Top-100 prospects who might get a September call

Buren Foster/Charlotte Knights

Buren Foster/Charlotte Knights

By Sam Dykstra /

September is only 11 days away and, although that’s a great excuse to link to the great Earth, Wind & Fire song of the same name, it’s also a reason to look at which big-name prospects are likely to head to the Majors when rosters expand to potentially include all players on the 40-man roster on the first day of the month.

This is the chance to finally plug a guy into the lineup/rotation/bullpen after weeks of wondering if he’s good enough to take up a roster spot on the 25-man. That worry goes away with the roster expansion, and players can get their chance to show that they can indeed succeed at the Major League level. Sometimes, that’s done in order to help the team with its playoff push. (Think Nick Castellanos last year with the Tigers.) Other times, it’s a glorified tryout on a team that’s just playing out the string with an eye on next season. Either way, it’s an exciting opportunity.

Kris Bryant, third baseman, Chicago Cubs: You’re waiting for it. We’re waiting for it. Kris Bryant is waiting for it. The Cubs … that might be a different story.  (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of August 20

By Jake Seiner / game stories:

Padres RHP Kyle Lloyd raises money to fight cancer in gem

Dodgers RHP Grant Holmes tosses five scoreless for Ogden

Red Sox RHP Matt Barnes finishing season on high note

Braves 1B/OF Joey Terdoslavich homers in fourth straight game

Indians RHP Dace Kime rights ship with Captains

Royals OF Carlos Peguero goes long again in Tacoma return

Giants LHP Matt Lujan dominates in San Jose walk-off win

New Orleans turns first triple play since 2003 in win

Padres RHP Leonel Campos finding way as starting pitcher

Other top prospect performances:

Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, Triple-A Iowa: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, R, K, BB – The San Diego product returned to full-time duty Tuesday after being slowed by a bruised toe. The homer on Wednesday gives him 41 for the season and a one-homer edge on fellow Las Vegas native Joey Gallo for the Minor League lead.


Prospect Roundup: Games of August 19

By Jake Seiner / games stories:

Dodgers RHP Jose De Leon fans club-record 14 for Great Lakes

Astros INF Nick Tanielu earns MVP in NYPL All-Star deadlock

Cubs SS Addison Russell finishing on high note with Smokies

Yankees RHP Brady Lail throws six hitless frames for Tampa

White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon learns lessons in Knights debut

Nationals RHP Reynaldo Lopez adds six frames to scoreless string

Rays OF Hunter Lockwood not content with early success

Other top prospect performances:

Mariners SS Ketel Marte, Triple-A Tacoma: 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, K — It signaled good things when Seattle had the confidence to bump the 20-year-old to Double-A at the start of the year despite playing only 19 games above Class A, and it’s even more encouraging that Marte performed well enough to earn a bump to the PCL. The switch-hitter has a short, contact oriented stroke from both sides that won’t generate much home run power, but even he can pop a fly ball over the wall once in a while. That’s his third of the season. (more…)

Chronicles of the Lost: Top-100 prospects for whom 2014 is a lost season

Kevin Pataky/

Kevin Pataky/

By Sam Dykstra /

Byron Buxton, No. 1 overall prospect, Twins No. 1

Injury: The inspiration for this post, as you might have guessed. Twins general manager Terry Ryan announced Monday that the club was shutting down their top prospect for the remainder of the season. Buxton notably suffered a concussion as the result of an outfield collision with right fielder Mike Kvasnicka during his Double-A New Britain debut last Wednesday. Wrist injuries had previously limited the 20-year-old center fielder to only 30 games at Class A Advanced Fort Myers. After a breakout first full season, Buxton was expected to start the season in Double-A with an eye toward a Triple-A and perhaps even a Major League debut in 2014 if he could reproduce his exciting production (.334/.424/.520, 49 extra-base hits, 55 stolen bases) from a season ago. Alas, that didn’t happen.  (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of August 18

By Jake Seiner / news:

Twins OF Byron Buxton shut down for season following concussion game stories:

Marlins RHP Anthony DeSclafani leads Zephyrs on another no-hit quest

Rockies 1B Miguel Dilone homers twice, plates eight for Tri-City

Dodgers OF Joc Pederson clubs 30th homer, nears 30/30 milestone

Dodgers LHP Julio Urias lights out in relief with five scoreless

Giants RHP Austin Fleet nabs first complete game with Fresno

Astros RHP Nick Tropeano rides good health to gem for RedHawks

Yankees LHP Manny Banuelos wild, effective in starting RailRiders shutout

D-backs OF Justin Williams sizzles at plate for Silver Hawks

Other top prospect performances:

Indians 3B Giovanny Urshela, Triple-A Columbus: 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, BB — Urshela had earned praise for his defense but failed to show much at the plate coming into 2014. He’s changed that, though, with a tremendous campaign split between Double-A and Triple-A. He’s hit .333 with four homers in his past 10 games, driving his Triple-A line to .284/.345/.509 in 92 games. At 22, Urshela is curiously unheralded for a young player having such success at the upper levels.


Prospect Roundup: Games of August 17

By Jake Seiner / news:

Cubs 3B Kris Bryant diagnosed with foot contusion games stories:

Marlins LHP Andrew Heaney takes no-hitter into eighth

Rangers 3B Joey Gallo reaches 40-homer mark again

Pirates RHP Tyler Glasnow starts another scoreless streak

Angels 1B Dennis Raben homers twice, 66ers go long seven times

Phillies LHP Hoby Milner twirls first complete-game shutout

Yankees 3B Eric Jagielo ties career high with four hits

Braves LHP Oriel Caicedo ‘phenomenal’ in Danville debut

Angels LHP Wade LeBlanc starts Bees’ triple play

Other top prospect performances:

Red Sox 3B/OF Garin Cecchini, Triple-A Pawtucket: 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, R, 2 K — Cecchini has homered twice in his past five games and is hitting .341 over his past 10 contests. That run has helped him lift his season average up to .250 after struggling through the middle of the season.


Prospect Roundup: Games of August 16

By Jake Seiner / news:

Cubs 3B Kris Bryant to have MRI for painful left foot game stories:

Twins RHP Virgil Vasquez spins no-hitter for New Britain

Nationals RHP Ian Dickson dominates in Potomac victory

Pirates SS JaCoby Jones plates career-high five, hits grand slam

Tigers LHP Kevin Ziomek sharp again for Whitecaps

A’s OF Jaycob Brugman belts two more for Ports

Giants LHP Steve Messner stifles SAL’s top offense

Giants RHP Clayton Blackburn fans 11 in duel

Rockies RHP Chad Bettis breezes through eight for Sky Sox

Astros RHP Joe Musgrove has way with Yanks in ‘Cats win

Other top prospect performances:

Phillies OF Aaron Altherr, Double-A Reading: 1-for-6, HR, 3 RBI, R, K in doubleheader — The 22-year-old is finishing strong after a tough 2014 season. He’s clubbed five homers in his past 10 games, bringing his season total to 14. His overall slash line is .238/.296/.412. Altherr is very athletic and has considerable upside, and may finally be tapping into that a bit as 2014 winds toward an end.


Prospect Roundup: Games of August 15

By Jake Seiner / news:

Padres LHP Max Fried to undergo Tommy John surgery games stories:

Blue Jays LHP Daniel Norris whiffs 13 in second IL start

Rays RHP Nathan Karns unhittable for six innings

Angels LHP Tyler DeLoach dominates for seven frames

Mets RHP Marcos Molina does it again in Cyclones’ win

Rockies 1B Correlle Prime homers twice, drives in six

Mariners OF Gabby Guerrero homers in both ends of twinbill

Reds RHP Nick Travieso ‘battles,’ limits Rods to one hit

Tulsa three-step: Drillers turn triple play

Twins LHP Stephen Gonsalves keeps pitch count, Chiefs down

Other top prospect performances:

Yankees OF Tyler Austin, Double-A Trenton: 3-for-4, 2 2B, R — Austin has been white hot in August, slashing .388/.434/.714 in 13 games. He’s been playing much better really since the start of July, and may be finally hitting his way out of Double-A after first reaching Trenton in 2012. (more…)

Minoring in Twitter: Francisco Lindor dumps bucket of ice on his head

By Danny Wild /

lindorCEDAR RAPIDSSo if you’re on social media, you’ve probably noticed poor-quality cell phone video clips of your friends getting dumped with ice water. And you probably wondered, “Have Minor League players also been caught up this social media/charity trend?” We here at actually were not wondering that, but we follow a lot of Minor Leaguers on Twitter, so it was unavoidable.

What’s it about? The underlying effort is to raise money for the ALS Association — and it has done just that — but it’s mostly people getting soaked. Vice called it “the latest in lazy, narcissistic hashtag activism.”

But it’s activism! In fact, the ALS Association’s national office has, according to Time, “received $5.5 million for Lou Gehrig’s disease research since July 29, compared to $32,000 in the same period last year.” And so with that, we present Indians No. 1 prospect Francisco Lindor getting ice caught in his hair:

Here’s a good one, it includes a Minor Leaguer wearing blue spandex pants (click the Instagram link to see the video, we’re unable to embed them here):

kc How about 2014 Sochi U.S. Olympic speed skating silver medalist Eddy Alvarez, who recently signed with the White Sox? He’s in Kannapolis, and he challenged fellow speed skating star J.R. Celski:

eddy Giants prospect Mac Williamson kinda cheated, I don’t see any ice cubes in that bucket:

MAC Giants No. 7 prospect Clayton Blackburn wore an “I will” shirt, and indeed, he did:


And another…

Reds No. 1 prospect Robert Stephenson does it himself:

Spencer Kieboom, currently in Moniker Madness, sidestepped the ice and just donated money. