Prospect Promotions: 5/21-5/27

The final week of May featured a few big promotions.

Week Seven! This will be a weekly series that will outline the prospect promotions from the previous week throughout the year.

The minor league season has begun and we have seen more prospects starting to get the call. All stats are of May 27.

 

May 21

 

Aaron Fletcher, P, SEA (preseason PL team rank: HM): Fletcher has been a relief-only prospect for the majority of this minor league season. He struggled at the MLB level in 2020, allowing six runs in 4.1 innings.

Wyatt Mills, P, SEA (preseason PL team rank: 29): Mills is another relief-only arm for Seattle. He’s a sidearmer with a 3.56 ERA across four minor league seasons but is still looking to find his footing in the majors.

Yennsy Diaz, P, NYM (preseason PL team rank: 28) Diaz was a part of the Steven Matz trade this offseason. He has above-average stuff but can struggle with command. He’s a bullpen arm but could be a good one down the line.

Tyler Ivey, P, HOU (preseason PL team rank: 1): Ivey got the call here to make a spot start. He allowed four runs over 4.2 innings while striking out three. He’s a potential back-of-the-rotation arm. He was optioned the following day.

Ashton Goudeau, P, CIN (preseason PL team rank: UR): The 28-year-old Goudeau is a relief arm with a 4.77 ERA in the minors. He will likely work in low-leverage situations.

Brent Honeywell, Jr., P, TB (preseason PL team rank: 14): Like several Tampa Bay arms, Honeywell, Jr. has been used both as an opener and a relief arm with the Major League club. Long term he is still viewed as a starter but given his extensive injury history, he won’t be pitching more than a handful of innings at a time for the 2021 season.

Ryan McKenna, OF, BAL (preseason PL team rank: 28): McKenna has been up and down a few times so far for Baltimore. He is a burner but hasn’t been able to get it going at the plate enough to put his speed to use.

 

May 22

 

Ty Tice, P, TOR (preseason PL team rank: UR): Tice is a relief-only prospect with a 2.07 career ERA in the minors. The Blue Jays have had several injuries to their bullpen this season, so Tice could continue to see more action.

Spencer Howard, P, PHI (preseason PL team rank: 1): Howard is one of the best pitching prospects in the game, though a shoulder injury limited him in 2020. He struggled when given opportunities last season,  finishing the campaign with a 5.92 ERA in 24.1 innings. Following this promotion, he tossed three innings and allowed two runs while walking five against the Red Sox. He’s still a strong long-term bet but Howard will likely be an inconsistent option in 2021.

Taylor Jones, 1B/OF, HOU (preseason PL team rank: 2): Jones has a career OPS over .800 in the minors, so there is a history of doing damage at the plate here. He has a 160 wRC+ at Triple-A to start the year, but it may be tough to get Jones’ bat in the lineup given Houston’s depth at these positions. It would likely take an injury for him to see consistent playing time.

Alec Bettinger, P, MIL (preseason PL team rank: 29): Bettinger had a breakout 2019, where he sported a 20.7% BB-K rate at Double-A Biloxi. He still profiles more as a backend starter and will likely be used more as a relief arm for the time being. The Brewers parted ways with two relievers, Drew Rasmussen and J.P. Feyereisen, in the Willy Adames trade, so there could be room for Bettinger to carve out a more permanent role.

Kyle Nelson, P, CLE (preseason PL team rank: 45): Nelson is a relief-only prospect with a history of racking up strikeouts in the minors. He will likely work in low-leverage roles for the time being.

Shawn Morimando, P, MIA (preseason PL team rank: UR): Morimando still has prospect eligibility despite making his debut with Cleveland in 2016. This is his first return to the bigs since and he struggled in his first opportunity, allowing four runs in 0.2 innings.

Taylor Walls, SS, TB (preseason PL team rank: 11): The Adames trade opened the door for Walls to get the call for Tampa Bay. He’s regarded as a plus glove at short with an average to above-average offensive skill set at the plate. He was destroying Triple-A to the tune of a 166 wRC+ before the promotion. With other top prospects breathing down his neck and likely to debut this summer, Walls may have a full-time role for the time being but that could change quickly.

 

May 23

 

Wyatt Mills, P, SEA (preseason PL team rank: 29): See May 21 writeup. Mills continues to jump between Triple-A and the majors.

Phil Bickford, P, LAD (preseason PL team rank: 41): Bickford is a relief-only arm that the Dodgers claimed off of waivers from Milwaukee. He has an extensive injury history but is only 25 years old, so there is still some upside here.

Junior Fernández, P, STL (preseason PL team rank: 15): The 24-year-old right-hander was showcasing his strikeout stuff in Triple-A, posting a strikeout rate over 50% in his first 5.1 innings. He has high-leverage potential but needs to limit walks.

Jose Devers, 2B/SS, MIA (preseason PL team rank: 20): Devers is a speedster with limited power. He’s a career .276 hitter in the minors and should see some opportunities with Isan Díaz on the IL.

Nick Gordon, SS, MIN (preseason PL team rank: 24): Gordon has been up and down a few times this year, though that hasn’t translated to many opportunities. Don’t expect that to change this time around as Jorge Polanco has a short-term ankle injury.

Brandon Waddell, P, MIN (preseason PL team rank: UR): Waddell has bounced between a few organizations over the past few years but gets the call to the bigs here with Minnesota. He’s a lefty relief-only arm with a 4.11 ERA in the minors.

Jay Flaa, P, BAL (preseason PL team rank: UR): The 28-year-old Flaa tossed 1.1 scoreless innings during his MLB debut in April. The righty relief prospect has a 3.46 ERA across six minor league seasons.

