Throughout the year, this will be a weekly series that will outline the prospect movers from the previous week. Not only will this series feature prospects who get the call to the big leagues, but it will also detail the players who move up a level within the minors.
We have only just started the MLB season, and the minor league season isn’t scheduled to begin until May, so the first few weeks may be a little light on movement. But we already have a few instances of injuries or poor play forcing organizations to make moves early in the season.
The format of the article is likely to change once the minor league season begins. For now, everyone listed made the jump to the majors.
All stats are of April 8.
Riley Smith, P, Ari (preseason PL team rank: UR) – The Diamondbacks brought the 26-year-old right-hander to the big-league club to fill a relief role. So far, he’s allowed two runs in five innings while striking out four. Smith posted a 1.47 ERA in 18.1 innings in 2020 following a rough 2019 at Triple-A.
Tanner Houck, P, Bos (preseason PL team rank: 3) – An injury to Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez opened the door for Houck. He struck out eight and allowed two earned runs in his first start of the season and tossed an inning of relief, allowing one unearned run, a few days later. The Red Sox have already optioned him, but he’s performed too well in the majors to stay down for long.
Joel Payamps, P, Tor (preseason PL team rank: UR): A handful of injuries to Toronto pitchers gave Payamps an opportunity to work out of the bullpen. He logged 1.1 innings of scoreless work before being optioned on April 4.
Kyle Isbel, OF, KC (preseason PL team rank: 7): The 24-year-old Isbel appears to have a near-everyday role out of the gate for the Royals. In six games, he has a .250 batting average but is striking out nearly half the time.
Jake Brentz, P, KC (preseason PL team rank: UR): Brentz has earned himself a bullpen role to start the season. In seven minor league seasons, he has a 5.34 ERA.
Jonathan India, 2B/3B, Cin (preseason PL team rank: 6): The hype had cooled a little on India the last few years, but he earned the second base job out of camp and has been a man on fire to start 2021. In his first 25 plate appearances, India has triple slashed .476/.480/.619. He looks to be a key part of a potent lineup.
Nabil Crismatt, P, SD (preseason PL team rank: UR): Crismatt tossed 8.1 innings of relief for the Padres in 2020 and is slated as a bullpen arm to start 2021.
Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, CHW (preseason PL team rank: 1): Vaughn is one of the best prospect bats in all of baseball, so it was not a surprise to see him make the Opening Day roster for the White Sox. With the injury to Eloy Jimenez, Vaughn has been getting some run in the outfield. Most expected him to be an everyday player out of the gate but the playing time has been inconsistent thus far.
Geraldo Perdomo, SS, Ari (preseason PL team rank: 4): Perdomo got the call after a combination of an injury to starting shortstop Nick Ahmed and a slow start to the season for Josh Rojas. Perdomo’s plate approach and speed give him all the looks of a prototypical leadoff bat down the road, but he’s likely just a part-time fill in until Ahmed returns. If he catches fire, though, the Diamondbacks may be forced to keep him in the lineup, especially with the more recent injury to Ketel Marte. He’s 1 for 10 to start his career.
Brent Rooker, 1B/OF, Min (preseason PL team rank: 9): Many expected Rooker to make the Opening Day roster for the Twins, so it was a bit of a surprise when he was optioned before the season started. An injury to Josh Donaldson gave the Twins the need for an extra bat, though, so Rooker already made it back to the bigs. In 2020, the righty-bat had a .960 OPS in 21 plate appearances. He went 1 for 11 before suffering a cervical strain and hitting the IL.
Jordan Holloway, P, Mia (preseason PL team rank: 31): Holloway made a one-game appearance for the Marlins in 2020 and has now pitched two perfect innings for Miami to start the 2021 season. He’s a bullpen arm that could could bounce between the majors and minors all year long. He was optioned on April 6.
Nick Neidert, P, Mia (preseason PL team rank: 15): Injuries to Sixto Sanchez and Elieser Hernandez have opened up a spot in the rotation. Neidert is expected to at least temporarily fill that role. The former second-rounder had a solid spring and is looking to improve upon the 5.40 ERA he posted in 8.1 innings during the 2020 campaign. He allowed just one run, but walked five in 4.1 innings against the Mets.
