It's been a hot week for pitching prospects getting the call to the Show. Drew Hutchison got the win in his major-league debut Saturday; despite giving up five runs in 5.1 innings, he likely will remain in the rotation until Dustin McGowan recovers from a foot injury. Jarrod Parker will make his MLB debut for the A's on Wednesday, taking Graham Godfrey's place. A Tommy John victim in 2010, Parker still throws extremely hard and has front-line potential. Meanwhile, Wily Peralta, arguably the most polished pitcher in the Brewers organization, has been promoted and could get a shot at Chris Narveson's vacant spot in the rotation at some point. Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs or Patrick Corbin could see their own big-league dreams come true soon as well.
Could some hitters be following shortly? The Cubs dealt Marlin Byrd to the BoSox, opening a possible summer call-up for stud prospect Brett Jackson. Meanwhile, Anthony Rizzo continues to show that Triple-A is no match for him. Alex Castellanos could make it to the bigs the way he's raking, along with the ineffectiveness of some of the Dodgers infielders. And don't forget about uber-prospect Mike Trout, who is tearing the cover off of the ball in Triple-A.
Let's look at the rest of the prospect scene in the latest edition of the Minor League Barometer.
Billy Hamilton, SS, CIN - The man of 100 steals is back, and apparently even better than before. After swiping an astounding 103 bags for Low-A in 2011, Hamilton is off to a blazing start in 2012 at High-A. The 21-year-old speedster is hitting .375/.467/.609 with a home run, eight RBI and 14 steals through 17 games. Hamilton has shown improved power as well as more patience at the dish, drawing 10 walks already. Although he still strikes out a bit too much, and is playing in the hitter-friendly California League, it's hard to argue with the results thus far. He is an absolute terror on the base paths and is developing into one of the elite prospects in the game.
Oscar Taveras, OF, STL - One of the youngest players in Double-A, the 19-year-old Taveras is batting .318/.328/.606 with three home runs and 16 RBI through 15 games. Not surprisingly, he's impatient at the plate, walking just once while fanning 10 times. Nevertheless, Taveras is clearly advanced for his age and still has time to mature and fill out. He slashed an absurd .386/.444/.584 with eight home runs and 62 RBI in 78 games at Low-A. Combine the fact that he skipped a level altogether, and Taveras could end up as one of the crown jewels of the St. Louis system.
Matt Davidson, 1B/3B, AZ - Few hitters have been as hot as Davidson to begin the 2012 season. The 21-year-old corner infielder is hitting .379/.481/.621 with three home runs and 11 RBI through 18 games for Double-A Mobile. Although he's been punched out 13 times, he has also drawn 12 walks over that span. A 2009 first-round pick, Davidson finally appears to be reaching his potential. He drove in 106 runs at High-A in 2011. The Diamondbacks are obviously stocked in their minor-league pitching, but Davidson looks to have something to say about the hitting in the system, too.
Tyler Thornburg, P, MIL - With apologies to the aforementioned Wily Peralta, as well as 2011 first-round pick Taylor Jungmann, Thornburg is the best pitcher on the Milwaukee farm. He flirted with a no-no April 16, allowing one hit while fanning 11 in 7.1 innings. Overall, the 23-year-old righty has posted a superior 2.01 ERA and 26:4 K:BB ratio through 22.1 innings for Double-A Huntsville. Overall, he is holding opponents to a putrid .167 BAA this season. If his command continues to be this sharp, Thornburg could make his way to the Brewers rotation by the end of 2012.
Anthony Gose, OF, TOR - Gose hasn't exactly been lighting it up to begin his 2012 campaign. The 21-year-old is hitting .211/.302/.276 with six RBI and four steals through 18 games for Triple-A Las Vegas. He has struck out 21 times during that period. However, it is worth noting Gose's advanced level for his age, the small sample size, as well as his intriguing combination of speed and merging power. He is also 4-for-9 in his last two games. It remains to be seen whether he can hit for average, but Gose is still developing and remains among the more interesting prospects in the minors.
