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Minor League Barometer: Castellanos: Begging, But Not a Bum

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.

Apparently Dylan Bundy is human after all. The 19-year-old phenom finally allowed a run - two, in fact - in his debut for High-A Frederick. He allowed six hits for the game - one more than he allowed in 30 innings at Low-A Delmarva. Still, the 6-foot-1 righty tossed five innings en route to a victory for the Keys. His command remained stellar, as Bundy did not walk a batter while fanning six for the contest. He'll have to continue to adjust to the hitting at the higher levels, but Bundy will be arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball once Trevor Bauer hits the big leagues later this season.

UPGRADE

Nick Castellanos, 3B, DET -
Castellanos is begging for a promotion, slashing a ridiculous .414/.476/.554 through 48 games for High-A Lakeland. He's driven in 28 runs over that span, while also bashing two home runs and swiping three bases. Certainly the Tigers would like to see him develop his power stroke, as he has just nine dingers the last two seasons. Still, he has time to mature and fill out at just 20 years old. Likewise, it is tough to argue with his overall production, including a .300-plus batting average since entering the minors in 2010. If his power comes around, Castellanos could emerge as one of the better corner infield prospects in the game.

Danny Hultzen, P, SEA -
Other than the first start of his professional career, Hultzen has not allowed more than two earned runs in any start this season for Double-A Jackson. His ERA sits at a pristine 1.59, while he has posted an impressive 61:27 K:BB ratio through 56.2 innings. His control has also improved over his last few outings; since walking seven batters May 5, Hultzen has compiled a 27:8 K:BB ratio. Opposing batters are hitting a putrid .155 against the 23-year-old lefty. The most polished of the Generals' trio of aces, Hultzen could see the majors by late summer, especially if the Mariners trade Kevin Millwood.

Andrelton Simmons, SS, ATL -
The shortstop of the future for the Braves (sorry, Tyler Pastornicky), Simmons is batting .299/.380/.431 with three home runs, 21 RBI and 10 stolen bases. He's surged lately, slashing .341/.426/.634 with three home runs, six RBI and three steals his last 10 games. The 22-year-old has shown superb plate discipline, drawing 20 walks while fanning just 18 times in 167 at-bats. If he can hit for power, Simmons could be a deadly prospect for Atlanta. As it is, he appears poised for a shot at the starting shotstop job in 2013.

George Springer, OF, HOU -
The No. 11 overall selection in the 2011 draft, Springer has been tearing the cover off of the ball at High-A thus far in 2012. The 22-year-old is batting .314/.362/.572 with 10 home runs, 38 RBI and 10 steals through 46 games for Lancaster. Plate discipline could be something to watch at the higher levels, as Springer has fanned 58 times already for the JetHawks, while drawing just 46 free passes. Still, Springer possesses an intriguing combination of power and speed that makes him one to watch as he works his way up the minors. A promotion to Double-A should be in order shortly.

CHECK STATUS

Matt den Dekker, OF, NYM -
The Mets have a crowded outfield between the return of Andres Torres and Jason Bay, the emergence of Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter and the power bat of Lucas Duda. Nevertheless, 24-year-old den Dekker is still trying to prove he belongs, hitting .306/.373/.513 with six home runs, 22 RBI and seven stolen bases through 47 games for Double-A Binghamton. One item holding him back is his strikeouts, as he has been punched out 52 times this season after a not-so-fantastic 156 times in 139 games in 2011. Still, he remains ready for the call should further injury strike.

Stolmy Pimentel, P, BOS -
After a horrific 2011 campaign in which he accumulated a bloated 6.79 ERA, including an 0-9 record in 15 starts for Double-A Portland, Pimentel has been better during his second stint with the Sea Dogs. In 24.1 innings, the 22-year-old righty has a 4.44 ERA and 19:9 K:BB ratio. Still, his last start was a dud, as he walked four batters and yielded six hits en route to surrendering five earned runs in just three innings. With three excellent outings and two fairly poor performances, it remains to be seen whether Pimentel has finally turned the corner.

