Minor league baseball weekly cultivation for week ending July 31, 2021
This is going to be a long piece as we will highlight every single player who had not exceeded rookie limits before the 2021 season that has been traded since the minor league baseball season began on May 4. The write-ups may not be as long this week overall, but realize that there are more than 100 players featured! First, though, as always, we begin with statistical leaders…
Statistical Leaders (stats through July 31)
AVG – Jose Ramos, Rk/A (LAD), .402
OBP – Blake Sabol, A/A+ (Pit), .481
SLG – Taylor Motter, AAA (Col), .797
HR – Griffin Conine, A+/AA (Mia) and MJ Melendez, AA (KC), 25
SB – Jayce Easley, A (Tex), 43
IP – Mike Wright Jr, AAA (ChW), 85 1/3
ERA – Josh Lindblom, AAA (Mil), 1.35
WHIP – Jayden Murray, A+/AA (TB), 0.77
SV – Miguel Aguilar, AAA (LAD), 15
K – Cade Cavalli, A+/AA (Was), 125
AVG – Jose Marmelejos, Tacoma (Sea), .360
OBP – Jamie Ritchie, Reno (Ari), .461
SLG – Taylor Motter, Albuquerque (Col), .797
HR – Taylor Motter, Albuquerque (Col), 24
SB – Brian Miller, Jacksonville (Mia) and Andrew Velazquez, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (NYY), 22
IP – Mike Wright Jr, Charlotte (ChW), 85 1/3
ERA – Brody Koerner, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (NYY), 2.95
WHIP – Mike Wright Jr, Charlotte (ChW), 1.01
SV – Miguel Aguilar, Reno (Ari), 15
K – Aaron Wilkerson, Oklahoma City (LAD), 86
AVG – Jose Miranda, Wichita (Min), .345
OBP – Marty Costes, Corpus Christi (Hou), .435
SLG – MJ Melendez, Northwest Arkansas (KC), .629
HR – MJ Melendez, Northwest Arkansas (KC), 25
SB – Dairon Blanco, Northwest Arkansas (KC), 28
IP – Juan Hillman, Akron (Cle), 82 1/3
ERA – Janson Junk, Somerset (NYY), 1.78
WHIP – Glenn Otto, Somerset (NYY), 0.92
SV – Colton Hock, Pensacola (Mia), 12
K – Glenn Otto, Somerset (NYY), 103
AVG – Justin Yurchak, Great Lakes (TB), .356
OBP – Justin Yurchak, Great Lakes (TB), .446
SLG – Matthew Fraizer, Greensboro (Pit), .591
HR – Griffin Conine, Beloit (Mia), 23
SB – Delvin Zinn, South Bend (ChC), 42
IP – Connor Lunn, Peoria (StL), 77 1/3
ERA – Ben Gross, Cedar Rapids (Min), 2.48
WHIP – Antonio Velez, Beloit (Mia), 0.95
SV – Four with 8
K – Alan Rangel, Rome (Atl), 95
AVG – Curtis Mead, Charleston (TB), .356
OBP – Edouard Julien, Fort Myers (Min), .490
SLG – Joe Gray Jr, Carolina (Mil), .632
HR – Orelvis Martinez, Dunedin (Tor), 19
SB – Jayce Easley, Down East (Tex), 43
IP – Karlo Seijas, Fredericksburg (Was) and Ryan Murphy, San Jose (SF), 76
ERA – Taj Bradley, Charleston (TB), 1.76
WHIP – Hyun-il Choi, Rancho Cucamonga (LAD), 0.83
SV – Cam Robinson, Carolina (Mil) and Robinson Hernandez, Fresno (Col), 10
K – Ryan Murphy, San Jose (SF), 116
AVG – Carlos Amaya, Athletics, .500
OBP – Adrian Pinto, Rockies, .580
SLG – Madison Santos, Yankees, .780
HR – Aeverson Arteaga, Giants and Osiris Johnson, Marlins, 7
SB – Jonatan Clase, Mariners, 16
IP – Trevor McDonald, Giants, 30 1/3
ERA – Seven with 0.00
WHIP – Randy Lara, Nationals, 0.57
SV – Gabriel Hernandez, Angels, 7
K – Gabriel Aguilera, Reds and Heribert Garcia, Royals, 35
Sorting through the weeds:
Riley Adams, C, Blue Jays-Nationals – Adams has a pretty hulking build for a catcher at 6’4″ and 220-230 pounds. He has plus raw power and a fringe-plus arm, but his defensive skills overall are fairly mediocre otherwise and his contact skills are below-average. He has the profile of a quality backup catcher, and with the moves made by the Nationals, he may be able to immediately step into the backup catcher role right in the big leagues after making his MLB debut for the Blue Jays earlier this year due to injuries. Season line: (MLB) .107/.167/.179, 28 AB, 2/12 BB/K; (minors) .233/.372/.475, 120 AB, 7 HR, 18/46 BB/K.
Kevin Alcantara, OF, Yankees-Cubs – Alcantara was part of the Yankees’ loaded 2018 international class. He is long and lanky right now at 6’6″ and 200-215 pounds, so he has some filling out to do in his body, and he will be a slow developer early on as he learns his body, especially as his swing can get out of sync with his long arms and legs. The Cubs got him as part of the return for Anthony Rizzo, and he now joins a very impressive Arizona Cubs team as he works on getting that powerful swing together. Season line: .357/.455/.500, 28 AB, 1 HR, 1 SB, 5/8 BB/K.
Ivan Armstrong, RHP, Giants-Angels – Acquired by the Angels from San Francisco in the trade for reliever Tony Watson, Armstrong has been one of the best relievers for Low-A San Jose this season. Armstrong is a big guy at 6’5″ and 250 pounds, and he has a big-time sinking fastball to go with that size, reaching 97-98 MPH with that fastball, pairing it with a slider that flashes plus. Armstrong can get off-line with his low 3/4 arm slot and his size, but the 21-year-old Dominican has found a comfortable home in the bullpen and could move quickly going forward. Season line: 38 1/3 IP, 1.88 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 2 SV, 14/43 BB/K.
Bryce Ball, 1B, Braves-Cubs – Atlanta Braves fans were bummed to see Ball get traded, even though it brought outfielder Joc Pederson to the club. Ball was a 24th round pick in 2019 from Dallas Baptist, and the 6’6″ slugger endeared himself to Braves prospecting fans with his big power and willingness to take a walk. He’s hit home runs at a 30 home run pace to this point and walked at roughly a 15% rate. Ball’s long arms can get him tied up for a high strikeout rate, and it likely will mean he’s not going to be a great hitter for average, but the Cubs will give him a shot in the upper minors in 2022. Season line: .197/.342/.361, 208 AB, 6 HR, 48/72 BB/K.
Jordy Barley, SS/2B, Padres-Nationals – If there was ever a great example of how the new rules in A-ball could affect base stealing, look no further than Barley’s line this season. A player with plus speed in his time with the Padres before this year but average-ish base-stealing instincts coming into the season is now among the minor league leaders in stolen bases in 2021 with Lake Elsinore thus far. Traded as part of the return for reliever Daniel Hudson, Barley will have a chance to turn his raw athleticism into production on the field in the Nationals system now. Season line: .240/.333/.388, 242 AB, 8 HR, 33 SB, 31/82 BB/K.
