHP (PHI, No. 5): On the DL with a right rhomboid strain (back).
- Brian Goodwin, OF (WAS, No. 8): Returned from DL to Class A Hagerstown (2-for-11 in return)
- Oscar Tejeda, 2B (BOS, No. 14): On the DL with a strained left hamstring.
- Jarek Cunningham, 2B (PIT, No. 20): Returned from DL to Double-A Altoona (2-for-10 in return)
- A.J. Pollock, OF (ARI, No. 6): Optioned to Triple-A.
- Danny Muno, SS (NYM, No. 17): Restricted list — 50-game suspension for PED
- Wilking Rodriguez, RHP (TB, No. 20): On the DL with right shoulder soreness.
- James Darnell, 3B/OF (SD, No. 18): On the MLB DL with left shoulder injury.
- Matt Hoffman, LHP (DET, No. 14): Returned from the DL (again) to Triple-A Toledo.
- Andrew Susac, C (SF, No. 15): Received four-game suspension for participation in a fight.
- Manny Banuelos, LHP (NYY, No. 1): Returned to the DL, this time for a sore left elbow.
We get a regular report emailed to us when something happens with one of the 600 players on Prospect Watch in pro ball — Top 100 or team Top 20. It helps us know when we need to update the information on there.
Obviously, we can’t update a player’s blurb with every DL move, saving it for the more serious injuries, big promotions, etc. We’ve been having a discussion about what to do with the information otherwise. There’s no clear place to put it, but it’s also good information we’d like to share with everyone. So, for the time being, I’m going to try and post it here whenever possible. Maybe it’ll be a weekly item (Transaction Tuesday — I always do like alliteration). Here’s some of the most recent goings on with the top prospects in the game. I’m focusing on the Minor League ones, figuring most see when guys get called up to the big leagues.
Jake Petricka, RHP, White Sox — Promoted from Winston-Salem (Class A Adv) to Birmingham (AA). No. 5 on White Sox’s Top 20
Nestor Molina, RHP, White Sox — Promoted from Birmingham (AA) to Charlotte (AAA). No. 2 on White Sox’s Top 20.
Stephen Pryor, RHP, Mariners — Promoted from Jackson (AA) to Tacoma (AAA). No. 9 on Mariners’ Top 20.
Joe Benson, OF, Twins — Demoted from Rochester (AAA) to New Britain (AA). No. 5 on Twins’ Top 20.
That’s just a smattering… Over the course of the week, there’s much more and I’ll start compiling them and providing more info… If people have ideas or suggestions for this, please fire away.
No, it’s not a re-ranking. Don’t get too excited. Besides, it’s too early for that. Not enough has happened to draw enough conclusions to move guys up and down based on performance just yet.
But what we have had are some graduations. The way we do things over at Prospect Watch, when a player on the list gets past rookie status — 130 at-bats for hitters, 50 innings pitched for pitchers or more than 45 days on the active roster for either — he has to come off.
So we had a little graduation ceremony today. Four players from the Top 100 came off:
Mike Trout, Angels
Jesus Montero, Mariners
Yonder Alonso, Padres
Randall Delgado, Braves
The first three surpassed the 130 AB mark between last year and this. Delgado did the sam with his innings threshold.
So, it’s time to welcome a new quartet to the back end of the top 100 (check them out on PW).
97. Eddie Rosario, 2B, Twins
98. Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Brewers
99. Robbie Erlin, LHP, Padres
100. Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals
That’s right, two second baseman added. I’m crazy like that. Also be sure to check out the team lists because we replaced the graduates on their respective Top 20s as well (not to mention the positional Top 10s… big shout out to colleague Jason Ratliff for getting it done once again!)
So much to read these days prospect-wise, it’s hard to know where to start.
Yes, that does read like the beginning of a promotional piece. So lets promote:
In case you didn’t see it, we now have a Top 20 international amateur prospect list on Prospect Watch. Big shout out to my MLB.com colleague Jesse Sanchez (follow him on Twitter at @JesseSanchezMLB for doing the heavy lifting on that, not to mention a terrific story featuring No. 1 prospect Gustavo Cabrera.
We’ve also started a weekly Prospect Watch notebook. Edition No. 2 was posted today with stuff from myself and Mr. Sanchez on, in no particular order: DiDi Gregorius, Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Skipworth, Evan Reed, Will Middlebrooks, Jonathan Singleton, Danny Hultzen, Jose Fernandez, Yasmani Grandal, Casey Kelly, Austin Hedges, Humberto Arteaga and much, much more! It’s about as jam-packed as a notebook can be with prospect info.
There are also a couple of new blogs that are definitely worth checking out. The Futurists is written by bloggers/fans/prospect geeks (that’s a complimentary term). It’s been a very active community writing and discussing all sorts of prospecty things.