Marc Krauss, OF, AZ -
Plate discipline has always been the greatest strength for Krauss, who has drawn 29 walks this season en route to a .413 on-base percentage. The 24-year-old is hitting over .300 this year too, while also smacking eight home runs and knocking in 34 runs in 50 games. The reason why he's not an Upgrade is that he posted a .242 batting average in 2011, his first poor output during his minor-league career. He has also fanned at least 123 times in each of the last two seasons and is on pace to eclipse the 100-strikeout plateau once again in 2012. The Arizona outfield is crowded with Chris Young, Justin Upton, Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra, as well. As long as he proves that 2011 was an aberration, Krauss should be fine. However, he might have to bide his time in the minors, or end up trade bait.

James Paxton, P, SEA -
Paxton will miss his next start for Double-A Jackson due to a knee injury suffered during his last outing. Paxton, who was placed on the seven-day DL, has been decent, though slightly erratic in 2012, posting a 3.88 ERA and 52:32 K:BB ratio through 46.1 innings. By comparison, Paxton walked 43 batters in 95 innings in 2011. He is still getting a nice amount of ground balls (1.34 GO:AO ratio), and opposing batters are hitting just .214 against him. The severity of the injury is unknown, but even if minor, one has to believe that the above-referenced Danny Hultzen has distanced himself on the depth chart.

DOWNGRADE

Mike Montgomery, P, KC -
The experiments with Montgomery's delivery have not paid off thus far, as the 22-year-old has a 5.17 ERA and 37:28 K:BB ratio in 55.5 innings for Triple-A Omaha. The left-hander continues to get bitten by the long ball, surrendering seven already in 2012 after allowing 15 in 2011. Will the Royals scrap the new mechanics? Will they continue to tinker with Monty's delivery? There certainly has to be some level of frustration setting in regarding his lack of progress, as he has now thrown more than 205 innings at Triple-A after not even throwing 200 between Low-A, High-A and Double-A in his career.

Robbie Grossman, OF, PIT -
The 2011 Minor League Player of the Year for the Pirates, Grossman batted .294/.418/.451 with 13 home runs, 56 RBI and 24 steals at High-A. He drew more than 100 walks and scored more than 100 runs in the process. Unfortunately, he has hit a wall in 2012, slashing just .212/.322/.346 with three home runs, 14 RBI and seven steals through 49 games for Double-A Altoona. Over his last 10 contests, Grossman is hitting just .161 to boot. He will have to prove that he can hit for average at the higher levels, as last season's .294 clip was a career high. With only adequate power and speed as well, Grossman's fantasy numbers may not end up being too helpful once he reaches the promised land.

Reymond Fuentes, OF, SD -
The 21-year-old speedster has been rather cold in 2012, batting .247/.322/.321 with one home run, 11 RBI and eight steals through 47 games for Double-A San Antonio. His last 10 games have been even worse, as he's hitting .194 with 11 strikeouts and zero stolen bases. He swiped more than 40 bags in each of the last two seasons, but is certainly below that pace in 2012. He could get hot, but plate discipline remains an issue. Fuentes has 44 strikeouts as compared to 17 walks. This may seem complicated, but if he isn't getting on base, he won't steal as many bases. Since he has never hit higher than .290 at any level, questions abound as to whether he can cut it as a leadoff hitter at the higher levels.

Joe Benson, OF, MIN -
Benson had surgery on his hamate bone Friday and will miss approximately six weeks, continuing a horrific 2012 season for the 24-year-old. Considered one of the top prospects for the Twins heading into 2012, Benson hit just .179/.269/.316 through 28 games with Triple-A Rochester and was subsequently demoted. He didn't fare much better at Double-A, batting .156/.250/.250 through eight games before suffering the injury. As he won't come back until July at the earliest, it is possible Benson won't make it to the big club at all in 2012.

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