Peyton Battenfield, RHP, Rays-Indians – The Astros originally drafted Battenfield out of Oklahoma State in the 9th round before swapping him to the Rays in January 2020. Battenfield worked hard during the pandemic year and saw his velocity tick up to mid-90s with tremendous late movement. He uses a plus cutter, an average change, and an average curve and is able to locate all four pitches well. His season has been split between High-A and Double-A with the Rays, and now the Indians will attempt to continue his progress toward a potential mid-rotation role. Season line: 67 1/3 IP, 2.14 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12/95 BB/K.
Kelvin Bautista, LHP, Rangers-Dodgers – Bautista is a small guy, but he packs quite a punch into that small left-handed package, hitting the upper-90s with his fastball and sporting a curve that flashes plus. The Dodgers were able to pluck Bautista from the Rangers when they needed to clear Dennis Santana from the 40-man roster. His future may be as a left-handed reliever, but he certainly could be a late-inning lefty with his raw stuff and the Dodgers developmental system behind him. Season line: 11 1/3 IP, 3.18 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 8/16 BB/K.
Hugo Beltran, RHP, Dodgers-Orioles – The Dodgers originally signed Beltran in 2017 out of Colombia. The Orioles bought him from the Dodgers this year. Beltran has a strong sinker, but hasn’t shown any secondary offerings that could potentially push him out of complex ball to this point. Season line: 4 IP, 6.75 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 1/8 BB/K.
Mason Berne, 1B, Braves-Diamondbacks – The Braves drafted Berne in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft and seen mixed results in Berne’s three pro seasons thus far. He was the low-cost return that the Diamondbacks got in trading backup catcher Stephen Vogt to the Braves. Berne is a long-shot to make the majors, but he’s got above-average raw power and the build to hit for power and surprise someone potentially. Season line: .204/.306/.333, 54 AB, 2 HR, 8/17 BB/K.
Jose Berroa, OF, Pirates-Orioles – The Pirates signed Berroa out of the Dominican in 2018 for $230,000. He has plus speed and above-average contact ability from both sides of the plate. The Orioles acquired Berroa in June, and he’s started at the Florida complex. How power comes along in his game will determine Berroa’s potential future in the Orioles system. Season line: .274/.346/.356, 73 AB, 7 SB, 8/18 BB/K.
Carter Bins, C, Mariners-Pirates – Bins was drated in the 11th round in 2019 by the Mariners out of Fresno State. He is highly regarded for his defensive skills, but the bat is not a zero. Bins has above-average raw power and can draw a walk at the plate. The Pirates acquired him as part of the return for Tyler Anderson, and with him moving to Double-A, there’s a chance he gets some big league time in 2022. Season line: .245/.397/.429, 184 AB, 8 HR, 3 SB, 42/68 BB/K.
Skye Bolt, OF, Giants-A’s – Bolt earned his way up to the majors with the A’s in 2019 before the Giants picked him up when Oakland attempted to slide him through waivers in April. He couldn’t stick on the Giants 40-man roster, and the A’s purchased Bolt’s contract from San Francisco. Bolt has impressive athletic skills that have never been ever to truly be realized due to a mess of injuries over his career. He can handle all three outfield spots defensively, so he certainly could work as a bench outfielder, but the line for that role in Oakland is long. Season line: (MLB) .106/.191/.298, 47 AB, 1 HR, 1 SB, 0/11 BB/K; (minors) .396/.512/.604, 96 AB, 3 HR, 3 SB, 21/21 BB/K.
Tyler Burch, RHP, Phillies-Orioles – Burch was originally an undrafted free agent with the Phillies in 2019, Burch pitched well as a swingman in his pro debut, but he put in some hard work during the pandemic year, and it showed in 2021. Moving strictly to a bullpen role, and often serving as his team’s closer, Burch has flashed an upper-90s fastball and a very sharp breaking ball. He’s a pitcher on the upswing in the system, likely to finish in Double-A this season with potential to work into the major league bullpen at some point in 2022 with continued success. That’s a pretty decent return for the Orioles moving Freddy Galvis. Season line: 29 1/3 IP, 3.99 ERA, 7 SV, 1.09 WHIP, 8/49 BB/K.
Alexander Canario, OF, Giants-Cubs – Canario is a tremendous young hitter acquired by the Cubs in the Kris Bryant deal. Funny part is that he might be the third or fourth-best outfield prospect in a Giants system loaded with young prospects that project to potentially fit best in the outfield. Canario has tremendous bat speed through the zone, and his swing has excellent plane, but he struggles with consistently getting to his plus raw power due to an aggressive approach that leads to a heavy strikeout rate. Canario is a good overall athlete that should play above-average right field defense and potentially steal double-digit bases as a pro if he can be more selective at the plate as he advances in the system. Season line: .235/.325/.433, 238 AB, 9 HR, 15 SB, 33/79 BB/K.
Connor Cannon, 1B, Giants-Yankees – Cannon would have gone much earlier than the 17th round in 2019 if he would not have had significant injury history coming into pro baseball, including multiple surgeries to his knees and back issues. Cannon put up incredible numbers in his pro debut, but was traded to the Yankees for Mike Tauchman in June. He’s currently recovering from wrist surgery and is on the injured list, so he hasn’t played a game for the Yankees system this season. The raw power is impressive here, but it’s likely a DH-only long-term profile, if he can stay healthy long enough to do it. Season line: Has not played.
Gerardo Carrillo, RHP, Dodgers-Nationals – Acquired by the Nationals as part of the large package in return for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, Carrillo has a small frame at 5’10” and 170-175 pounds, but he has big-time stuff, and generating that big stuff from his frame requires some significant effort in his delivery. While it really doesn’t lead to an unhealthy delivery any more than any other pitcher, it does mean that his secondary stuff does not tunnel well with his upper-90s sinker. That likely means the future role for Carrillo is as a reliever, but with his raw stuff, even a bit of a tick up from one of his two average secondaries to consistently above-average could allow him to play in the back of a bullpen. Season line: 59 1/3 IP, 4.25 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 29/70 BB/K.
Damon Casetta-Stubbs, RHP, Mariners-Indians – The Mariners drafted local prep product Casetta-Stubbs in the 11th round in 2018. While he’s had flashes of brilliance, issues with consistency have plagued his minor league time so far. The Mariners sold him to the Indians in early July, and the big righty has seen similar issues with his mid-90s fastball getting hit. Casetta-Stubbs also offers an above-average slider and a curve that flashes plus, but his change remains a below-average pitch and his command and control are also below-average. He’s long had a reliever projection, and Cleveland has a history of getting production out of similar profiles, so it’s a good system fit for him. Season line: 40 2/3 IP, 6.42 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 27/58 BB/K.