Then there’s We the Prospects. That’s a blog written by prospects themselves about their experiences during the 2012 season. It’s just getting started with three players introducing themselves so far: the Brewers’ Nick Ramirez, the Diamondbacks’ Adam Eaton and the Reds’ Tucker Barnhart. Keep checking on that one for updates from that trio as well as other Minor Leaguers.
I leave you with this statistical tidbit:
To date, there are just two pitchers who qualify for an ERA title in the Minors who have an ERA of 0.00. They are Matt Barnes of the Red Sox and Felipe Rivero of the Rays. There are 15 pitchers who have yet to allow a hit in the Minor Leagues so far. None of them have thrown more than four innings, with one big exception: Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy, who has gone 13 hitless innings to start his professional career.
Oh, and keep an eye out for the 2012 Draft section to launch next week.
The Red Sox’s new digs at JetBlue Park are very nice indeed. For someone who loves spending time on the back fields, the best part is having the Minor League side right alongside where the big league action takes place. In years past, you had to drive a couple of miles down the road to get to Boston’s minor league camp, so the facility gets props just for that.
This was my first opportunity to get some real prospecting stuff done (I did write a feature on Matt Hague while I was covering the Pirates yesterday). It was a great day indeed, getting to see hitters like Will Middlebrooks, Bryce Brentz and Juan Carlos Linares in action. All of course are firmly on the Red Sox’ Top 20 list. I also had the chance to chat with Brentz, the supplemental first rounder from 2010 who hit 30 homers last year. The story from that (as well as an interview with farm director Ben Crockett) will be up on redsox.com tomorrow. For now, though, here’s the complete video interview with Brentz.
It wasn’t just a day for bats, mind you. Anthony Ranaudo started the Double-A game and was pretty much lights out. He went three innings and touched 97 mph. He was leaving his breaking ball up in the zone a bit, not uncommon given where we are in spring, but he was throwing it for strikes. He also threw his changeup in the zone, leading one Red Sox official on hand to comment that they thought it was the best they’d seen him. After a good learning experience following his promotion to Salem last year, Ranaudo could take off in 2012.
While my main focus with Crockett was on Brentz, I did ask him about a number of other prospects in the system. Here’s what he had to say:
Blake Swihart: “He’s a tremendous worker. He has a really professional approach for an 18-year old kid coming out of high school. Clearly, he’s played at some of the higher levels within the high school [ranks]. His approach to the game is pretty impressive. He did a great job in the offseason with the strength and conditioning program, put on some strength and some good weight. On the field, we’ve been really happy with the progress so far. He’s still learning the position. He hasn’t caught a ton, but he’s a really quick learner and has picked up things rapidly. It’s been exciting. Obviously, with the bat, that’s the calling card. It’s been good. We’re trying not to preach the final result, but more the approach and how we get to the end of the at-bat.” (meaning making hard contact or working the count to get the pitch you want to hit).
As a pretty advanced bat, Swihart has the chance to make the Greenville club, as the Red Sox do have a history of doing that (Sean Coyle comes to mind). The one thing that could hold him back would be the defense, just to give him some more time to work on the nuances of catching.
Matt Barnes:“He’s been really impressive. He’s shown the stuff that got him to where he was last year. He’s adapted well to the program (strength and conditioning, preparing for the five-day routine). He’s worked hard, gone about his business very well. We’re looking forward to seeing him in a game later this week for the first time. We haven’t gotten the chance to see him yet in games. The live BPs and bullpens have been really good.”
Barnes will, in all likelihood, start with either Greenville or Salem.
Xander Bogaerts: “He’s had a really good camp. He hit a home run the other day against Tommy Hunter, then later in the game had a line drive to right field. That approach, those are the exciting things to see that adjustment within a game, especially for a young player who came into his power last year. He came into camp in great shape. Lost a couple of pounds of fat from last year, gained some strength. He’s definitely still a shortstop for us. The athleticism really continues to play. It’s more a matter of refining the fundamentals, the routine types of plays. He has the ability to make some of those highlight type plays.”
Look for him in Salem this year.
Brandon Jacobs: “We’re continuing to push him to make improvements. He made huge strides last year as he got more time in the outfield. The arm strength increased with the programs we had (shoulder strengthening) and improving some of the footwork. Keeping him aggressive out there has been huge and we’ve seen the strides there this Spring Training. I think the impressive thing about him, kind of like Will Middlebrooks did up in the big leagues this spring… despite the power and the lack of overall experience, he really does stay in the middle of the field pretty well. He does a nice job of taking what’s given to him and isn’t always trying to get to that power, which is something that plagues young players sometimes.”
Jacobs should provide a nice 1-2 punch in the Salem lineup with Bogaerts.
