We’ll use this post to catch up on some recent minor moves …
- Veteran catcher Derek Norris and right-hander Enrique Burgos were released by the Tigers yesterday, tweets Evan Woodbery of MLive.com. Both had previously been reassigned to minor league camp after being informed that they wouldn’t crack the Opening Day roster. Norris went 7-for-17 with a homer in camp for Detroit, while Burgos was tagged for six runs in 4 2/3 innings with the big league team. Both will look to latch on elsewhere and work their way back to the majors.
- In a minor swap for an unknown return, the Phillies acquired Dean Anna from the White Sox, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). The 31-year will give the Phils some infield depth, though they will surely hope not to have a need for it at the MLB level. Anna has scant MLB experience but has been playing at Triple-A since 2013. Most recently, he posted a .285/.364/.376 slash at the highest level of the minors with the Royals in 2017.
- The Pirates have released a group of minor-leaguers, John Dreker of Pirates Prospects reports (subscription link). The most prominent among them are outfielder Barrett Barnes and hurlers Cody Dickson and John Stilson. Barnes was the former 45th overall pick but did not stand out in brief action at the Triple-A level last year. Dickson is a former fourth-rounder who topped out at Triple-A last year, while Stilson has never yet received an MLB opportunity despite compiling a 2.75 ERA in 131 Triple-A innings.
- The Twins have released former first-round pick Levi Michael, according to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (via Twitter). Michael, 27, was taken with the 30th overall pick in the 2011 draft out of the University of North Carolina. A middle infielder who has also tried some time in center more recently, Michael has just never really turned the corner. For an organization rich in young infielders, he evidently was not worth keeping around. Michael did briefly reach the Triple-A level last year after a decent bounceback showing in Double-A, where he slashed .264/.362/.380.
- Among the other players set free of late was former MLB catcher Johnny Monell, who was released by the Rays, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Monell, who recently turned 32, had returned to affiliated ball after a one-year tour with Korea’s KT Wiz. He has seen only limited time in the majors but does sport an appealing .278/.350/.460 lifetime batting line at Triple-A.
Anyone know about this Levi Michael guy? Seems weird to let go of a first round pick who seemed to have a not too bad season in AA? Roster space issue or something else?
Better depth players with more upside than Michael now
He’s 27 in double-A. Probably not a good sign.
He played AAA. He was playing center field because LaMonte Wade was at AA and Granite was in Minnesota. With Cave recently added Granite going back down and the veteran infielders being sent to Rochester as depth. He’s collateral damage.
He has 2176 MiLB PA and 45 of them are in AAA.
Mendoza Line 215
The release of Barnes by the Pirates is just one more indication of how mediocre their scouting has been for positional players over the last 7 or 8 years.He had been rated as high as about 12-15 for them a few years ago.I think their failure to produce good hitters on a consistent basis has been a real drawback in being able to compete with the better teams the last couple of years and projected this year.That is at least as important as having to trade players who are nearing their free agency.Relying on the pitchers to make up for the lack of hitting is a fruitless process.It is a far cry from the days of the “Lumber Company”.
Barnes biggest problem wasn’t tools, but injury problems–he couldn’t stay on the field, and it’s hard to pin that on so-called mediocre scouting.
Mendoza Line 215
Granted he was injury prone and consequently played partial seasons but other than one year he really did not show much even when relatively healthy.He may have had the tools but he did not use them,hence the release.Scouts do not have a crystal ball,but some of these other better teams seem to have a relatively constant supply of good young position players and the Pirates have not over the last few years.
Kang Ho Polanco
My fear is it’s not just scouting but development in its entirety. I am a Huntington apologist in every other way, but the lack of fruit among his draft picks IF they hit MLB has been downright alarming. I would not even say mediocre. Kyle Stark has been straight-up bad.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Norris in AAA with the Astros. He’d be a good insurance policy, and a good hand to work with the younger pitchers.
It seems like Norris’ off-Field issues have soured clubs on him.
I actually like Barnes as a 4th OF type. Good patience, speed, average power, athleticism in the field etc.
Could be a great depth pick-up for somebody
Mendoza Line 215
The Pirates seemed to be high on him but he could never stay on the field.He is 26 now so his time may have passed.There are plenty of these guys and sometimes all they need is an extended chance.My guess is that few ever really get it.