A.J. Puk, P, Oak (preseason PL team rank: 2): Puk followed a disastrous outing from Frankie Montas in relief against the Dodgers with 3.1 innings of shutout ball. Puk has a well-known injury history and the injury bug has already struck. Oakland placed Puk on the 10-day IL with a biceps injury.
Ryan McKenna, OF, Bal (preseason PL team rank: 28): The callup is the first for the 24-year-old outfielder and comes following an injury to Austin Hays. McKenna has great speed but profiles more as a fourth outfielder type. He is 0 for 3 with a walk to start his career.
Kevin Padlo, 1B/3B, TB (preseason PL team rank: 25): Padlo received his first call to the bigs following a quadriceps injury to Kevin Kiermaier. Padlo has some strikeout concerns but he really raked in 2019. He will likely get a handful of opportunities before being sent down.
Yadiel Hernandez, OF, Was (preseason PL team rank: 47): Like many who will follow on this list, Hernandez got the call the due to the Nationals being without a third of their team to start the year following positive COVID-19 results. Hernandez hit .192 in limited opportunities in 2020.
Tres Barrera, C, Was (preseason PL team rank: 22): Barrera went hitless in two 2019 plate appearances and struggled at the plate this spring. But with both Alex Avila and Yan Gomes sidelined, Barrera has a temporary role with the Nationals.
Sam Clay, P, Was (preseason PL team rank: UR): This is the first trip to the show for the left-handed Clay. He has a 3.97 career ERA in the minors.
Cody Wilson, OF, Was (preseason PL team rank: UR): Wilson has never played above Single-A, so it’s clear the Nationals are desperate for bodies. Wilson has a career .215 batting average in the minors.
Seth Brown, OF, Oak (preseason PL team rank: 25): The A’s have had a few of their main bats (Ramon Laureano, Matt Olson) battling minor injuries, so Brown got the call. Heading into 2021, Brown had logged 33 career MLB games and holds a .275/.341/.425 triple slash.
Matt Peacock, P, Ari (preseason PL team rank: UR): Peacock made his MLB debut on Tuesday and tossed three innings, allowing two unearned runs while striking out one and picking up the win in relief. He figures to be a bullpen option for Arizona until the team’s expected arms get healthy.
Brian O’Grady, 1B/OF, SD (preseason PL team rank: UR): O’Grady got the call following Fernando Tatis Jr. heading to the IL. O’Grady looks slated for a temporary bench role.
Ben Braymer, P, Was (preseason PL team rank: 33): The lefty tossed 7.1 innings for Washington in 2020. He got the call to be an extra arm in the Washington bullpen while the Nationals start the season short-handed, but has already since been optioned.
Brandon Waddell, P, Min (preseason PL team rank: UR): Waddell made his MLB debut in 2020 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing one run in 3.1 innings. He’s tossed a scoreless inning of relief thus far for the Twins.
Ljay Newsome, P, Sea (preseason PL team rank: 22): The Mariners recalled Newsome following an injury to James Paxton. Newsome pitched across three levels in 2019 and tossed 15.2 innings for Seattle in 2020. Newsome allowed two runs in 2.1 innings in relief against the Twins. Paxton may be headed for Tommy John surgery, so Newsome could be with the Mariners for the foreseeable future so long as he performs well.
Braden Bishop, OF, Sea (preseason PL team rank: 35): The 27-year-old Bishop is slated to provide some outfield depth with Jake Fraley recovering from a hamstring strain. A slow start to Taylor Trammel’s MLB career could give Bishop some more opportunities before the Mariners’ outfield heals up, but it will be difficult for Bishop to carve out a role once Seattle starts calling up its top prospects.
Andy Young, INF/OF, Ari (preseason, PL team rank: 15): Young’s promotion comes on the heels of a hamstring injury to Ketel Marte. Young has been a solid bat in the minors but lacks a defensive home.
Photo by Rob Schumacher/The Republic | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)
Wow this is an awesome write up!
Thoughts on Indy in terms of ceiling? He can obviously hit and apparently been consistently on the sweet spot of the bat. But how soon can we expect dingers & SBs? Only 1 double but also 1 triple so far so that’s encouraging sign. Thx!
Thanks for the kind words! I’m buying into India. He can barrel the ball and take a walk. The homers will come, though I don’t expect huge power numbers out of the gate. He will probably get a handful of steals.