Finally, I asked Crockett about any players who have really stood out, maybe who are poised to make a nice jump forward in 2012. He mentioned two: Drake Britton and Kolbrin Vitek. Britton had a pretty awful 2011 season, kind of forcing him off the radar. Vitek had a ho-hum first full season, but as Crockett points out, fared much better as the season wore on (he hit .300 in the second half).
“Drake Britton had a really good camp up there (on the big league side). I know he was greatly on the radar last year and now suddenly [is off] the radar. The stuff in big league camp was really good. He was using his changeup effectively which is a hard thing to do when you’re in that limelight. He really stayed under control a lot better than what he did last year. I think he could step up.”
“Kolbrin Vitek is someone that flew under the radar in part because we pushed him to Salem, in a tough hitter’s park, in his first full season. He’s an advanced college hitter… you look at his second half numbers compared to his first-half numbers, there’s a pretty big difference there. He’s someone who could jump off from where he was in the second half last year and pick up from there and produce a little more than what he did on the whole, and garner a little more attention from the industry.”
If you went to the back fields of Port Charlotte today, you could have watched 3/5 of the Triple-A Durham rotation in action, obviously a rarity.
Two of them were going at the same time, with Alex Torres starting in the Double-A game and Alex Cobb starting the Triple-A contest against the Orioles (Don’t read into Torres starting down a level. The Rays wanted to make sure everyone got the innings they needed.). Chris Archer pitched in the Triple-A game after Torres. It was a whole lot of fun to station myself between the two games and track all that pitching depth (not to mention seeing Orioles’ prospect Manny Machado playing shortstop and singling off of Torres).
Cobb was pretty sharp throughout his outing. Torres scuffled a bit in his first inning — fastball command was the culprit — but settled down. Archer had some command issues in his first inning. He was supposed to go three, but because of the length of that first frame, his day was done after two innings. For all three, it was just one step in getting ready for the start of the Triple-A season on April 5.
Archer, of course, was in the Matt Garza trade and he was at the Rookie Career Development Program in 2011 when the news broke. He came across as a very thoughtful and well-spoken prospect and that clearly hasn’t changed, even with the struggles he had in the first part of the 2011 season.
There will be a story on Archer on the site in a while, along with some of the video interview I did with him. Here is the entire interview with the right-hander, who hopes to help out in Tampa at some point in the near future.
I also got to have a nice chat with Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics about some of the other players in the system, especially some from the bountiful 2011 Draft.
In general about the crop: “It is early. All have come in great shape. You never know in a young player because they don’t know exactly what to expect even though you tell them what to expect. They have offseason programs they have to do in preparation, but you still don’t know. All have come in great shape. There’s plenty of room for everyone to get at-bats and innings pitched.”
On Mikie Mahtook: “He came in here ready to go day one. He’s taking full advantage of our camp. I wouldn’t think he’ll break with double-A. We want to see him here. Keep in mind, he’s only been with us a little bit. We saw him a little bit in instructional league, some have seen him a little bit in the fall league. We don’t have a lot of history with Mikie. So there’s no rash decision on Mikie Mahtook. He’s a good player now, he’ll be a better player later. We want to assess and see and put him where we think he fits best.”
On Taylor Guerrieri: “Taylor is really doing great. He has so much upside. Historically, we are slow with young pitchers and young players. That’s our philosophy, our overall development philosophy. He shows great stuff. Now it’s a matter of tying everything together and it takes time. There’s a process they all have to go through. We all know the physical and mental process. As that all comes together, we expect these kids to do great things.”
On how Guerrieri fits into that overall philosophy: “What’s the rush? Historically, we’re slow with our youngest players. But our players tell us when they need to be moved or when they can be moved. Despite our overall philosophy, they make our decisions for us. But it’s a long-distance race. If there’s doubt, why rush? We have players in place at the Major League level and at the upper Minor Leagues, so what’s the rush? We’d rather make sure that when a player gets to the big leagues, there’s impact and longevity. We don’t have to force-feed players to get there. That has been from day one, since we started in 2006, that’s been the philosophy from ownership on down.”
(As an aside, I really like that line about ensuring impact and longevity. I think it speaks to why the Rays have had so much success in developing successful big leaguers.)
Finally, on others who have made an early impression: “Jake Hager. He’s a good looking infielder who’s done a nice job (also from the 2011 Draft). It’s going to take time to grow. You have young guys like Brandon Martin and James Harris, two young up and comers. We have some Dominicans, one in particular, Roberto Gomez, he’s on the radar. Those are just a few kids to mention.”
I’ve got big league game coverage the next couple of days, but will do my best to throw up some prospecty info on here along the way. Oh, and in case you missed it, here’s my story on the Dominican Prospect League tour in Florida.