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Minor League Barometer: Whose Phone will Ring Next?

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.

Myers and Wheeler and Cole, Oh My! It's a hotshot prospect's world, and we're all just living in it. Wil Myers received the long-awaited call for the Rays following the passing of the Super 2 deadline and will slot into the Tampa Bay starting lineup with the struggles of their corner outfielders. Zack Wheeler should give Matt Harvey some much-needed help, as the Mets need all the pitching they can get with the abysmal offensive effort put forth in 2013. All Gerrit Cole did in his first two starts for the Pirates was beat the Giants and the Dodgers. Although strikeouts may not be there so far for Cole, good results certainly have been.

With so many call-ups already in 2013, it pays to dig deep into the cavernous depths of the minor leagues. Who's got next? Let's find some more gems in this week's Minor League Barometer.

UPGRADE

Joey Gallo, 3B, TEX -
Gallo has been flexing some serious muscle lately, smashing eight home runs over his last 10 games for Low-A Hickory. The 19-year-old slugger leads the minors with 22 home runs to go with 44 RBI. On the downside, Gallo has fanned an astounding 108 times in just 68 games. The number of home runs makes the strikeouts a little easier to stomach, but it is certainly something to watch as Gallo ascends to the higher levels. He has drawn 31 walks this season, so his eye isn't horrendous at the plate despite obvious contact issues. He is also hitting .252 on the year. Still, when Gallo does make contact, the ball flies off his bat, so hopefully his plate discipline will improve as he gains more experience.

Carlos Correa, SS, HOU -
When you're the No. 1 overall selection in the draft, you're going to come under more scrutiny than most. When the No. 2 player picked in the same draft (Byron Buxton) is absolutely crushing the ball, there's going to be even more pressure. After a slow start, Correa has heated up for Low-A Quad Cities. Over his last 10 games, the 18-year-old shortstop is hitting .385/.444/.436 with five RBI and two steals. His season line now stands at .304/.400/.430 with four home runs, 44 RBI and seven steals. Despite the lack of home runs, Correa has been very productive in driving in runs. The Astros believe those doubles with turn into dingers as he matures. As of now Buxton has passed him, but it's certainly very early in the process, and Correa's upside remains enormous.

Addison Russell, SS, OAK -
Russell is another 2012 draftee who was woeful out of the gate in 2013, but has turned things around lately. The 19-year-old shortstop is batting .381/.422/.687 over his last 10 games for High-A Stockton. Russell does have 67 strikeouts in 55 games, but it is also important to remember that he played just 16 games at Low-A last season, basically skipping that level outright. He's expected to fill out and hit for power, too, some of which has already been on display with seven home runs this season. With seven steals as well, Russell has brought his overall stat line back to respectability and appears to have adjusted to his surroundings.

Corey Dickerson, OF, COL -
It'd be tough to have a better last 10 games than Dickerson, who is slashing an astounding .528/.587/.806 with one home run, seven RBI and one steal for Triple-A Colorado Springs. The 24-year-old outfielder has been mashing in the Pacific Coast League overall this season, hitting .378/.420/.653 with nine home runs, 36 RBI and six steals through 62 games. Dickerson hit .304 with 22 home runs between High-A and Double-A in 2012 and hit 32 long balls in 2011. With his future home games played in the thin air of Colorado, Dickerson has the potential to be a solid hitter for the Rockies. The only thing standing in his way is the current glut of outfielders at the big-league level.

CHECK STATUS

Reymond Fuentes, OF, SD -
In a year when top prospect Rymer Liriano is out due to Tommy John surgery, a player with a similar skill set has broken out for the Padres. Fuentes has enjoyed an exceptional season thus far for Double-A San Antonio, batting .332/.419/.472 with five home runs, 26 RBI and 23 steals. Fuentes has improved his plate discipline as well, though he is still on pace for his third straight 100-strikeout season. He also was recently placed on the disabled list with an undisclosed injury. Still, it does not seem to have been very newsworthy, and the 23-year-old lefty has rebounded nicely after batting just .218 at the same level in 2012. Just make sure his progress is for real, and he gets a clean bill of health too.

A.J. Cole, P, WAS -
Cole has always been an intriguing prospect, but his career has been marred by inconsistency. In his second stint with the Nationals, Cole's 2012 season with Oakland included a 7.82 ERA and subsequent demotion from High-A back to Low-A. He turned things around in the second half of 2012, though, and his next turn at High-A has been much better. Still, despite showing his usual standout control (just 18 walks in 71.1 innings), Cole has a mediocre 4.16 ERA. However, his strikeout stuff shows his upside, as the 21-year-old righty has 82 punch-outs thus far. He fanned 10 in his last start and 11 in the outing before that. He's still catching a bit too much of the plate, but Cole is definitely a phenom to keep on your radar.

Taylor Lindsey, 2B, LAA -
Lindsey has outperformed teammates Kaleb Cowart and Randal Grichuk, players who were considered better prospects in the Angels organization coming into the 2013 campaign. His uptick in power has been particularly impressive; Lindsey hit just nine home runs in the hitter-friendly California League last season, but already has 10 for Double-A Arkansas in 2013. The 21-year-old hasn't walked a ton, but he has also limited his strikeouts, showing the ability to handle the bat. Still, he'll need to draw a few more walks at the higher levels, as his .336 OBP suggests. If he can improve his patience at the dish, Lindsey could make some waves for the Halos.

Cody Asche, 3B, PHI -
Asche had a stellar year in 2012 between High-A and Double-A, slashing .324/.369/.481 with 12 home runs, 72 RBI and 10 steals. He has been adequate, albeit unspectacular, in 2013. The 22-year-old is hitting .280/.337/.459 with eight home runs and 41 RBI through 66 games. Strikeouts remains a concern, though, as Asche has been punched out 66 times over that span. This statistic represents a jump from 2012, and is disconcerting considering that Asche doesn't possess huge power. Once again, Asche hasn't been a poor performer this season, but it appears the 2013 version is much more along the lines of what we can expect.

DOWNGRADE

Tyrell Jenkins, P, STL -
The Cardinals have been so successful in developing minor league pitchers over the last few seasons (Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, to name a few). Jenkins was drafted as a raw project in the first round in 2010, but has yet to see much progress as we come to the midpoint of the 2013 campaign. In his second season at Low-A, Jenkins possesses a 4.74 ERA and 34:24 K:BB ratio in 49.1 innings. He was blown up in his last start, surrendering five runs in just two innings before leaving with a shoulder injury. Though not considered serious, an injury is the last thing Jenkins needs, as his development has already been a tad slow. He is still just 20, and if any organization can mold him into a future MLB starter, it's this one. However, Jenkins has shown only small glimpses of his promise.

Scott Snodgress, P, CHW -
Although the White Sox admittedly have a thin farm system, Snodgress was considered one of their best pitching prospects heading into this season. The 6-foot-6 lefty out of Stanford has been a disappointment to say the least, posting a bloated 5.02 ERA in 75.1 innings for Double-A Birmingham. Command issues continue to bedevil Snodgress; the 23-year-old has seen a huge dip in strikeouts from 2012, compiling a 43:28 K:BB ratio. He has already given up as many home runs in 2013 as he did all last season as well. The growth has been stunted for Snodgress, and he turns 24 in September. It appears he has some more tweaking to do with his mechanics.

Alen Hanson, SS, PIT -
Hanson may still end up as a solid player, but his 2012 season out of nowhere threw his expectations out of whack. The diminutive second baseman is not a legitimate power threat. He can handle the bat and swipe a few bags, but expecting him to hit 16 home runs in a season like he did last year is pushing it. He has also been caught 10 times in 28 tries on the base paths, which is obviously not a fantastic percentage. At 20-years old, he is hitting .280/.348/.424 with four home runs, 27 RBI and 18 steals. Undoubtedly respectable numbers, though not star caliber. Even with positional scarcity on his side, Hanson's ceiling is not as high as many think.

Victor Roache, OF, MIL -
Roache hasn't exactly hit the ground running in his first professional season. He actually missed all 2012 after breaking his left wrist during the end of his college campaign at Georgia Southern. Not surprisingly, the powerfully built Roache is hitting just .209/.303/.341 through 50 games for Low-A Wisconsin in 2013. The 21-year-old has fanned 58 times during that time, while hitting just six home runs. He's been even worse over his last 10 games, hitting an atrocious .143 with just one walk and 15 strikeouts. It's clear Roache is still working his way back at this point, as he was supposed to possess excellent plate discipline. That hasn't been the case early on in his brief pro career.