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Minor League Barometer: Upgrades, Downgrades

Jesse Siegel

Jesse Siegel

Siegel covers college football, college basketball and minor league baseball for RotoWire. He was named College Sports Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

The wait for Bryce Harper is over; the Nationals made him the No. 1 pick in Monday's draft to begin his big league journey. Fitting that Harper comes to the Nats at the same time Stephen Strasburg fans 14 in his ML debut. Harper should certainly get his due on this list soon enough, and look out in the future as well for No. 3 pick Manny Machado, SS, of the Orioles. A first round notable also comes at No. 12 for the Reds, as Cincy took Yasmani Grandal, C, from The U. Grandal will look to continue in the Miami prospect tradition set by Pat Burrell, Ryan Braun and Yonder Alonso, among others. Now, on to those players already working on their craft in the minors.

UPGRADES

1. Grant Green, SS, OAK - Green has had his way with High-A pitching so far this season, as the 2009 first-round pick is hitting .308/.351/.421 with two home runs and 22 RBI in 56 games for Stockton. In fact, over his past 10 games, he's hitting a ridiculous .489. The home runs have not been there, and he's fanned a ton (58 times, to be exact), but Green has shown enough power to the gaps to keep his slugging percentage respectable. All in all, he's been producing well for the Athletics, particularly considering his short stint in the minors so far.

2. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, PHI - Singleton has been frighteningly good for an 18-year-old in 2010, batting .409/.500/.739 with six home runs and 26 RBI for Low-A Lakewood. The 6-2, 215, lefties' biggest problem may be finding a position with the Phils; though his ML debut is a ways away, the Phils just signed Ryan Howard to a lengthy, lucrative deal.

3. Jeremy Hellickson, P, TB - Hellickson's continual inclusion on this list may appear to some as unoriginal; however, on most other teams, Hellickson would already be in the majors. Over his last three starts, he hasn't allowed a run, while striking out 16. The 23-year-old has a pristine 2.28 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 71 innings. At the risk of beating a dead horse, Hellickson will continue to mow down Triple-A batters unless an injury or trade happens.

4. Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL - Arenado has come out of the gate hot. After being sent to extended spring training, the 19-year-old is batting .366/.400/.549 through 17 games for Low-A Asheville. Although he's hit just one home run so far, he's been productive in driving in 16 runs thus far. The Rockies believe his power will come around, though it remains to be seen if Arenado will stick at third base. Still, there's no denying he's off to a scorching start.

5. Mike Trout, OF, ANA - Trout continues to rake for Low-A Cedar Rapids, with a line of .366/.444/.546, six home runs, 31 RBI and 31 stolen bases. The 25th overall pick last season might be nearing the end of his tenure with the Kernels as he vaults up many prospect charts with his combination of plate discipline, speed and power.

6. Dustin Ackley, 2B, SEA - Ackley has posted an obscene line over the past 10 games, hitting .483/.628/.586 with 11 walks. The only thing missing has been his power, as he's slugged just one home run on the season. Still, it looks like Ackley's slow start is just a memory, as his on-base percentage now stands at .408 for Double-A West Tennessee.

Honorable Mention

1. Domonic Brown, OF, PHI
2. Reese Havens, 2B/SS, NYM
3. Brad Lincoln, P, PIT
4. Zach Britton, P, BAL
5. Jordan Lyles, P, HOU

DOWNGRADES

1. Phillippe Aumont, P, PHI - Aumont continues to sputter for the Phils, so much so that he was actually demoted to High-A Clearwater. His K:BB ratio was 38:38 for Double-A Reading in 49.2 innings. The 21-year-old Aumont is still young, but his 7.43 ERA and horrendous control exhibited thus far means he has much to work on to become serviceable for Philly.

2. Esmil Rogers, P, COL - Rogers got a little more than a cup of coffee with the big club in May, appearing in 11 games and posting a 5.32 ERA, mostly out of the bullpen. However, Rogers is a starter by trade, and once Jason Hammel and Jeff Francis came back healthy, Rogers was sent back to Triple-A to join the rotation. His first start back on June 4 was a disaster, as Rogers allowed five runs on seven hits in just four innings of work. With Jhoulys Chacin making his mark as a rookie in the Rockies' rotation as well, Rogers may be relegated to either Triple-A as a starter or a reliever in the bigs for 2010.

3. Tanner Scheppers, P, TEX - I still love Scheppers' long-term prospects, but a 2010 debut is looking even bleaker after he was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a strained hamstring. Perhaps more troubling is that this injury occurred in the midst of Texas stretching Scheppers out in his transition from reliever to starter. Scheppers was only worked up to three-inning starts at the time of the injury. Just a blip on the radar overall, but Scheppers is likely looking at a 2011 premiere.

4. Tony Sanchez, C, PIT - A blow to the head is obviously never something to take lightly, and though preliminary tests are good, Sanchez hasn't played since taking one to the noggin on June 3. Sanchez has been hot this season too, batting .318/.423/.460 with three homers and 31 RBI. Hopefully, the head shot won't slow his progress down.

5. Josh Bell, 3B, BAL - There doesn't seem to be much good news coming out of Baltimore these days. Bell has a .300 on-base percentage and 53 strikeouts in 54 games for the O's with Triple-A Norfolk. On the plus side, he's walked five times over his last 10 games, after walking just six times through his first 44 contests. Although his eye seems to be improving, he still has just six home runs on the season after bashing 20 last season. All in all, 2010 has been disappointing for Bell.

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