Donovan Casey, OF, Dodgers-Nationals – A feather in the cap of the Dodgers development system this year, Casey had been producing very well in his first full season in the high minors, showing power and speed. Casey was originally a 20th round selection of the Dodgers out of Boston College, so he’s already 25, and his defensive profile is limited to the corners, but his production this year is no mistake, so he could find his way to at least a fourth outfielder role as soon as 2022 for Washington. Season line: .296/.362/.462, 301 AB, 11 HR, 15 SB, 26/102 BB/K.
Diego Castillo, IF, Yankees-Pirates – The Yankees signed Castillo out of Venezuela all the way back in 2014, and he spent multiple seasons in A-ball waiting for his bat speed to translate to game power. That light finally came on this season for Castillo in Double-A. Acquired in the Clay Holmes deal, Castillo offers the ability to play around the infield as he’s passable at shortstop, barely has the arm for third, and can pass turning the double play at second – but he’s not top-shelf defensively at any one position. If he can continue his improved offensive production, Castillo could show to be a quality utility infielder, getting 400 plate appearances per year. Season line: .274/.347/.502, 237 AB, 12 HR, 8 SB, 24/36 BB/K.
Alberto Ciprian, 3B, Brewers-Diamondbacks – Ciprian signed out of the Dominican in 2019 for $500,000 with the Brewers. He’s flashed raw power in his bat and arm that profile well at third base. Ciprian is making his pro debut this year, and he’s a ways from making an impact after heading to Arizona in the Eduardo Escobar deal, but the raw tools are definitely impressive. Season line: .357/.460/.476, 42 AB, 2 SB, 7/10 BB/K.
Hans Crouse, RHP, Rangers-Phillies – Coming out of high school in 2017, Crouse was known for two things – his “bulldog” mentality on the mound and a herky-jerky, violent delivery that worried scouts. He returned from the pandemic year with his delivery considerably smoothed out but his stuff is notably less peaked. The fastball that once would top out in the upper-90s and sit mid-90s now peaks more around 96 and sits 91-94 with tremendous late movement. Rather than a dynamic, wipeout slider, Crouse now features two shapes to his slider, getting depth with one offering and more sharp bite with a higher-velocity offering of the same pitch. Crouse may not have a #2 potential anymore, but he does have more starter projection now, whereas he once had significant reliever risk. He will be an interesting one to track in the Phillies system after being part of the deal that sent Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy from Texas to Philadelphia. Season line: 51 IP, 3.35 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 19/54 BB/K.
Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Mets-Cubs – Considered the top high school outfield prospect in a loaded class of 2020 prep outfield prospects before summer events, Crow-Armstrong didn’t do much to separate himself over the 2019 summer, and without a full 2020 season to show his abilities, the Mets were able to snag the outfielder at pick #19 of the 2020 first round. Crow-Armstrong’s offensive profile is above-average to plus across the board, but on defense is where he stands out, with tremendous instincts in center field. The Cubs won’t get to see him this year after getting him as the return for Javy Baez and Trevor Williams due to an injury that has kept Crow-Armstrong out since May 13 and ended his season. Season line: .417/.563/.500, 24 AB, 2 SB, 7/6 BB/K.
Keegan Curtis, RHP, Yankees-Diamondbacks – The Diamondbacks acquired Curtis from the Yankees in exchange for Tim Locastro on July 1. Curtis was originally drafted by the Yankees in 2018 in the 22nd round, and the righty has been in the bullpen the entire time he’s been in the Yankees system. Curtis works with a mid-90s fastball and pairs that with a depth slider. Because of his long arm action causing inconsistency with his command and control, Curtis is likely a middle reliever profile, but he’s performing very well in the upper minors this season. Season line: 23 IP, 2.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 4 SV, 8/33 BB/K.
Noah Davis, RHP, Reds-Rockies – The Reds were impressed enough with Davis to snag him out of UC Santa Barbara in the 11th round in 2018 as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. He made it back onto the mound in 2019 and returned better than he had showed before the surgery, with his low-90s fastball his worst offering. He’s seen his slider and curve both flash plus and sit consistently above-average while his change is more inconsistent but has also flashed plus in 2021. Davis was part of the Rockies’ return for reliever Mychal Givens. Season line: 71 1/3 IP, 3.28 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 37/82 BB/K.
Taylor Davis, C, Orioles-Pirates – Davis was drafted out of high school in the 49th round, but he chose instead to go to college. After going undrafted out of college, he signed with the Cubs organization and worked his way to the majors in 2017 and made brief appearances in 2018 and 2019 as well. The Orioles signed Davis as a minor league free agent, and he appeared in just 12 games with the Orioles’ AAA club before being traded to the Pirates in a deal for another minor leaguer in mid-June. Davis is 31 and likely suited for an up-and-down life as a backup catcher, but he could help a club needing catching depth. Season line: .276/.375/.316, 76 AB, 11/7 BB/K.
Bryan De La Cruz, OF, Astros-Marlins – A guy that former Astros minor league exec Kevin Goldstein tagged as one of the highest character players he’d been around in his time in the game, De La Cruz was part of the return for the Marlins in exchange for closer Yimi Garcia. De La Cruz has already been promoted to the big leagues and made his MLB debut for the Marlins this week. He’s a guy who is hit over power, but has enough bat to be useful as a fourth outfield type that can hit enough to play a couple days per week, but he’s likely able to handle center. Season line: (MLB) .000/.125/.000, 7 AB, 1/2 BB/K; (minors) .324/.362/.518, 272 AB, 12 HR, 17/59 BB/K.
Luis De La Rosa, RHP, Royals-Red Sox – The Royals waited roughly a week after the 2018 international market opened in order to sign De La Rosa to a six-figure bonus out of the Dominican. He’s a former shortstop that was still learning to pitch, though he’s got the velocity on the mound, working into the mid-90s at his best. After a strong showing in 2019 in the Dominican Summer League, the Royals sold him to the Red Sox in early June. He’s opened the year on the Red Sox Florida complex team. Season line: 3 2/3 IP, 14.73 ERA, 2.45 WHIP, 3/1 BB/K.
Greg Deichmann, OF, A’s-Cubs – When Deichmann was drafted from Louisiana State by the A’s, many wondered if he’d find a pro position or have enough bat as a pro to make the majors. After using his double-plus power to tear apart the 2019 Arizona Fall League, he’s come out in 2021 and shown incredible patience at the plate. The power is still there, and Deichmann has the ability to play infield and outfield corners defensively, something that should allow him to present plenty of value to the Cubs as soon as later this season at the big league level. Season line: .298/.428/.450, 218 AB, 4 HR, 7 SB, 50/62 BB/K.
Sam Delaplane, RHP, Mariners-Giants – Many thought Delaplane would work his way into the Mariners bullpen in 2020 after a dominant season in the minors in 2019. Instead, his elbow popped, and he ended up having Tommy John surgery. The Mariners tried to designate him off the 40-man roster while he recovered, but the Giants acquired him for cash. When healthy, Delaplane works with a mid-90s fastball and a double-plus slider that could allow him to potentially work into the back of a bullpen, but certainly should allow him a future as a big-league reliever. Season line: Has not pitched.
