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Top Prospect Promotions Rumors
As we learn of top prospect promotions over September, we'll try to keep tabs on them in a daily basis. Here are Sunday's promotions:
- The Athletics are set to bring up outfielder Michael Choice, the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser first reported last night. Choice entered the season as the A's second overall prospect as rated by Baseball America, which praised his strength and bat speed. He currently sits as the 92nd overall prospect in the game on Mayo's list. The 23-year-old has delivered a .302/.390/.445 line and fourteen homers in 600 plate appearances over his first season at Triple-A.
- The Tigers have officially called up the team's top prospect, with the team announcing on Twitter that it has purchased the contract of outfielder Nick Castellanos. The former third baseman entered the year as a consensus top-50 prospect in all of baseball, and moved up to 11th overall in the mid-season ranking of MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. As Mayo explained, the 21-year-old hits the ball to all fields and has solid pop.
The Mariners announced that they will promote right-hander Taijuan Walker in time to make his major league debut on Friday against the Astros. Walker, 21, is the M's undisputed top pitching prospect.
This year, Walker was rated as the third-best prospect in the nation by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, No. 9 by Keith Law of ESPN.com, and the 18th best prospect by Baseball America, BA's 2013 handbook, which put Walker as second only to Mike Zunino in the M's system, describes the youngster as a "premium athlete with an ideal pitcher's frame." Walker projects as a potential ace and his potential showed through 2012, even though his Double-A stats didn't quite support that.
In 25 starts at the Double-A and Triple-A level this season, Walker posted a 2.93 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. His late August promotion means that the M's can keep him under club control through 2019 without triggering an additional trip through arbitration.
The 20-year-old Bogaerts has mashed his way into a universal Top 10 prospect, ranking third on Keith Law's Midseason Top 50 Prospect list (ESPN Insider required), fourth on Baseball America's Midseason Top 50 and ranking sixth on the current Top 100 list of MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. The Aruban shortstop is batting .297/.388/.477 with 15 home runs in 515 plate appearances between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket this season.
Prior to the season, Law noted that Bogaerts had vastly improved his chances to stay at short, and while he may never become a plus defender at the position, his bat will allow him to be a five-WAR player even with average defense. BA noted that he has plus-plus raw power which he hasn't quite tapped into yet, but his easy swing allows him to spray the ball to all fields and make hard contact. Mayo adds that while he's an average runner, he has surprising range at shortstop and a plus arm. Over at Baseball Prospectus, Chris Mellen projects Bogaerts' ceiling to be an annual 30-homer shortstop once he matures (with more power in his peak seasons), but cautions that he needs to continue to improve his defense at short and also work on his plate discipline.
If he's on the big league roster for good, Bogaerts will miss the Super Two cutoff and be eligible for arbitration three times before reaching free agency as a 26-year-old following the 2019 season. Had the Red Sox kept him down at Pawtucket for the remainder of the season and the first three weeks of the 2014 campaign, they'd have picked up an extra year of team control over Bogaerts and been able to keep him through 2020. As they've shown in the past with Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, however, the Red Sox aren't shy about extending core players when they're amenable to a long-term contract. Clearly that's a discussion for a much later date though, as Boston's current hope is simply that the infusion of a young, talented player like Bogaerts will spark a team that has won just three of its past ten contests.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
7:58pm: D'Arnaud will be activated for tomorrow's game, Terry Collins told reporters (including Mike Puma of the New York Post).
7:18pm: D'Arnaud has been activated for tonight's Mets/Padres game, Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters (including Adam Rubin of ESPN New York). The team is still deciding whether to rush d'Arnaud to San Diego and have him arrive mid-game, or simply have him wait until tomorrow (according to Mike Puma of the New York Post). Buck is being placed on the paternity list as his wife went into labor earlier today.
AUGUST 9: The Mets are likely to promote top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports (on Twitter). D'Arnaud would fill in for current starting catcher John Buck, who will soon go on paternity leave. Asked about the possibility of a d'Arnaud promotion, Mets GM Sandy Alderson recently said, "Right now, there isn't a real good reason not to," according to Newsday's Marc Carig (on Twitter).
D'Arnaud, who has missed most of the season with a foot injury, had been on a rehab assignment in Double-A Binghamton, but the team recently promoted him to Triple-A Las Vegas, the same city where he hit .333/.380/.595 last season, when Las Vegas was a Jays affiliate. The Mets are beginning a road trip to Arizona, Los Angeles and San Diego, which means that, with the promotion to the Pacific Coast League, d'Arnaud will be nearby whenever he's needed.
D'Arnaud was originally drafted by the Phillies, who shipped him to Toronto when they traded for Roy Halladay. The catcher was then one of the Mets' key acquisitions in the R.A. Dickey trade. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranks d'Arnaud the No. 22 prospect in baseball. Before the season, d'Arnaud was ranked No. 14 by ESPN's Keith Law and No. 23 by Baseball America. BA's 2013 Prospect Handbook ranked him the No. 1 prospect in the Blue Jays system, noting that he makes "consistent hard contact" and that he has improved behind the plate as he's developed.
If d'Arnaud were to stick in the big leagues, he would surely miss the cutoff for Super Two eligibility. That would mean he would be eligible for arbitration after 2016, and free agency after 2019.
The Cardinals will promote top prospect Kolten Wong, the athletic department of the University of Hawaii (Wong's alma mater) tweets. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch confirms (via Twitter) that the Cardinals are set to promote Wong on Friday.
MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch tweets that the Cardinals will option Adron Chambers to clear space on their 25-man roster. Current Cards second baseman Matt Carpenter has played brilliantly this season, so Wong's promotion might mean less playing time for third baseman David Freese, as Carpenter, who has played 30 games at third this season, moves to the position on a more regular basis. Neither Wong nor Carpenter has significant experience at shortstop, where Pete Kozma has struggled this year.
Wong had been hitting .303/.369/.466 for Triple-A Memphis. The 22-year-old was the No. 22 overall pick in the 2011 draft. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranks Wong the No. 53 prospect in baseball, while Baseball America ranked Wong No. 84 in their preseason rankings and ESPN's Keith Law ranked him No. 96. BA's 2013 Prospect Handbook named Wong the fifth-best prospect in a strong Cardinals system, noting that he has good power for a small player and has shown improved instincts at second. The late-season promotion surely means that Wong will not receive Super Two status, which would put him on track for arbitration eligibility after the 2016 season and free agency after 2019, assuming he sticks in the Majors.
The Diamondbacks have promoted third baseman Matt Davidson, according to Keith Law of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The California native, who has been considered a top prospect for the last few years, was taken with the 35th overall pick in the 2009 draft by Arizona.
Davidson was ranked as the 70th best prospect heading into 2013 by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, No. 75 by Keith Law of ESPN.com, and No. 88 by Baseball America. This season was Davidson's first at the Triple-A level and he has looked strong thus far, hitting .278/.348/.484 with 16 homers in 466 plate appearances.
The 22-year-old was rated as the top power hitter in the D'Backs' system and their fifth best prospect overall. BA notes that while he has an issue with strikeouts and probably won't blossom into a high average hitter, he has the ability to drive the ball deep and to all fields when he isn't pressing.
As an August promotion, Davidson will be clear of the Super Two cutoff, meaning he will only be eligible for arbitration three times if he sticks with the varsity squad. Staying with the big league club would mean that he will be controlled through the 2019 season.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.