The trade deadline saw a lot of movement among the minor-league ranks. Highly-touted pitching prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White traveled from Cleveland to Colorado in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal. This move could slightly hurt their value due to having to pitch at Coors Field once they reach the bigs. Meanwhile, Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin get bumped up a bit since they're heading from loaded Texas to a rebuilding San Diego Padres club. The two hurlers will also end up honing their craft at Petco, a notorious pitcher's park. Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton likely will hit the majors sooner with the lowly Astros than they would have with the contending Phillies. The same could be said for Brett Oberholtzer in Houston, as he was stuck behind a bevy of arms in Atlanta, as well as Zack Wheeler moving from the Giants to the Mets. And Chih-Hsien Chang and Trayvon Robinson, frequent visitors of the Barometer this season, should finally get the chance to play with the Mariners after being part of the package sent to Seattle in the three-way Eric Bedard deal.
Who's got next? Let's take a glimpse into the future in this week's Minor League Barometer.
1. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, AZ - OK, so you didn't need a crystal ball to know that Goldschmidt has already gotten the call up to the bigs for the Diamondbacks. Straight from Double-A to the majors, Goldschmidt predictably replaces Brandon Allen, who was given a two-week tryout at first and then jettisoned to the A's in the Brad Ziegler trade. Goldschmidt will start at first after posting a Herculean line of .306/.435/.626 with 30 home runs, 94 RBI and nine steals in 103 games at Double-A Mobile. Goldilocks did fan 92 times over that span, but also drew 82 walks en route to a superior 1.061 OPS. As long as Goldschmidt continues to work long at-bats and drive the ball, he should have no problem sticking as the first baseman of the future for Arizona.
2. Angelo Songco, OF, LAD - With Trayvon Robinson now in Seattle and Jerry Sands having flopped in his first attempt to secure the left field slot in LA, the 22-year-old Songco could be the next hope for the floundering Dodgers. Though he is only at High-A Rancho Cucamonga, the left-fielder is batting .303/.359/.545 with 21 home runs and 83 RBI through 104 games for the Quakes. He is batting .364 over his last 10 contests as well. As with many hitters with limited minor-league experience, Songco has battled plate discipline issues, fanning 96 times while drawing just 35 walks. Nevertheless, the 2009 fourth-rounder will set career-highs across the board in what has been a breakout season, and he could see the bigs as early as next season should he continue to rake.
3. Deck McGuire, P, TOR - McGuire has been sharp in his first season with the Jays after being selected with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2010 draft. He was recently promoted to Double-A New Hampshire after sporting a 2.75 ERA and 102:38 K:BB ratio in 104.2 innings for High-A Dunedin. The 22-year-old righty held opposing batters to an anemic .228 BAA. In his first start at Double-A on July 27, McGuire picked up the win by going seven effective innings, allowing three runs, walking two batters while punching out six. Though he doesn't get the pub or "upside" talk of fellow classmates Drew Pomeranz or Matthew Harvey, McGuire already appears to be going longer and deeper into starts than the aforementioned duo. A late 2012, early 2013 debut appears likely.
4. Matt Moore, P, TB - Moore deserves a mention despite his "Captain Obvious" status among prospect gurus. Arguably the best pitching prospect in baseball, the 22-year-old lefty has breezed through his first two starts for Triple-A Durham. In 13.0 innings, Moore has allowed six hits and one earned run for a minuscule 0.69 ERA. He has fanned an astounding 20 batters over that span, including 13 in his last contest on July 27. With opposing batters hitting a putrid .136 against him, Moore is the real deal. If you prefer larger sample sizes, Moore had a 2.20 ERA and 131:28 K:BB ratio in 102.1 innings at Double-A before the promotion. Forgive the cliche, but the sky is the limit for Moore.
5. James Paxton, P, SEA - Paxton has been a revelation for the M's in his first full season in the minors. He stormed through Low-A with a 2.73 ERA and 80:30 K:BB ratio in 56.0 innings, posting an impressive 1.72 GO:AO ratio. He was then sent straight to Double-A Jackson, where his success continued. In five starts for the Generals, Paxton has compiled a 2.49 ERA and 31:11 K:BB ratio. He is still getting an abundance of ground balls with a 1.27 GO:AO ratio. With opposing batters hitting just .239 against him, the Mariners may have found another fairly under-the-radar gem.
6. Michael Taylor, OF, OAK - Taylor has gotten a bad rap over the past year or so due to injuries and decreased performance, but the 25-year-old may have finally gotten his act together. Taylor is hitting .281/.367/.479 with 12 home runs, 47 RBI and seven stolen bases this season. He is batting .318 over his past seven games, including two home runs. He has drawn six walks over that span, while fanning only three times. With Josh Willingham possibly on the way out through waivers, David DeJesus battling injury and Chris Carter back at first base, the door could be open for Taylor to finally make his long-awaited impact at the big-league level.
