Top Prospect Promotions Rumors

Marlins To Promote Christian Yelich, Jake Marisnick

The Marlins have announced that they will select the contracts of top outfield prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick tomorrow and demote Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna to Double-A Jacksonville. Yelich

The 21-year-old Yelich (pictured) ranked as the No. 6 prospect in baseball according to ESPN's Keith Law prior to the season, though he dropped to 12th on the midseason edition of his Top 50. Baseball America ranked him 12th on their own midseason Top 50, and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranks him 10th. Yelich was drafted 23rd overall in the 2010 draft out of Westlake High School in California. In 60 games across three levels this season, Yelich has hit .274/.358/.504 with nine home runs, splitting his time between center field and left field. In his pre-season report, Law wrote that Yelich possesses one of the prettiest swings in the minors and has the range to play center, but his throwing motion makes him better-suited for left field.

Marisnick, 22, came to the Marlins as part of this offseason's blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays. He ranked as BA's No. 64 prospect prior to the season, with Mayo ranking him 70th and Law ranking him 82nd. His strong season thus far propelled him to No. 39 on Law's midseason Top 50. In 296 plate appearances for Jacksonville, Marisnick is batting .295/.357/.504 — an oddly similar batting line to that of his teammate Yelich. BA wrote that while there are questions about Marisnick's ability to make contact due to a large frame and sometimes long swing, he has the speed, plus power and above-average defense to project as a five-tool center fielder.

Because we are now well into July, both players should be clear of the Super Two cutoff, meaning they will only be eligible for arbitration three times if they are with the big league club to stay. Should that be the case, both will be controlled through the 2019 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Astros To Promote Jarred Cosart

The Astros will promote top prospect Jarred Cosart to start against the Rays on Friday, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports. The righty will replace Lucas Harrell in the Astros' rotation. If Cosart sticks in the big leagues, he'll be eligible for arbitration after the 2016 season, and eligible for free agency after 2019.

Before the season, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked Cosart the No. 73 prospect in baseball, praising his 96-97 MPH velocity. ESPN's Keith Law (Insider-only) ranked Cosart No. 86, noting that he has great stuff and indicating that he could one day be a good closer if he doesn't make it as a starter. Baseball America's Prospect Handbook listed Cosart as the Astros' No. 7 prospect, arguing that improved command of his curveball would help him generate more strikeouts.

Cosart has pitched 93 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, posting a 3.29 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9. The Astros acquired him from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade in 2011.


Twins Promote Kyle Gibson

The Twins have announced, via Twitter, they will promote top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson on Tuesday and he will make his MLB debut Saturday. The Twins have optioned left-hander Pedro Hernandez to clear a 25-man roster spot for Gibson.

Gibson, the 22nd overall selection in the 2009 draft, was ranked as the 41st-best prospect in the game by ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required), 45th by MLB.com, and 68th by Baseball America. Gibson underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 and didn't pitch again until the fall of 2012; but, Law writes "he is back to 92-94 with his four-seamer, and he works down in the zone to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible. His best pitch is a hard slider that he uses to wipe out right-handed hitters but also used in changeup counts against lefties." Baseball America lauds Gibson's changeup as a plus pitch with sink while MLB.com says Gibson's slider "gives him a third above-average offering." The 25-year-old has been solid in Triple-A this year posting a 3.01 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and 55% groundball rate in 92 2/3 innings covering 15 starts.

Gibson will accrue 97 days of service time, if he remains with the Twins for the rest of the season, and will most likely not be eligible for Super Two status based on the current projection. The Twins will control Gibson through the 2019 season.