Owen Miller, INF, CLE (preseason PL team rank: 20): Miller has hit at every level and was batting .406 in Triple-A before the promotion. He’s likely to see a decent number of plate appearances with Franmil Reyes on the IL for the next five to seven weeks. He’s worth a look in most leagues.

 

May 24

 

Brian O’Grady, OF, SD (preseason PL team rank: UR): O’Grady has been with the big league club a few times now but hasn’t produced much. The Padres are banged up so the 29-year-old should get a few looks in the lineup.

Orlando Calixte, INF/OF, NYM (preseason PL team rank: UR): The Mets are beyond desperate for bodies. Calixte hasn’t seen MLB action since 2017 and is a career .149 hitter in 31 games. His position flexibility should earn him some playing time.

 

May 25

 

Jon Duplantier, P, ARI (preseason PL team rank: 16): Duplantier tossed 36.2 innings for Arizona back in 2019, both as a starter and a reliever. The result was a 4.42 ERA and a 3.95 FIP. He’s stumbled out of the gate in Triple-A in 2021 and he’s most likely to work out of the bullpen for now.

Demarcus Evans, P, TEX (preseason PL team rank: 13): Evans is a relief-only prospect but a good one. Our own Nate Handy wrote him up at length.

Cody Ponce, P, PIT (preseason PL team rank: UR): Ponce is a righty arm that can work out of the rotation or out of the bullpen. He has a career 3.87 ERA in the minors.

John Nogowski, 1B, STL (preseason PL team rank: 46): Nogowski has great plate discipline but he’s blocked by Paul Goldschmidtso it’s unlikely he sees any type of consistent playing time without an injury.

Patrick Wisdom, 1B/3B, CHC (preseason PL team rank UR): Wisdom has had small tastes of MLB action in each season dating back to 2018. He sports a .688 OPS and is more of a bench bat.

 

May 26

 

Ryan McKenna, OF, BAL (preseason PL team rank: 28): See May 21 summary.

Jason Vosler, INF, SF (preseason PL team rank: UR): An IL trip for Brandon Belt could open the door for Vosler to grab some looks at the big league level. Vosler knows how to take a walk and has some pop, but has struggled to start the 2021 Triple-A season (70 wRC+).

Triston McKenzie, P, CLE (preseason PL team rank: 6): McKenzie was seen as a potential breakout candidate heading into 2021 given Cleveland’s magical ability to churn out aces. The season hasn’t gone quite as planned as the young righty has a 6.89 ERA in 31.1 innings. With Zach Plesac on the IL for an undetermined length of time, it appeared McKenzie could get another extended look, but he was optioned on May 27.

Nick Neidert, P, MIA (preseason PL team rank: 14): Neidert is a former second-round pick who made three starts in April for the Marlins. He struggled, allowing nine earned runs in 12.1 innings. He’s still viewed as a starter but it wouldn’t be surprising to play a bullpen role for Miami if the team is competing for a playoff spot. He’s since been placed on the IL with biceps inflammation.

Nick Mears, P, PIT (preseason PL team rank: 26): Mears is a relief-only prospect. He has a 3.81 career ERA in the minors and features a heater in the mid-90s.

Ralph Garza, Jr., P, Hou (preseason PL team rank: UR): Garza, Jr. is a relief-only arm. He has a 3.94 career ERA in six minor league seasons. He has strikeout ability but has also had his issues with walks.

 

May 27

 

Lewin Díaz, 1B, MIA (preseason PL team rank: 10): Díaz had a breakout 2019 and it vaulted him into several Top 100 lists. He earned some playing time with the Marlins in 2020 but was overmatched, hitting just .154 in 14 games. It’s a small sample and it’s likely the first baseman just needs more reps to big-league pitching. With Garrett Cooper banged up, Diaz should see some at-bats, but he’s still blocked by Jesús Aguilar. His slick defense will, at the very least, enter the game as a defensive replacement late in contests.

Estevan Florial, OF, NYY (preseason PL team rank: 5): This likely just a call-up for a doubleheader, but the Yankees have been aggressive with the outfielder. Florial belted four home runs in nine games at Double-A before moving up to Triple-A. In nine games there he has two more home runs but is only hitting .176. Strikeouts have been a problem for him in the past and keeping them in check will be the key to whether or not Florial can be successful in the big leagues.

Thomas Szapucki, P, NYM (preseason PL team rank 9): Szapucki has battled injuries throughout his career but is still only 24 years old. This is likely a doubleheader promotion, but the lefty has a 26.8% strikeout rate and 2.77 ERA in Triple-A.

Lucas Gilbreath, P, COL (preseason PL team rank: UR): This is not Gilbreath’s first appearance on this list and it’s likely not to be his last. He appears to be a reliever depth piece for the Rockies.

Mitchell White, P, LAS (preseason PL team rank: 24): White has dealt with injuries throughout his minor league, but he’s been very solid as a reliever in a small sample for the Dodgers. In 10.2 career innings, he’s only allowed one run while striking out six. He could continue to be an arm the Dodgers depend on for bullpen games.

Jeremy Beasley, P, TOR (preseason PL team rank: UR): Beasley is a relief-only prospect with a 3.51 career minor league ERA. This was a doubleheader callup.

Art Warren, P, CIN (preseason PL team rank: UR): Warren is a relief-only arm with a 3.01 ERA in the minors. Warren got the call with the Reds continuing a suspended game on Thursday.

Ryan Horstman, P, (preseason PL team rank: UR): Hortsman has big strikeout stuff as a reliever but walks have gotten the best of him in the past. Still, he has a 3.68 career ERA in the minors across six seasons.

Alek Manoah, P, (preseason PL team rank: 5): Manoah looked electric in his debut. Before the promotion, he had struck out 27 hitters in 18 innings at Triple-A, allowing just one run. You can read a detailed breakdown of Manoah’s debut by Nick Pollack here.

 

Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

 

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