Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers

Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our Minor League Barometer series.

The prospect promotions are coming fast. Adley Rutschman made his way to the Show for the O's and hit a triple in his big-league debut. Meanwhile, former Little League teammates Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore got to the Majors on the same weekend for the Cardinals. Gorman has looked particularly impressive by collecting a hit in each of his first three games, including a 3-for-5 performance in Sunday's 18-4 drubbing of the Pirates. Though Liberatore has already been sent back down, he'll certainly return soon.

Who's got next? Let's take a look at some other prospects at or near the precipice in this edition of the Barometer.

UPGRADE

Corbin Carroll, OF, ARI – The Diamondbacks should be thrilled with the start of Alek Thomas in his big-league career so far, and Carroll is expected to be even better. In fact, the argument can be made Carroll has been the top performer in the minors.  At just 21, he's slashing .328/.462/.694 with 12 home runs, 25 RBI and 13 steals through 34 games at Double-A. Arizona wasn't expected to contend this season but are a surprising 21-22. While this development is still unlikely to rush Carroll straight to the bigs, he's simply overwhelmed the competition and could shortly find himself at Triple-A. Hot take: he might currently be baseball's top prospect.

Gavin Stone, P, LAD – A fifth-round pick in 2020 out of Central Arkansas, Stone has found little resistance at every level. He posted an outstanding 138:25 K:BB in only 91 innings between Low-A and High-A last

The prospect promotions are coming fast. Adley Rutschman made his way to the Show for the O's and hit a triple in his big-league debut. Meanwhile, former Little League teammates Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore got to the Majors on the same weekend for the Cardinals. Gorman has looked particularly impressive by collecting a hit in each of his first three games, including a 3-for-5 performance in Sunday's 18-4 drubbing of the Pirates. Though Liberatore has already been sent back down, he'll certainly return soon.

Who's got next? Let's take a look at some other prospects at or near the precipice in this edition of the Barometer.

UPGRADE

Corbin Carroll, OF, ARI – The Diamondbacks should be thrilled with the start of Alek Thomas in his big-league career so far, and Carroll is expected to be even better. In fact, the argument can be made Carroll has been the top performer in the minors.  At just 21, he's slashing .328/.462/.694 with 12 home runs, 25 RBI and 13 steals through 34 games at Double-A. Arizona wasn't expected to contend this season but are a surprising 21-22. While this development is still unlikely to rush Carroll straight to the bigs, he's simply overwhelmed the competition and could shortly find himself at Triple-A. Hot take: he might currently be baseball's top prospect.

Gavin Stone, P, LAD – A fifth-round pick in 2020 out of Central Arkansas, Stone has found little resistance at every level. He posted an outstanding 138:25 K:BB in only 91 innings between Low-A and High-A last season. Stone started at High-A again in 2022, but it was rather clear he's a cut above notching a 1.44 ERA and 28:6 K:BB across 25 innings over a span of six starts. That resulted in a quick bump to Double-A and he dazzled in his first outing scattering five hits in five innings while fanning eight batters and issuing no walks. Stone is athletic, has added some ticks on the radar gun to his heater, and has honed his changeup and slider. His stock certainly appears to be on the rise.

Edwin Arroyo, SS, SEA – The switch-hitting Arroyo encountered a rude awakening in 21 games at rookie ball last season, but he's quickly changed the narrative through 36 games this year slashing .309/.385/.557 with eight home runs, 32 RBI and eight steals. His power stroke has been much better than initially advertised and he's also produced seven doubles and three triples. Arroyo has also shown much more polish at the dish than anticipated. A second-round pick in last year's draft, he's already exceeding expectations.

Ezequiel Duran, 2B, TEX – The toolsy Duran was one of several minor leaguers sent from the Yankees to the Rangers as part of the Joey Gallo deal last season. He collected 19 home runs and 19 steals in 105 games at High-A, and appears well on his way to similar numbers at Double-A with six homers and six steals through 36 contests. Duran's bat speed draws rave reviews and he's responded with a .304 average. He may end up having to move to a corner infield spot due to the presence of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, but he offers power, speed and the ability to hit for enough average to become an intriguing contributor as early as 2023.

CHECK STATUS

Francisco Alvarez, C, NYM – When starting backstop James McCann went down a few weeks ago with a wrist injury, calls for Alvarez were immediately made. After all, he's the Mets' top prospect and the depth ahead of him isn't exactly world-class as Tomas Nido is a career backup and the same can be said of Patrick Mazeika while neither strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. However, Alvarez has had his share of troubles this season slashing just .246/.329/.405 in 33 games at Double-A and has seen something of a power outage of late with no homers since the first six games of the season. Even with the injury bug at the big-league level, the Mets are cruising atop a very weak NL East. As a result, and especially with Alvarez scuffling a tad, it's extremely unlikely they would look to Alvarez in the short-term, though his promise remains for 2023 and beyond.

Liover Peguero, SS, PIT – Oneil Cruz and Nick Gonzales get more pub in the Pittsburgh organization, but Peguero is having the best year so far among the trio hitting .317/.346/.517 with three home runs, 27 RBI and nine steals through 35 games at Double-A Altoona. He boasts above-average speed, emerging power and an aggressive approach at the dish. While Pittsburgh would probably like Peguero to be slightly more selective and patient in the batter's box, it hasn't hurt his production thus far. At 21, he's likely to spend the entirety of the 2022 campaign in the minors, but a 2023 debut is certainly possible.

Orelvis Martinez, SS/3B, TOR – On the plus side, Martinez leads the Eastern League with 12 home runs. Titanic power is his calling card having sent 28 deep in only 98 games between Low-A and High-A in 2021. However, he's also struggling to hit for average and make consistent contact batting .220 through 33 games at Double-A. Martinez has also fanned 41 times during that time period, while drawing just seven walks. He's been rather aggressively promoted despite his contact issues, though his tremendous power results in extremely hard contact when he does meet bat squarely with the ball. The question will be always be whether Martinez can hit for a decent average.

Greg Jones, SS, TB – Jones has experienced some difficulty adjusting to Double-A batting under .210 in 45 games between last season and this year. On a positive note, he continues to excel on the basepaths swiping an impressive 24 bags. Jones would certainly have even more opportunities if he could make more consistent contact, draw a few more walks and cut down on his strikeouts having been punched out 68 times at Double-A with only 15 free passes. He's already 24, so this may simply be the player he is going to be. However, the Rays will still give Jones some more slack, especially since he never hit below .291 before ascending to Double-A.

DOWNGRADE

Luis Gil, P, NYY – It's been a rough last week to be a pitcher in the Yankees organization. Closer Aroldis Chapman has been extremely shaky of late, reliever Chad Green needs Tommy John surgery, and so does Gil. One of the top pitching prospects for the Bronx Bombers, Gil has already had some success at the big-league level. He even made a spot start for the Yankees earlier this month against the White Sox. However, he exited his most recent start at Triple-A due to injury, immediately pointing to his elbow. He too will go under the knife and could be sidelined until the start of 2024.

Hedbert Perez, OF, MIL – At one time considered the top prospect in the Milwaukee organization, the adjustment to full-season ball has been difficult for Perez. Still just 19, he now has 48 games at Low-A between last season and this year and is batting well below .180. Perez has managed three home runs and 17 RBI in 32 contests during 2022, but has fanned a staggering 49 times. He's still among the younger players at this level, but the sample size is small and he remains a highly touted prospect. However, this is certainly not the start to full-season ball that Perez and the Brewers envisioned.

Hunter Bishop, OF, SF – Bishop missed all but 16 games a season ago due to an assortment of injuries. Between that and the lost 2020 minor league season due to COVID-19, the No. 10 overall pick in 2019 has only made 78 professional appearances. Bishop finally looks healthy, but has been mediocre at best in 30 games at High-A slashing just .200/.273/.364. Though he's hit four home runs and swiped seven bags, he's fanned 45 times while drawing only 11 free passes. Once viewed of the same ilk as Luis Matos and Heliot Ramos, Bishop will turn 24 next month and instead has seen his stock take a nosedive.

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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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