Ricky DeVito, RHP, Braves-Pirates – The Braves had a strong 2019 draft spread throughout the country, such that even a righty picked in the eighth round from a college in the northeast was picking up steam among national scouts. DeVito’s pitch mix is led by a fastball that can touch 97-98 and sits 92-94 that he compliments with a plus split-finger pitch. His curve is solid, but he could use one more strong pitch to remain a starter as he continues up the minor league chain. DeVito will have a chance to start after being acquired as part of the return for reliever Richard Rodriguez. Season line: 20 1/3 IP, 2.66 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7/27 BB/K.
Yainer Diaz, C, Indians-Astros – While the Astros traded from a place of depth in the outfield, they improved the bullpen while acquiring Diaz in a move with Cleveland. He was significantly down the depth chart in the Cleveland system at the backstop position, while he could quickly establish himself behind only Korey Lee in the pecking order of Astros catching prospects. Diaz has notable power, and he’s been able to consistently find holes as well. His power has resulted in doubles thus far, but his exit velocities indicate that there is plenty here to like, and Diaz is a very capable defender behind the plate. The Astros made a smart pickup here. Season line: .317/.357/.469, 243 AB, 5 HR, 15/42 BB/K.
Ezequiel Duran, 2B/SS, Yankees-Rangers – Duran was a $10,000 signee from the Dominican in a big Yankees international class, but he immediately drew rave reviews due to his ability to generate power from his small frame. Duran has grown since signing to 5’11” and filled out to 185-190 pounds, but the power he generates is still deceptive as he can produce double-plus power from his bat. Arguably the top overall prospect in the trade that sent Joey Gallo to New York, Duran will hope to continue his journey toward the major leagues in the Rangers system. He’s likely a future second baseman defensively or left fielder. The bat should play, though, and he should end up in the upper minors to end this season or to open 2022. Season line: .290/.371/.528, 269 AB, 12 HR, 13 SB, 28/75 BB/K.
Matt Dyer, C/1B/3B/OF, Mets-Rays – The Mets drafted Dyer last summer in the fourth round out of Arizona. Dyer’s ability to play all over the field was an attraction for multiple teams interested in him. He has played corners and catcher this season, but in college, he worked at second base as well. The defensive flexibility is nice, but his primary position is behind the plate, and his defense behind the dish is above-average due to his athleticism. The swing has hitches that need work, but there’s legit power there, and if he can work through the overall swing issues, there could be a future super-utility role in Dyer’s future, which is why the Rays likely were interested in him as part of the Rich Hill return. Season line: .197/.326/.423, 142 AB, 7 HR, 7 SB, 25/54 BB/K.
Samuel Escudero, C, Brewers-Pirates – The Brewers signed Escudero out of Venezuela this past January. There’s little information out there about Escudero beyond that he has a strong bat profile. At just 17, the Pirates are banking on the upside of the youth of Escudero after picking him up in late June. Season line: .120/.207/.120, 25 AB, 3/6 BB/K.
Anderson Espinoza, RHP, Padres-Cubs – The path of Espinoza is quite incredible. The righty was traded to the Padres at one point as a top-10 prospect in all of baseball with one of the most incredible arms a teen pitcher had ever displayed. Since, Espinoza has had two Tommy John surgeries and missed time due to COVID. He’s not the same pitcher he was before, working 92-95, topping out at 97 when he used to sit 96-98, touching 101. His curve flashes plus now and is consistently above-average rather than the double-plus curve he once showed, and his change has still not returned. Espinoza is likely headed down the road to relief after his time off and the wear on his arm, which is a shame after the promise he once showed, but to recover a big league relief career would be impressive all the same. Season line: 28 2/3 IP, 5.02 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 13/37 BB/K.
Deivi Estrada, OF, Braves-Diamondbacks – Desperately needing bullpen help, the Braves traded Estrada to the Diamondbacks for Yoan Lopez in May. Estrada is one of the few players left from the 2017 international class that was predominantly ripped away from the Braves due to the actions of John Coppolella. Estrada is a small-frame outfielder that really isn’t great in center field, and he’s struggled to show the same contact ability that would allow him to be useful in a corner without notable power ability. He’s a flyer type that is a long-shot to make it. Season line: .111/.200/.222, 9 AB, 1/5 BB/K.
Calvin Faucher, RHP, Twins-Rays – Included with Nelson Cruz in the deal between the Twins and Rays, Faucher headed to the Rays as a reliever that leans heavily on his fastball. He reaches the mid-90s with his fastball and can manipulate it to sink, rise, and cut. His secondary stuff is below-average, but the Rays have worked with similar guys to develop a quality reliever in the past, so keep an eye on Faucher’s development. Season line: 35 1/3 IP, 6.11 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 24/46 BB/K.
Bowden Francis, RHP, Brewers-Blue Jays – Francis was drafted in the 7th round out of Chipola Junior College in Florida. He’s got a collection of average to above-average pitches and fringe-plus command that allows him to play up all of his pitches. Francis is near the majors at this point and isn’t likely going to see a lot of improvement in his repertoire, but what he is could work in the back of Toronto’s rotation. Season line: 87 1/3 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 30/88 BB/K.
Grant Gambrell, RHP, Royals-Red Sox – The Royals snagged Gambrell in the third round out of Oregon State in the 2019 draft, and he’s shown a plus fastball along with a plus breaking pitch. He struggles with consistency in his changeup and control/command that likely has him destined for the bullpen in the end. The Royals traded Gambrell to the Red Sox for cash in June and he’s spent the entire season thus far as a starter, though he’s averaging just more than four innings per start. Season line: 52 1/3 IP, 5.50 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 19/52 BB/K.
Josh Gessner, RHP, Phillies-Rangers – The Phillies signed Aussie Gessner in June of 2019, and he barely got his feet wet in the complex league in his pro debut before losing the 2020 season. Returning to the complex level in 2021, Gessner has shown an impressive bowling ball mid-90s sinker that he pairs with an above-average slider to keep hitters off base and rack up plenty of ground balls when he’s not tallying strikeouts. He reportedly has a change that he’s not used much, if at all, this year, but he will need to have a third pitch to have a future as a starter going forward. He would certainly fit a reliever mold if a third pitch doesn’t materialize. Season line: 7 2/3 IP, 1.17 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 3/14 BB/K.
Kevin Gowdy, RHP, Phillies-Rangers – Gowdy was a big-time prospect coming out of the draft in 2016, but he’s struggled to get on the mound between Tommy John surgery and other injuries. Gowdy’s fastball potential hasn’t materialized due to those injuries, with his heater now sitting in the low-90s, touching 95. Gowdy’s part of the package the Rangers received when trading Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy to Philadelphia, and the Rangers will hope to help Gowdy reach the potential he showed before he was drafted. Season line: 61 IP, 4.43 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 15/63 BB/K.
Richard Guasch, RHP, A’s-Nationals – Guasch was signed by the A’s out of Cuba in 2018 with a big fastball, but that’s really all he has developed at this time, featuring a fastball that works up to 96-97 that he pairs with an average slider. Gausch has primarily been starting this year, but his future is in the bullpen and he could move quickly in that role in the Nationals system. Season line: 54 IP, 4.67 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 29/68 BB/K.
Abrahan Gutierrez, C, Phillies-Pirates – The Braves signed Gutierrez to the highest bonus ever paid to a Latin catcher at the time, but he was removed from the Braves due to issues by John Coppolella. The Phillies signed him after he was removed by MLB from Atlanta, and he’s generally performed well with the bat, but his glovework behind the plate has received less glowing reviews. The Pirates were definitely interested, though, as they included Gutierrez in the failed Tyler Anderson deal before swinging another deal to acquire the young backstop. He’s likely still in A-ball through the 2021 season and to open 2022, but once he gets his first taste of upper minors, he could move quickly as a bat-first backup catcher. Season line: .288/.420/.429, 177 AB, 5 HR, 37/31 BB/K.
Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B, Royals-Orioles – After being a top Nationals prospect for a number of years, Gutierrez was traded to the Nationals as part of the deal for Kelvin Herrera. He worked his way to the majors and was handed the third base job due to injury early in the 2021 season, but he struggled mightily with the job. The Orioles acquired him for cash, and he’s bounced between Triple-A and the big league club. Gutierrez is a capable defender at the hot corner, but he has subpar plate discipline that keeps him from tapping into his average power at the plate. Season line: (MLB) .209/.256/.278, 158 AB, 1 HR, 8/40 BB/K; (minors) .275/.296/.391, 69 AB, 2/15 BB/K.
Darlin Guzman, OF, Reds-Blue Jays – The Reds signed Guzman out of the Dominican in 2017 and saw him spend two seasons at the Dominican Summer League, hitting very well in 2019. After just two games in Arizona this summer, the Reds traded him to Toronto for cash. A lefty hitter, Guzman has plenty of filling out to do into his 6’1″ frame, but he can flash above-average power. He also has an above-average arm, though his accuracy is inconsistent. His frame and present power give plenty to dream on as he develops. Season line: .267/.290/.433, 30 AB, 1 HR, 1/8 BB/K.
Payton Henry, C, Brewers-Marlins – The Brewers drafted Henry out of high school in the sixth round in 2016 and have seen him slowly develop both behind the plate and at the plate. Henry has never really translated his plus raw power into game action, but he has worked on pitch recognition. Henry will battle with the Marlins’ other new catching acquisitions for potential playing times, but he’ll get a chance to show his abilities behind the plate this season. Season line: .297/.372/.390, 172 AB, 2 HR, 16/49 BB/K.
Bailey Horn, LHP, White Sox-Cubs – The shipped reliever Ryan Tepera across town in exchange for lefty Horn from the Sox. The Pale Hose drafted Horn in the fifth round of the 2020 draft out of Auburn. Horn works into the mid-90s with an average slider and change. The slider flashes much better and could play up as a reliever, though Horn has been utilized as a starter this year so far. He could move quickly for the Cubs once moved to the bullpen. Season line: 38 1/3 IP, 5.63 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 18/45 BB/K.
Spencer Howard, RHP, Phillies-Rangers – The Phillies drafted Howard in the second round of the 2017 draft and saw him become one of the top pitching prospects in the entire game before making his MLB debut last season. His raw stuff is elite, but Howard has struggled to hold that stuff in games as a starter, seeing velocity drops after a couple of innings this year, something he hadn’t experienced previously. While that brings him to the Rangers with some concern about a potential future as a reliever, if he moves to that role, he could be an incredibly elite one. Season line: (MLB) 28 1/3 IP, 5.72 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 17/31 BB/K; (minors) 21 2/3 IP, 1.25 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 9/28 BB/K.
Cooper Hummel, OF/C/1B, Brewers-Diamondbacks – The Brewers snagged Eduardo Escobar and Hummel was the part of the prospect return that is nearest to the majors. Hummel has above-average power and is defensively flexible, with the ability to pass behind the plate and work at both outfield corners and first base. He’s likely a bench piece and not a starter, but Hummel could be a quality utility guy off the bench for Arizona. Season line: .267/.435/.548, 135 AB, 7 HR, 41/27 BB/K.
Alex Jackson, C, Braves-Marlins – Originally drafted by the Mariners sixth overall out of high school, Jackson was immediately moved to the outfield, but he never became comfortable in the grass. After the Braves acquired him, they put him back behind the plate, and he’s worked hard to become a quality defender behind the plate. His offensive skills are definitely led by plus power. He doesn’t have a strong hit tool, but he can be streaky and go on runs where he drives everything for an extended time. Season line: (MLB) .043/.214/.258, 2/13 BB/K; (minors) .287/.366/.694, 108 AB, 11 HR, 11/35 BB/K.
Tyler Jones, RHP, Marlins-Diamondbacks – The Marlins grabbed Jones out of Wichita State in the 26th round in 2018. He is fastball-dominant with a heavy fastball that runs into the mid-90s. He returned from the pandemic season with some added action on his breaking pitch, but he’s struggling to find consistency with the pitch. Jones is in the upper minors with Arizona now and if he can learn to control his better stuff, he could work into an MLB bullpen. Season line: 12 2/3 IP, 4.26 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 5/14 BB/K.
Janson Junk, RHP, Yankees-Angels – Junk has gone from a 22nd round selection in 2017 to one of the minor league leaders in ERA throughout the 2021 season. Junk rebuilt his slider this year to complement a fastball that sits 91-93 and reaches 95-96. He has a below-average changeup, but he is aggressive with hitters, allowing him success to this point. The upper minors will likely force him to either add another pitch or move to the bullpen, but he could work in middle relief if he ends up out of the rotation. Season line: 65 2/3 IP, 1.78 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 20/68 BB/K.
Kasey Kalich, RHP, Braves-Royals – Kalich was a fourth-round pick by the Braves out of Texas A&M in 2019. The Braves swapped him to the Royals for Jorge Soler. He was up to 98 in his draft year and is consistently in the mid-90s. He’s got a breaking pitch that can flash plus but is very inconsistent, leading to some notable control issues. Season line: 30 1/3 IP, 3.26 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 5 SV, 17/35 BB/K.
Nathan Kirby, LHP, Brewers-Pirates – Kirby was selected out of Virginia with some level of pedigree, but Tommy John and a slew of injuries have sapped the strength out of his fastball, leaving him as a guy who lives off his plus curve from the left side. He struggles to consistently top 93, even out of the bullpen, which makes a future relief role a tough call without significantly improved control. Season line: 23 1/3 IP, 3.09 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 19/27 BB/K.
Kevin Kramer, IF, Pirates-Brewers – Originally drafted by the Pirates in the second round out of UCLA in 2015, Kramer simply hasn’t developed in the way that the Pirates expected. He reached Triple-A with ease, but he’s not been able to translate his minor league success to the major leagues. Kramer doesn’t offer any particular skill above-average, but he does a lot of things at an average level, and he can defensively handle second, third, short, and all three outfield positions, so he can be a flexible bench piece potentially for the Brewers after Milwaukee acquired Kramer for cash. Season time: .205/.332/.306, 219 AB, 3 HR, 33/68 BB/K.
