7/25 Edition: Top 10 Minor League Hitters to Stash
While Stephen Piscotty got his first taste of the majors, the most exciting news this week was Michael Cuddyer getting hurt (sorry Mike, but you gotta hurt yourself for prospect lovers) and Michael Conforto getting the call. As I’m writing this, news just broke that he did get the call, and will be the unofficial theme for this week.
If you”re reading this article, you’re probably wondering what’s been going on with Corey Seager, since it’s become common knowledge that the kid is pretty good at baseball. Recently, Seager has been laying in bed, drinking a lot of liquids, and probably eating chicken soup, because he has been fighting a virus. His ETA is unknown, but his antibody’s ETA is imminent.
– Story is exciting many with his torrid week, in which he’s hit .333 with 4 Home runs in 32 PA. That’s so awesome I almost don’t care that it came with 10 strikeouts and 2 walks. While his walk rate has been halved since reaching Triple-A, his K rate is the same as Double-A, and his .351 ISO is over 100 points higher than his Double-A figure. If he’s going to get called up this year at all, this should be the climactic streak that makes it happen.
Reed continues to have a mash-tastic year, hitting .333/.455/.576 after hitting .346/.449/.638 in High-A. Although he only has one longball so far in 44 PA, he has cut down his K rate to a mere 15.9%, while increasing his walk rate to an astounding 20.5%, which while they will likely regress, goes to show that he’s still too good for this level. Although he hasn’t gotten as much time at the level as Conforto, he could be the next guy in the conversation as he’s actually hit better than him and the Carter/Singleton pair has been abysmal this year.
– Olivera was on fire but not as on fire as his hamstring, which placed him back on the 7-day DL at Triple-A. At 30, he’s no spring chicken, and hamstring injuries can be tricky, so whether he gets his shot in the majors is becoming increasingly unclear. As the minor league season’s end nears, him and Seager and limping to the finish line, and it’s possible that neither will cross it. Like, because they don’t reach the majors, not because they died or something, relax!
He’s cooled off a bit, so he’s now hitting .400 with 2 HR in 66 Triple-A plate appearances. So basically he’s still awesome. But he’s also still blocked.
– Shaffer has continued to slug the ball, and is now up to 16 Homers and a .363 ISO in Triple-A and 23 on the year. Also encouraging is he’s been slowly trimming his K rate, now down to 26.7%, which, for a hitter with his power, is almost acceptable. His major league timetable remains unclear, though no fault of his own.
– Turner is a burning-hot right now, raising his Triple-A average up to .307, up over 30 points from last week. While his walk rate is down and his K rate is up from Double-A, he’s certainly been impressive enough with his broad base of skills to warrant a call-up. With Desmond heating up, his opportunity to pounce on a job isn’t as great, but I could see a call-up in August. He won’t help too much in any one category, but he should be at least decent in every one of them, especially for a shortstop.
Peraza’s on an 11-game hitting streak, raising his average up to a solid .292. This year he has 3 Homers, which is 2 more than he ever hit at any other level, which is nice. It remains to be seen how much he’ll run when he reaches the majors, and he’ll have to hit to get that opportunity, since he only walks 3.5% of the time. But he is close to his debut and is a low-risk option as he doesn’t strike out often.
Bird keeps flying higher and higher, having trimmed his Triple-A walk rate 3 points since last week, while popping a homer and raising his batting average 30 points to .308. He’ll be ready to land if and when an injury strikes, and will be a great sleeper in OBP leagues if he gets playing time.
With the excitement of Conforto’s almost debut, it’s easy to look at every good hitter who was recently promoted to Double-A as a possible call-up. While in reality this is not common and doesn’t always have great results, Zimmer is doing what he can to make us forget that. Since his recent call-up to Double-A, he’s hit .300 with a homer and two stolen bases, but even more encouraging is that he’s been striking out less since his promotion, with a 19.4% mark (compared to his High-A 23.0%). The big difference between him and Conforto and Reed is that while he may be the most talented of the three, his team is simply not contending and thus will likely admire him from afar while dreaming of their future.
I did a write-up of last week in which I predicted his hot streak would get him promoted to Triple-A (though I removed his to make room for the even hotter Nick Williams) but that prediction came true this week and he’s now in Triple-A. He has some spring in his step, as he’s hitting .316 with a homer and a stolen base in 23 PA, and a 1/1 K/BB ratio (13.2%) in Triple-A. He’s been overlooked often because of Shiny New Toy Syndrome (SNTS) but he’s still 22 and it’s common for catchers to develop more slowly than other position players. While he probably won’t be the star hitter people thought early on, he should be a major league catcher with above average power. For now, his only way in is if McCann gets hurt, but crazier things have happened.
has started to work out at third base at Triple-A, which could mean that they’re trying to get him called up but need him to have position flexibility. He could provide good speed with some pop, as well as a strange spelling of his first name. has certainly improved his prospect stock this year, but offensively he hasn’t done much lately and went over a month without hitting a homer. He’s now up to 5, with 15 stolen bases and a .302 Average. He still could make a strong showing in September. has heated up and is hitting .311 with 2 homers and a whopping 35 nabbed bags. While he’s getting a lot of hype, I’ll be the wet blanket and point out that a 20.6 K% is high for a guy that doesn’t hit home runs or walk (3.9 BB%). But he could still be close and help in stolen bases. must have ready my article, because he has two home runs in his last three games, to bring him up to 17 on the year. has spent most of the year in Double-A after getting promoted in High-A for a .600 BABIP (!) in 51 High-A PA despite a 33.33333333 K%. He has 5 HR, 2 SB, and a .264 AVG in Double-A, but far more excitingly, he shares the exact same birthday and birth year of Bubba Blau, who I can only assume is a top secret government project to create the most bad-ass name ever. Try screaming it out in public venues, you know it must be a powerful and awe-inspiring name from the looks you get as strangers run away from you. BUBBA BLAU!