Quick Hits: Manny, Hanrahan, Top Prospects, Teixeira

Manny Ramirez is batting .352 for the Taiwanese EDR Rhinos and ranks second in the league with eight home runs. While that might not be enough for MLB teams to show interest in the controversial slugger, he's drawing interest from Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines, according to a Sponichi report (Japanese link). Marines Manager Tsutomu Ito said he'd like to "make an acquisition when the team is strong, as MLB teams do," and that he's looking to give the DH spot to a power hitter. While it seems that Manny will continue to "be Manny" overseas for the time being, here's more from around Major League Baseball…

  • Joel Hanrahan regrets how his brief Red Sox tenure played out and wishes he could've shown more to the fans, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford notes that it's impossible to predict where Hanrahan will end up in free agency this winter, but the two-time All-Star isn't ruling out a return to Boston. Hanrahan told Bradford he "has a lot of things left to prove in Boston."
  • ESPN's Keith Law examines the recent rash of top prospect promotions, offering his expectations for recent call-ups Wil Myers, Gerrit Cole, Mike Zunino and Zack Wheeler (ESPN Insider required).
  • In light of Mark Teixeira re-injuring his wrist, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post questions the Yankees' decision to activate him from the disabled list in the first place. Davidoff points out that the World Baseball Classic paid for the $7.38MM that Teixeira earned while on the DL because he was injured preparing for the tournament. Now that he's been with the Yankees, the team will be on the hook for his remaining $15.12MM of salary even if he misses the remainder of the season.

Thanks to MLBTR contributor Aaron Steen for his assistance with the Japanese report.


Mets To Promote Zack Wheeler

Zack Wheeler was in uniform, wearing No. 45, as he addressed the media today to discuss his upcoming Major League debut. The Mets have announced that the 23-year-old Wheeler will make his debut in the second game of tomorrow's doubleheader.  Wheeler

ESPN's Adam Rubin was among the reporters in attendance as Wheeler discussed his expectations of himself and thoughts on the team:

"I don't think I'm the savior at all. We've got great arms here, and you've got great players. We might not be doing too well right now, but I know the talent of these guys, and hopefully we can turn it around soon."

Wheeler, drafted sixth overall by the Giants in 2009, was acquired in exchange for Carlos Beltran in what could be the best move of Sandy Alderson's tenure as GM of the Mets. Beltran's contract contained a clause that prevented him from being offered arbitration at the end of the season, so Wheeler was pillaged for 44 games of Beltran's services.

Wheeler ranked as the game's No. 11 prospect prior to this season, according to Baseball America. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranked him eighth, and in a recently updated list of Top 25 MLB prospects from ESPN's Keith Law (Insider required), Wheeler placed 15th.

The Georgia native has fared well at Triple-A, though he hasn't exactly dominated opposing hitters. In a combined 101 2/3 innings dating back to 2012, Wheeler has a 3.72 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9. Despite the somewhat pedestrian ERA, Law writes that Wheeler has top-of-the-rotation stuff, and his peers at BA and MLB.com agree.

When he is officially promoted tomorrow, Wheeler's service clock will start, meaning he would accumulate 104 days of service time over the course of the season if he sticks on the MLB roster. Much like another top prospect who is getting the call on Tuesday — Tampa Bay's Wil Myers — Wheeler seems likely to fall just shy of the projected Super Two cutoff. If that does indeed prove to be the case, he will qualify for arbitration just three times instead of four prior to being a free agent at the end of the 2019 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Rays Promote Wil Myers

The Rays have announced they will promote Wil Myers on Tuesday and he will join the team in Boston. Adam Berry of MLB.com first tweeted the news of the call up. The Rays will clear a spot on the 25-man roster by optioning Ryan Roberts to Triple-A Durham, but a corresponding 40-man roster move is not necessary since they had one opening. USATSI_7191452

Rays' Executive VP of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman told reporters, including Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link), Myers is "going to fit right in and help us win games." Friedman says Myers' recent hot streak (hitting .354 with ten home runs, and 32 RBI's in his last 32 games) "accelerated the conversation" about being promoted and what stood out to him was how well the 22-year-old has improved defensively. (Twitter links)

Myers will play regularly, mostly in right field, according to Friedman. Manager Joe Maddon concurred with his boss, as quoted by Smith, "He's going to play a lot. Of course you don't bring somebody like that up to sit around.