Joe Kuzia, RHP, Rangers-Twins – Kuzia was signed by the Rangers in 2017 as an undrafted free agent. He’s got excellent size to dream on at 6’5″ and 200 pounds, but he’s already 27 years old. The Twins traded cash for Kuzia in July, but he’s struggled to control his raw stuff this season in the upper minors. Without a double-plus pitch, Kuzia has to have at least average control to work as a big-league reliever, and he’s not shown that this year. Season line: 11 IP, 11.45 ERA, 2.45 WHIP.
Matt Lipka, OF, Diamondbacks-Brewers – Originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round in 2010, Lipka has bounced around the minors ever since, with Arizona signing him as a minor league free agent before the season and trading him to the Brewers at the end of June for cash. Lipka’s able to handle all three outfield spots defensively, but his bat simply doesn’t offer enough oomph and he’s lost what top-end speed he once possessed to potentially work as a fourth outfielder. He’s likely holding on for a chance at a big-league cup of coffee at this point. Season line: .296/.372/.457, 199 AB, 5 HR, 14 SB, 21/60 BB/K.
Tucupita Marcano, IF/OF, Padres-Pirates – Marcano is named after his hometown in Venezuela and had no experience above Low-A ball before 2021, but he was on the Opening Day roster for the Padres due to his defensive flexibility and plate discipline. He doesn’t really do a lot for fantasy players, as he won’t hit for a lot of home runs or steal many bases offensively, but he’s a guy that should offer contact and on-base skills that will allow him to offer value as a utility player. As the most well-known player in the trade for Adam Frazier, I could see Marcano actually being a fairly comparable player to Frazier in his peak value for the Pirates. Season line: (MLB) .182/.280/.205, 44 AB, 6/9 BB/K; (minors) .260/.357/.420, 181 AB, 6 HR, 4 SB, 29/27 BB/K.
Jose Marte, RHP, Giants-Angels – The Giants signed Marte in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic, but coming into this season, the 25-year-old had never pitched above A-ball. Marte has an elite fastball in velocity, topping 100 on radar guns this summer, but it’s a straight fastball, and he really doesn’t have a strong secondary option or even fringe-average control. If he could work on his breaking pitch to get it to an above-average pitch or even develop consistent average control of what he currently offers, that fastball would play up significantly better and he could have a big-league future. As it sits, he’s a bullpen flyer simply due to the velocity. Season line: 30 IP, 2.70 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 4 SV, 15/52 BB/K.
Wyatt Mathisen, 1B/3B, Diamondbacks-Rays-Mariners – Mathisen has had a long road to the majors, and he’s had a busy 2021. He was originally drafted in 2012 by the Pirates in the second round out of high school in Texas. The Diamondbacks signed him as a minor league free agent in 2018 and he worked his way up to the major league club to make his debut last season and got some big league run this year as well for Arizona. He’s then been traded for cash twice, once to the Rays and most recently to the Mariners in late June. Season line: (MLB) .119/.255/.190, 42 AB, 1 HR, 5/21 BB/K; (minors) .213/.340/.385, 122 AB, 5 HR, 19/33 BB/K.
Andrew McInvale, RHP, Blue Jays-Marlins – The Blue Jays made a move in late June to jump the trade market and pick up an injured outfielder in Corey Dickerson along with a reliever in Adam Cimber. McInvale was part of the return to Miami. After being a 37th round draft pick out of Liberty in 2019, McInvale has already worked his way up to the upper minors as a bullpen piece. He’s focused on a fastball/slider combo, and it’s working for him. He has a curve and change, but control will keep him in the bullpen, so picking out his top two pitches and focusing on them is probably a wise move to punch his ticket to the Marlins bullpen in 2022, potentially. Season line: 34 1/3 IP, 3.67 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 23/47 BB/K.
Andres Mesa, IF, Mariners-Rangers – The Mariners signed Mesa out of the Dominican in 2019 for $500,000 with reports about his impressive athleticism and plus arm. He had some questions about his instincts at short, but scouts felt he could still work up the middle due to his athletic ability. With the strong pre-signing profile Mesa had, it was surprising to see him sold for cash to the Rangers this June. He’s played around the infield in the Dominican Summer League so far for the Rangers affiliate and while he’s raw, he’s definitely flashing tools. He’s one to keep an eye on. Season line: .220/.333/.360, 50 AB, 1 HR, 6 SB, 8/19 BB/K.
Michell Miliano, RHP, Padres-Pirates – When he was signed out of the Dominican by the Padres, Miliano had a great frame to dream on with arm speed that one could imagine would eventually work to upper-90s heat. Instead, he’s still working primarily in the 92-94, touching 95-96. His curve flashes plus, but he struggles with consistency in his release point, especially on his curve. Dan Szymborski mentioned a name I’ve heard in relation to Miliano to him in Dellin Betances. The Pirates would love to see Miliano have his fastball/curve combo come together in that way for at least a time. Season line: 31 IP, 3.48 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 26/59 BB/K.
Drew Millas, C, A’s-Nationals – The Athletics drafted Millas out of Missouri State in the 2019 draft in the seventh round. He came to the Nationals as part the trade package for Josh Harrison and Yan Gomes. Millas was one of a trio of catching prospects that the Nationals acquired, and he’s probably the farthest away of the three. He made his pro debut at High-A Lansing, and he showed excellent plate discipline this year from both sides of the plate. Millas is more revered for his high-end defensive skills behind the plate and has the profile of an excellent backup option behind the plate. Season line: .255/.372/.359, 220 AB, 3 HR, 10 SB, 41/39 BB/K.
Troy Miller, RHP, Blue Jays-Mets – Miller was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan by the Blue Jays, and he’s handled innings well for the Jays in his time with the organization before his trade to the Mets in exchange for reliever Jacob Barnes. Miller offers a collection of average to below-average offerings and a big frame that allows his fastball to achieve excellent plane. He’s out with an injury now, and how he comes back will likely determine his future path as he’s already 24 and struggled at Double-A in his first go-round at the level as a starter. Season line: 45 IP, 5.00 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 17/44 BB/K.
Sam Moll, LHP, Diamondbacks-A’s – Moll has been a bit of a minor league journeyman since he was drafted by the Rockies in the third round in 2013, but if he wants to get major league time, getting with Oakland is a good thing. Moll made his major league debut in a previous go-round with the club in 2017, and he’s not made it back to MLB since until the A’s acquired him for cash on July 2. Moll uses a mid-90s sinker from the left side and pairs that with a slider that he runs 82-85. He uses that combo as a lefty specialist, though that role has been lessened with the three-batter minimum rule. Season line: (MLB) 2 2/3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 3/2 BB/K; (minors) 23 1/3 IP, 5.40 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 15/31 BB/K.
Tyler Neslony, OF, Braves-White Sox – Neslony has teased in the Braves system since being drafted in 2016 in the ninth round. He has a smooth lefty swing that should produce average and power, but he’s struggled to be consistent with the bat, and his defense really is best served at DH. The Braves faced a minor league roster crunch and traded Neslony to the White Sox for cash. His bat will have to carry him, but the White Sox have had success recently with similar profile guys. Season line: .278/.375/.474, 97 AB, 3 HR, 13/36 BB/K.
