Gone Fishing? That's just what the Angels did when they brought Trout - as in standout prospect Mike Trout - up to the majors straight from Double-A. Although he is just 1-for-9 to begin his big-league career, Trout should play every day at least until Peter Bourjos returns from his hamstring injury. If Trout starts hitting, he may force the Angels' hand and leave the minors behind him for good. Still, he's just 19, and the Halos, as well as fantasy owners, should be patient with their prized phenom.
Who's got next? Let's take a look in this edition of the Minor League Barometer.
1. Brett Jackson, OF, CHC - Though the Cubbies have been patient with Jackson thus far, he has just been promoted to Triple-A. The 22-year-old has shown an intriguing mix of speed, power and plate discipline this season, posting a .373 OBP along with 10 home runs and 15 stolen bases for Double-A Tennessee. Though he was batting just .256 this season and has fanned 74 times in 67 contests, the cause for some of those minor struggles can be attributed to an injured left pinkie, which caused him to miss some time at the end of May. Regardless, Jackson remains an upper-echelon prospect for the Cubs, and with Chicago struggling for some young production besides Starlin Castro, Jackson could see the big club by the end of 2011.
2. Mike McDade, 1B, TOR - Here's a player who might not be on many radars, but has had a standout season for Double-A New Hampshire. McDade is batting .310/.355/.525 with 14 home runs and 62 RBI through 88 games for the Fisher Cats. The 22-year-old is hitting .341 over his past 10 games. McDade is not high on prospect lists because of his strikeouts and inability to draw walks. He has fanned 77 times this season, while drawing just 21 walks. In 2010, he fanned a ridiculous 141 times in 128 games at High-A Dunedin, while taking just 27 free passes. Though he's shown improvement in these areas in 2011, expectations are definitely tempered due to his past numbers. Still, a fairly young, switch-hitting first baseman with some power and the ability to hit .300 is certainly a sleeper prospect worth noting.
3. Wily Peralta, P, MIL - The 22-year-old Peralta is a beast of a pitcher, standing at 6-2, 240-lbs. He has not allowed a run over his last two starts, a span of 13.2 innings for Double-A Huntsville. Over that span, he has scattered nine hits and fanned 11 batters. Control remains Peralta's only issue, as he has walked at least two hitters in each of his last eight starts. Nevertheless, the right-hander has posted a 3.95 ERA and 86:36 K:BB ratio through 86.2 innings for the Stars, with a stellar 1.65 GO:AO ratio. The combination of strikeout stuff and ground ball outs makes Peralta a pitcher to keep tabs on for the Brew Crew.
4. Robbie Ross, P, TEX - It seems like the Rangers have been rolling out the pitchers from their farm system of late. From big-leaguers Alexi Ogando and Derek Holland, to minor-leaguers Robbie Erlin and Tanner Scheppers, Texas has made a concerted effort under Nolan Ryan to develop pitching talent. The 22-year-old Ross could be next in line for the Rangers, as the lefty has compiled a 2.40 ERA and 82:26 K:BB ratio through 101.2 innings for High-A Myrtle Beach. Another largely ground ball pitcher, Ross has a 1.68 GO:AO ratio this season. Opposing batters are also hitting just .237 against him. He has been hot recently to boot, allowing just two earned runs over his past four starts, a stretch of 23.0 innings. The ability to get copious amounts of grounders could play even more favorably into Ross's hands as he ascends the higher levels, since the Ballpark at Arlington is a notorious hitters' park.
5. Jordany Valdespin, SS, NYM - Wilmer Flores has been tabbed as the eventual successor to Jose Reyes at short for years, but Valdespin is having a breakout season ahead of Flores at Double-A Binghamton. The 23-year-old shortstop is hitting .299/.345/.470 with 10 home runs, 39 RBI and 29 steals for the Metsies. Over his last 10 games, Valdespin has been surging, putting together a line of .368/.400/.553 with one home run, eight RBI and five stolen bases. Considered an explosive personality by many in the organization, Valdespin has already crushed his previous career-highs in steals and dingers. If he can keep his allegedly volatile personality in check and be amenable to coaching, Valdespin could be the shortstop of the future for the Metropolitans.