Daniel Rosenbaum, P, WAS - How about this start for the 24-year-old lefty? Rosenbaum has a 1.25 ERA and 16:0 K:BB ratio through 21.2 innings for Double-A Harrisburg. Yes, you read that correctly. While he'll certainly walk a batter sooner or later, Rosenbaum will have to maintain superb control, particularly with his above-average curveball, to be effective over the long haul. He's not a future ace, but Rosenbaum has met little resistance at every level he's encountered. Last year's 2.52 ERA was his highest at any level since his minor-league career began in 2009.
Jurickson Profar, SS, TEX - Don't let Profar's inclusion here fool you; he has virtually limitless potential. However, with the Texas middle infield set right now, along with his youth in Double-A, it could be a while before Profar sees the bigs. He is also hitting just .217/.289/.417 in 16 games for Double-A Frisco, with 12 strikeouts to his name. Although he's swatted three home runs and swiped two bags, his ability to hit for average could end up being the biggest question in Profar's game. He has plenty of time to grow, though, and he's certainly way ahead of the curve.
Matt Barnes, P, BOS - Barnes has been unhittable to begin his minor-league career, posting a zero ERA and 25:2 K:BB ratio through 16 innings for Low-A Greenville. The polished righty out of the University of Connecticut has allowed just six hits over that span. Low-A hitters are clearly no match for Barnes, and he should be moving up the ranks shortly. However, just make sure the 2011 first-rounder continues to excel over longer stretches and at the higher levels before deeming him an elite prospect.
Chris Archer, P, TB - Once again, small sample sizes beware. Apparently I jumped the gun on Archer's first-start upgrade. He's been just dreadful since that quality outing to begin the 1012 campaign. Archer has allowed 16 runs on 17 hits in 18 innings for Triple-A Durham, leading to a bloated 8.00 ERA. Poor control has once again come back to haunt the 23-year-old righty, as he has walked 16 batters over that span. Add in the depth the Rays have in their major-league rotation, and Archer will have to hone his craft in Triple-A for the foreseeable future.
Jedd Gyorko, 3B, SD - Leaving the friendly hitting confines of the California league has taken Gyorko's game down a notch. Although he still shows patience at the dish, his strikeouts are up and his power is down in Double-A. The 23-year-old is slashing .231/.351/.365 through 17 games in 2012, with two home runs and eight RBI. In fact, Gyorko has just nine dingers in 76 games at Double-A the last two seasons, after smashing 18 in 81 games at High-A earlier in 2011. Chase Headley raking as the Padres' starting third baseman doesn't help his cause, either. Don't give up on Gyorko, but temper expectations.
Bobby Bundy, P, BAL - Bobby's brother Dylan is the better prospect, but the elder Bundy held his own in 2011 between High-A and Double-A. Bobby posted a 3.51 ERA and 113:42 K:BB ratio in 136 innings last year. This season has not been as kind, though, as Bobby has a 5.31 ERA and 14:9 K:BB ratio through 15.0 innings at Double-A. With suspect control and lack of overpowering stuff, Bobby could be in for a rude awakening at the higher levels. Just for kicks, Dylan Bundy has not allowed a hit through his first three starts for Low-A Delmarva, posting a 15:1 K:BB ratio in 9.0 innings. Is that good?
Allen Webster, P, LAD - It's not that Webster has been awful, he just hasn't shown the same magic in Double-A that he had at the lower levels. To begin 2012, the 22-year-old righty has a 4.43 ERA and 16:9 K:BB ratio through 20.1 innings. In 18 appearances last season for Double-A Chattanooga, Webster compiled a 5.04 ERA and 73:36 K:BB ratio in 91 innings. Still considered one of the better prospects in the Dodgers system, one wonders whether he'd be lesser known in a superior farm system.
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