Braeden Ogle, LHP, Pirates-Phillies – Ogle was a fourth-round pick of the Pirates out of high school and after multiple injuries, he made the full-time move to the bullpen in 2019. He worked with a training center during the pandemic year and saw a velocity spike. He now can consistently work in the mid-90s and touch higher with an average slider. He could work as a middle reliever from the left side and has already worked in the upper minors, which means he’s likely close to the big leagues for the Phillies. Season line: 31 2/3 IP, 3.13 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 23/42 BB/K.
Reese Olson, RHP, Brewers-Tigers – Olson was originally a 13th round pick of the Brewers in 2018 out of high school in Georgia. He’s worked over the pandemic year to see his velocity tick up to mid-90s consistent velocity along with a trio of above-average to plus secondary options. The raw stuff is definitely something that would get Olson ranked highly, but his delivery really is tough to trust as a starter, which will likely keep him as a relief prospect unless the Tigers can do some work with him. Season line: 69 IP, 4.30 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 35/79 BB/K.
Glenn Otto, RHP, Yankees-Rangers – Featured on July 25. Season line: 80 2/3 IP, 3.35 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 20/120 BB/K.
Daniel Palencia, RHP, A’s-Cubs – Palencia was a “late” signee, inking his first contract at 20 years old out of Venezuela. He made his pro debut this year, and to say he’s left those watching him drooling is putting it lightly. Palencia pumps upper-90s velocity with a plus curve and has shown a change with at least average potential. How the Cubs will continue his development will be interesting to watch as the fastball/curve combo could allow Palencia to move to the majors quickly as a reliever. Season line: 14 1/3 IP, 6.91 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 6/14 BB/K.
Elvis Peguero, RHP, Yankees-Angels – Peguero saw some big velocity gains in 2019 before the pandemic year, and now he’s pumping even harder, reaching upper-90s and seeing triple digits on some guns. He has a viable breaking pitch that is inconsistent now but has some definite upside. He’s definitely a reliever with long arms and legs that could lead to control inconsistency, but he could be an intriguing one to watch now as he moves from the Yankees to the Angels system. Season line: 44 1/3 IP, 2.23 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 2 SV, 16/57 BB/K.
Konnor Pilkington, LHP, White Sox-Indians – The White Sox drafted the Mississippi State lefty in the third round of the 2018 draft and he was working at Double-A before going to Cleveland as the return for Cesar Hernandez. While Pilkington doesn’t do much with a fastball, he has seen his secondaries all tick up to plus. With a low-90s fastball, he’s more likely a backend starter, but Cleveland has had success with similar profiles, so this could be a good return. Season line: 62 IP, 3.48 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 21/71 BB/K.
Lorenzo Quintana, C/1B, Astros-Marlins – Quintana was signed by the Astros in October of 2017 out of Cuba. He’s worked up the minor league system quickly, with his advanced history in Serie Nacional allowing him to transition well. While he’s technically a catcher, Quintana’s best skill is with his bat, and not really for power. He could definitely play to a local crowd in Miami, but at 32, Quintana doesn’t likely have a lot of time left to make that sort of impact, so having his contract purchased by the Marlins gives him a chance. Season line: .295/.357/.385, 200 AB, 1 HR, 15/41 BB/K.
Pedro Quintana, LHP, Mets-Brewers – The Brewers acquired Quintana from the Mets when they sent Billy McKinney to New York in May. He has an impressive curve and changeup, but the Brewers will be hoping to develop his fastball as he ages in their system in order to become a future elite pitching prospect. Season line: Has not played.
Aldo Ramirez, RHP, Red Sox-Nationals – The Red Sox signed Ramirez out of Mexico, and he’s impressing in his first season in full-season ball. He doesn’t have a big fastball, working in the low-90s, but he has an impressive collection of secondary pitches with an innate feel for pitching that could allow him to work as a potential backend starter, especially if the Nationals work Ramirez with a velocity program. Season line: 31 IP, 2.03 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 8/32 BB/K.
Carlos Rincon, OF, Dodgers-Mets – The Mets traded away a promising young arm to acquire Billy McKinney from the Brewers and acquired Carlos Rincon from the Dodgers for McKinney roughly a week ago. Rincon had spent six years, including the pandemic year, in the Dodgers system, always showing impressive raw power, but also striking out at a high rate as well. The Mets will hope to hone that impressive power going forward. Season line: .266/.340/.491, 271 AB, 15 HR, 27/79 BB/K.
Keibert Ruiz, C, Dodgers-Nationals – Considered an elite prospect for many years coming up in the Dodgers system, Ruiz has had tremendous raw tools behind the plate as well as impressive ability with the bat. He’s just had a smattering of MLB at-bats so far, but shown impressive raw power, and he’s been able to show excellent plate discipline in Triple-A this season. Ruiz should get a shot by the end of the season for Washington at the big league level with a definite chance to take over the job in 2022. Season line: (MLB) .143/.143/.571, 7 AB, 1 HR, 0/5 BB/K; (minors) .311/.381/.631, 206 AB, 16 HR, 23/27 BB/K.
Joe Ryan, RHP, Rays-Twins – Ryan was a seventh-round selection in 2018 and he’s moved up quickly in the Rays system while turning plenty of heads. Ryan has tallied plenty of strikeouts the last few years using his impressive fastball that can reach mid-90s with plenty of movement. Ryan uses the fastball an excessive amount, frankly, but it works for him now. He has a solid array of secondary pitches with three average or better secondary options, but he rarely uses them. The Twins will hope to work with those secondary pitches as a final finishing task before Ryan is ready for his ascent to the big leagues after he was part of the return for Nelson Cruz. Season line: 57 IP, 3.63 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 10/75 BB/K.
Aldenis Sanchez, OF, Rays-Yankees – The Rays signed the speedy Sanchez out of the Dominican in 2016. He’s been in short-season ball every season of his career to this point, even starting the 2021 season on the complex, but since he was acquired by the Yankees on July 1, he already moved up to Low-A. He could impress if he continues with this progress. Season line: .391/.451/.516, 64 AB, 8 SB, 5/10 BB/K.
Alex Scherff, RHP, Red Sox-Twins – Drafted out of high school by the Red Sox in 2017, Scherff was known for big stuff but major control concerns. His impressive upper-90s fastball has played up as the Red Sox moved him to the bullpen full-time this season. Working with his sharp change, Scherff has found plenty of success and even better control in the bullpen, and the Twins moved him up to Double-A. He has a good chance to appear in Minnesota’s bullpen by the end of the 2022 season. Season line: 29 1/3 IP, 2.45 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 4 SV, 13/46 BB/K.
Seth Shuman, RHP, A’s-Nationals – The A’s got Shuman out of Georgia Southern in the sixth round in the 2019 draft. Shuman is a mix of average and fringe-average pitches that he keeps around the zone and is able to attack hitters in A-ball at this point. How that will play as he moves to the upper minors for the Nationals remains to be seen, but he’s surprised me against impressive competition this year, so a potential swingman/backend rotation future isn’t beyond possibility the way he’s worked this year. Season line: 56 IP, 2.25 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 15/62 BB/K.