6. Patrick Corbin, P, AZ - The Diamondbacks should be applauded for the haul they received in the Dan Haren deal. Haren has been extremely productive for the Angels, and it is doubtful that the Halos would take back the trade. That being said, Arizona did its homework and received Tyler Skaggs, who has become an elite prospect, as well as the 21-year-old Corbin, who has a 3.87 ERA and 97:21 K:BB ratio through 107.0 innings for Double-A Mobile. Corbin tossed a complete game, three-hit shutout on July 6, fanning eight batters in the process. Over his last two starts he has punched out 16 hitters. He has a respectable GO:AO ratio of 1.21, and has walked one or less batters in seven of his last 10 starts. Though he's been prone to the long ball (10 homers surrendered), Corbin has shown polish beyond his years and should pitch right behind fellow rotation mate Skaggs one day for the D-Backs.
1. J.D. Martinez, OF, HOU
2. Brad Peacock, P, WAS
3. Matthew Moore, P, TB
4. Leonys Martin, OF, TEX
5. Michael Choice, OF OAK
1. Desmond Jennings, OF, TB - Perhaps no prospect's promotion has been as anticipated this season as Jennings', who still has not made his way to the bigs after many predicted he would immediately take Carl Crawford's place in left field to begin the year. The Rays have been extremely patient with their prospects over the years, and Jennings has been no exception. On top of that, the 24-year-old outfielder suffered a slight fracture in his right index finger, which will sideline him for a couple of weeks as well. As a result, Jennings likely won't see the majors until August at the earliest.
2. Anthony Ranaudo, P, BOS - High-A has been a bit of a rude awakening for Ranaudo, the No. 39 overall selection in the 2010 draft. The 21-year-old cruised through Low-A, posting a 3.33 ERA and 50:16 K:BB ratio through 46.0 innings before his promotion. However, the 6-7, 231-lb righty has a 4.46 ERA and 27:10 K:BB ratio in 38.1 innings for High-A Salem. He has already given up five home runs over that span, including three in his last start on July 7. Though just a temporary downgrade, Ranaudo must keep the ball down or risk surrendering more dingers.
3. Quincy Latimore, OF, PIT - Latimore had a breakout 2010 campaign, driving in 100 runs and even stealing 11 bases for High-A Bradenton. Still, he hit just .266/.323/.444 last season with 130 strikeouts, and the 22-year-old has come crashing back down to earth in 2011. He is batting just .216/.280/.384 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI through 85 games for Double-A Altoona. Latimore has fanned an absurd 99 times over that span. Likewise, he has not been able to translate his raw power into home runs, and his 19 long balls last season marked a career-high effort. Fellow Altoona outfielder Starling Marte projects better than Latimore at this point in time, albeit with less power and more speed.
4. Casey Crosby, P, DET - Injuries have plagued the 22-year-old Crosby, who missed most of 2010 with an elbow injury and had some forearm discomfort recently. Perhaps only behind rotation mate Jacob Turner in terms of pure stuff, Crosby has walked 50 batters in 79.2 innings for Double-A Erie. Over his last two starts, Crosby has lasted just seven innings in total, allowing nine earned runs over that span. He's walked at least five batters in four of his last 10 outings. Despite this wildness, Crosby still has a 3.73 ERA overall, opposing batters are hitting .229 against him, and he has posted an impressive 2.14 GO:AO ratio. Crosby has loads of potential, but needs to harness his command if he is to truly succeed at the higher levels.
5. Trey McNutt, P, CHC - It's been a rough year for McNutt, who splashed into the prospect pool last season with a 2.48 ERA and 132:37 K:BB ratio in 116.1 innings between three levels. The 32nd round pick had emerged as arguably the best pitcher in the Cubs' system with the trade of Christopher Archer to the Rays in the offseason. Yet 2011 has been awfully unkind to the 21-year-old righty, who has been absolutely destroyed of late at Double-A Tennessee. He hasn't lasted more than 4.1 innings in each of his last five starts. On June 23, he failed to record a single out, allowing two runs on one hit and four walks. In total over those last five starts, with just 10.1 innings pitched, McNutt has yielded 23 hits, 10 walks and 15 earned runs. With opposing batters hitting a healthy .315 against him this season, McNutt has a lot of work to do to right the ship.
6. Jonathan Schoop, 3B, BAL - Schoop and teammate Manny Machado have been working their way up the O's system together, and Schoop actually had better stats than Machado at Low-A Delmarva before being promoted. Schoop hit .316/.376/.514 with eight home runs, 34 RBI and six steals at Low-A, but has struggled since. The 19-year-old is batting just .210/.252/.267 with 10 RBI through 27 games for High-A Frederick. His last 10 contests have been even worse, as Schoop is batting just .111 with zero extra-base hits over that span. He's still very young, but Schoop may not have the meteoric rise potential, or the long-term upside, that Machado could have.
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