Myers is the consensus choice as the game's fourth-best prospect as ranked by ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required), Baseball America, and MLB.com. Law evaluates Myers as "a patient hitter who needs to work on bat control and might struggle to hit for average at first, producing via walks and power, with an eventual ceiling as a high-average, high-power player." Prior to the season, Baseball America wrote "Myers combines outstanding raw power with an advanced approach at the plate and excellent hand-eye coordination" and fits best defensively in right field. MLB.com says Myers "profiles as a run-producer in the middle of any big league lineup and he can drive the ball to all fields with the ability to leave the yard consistently."

Myers, hitting .286/.356/.520 in 289 plate appearances at Triple-A Durham after being removed prior to the third inning of the Bulls' game this afternoon, was the centerpiece of the James Shields-Wade Davis trade the Rays made with the Royals last December. The 2009 third-round draft pick will accrue 104 days of service time, if he remains with the Rays for the rest of the season, and is on the cusp of missing Super Two status based on the current projection. Nevertheless, the Rays will control Myers through the 2019 season. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Mariners Promote Mike Zunino

The No. 3 overall selection from last year's draft is on his way to the Majors. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times tweets that top prospect Mike Zunino will be on the next plane to Seattle to join the Mariners.  Zunino

Zunino, 22, ranked as the No. 17 prospect in baseball prior to this season according to Baseball America's Top 100 list. He placed 23rd on MLB.com's Top 100, and ESPN's Keith Law ranked him 18th in a recently updated edition of his Top 25 prospects (Insider required). Law notes that while Zunino has struggled, he's also the only hitter from last year's draft who has already advanced to Triple-A.

Zunino has indeed struggled, batting .238/.303/.503 with 11 homers in 47 games for Triple-A Tacoma this season. The former Florida Gator is striking out quite a bit (28.4 percent), though his average has likely been partially deflated by a .277 BABIP. It's hard to believe Zunino could be any worse than the .202/.276/.322 batting line produced by Seattle catchers thus far, but Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and the U.S.S. Mariner questions the motives behind the move, opining that Zunino hasn't earned his call-up (Twitter links).

The Mariners have waited long enough with the promotion to delay Zunino's free agency by a full season, but he could still be eligible for Super Two status, given the projected service time cutoff of two year, 119 days. If he stays in the Major Leagues for the remainder of the season, Zunino will earn 112 days of service time. With this promotion, he joins Kevin Gausman and Michael Wacha as the only first-round selections from the 2012 draft to have reached the Majors.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Pirates To Promote Gerrit Cole

The number one overall draft pick of 2011 is set to make his Major League debut next week.  Gerrit Cole will start for the Pirates Tuesday night as they host Tim Lincecum and the Giants, announced the team.  Cole had been the rumored favorite to fill in for the injured Wandy Rodriguez in that slot.  With nearly 40% of the season in the books, the Pirates are riding high at a 36-25 record, tied for second in the NL Central.  They're bidding to reach .500 for the first time since 1992, but more importantly, the Bucs are fighting for a playoff spot.

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Cole, 22, was drafted 28th overall out of high school by the Yankees in 2008.  He chose not to sign or even negotiate, and his stock had risen when the Pirates drafted him first overall out of UCLA in '11 and gave him an $8MM bonus.  Five other 2011 first-rounders have appeared in the Majors: Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, Dylan Bundy of the Orioles, Trevor Bauer of the Indians, Anthony Rendon of the Nationals, and Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Red Sox.  Fernandez, drafted 14th overall with little fanfare, has been the best so far with 67 strikeouts and a 3.17 ERA in 65 1/3 innings this year.