Evan Sisk, LHP, Cardinals-Twins – Drafted by the Cardinals in the 16th round out of the College of Charleston, Sisk has ascended quickly in St. Louis’ system. He works with a low-90s sinker and a cutter/slider hybrid that works in the mid-80s. He is likely a middle relief arm at best, but being left-handed with a serviceable breaking ball gives him a chance to work in a bullpen. Season line: 34 2/3 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 4 SV, 21/47 BB/K.
Justin Sterner, RHP, Marlins-Rays – Signed as an undrafted free agent last summer, Sterner worked up the Marlins’ A-ball levels this summer. The Marlins traded Sterner for David Hess on July 3, and he’s already worked his way to Double-A. Sterner has a relief profile with a mid-90s fastball and an average breaking ball. If he can find another tick of velocity or improve his breaker, he could find himself with a sure role in a major league bullpen for Tampa Bay, but as currently constructed, he’s likely an up-and-down relief type. Season line: 33 1/3 IP, 4.05 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 3 SV, 14/50 BB/K.
Troy Stokes Jr. OF, Pirates-Brewers – The Brewers originally drafted Stokes in the fourth round in 2014, and he was part of the Brewers system until September 2019, when the Tigers claimed him on waivers. The Pirates claimed him on waivers from Detroit in January 2021 and he made his major league debut for the club. The Brewers re-acquired Stokes in late June. He has an impressive collection of raw tools, but a below-average hit tool and a below-average arm on defense leave Stokes with a tough profile to place in the major leagues. He’s a hard worker and a good clubhouse guy, so he will get chances with a number of teams until he’s ready to be done if he doesn’t get another shot in the majors and stick. Season line: (MLB) .111/.200/.167, 18 AB, 1/5 BB/K; (minors) .175/.293/.336, 143 AB, 4 HR, 5 SB, 20/39 BB/K.
Drew Strotman, RHP, Rays-Twins – After Tommy John surgery, Strotman only made a few starts in A-ball before the 2019 season was over. After the pandemic season, Strotman was moved to Triple-A, where he’s shown his velocity is back, and then some, and he’s also had an impressive return from his secondary pitches. Strotman’s control is what will determine his ability to remain in the rotation or move to the bullpen, and that will likely keep him in the minors for the remainder of 2021 and potentially for the beginning of 2022 after a big level jump this season. Season line: 62 2/3 IP, 3.73 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 35/63 BB/K.
Domingo Tapia, RHP, Mariners-Royals – Originally part of the Mets system, Tapia is now on his fifth organization. Tapia has a big fastball, but his slider and change are more average pitches, so his fastball doesn’t play up well. The Royals acquired Tapia from the Mariners for cash, and his triple-digit fastball is working to establish in the Kansas City system. Season line: (MLB) 6 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 3/6 BB/K; (minors)
Joaquin Tejada, RHP, Mariners-Pirates – The Mariners originally signed Tejada for $200,000 out of Panama in 2019. He works his fastball in the low-90s with a pair of breaking balls that grade above-average and flash even better. Tejada has already seen his fastball move forward multiple ticks, so he very well could see more development as he climbs the Pirates system. Season line: 8 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 5/10 BB/K.
Mason Thompson, RHP, Padres-Nationals – Towering (6’7″) Thompson was drafted by the Padres in the third round in 2016 by the Padres out of high school in Texas. He has struggled with control along the way, which isn’t surprising with a guy of his length, but moving to the bullpen full-time in 2021 allowed Thompson to take a big step forward in control. Thompson is fairly fastball dominant with a power sinker that works up to triple digits and a wicked sinking change. Thompson has a slider and curve that both flash above-average, but his impressive sinker won’t require either to be elite in order to be an effective reliever with his angle on his high-velocity sinker. Season line: (MLB) 3 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 1/2 BB/K; (minors) 26 2/3 IP, 5.74 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7 SV, 8/24 BB/K.
Will Toffey, 1B/3B, Mets-Giants – Toffey was originally drafted by Oakland out of Vanderbilt in 2017. He was traded to the Mets in 2018 and the Mets swapped him for Anthony Banda in July. Toffey has been a guy with an average hit tool and above-average raw power, but the raw power has never materialized for Toffey. He’s restricted to corner infield defensively, so his lack of power really limits his future potential to organizational depth. Season line: .209/.331/.388, 139 AB, 7 HR, 6 SB, 21/67 BB/K.
Freddy Valdez, OF, Mets-Red Sox – The Mets signed Valdez from the Dominican in 2018, and he’s an incredibly large human, checking in at 6’3″ and 250+ pounds. He is still able to get around the outfield well for his size, but he’s a below-average defender. Valdez has plus raw power, but his contact tool is very inconsistent as he often gets pull-happy and loses focus on quality contact. The Red Sox purchased Valdez from the Mets this year and he’s opened up in the Red Sox Florida complex. Season line: .239/.357/.370, 46 AB, 8/12 BB/K.
Alexander Vizcaino, RHP, Yankees-Cubs – Vizcaino has been in the Yankees system for some time now, signing as an unheralded $14,000 Latin signee in 2016 at almost 19 years old. He missed much of the early part of the season due to a shoulder injury, and he’s struggled with his control now that he’s back. His velocity has returned, however, posting triple-digit numbers on the radar gun and his change is a definite plus offering. If the Cubs move Vizcaino to the bullpen permanently, he could be a strong relief option in the pen by the 2022 season. Season line: 6 IP, 7.50 ERA, 2.67 WHIP, 10/7 BB/K.
Case Williams, RHP, Reds-Rockies – The Rockies just can’t seem to make their mind up about Williams. They drafted the righty from high school in Colorado in the 4th round of the 2020 draft and paid him overslot, but then traded him in November as part of a package to bring back former top prospect Robert Stephenson. Now Colorado made Williams a part of the package they acquired when sending reliever Mychal Givens to Cincinnati. He’s a guy who has impressive analytical numbers on his pitches, playing up his low-90s fastball and curve. He’s got work to do, but the base is there to build upon, and he’s a home state kid for the Rockies. Season line: 47 IP, 5.55 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 33/34 BB/K.
Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP, Blue Jays-Twins – The Mets originally drafted Woods Richardson out of high school in the 2018 draft before trading him to Toronto as part of the Marcus Stroman deal. The Jays made him part of the package for another prominent arm at the deadline, including him in the package to land Jose Berrios from Minnesota. Woods Richardson is 20 and pitching in Double-A in 2021, which gives some room for his performance thus far at the level. At his best, he features a mid-90s two-seam and four-seam fastball that are distinct pitches. He gets unique movement on his curve, though not so much with his slider, likely due to his high arm slot. It’s a profile for a mid-rotation arm that could benefit from the Twins tutelage and even improve on an already impressive prospect resume. Season line: 45 1/3 IP, 5.76 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 26/67 BB/K.