Thanks to a multitude of injuries to the Rockies’ pitching staff, Anderson finally got his first chance to pitch in the big leagues after being a first-round draft pick in the star-studded 2011 first year player draft. The left-hander was expected to be a little rusty considering he missed all of 2015 with an elbow injury, and was not expected to perform overly well given the fact that he had never pitched above Double-A in his career. However, Anderson quickly proved why the Rockies spent a first-round selection on him in the first place.
Oh, dubbed “The Final Boss” for his late-game dominance in Korea and Japan, might be the new final boss for St. Louis. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny informed Trevor Rosenthal on Saturday that he will no longer be the team’s closer, and Oh is the logical choice to step into the role. Oh’s numbers have been off the charts in his first season in the United States. He’s posted a 1.66 ERA and 0.79 WHIP to go along with a 51:8 K:BB ratio across 38 innings, and has allowed just one home run.
Justin Bour has bumped his batting average up a whopping 27 points, while also smacking five home runs and 17 RBI, since June 10. With a current slash line of .273/.342/.535 and 14 home runs, Bour is on pace for an excellent season. It’s a shame that he is even available in some leagues right now.
Mengden will not be found high on top prospect lists but he may prove to be a hidden gem based on the season he is having. His ascension this season was rapid — he had not pitched above High-A prior to this spring.
After cruising through four Double-A starts with a 0.78 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 23 innings, Mengden was fast tracked to Triple-A where he was nearly as dominant. He had a 1.39 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in seven turns at Triple-A before being summoned to the A’s. Despite an 0-3 start, Mengden has delivered with a 3.00 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 21 Ks in 18 innings.
Reed was part of the Reds’ haul in the Johnny Cueto deal last July, and made his debut with the organization at Double-A Pensacola. In eight starts for the Blue Wahoos, Reed went 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 1.12 WHIP while racking up 60 strikeouts in just 49.2 innings. Promoted to Triple-A Louisville to begin 2016, he posted a 3.20 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 64.2 innings while whiffing 63 batters before his recent call to the bigs.
The left-hander was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft by the Royals. He’s a top-three prospect in the Reds organization and a consensus top-100 prospect in all of baseball. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs in at a solid 225 pounds, and the 23-year-old uses that frame to pump his fastball in near the mid-90s on average. Reed also has a downright filthy slider that can dominate hitters on both sides of the plate. Impressive for such a young gun, there’s a refined third weapon in Reed’s arsenal as well. Option three is a changeup that comes in at close to the same speed as his slider.
Cincinnati’s hope for the future put his repertoire on display in his MLB debut June 18 against the Astros. Of Reed’s nine punchouts, the slider went for the final strike on six of them. His secondary pitches induced a ridiculous number of swings and misses — a whiff rate of 32.4 percent. The rookie will likely deal with hiccups along the way, but Reed is already a polished pitcher and will only get better with time.
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Naquin has now amassed a solid 107 at-bat sample at the major league level, and has done nothing to suggest that his solid minor league career has been a mirage. The 25-year-old posted wOBAs of .366, .383, .354, .359, .403, .359 and .344 over seven different minor-league stints of various duration, and has managed to best all of those numbers with his current .394 figure with the Indians in 2016. He’s even displayed much better power at this level than at any other time during his professional career.
There’s stolen base potential here as well, although it hasn’t truly manifested itself as of yet. Naquin posted double-digit steals at two minor league stops, and tallied OBP figures between .345 and .419 in seven of eight minor league stints as well. He’s managed average to above-average K/BB rates throughout his pro career, so his current 31.9 percent strikeout rate, six points higher than his previous high in a Double-A stint in 2013, is bound to shrink over time as he continues to adjust to big league pitching.
Finally, playing time remains on Naquin’s side at the moment. He’s solid on defense and has certainly done plenty to contribute, as evidenced by his .318/.376/.551 line. He’s also capable of playing all three outfield positions, and the Indians currently have two players at those spots on suspension (Marlon Byrd, Abraham Almonte) and one on the DL (Michael Brantley) with no clear timetable for return. The 2012 first-round pick thus seems to figure in heavily in Cleveland’s plans as the season approaches its midway point, and could well be a factor for the duration of the 2016 campaign.
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