1. Drew Smyly, P, DET
2. Drew Vettleson, OF, TB
3. Christian Yelich, OF, FLA
4. Dante Bichette Jr., 3B, NYY
5. Kyle Parker, OF, COL
1. Francisco Martinez, 3B, SEA - Martinez made his way to Seattle in the Doug Fister trade, as one of the better prospects in the Tigers system. Already at Double-A, the 20-year-old hit .282/.319/.405 with seven home runs, 46 RBI and seven steals with Erie before the trade was consummated. However, he fanned 80 times in 91 games, while drawing just 19 walks. While these numbers should not be that surprising for a young player at an advanced level, Martinez has not shown plus-power or plus-speed to this point either. Likewise, Kyle Seager and Vincent Catricala appear to be ahead of him on the depth chart at the hot corner for the rebuilding M's. Though Seattle can certainly take its time with the maturing Martinez, he's a line-drive hitter who may need a new position when all is said and done.
2. Stetson Allie, P, PIT - Allie has been a disaster in his first eight appearances with State College in the Low-A Short-Season New York-Penn League. The 20-year-old righty has a horrific 7.78 ERA in 19.2 innings. He has walked 17 batters over that span. Though he has fanned 21 batters, the fireballer has been extremely wild, with little idea as where the ball is headed. He has been on a very tight leash, going four innings just twice this season for his career-high. Allie did not record a single out in his last start on July 28, allowing five runs in the process. Though it is certainly early in his career, the frustration is building among Pirates execs regarding his lack of progress and direction.
3. Brody Colvin, P, PHI - With Jarred Cosart off to Houston, Colvin moves up the pitching prospect ladder for the Phils. However, the 20-year-old righty has had a mediocre 2011 campaign at High-A Clearwater. Though he has posted an excellent 1.47 GO:AO ratio, Colvin has walked 34 batters in 89.0 innings, while striking out only 62 hitters. Opposing batters are hitting .272 against him, as his ERA currently sits at 4.25. It appears that Colvin's location has been off this season, and he is getting fewer swings and misses. Over his last two starts, the 20-year-old has allowed eight runs and 12 hits in 10.0 innings. He punched out six batters but issued seven free passes over that span. Colvin remains a high-end prospect among the Philadelphia ranks, but his overall prospect status has taken a bit of a hit in 2011.
4. Charlie Culberson, 2B, SF - Culberson has regressed a bit in 2011 after a breakout 2010 campaign. Last season, the 22-year-old hit .284/.335/.448 with 16 home runs, 70 RBI and 25 steals for High-A San Jose. In 2011, Culberson is batting .264/.301/.385 with seven home runs, 38 RBI and 12 steals, albeit at Double-A Richmond. He is on a 2-for-29 streak, with nine strikeouts and just one walk drawn over that span. Culberson is on pace to set a career high in strikeouts with 104 already in 2011. His patience at the dish needs to improve at the higher levels, and it also remains to be seen if last season's power numbers were merely an aberration.
5. Kyle Heckathorn, P, MIL - Double-A has been a bit of an adjustment for the 23-year-old righty, who has posted a 4.67 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 16:11 K:BB ratio through 27.0 innings with Double-A Huntsville. In his last start on Aug. 1, Heckathorn allowed six earned runs on nine hit in just 4.1 innings. It marked the fourth time this season, between High-A and Double-A, that Heckathorn had allowed at least six earned runs in a game. With Tyler Thornburg surging and Cody Scarpetta and Wily Peralta ahead of Heckathorn from a developmental standpoint, Heckathorn needs to be more consistent to avoid getting lost in the shuffle.
6. David Holmberg, P, AZ - Holmberg stormed onto the prospect scene at Low-A this season, as the 20-year-old lefty had a 2.39 ERA and 81:13 K:BB ratio in 83.0 innings. Opposing batters hit just .212 against him at that level. However, Holmberg has had mixed results since moving to High-A Visalia. Through six starts with the Rawhide, Holmberg has a 5.01 ERA and a 28:13 K:BB ratio through 32.1 innings. He has already walked as many batters in High-A as he did through his entire time at Low-A. Likewise, he has not kept the ball down as efficiently; after posting a 1.33 GO:AO ratio at his previous stop, Holmberg has a 0.89 GO:AO ratio with High-A Visalia. Though the sample size is on the small side, and Holmberg is still young, he clearly has some work to do, particularly with players like Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Jarrod Parker and Patrick Corbin ahead of him.