Cole made 12 starts at Triple-A this year, posting a 2.91 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, and 0.53 HR/9 in 68 innings.  He's allowed two runs in his last 20 1/3 innings.  Cole's overall walk rate is fairly high, mainly due to a three-start stretch in April during which he surrendered 13 free passes in 17 2/3 frames.  He also hasn't missed as many bats as you'd expect.  Prior to the season, Cole was ranked eighth (ESPN's Keith Law), seventh (Baseball America), and eighth (MLB.com) on various top 100 prospect lists.  He sits at 96-98 miles per hour with a well-regarded slider and a decent changeup. 

If he stays up from June 11th forward, Cole stands to accumulate 111 days of Major League service time this year.  We haven't yet seen a Super Two cutoff that low, though it has been suggested that 2.119 will do the trick after this season.  That number is lower than usual because more Super Two players were added in the most recent collective bargaining agreement, as it's now the top 22% of the two-to-three service class.  Bottom line: it's possible, but not likely, that Cole will be eligible for arbitration after the 2015 season if he stays up from this point forward.  Regardless, the Pirates will control this young gun through 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Dodgers To Promote Yasiel Puig

The Dodgers tweet that they will promote outfielder Yasiel Puig, also noting that they have optioned pitcher Matt Magill to Triple-A Albuquerque make room. Puig, 22, was hitting .313/.383/.599 for Double-A Chattanooga. With Matt Kemp (hamstring) on the disabled list, Puig could appear in center field, although the Dodgers can use help throughout the outfield — left fielder Carl Crawford left Saturday's game, also with a hamstring injury. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal notes (via Twitter) that the Dodgers think Puig profiles best as a right fielder, but suggests that they could use him at all three outfield spots.

Puig was the object of plenty of Spring Training hype when he batted .517/.500/.828 before being sent to the minors. He was listed at No. 47 in Baseball America's preseason list of the top 100 prospects in the game, and No. 70 on MLB.com's list. Baseball America's Prospect Handbook ranked Puig the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect (behind Hyun-Jin Ryu) and praised Puig's bat speed and raw power.

In 2012, the Dodgers signed the Cuban outfielder to a seven-year, $42MM deal that included a $12MM signing bonus. He is set to make $2MM this year and next, and $4.5MM in 2015, although he can opt into the arbitration process once he becomes eligible. If Puig were to stick in the big leagues, it's unclear at this point whether he might be eligible for arbitration as a Super Two player after the 2015 season. (Here's more about Super Two eligibility.)


Rays To Promote Alex Colome

The Rays will promote right-handed starter Alex Colome and add him to their bullpen, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). The 24-year-old Dominican native ranked as baseball's No. 81 prospect prior to the season, per ESPN's Keith Law (Insider required and recommended).

The move is reminiscent of the Cardinals' promotion of Carlos Martinez earlier this month, although Martinez was recently optioned back to the minors to continue to develop as a starting pitcher. In 55 1/3 innings (10 starts) at Triple-A Durham this season, Colome has a 2.60 ERA, 9.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. He first reached Triple-A as a 23-year-old last season when he finished the year by making three starts for Durham.

Colome, the nephew of former big leaguer Jesus Colome, has a "big arm" with a fastball in the mid-90s, an upper-80s cutter that "blows up bats" and a curveball around 80 mph with tight rotation, according to Law. Baseball America, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo and Law all agree that there's a chance Colome ultimately ends up as a reliever. Law prefers to project him as a high-end starter, however, despite uncertainty surrounding his delivery and durability. While Colome failed to make the Top 100 list from BA or Mayo, BA ranked him sixth among Rays prospects, and Mayo ranked him 12th.

By calling Colome up now, the Rays run the risk of allowing him to achieve Super Two status if he never returns to the minor leagues. Assuming Colome is in uniform tonight, he will accumulate 124 days of service time this season. With the projected Super Two cutoff at two years, 119 days, he could end up in the top 22 percent of his two-to-three service class and reach arbitration four times instead of three. Any return to the minors would likely delay him from accumulating that much service time.