Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers

Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our Minor League Barometer series.

Two rather highly touted neophytes got the call this week with Jose Miranda and MJ Melendez joining their respective clubs due to injuries. With Miguel Sano and Kyle Garlick both heading to the Injured List for the Twins, Miranda received a promotion primarily to add depth to the batting order. Meanwhile, Melendez hit primetime due to Kansas City backup catcher Cam Gallagher  getting hurt. It would appear Miranda has the greater chance at a more immediate impact given that Salvador Perez is directly ahead of Melendez at the position. That being said, both Melendez and Miranda should see some at-bats at DH, at least until their squads get healthier. Opportunity knocks, so let's see who'll take advantage.

Here are some other movers and shakers in this week's Minor League Barometer.

UPGRADE

Blake Walston, P, ARI – Everyone wants to talk about Arizona's organizational hitting depth, and rightfully so. However, Drey Jameson, Ryne Nelson and Walston have all gotten off to fast starts on the mound. Walston is a 6-5 southpaw with a lethal curveball who posted a 2.55 ERA and 27:7 K:BB in just 17.2 innings at High-A before getting a quick bump to Double-A. His four-pitch arsenal misses bats, and he likely can add some beef to his lanky frame for a few extra ticks on his fastball. Despite being only 20, Walston purportedly has the mental makeup and the athleticism to handle older, more experienced hitters. 2022 may not go so well for the big club, but 2023 and beyond looks to

Two rather highly touted neophytes got the call this week with Jose Miranda and MJ Melendez joining their respective clubs due to injuries. With Miguel Sano and Kyle Garlick both heading to the Injured List for the Twins, Miranda received a promotion primarily to add depth to the batting order. Meanwhile, Melendez hit primetime due to Kansas City backup catcher Cam Gallagher  getting hurt. It would appear Miranda has the greater chance at a more immediate impact given that Salvador Perez is directly ahead of Melendez at the position. That being said, both Melendez and Miranda should see some at-bats at DH, at least until their squads get healthier. Opportunity knocks, so let's see who'll take advantage.

Here are some other movers and shakers in this week's Minor League Barometer.

UPGRADE

Blake Walston, P, ARI – Everyone wants to talk about Arizona's organizational hitting depth, and rightfully so. However, Drey Jameson, Ryne Nelson and Walston have all gotten off to fast starts on the mound. Walston is a 6-5 southpaw with a lethal curveball who posted a 2.55 ERA and 27:7 K:BB in just 17.2 innings at High-A before getting a quick bump to Double-A. His four-pitch arsenal misses bats, and he likely can add some beef to his lanky frame for a few extra ticks on his fastball. Despite being only 20, Walston purportedly has the mental makeup and the athleticism to handle older, more experienced hitters. 2022 may not go so well for the big club, but 2023 and beyond looks to bring a lot more promise, and Walston could be one of the main reasons.

Michael Harris, OF, ATL – Harris has been tormenting the opposition so far at Double-A by slashing .333/.396/.586 with four home runs, 19 RBI and nine stolen bases in 21 games. All of his homers have come in the last seven contests, including two on Sunday. The recent power surge is particularly noteworthy, as Harris already offers plus speed and an excellent hit tool. If power is indeed another skill in his arsenal, he could emerge as an elite offensive player. Even with only mediocre power, Harris has an extremely bright future and could hit the big leagues alongside Ronald Acuna as early as 2023.

Ezequiel Tovar, SS, COL – Tovar is just 20, but he's already at Double-A for the beloved Hartford Yard Goats and is scorching batting .342/.432/.658 with five home runs, 14 RBI and seven steals in 20 games. Perhaps most impressively, he's already drawn 10 walks after only collecting 17 in 104 last year. Already boasting that intriguing power/speed combination, Tovar's value could skyrocket if he continues to show patience at the dish.

Caleb Kilian, P, CHC – Kilian's meteoric rise has continued into 2022 and is now in Triple-A.  Through four outings, the former Giants draftee has posted a 1.72 ERA and 17:6 K:BB with opposing batters hitting just .200 against while being able to keep the ball down even more so than last season. Kilian is athletic, repeats his delivery and has added velocity to his fastball since entering the minors. The Cubs are desperate for starting pitching currently 27th in starting pitcher ERA. Kilian could certainly help the cause, and should see the big leagues sometime this summer.

CHECK STATUS

Jose Ramos, OF, LAD – Ramos is yet another Dodgers hitting prospect who could be on the cusp of notoriety hitting .307/.398/.627 with five home runs, 17 RBI and two steals in 18 games at High-A. Strikeouts remain a concern fanning 26 times over that span. Ramos may not be as highly thought of as fellow outfielder and organization mate Andy Pages, but he remains firmly on the prospect radar.

Brandon Walter, P, BOS – Walter may be on the older side in terms of prospecting, but the former reliever has been wildly successful since transitioning back into a starting role. The 25-year-old lefty has produced a 29:0 K:BB through the first four starts at Double-A. Yes, you read that correctly. Walter also hasn't allowed a single walk over 23 innings. In 58.1 frames as a starter at High-A in 2021, he punched out an impressive 86 hitters while only issuing 14 free passes.  Rotation mate Brayan Bello gets the pub due to his youth, but Walter is missing bats at an incredibly high rate while showing elite control.

Coby Mayo, 3B, BAL – Mayo has clubbed four homers in his last five outings for High-A Aberdeen, and now has 20 RBI in 19 for the IronBirds. He's powerful and fairly polished at the dish, making him an intriguing future piece for the O's. Mayo just turned 20 during the offseason, so there's no need for Baltimore to rush him to the bigs. Instead, he will continue to get reps in the minors while the perpetually rebuilding organization attempts to finally field a winning squad.

DOWNGRADE

Rece Hinds, OF, CIN – Hinds has been a disappointment since being drafted by the Reds in the second round back in 2019 only playing in 74 games since his selection and off to a rocky start at High-A slashing a mere .143/.239/.270 with two home runs, four RBI and two steals in 17 contests.  He's struggled to make any sort of consistent contact, striking out a staggering 35 times while taking just six walks. Hinds is still only 21 and has had such little on-field experience in the minors partly due to COVID, but the fact remains he's simply looked underwhelming at best.

Kyren Paris, SS, LAA – It has been a brutal start to the season for Paris, arguably the top hitting prospect in the Halos system as he's batting .180/.315/.262 with six RBI and six steals. He continues to struggle with strikeouts having fanned 31 times in 17 games. For a player with limited power, this isn't a positive development. Much like Hinds above, Paris has rather low in-game experience at this point of his professional career. He also doesn't appear to offer one elite tool, but rather shows generally solid all-around skills. Even if Paris realizes his potential, he may end up being a better actual player than fantasy asset.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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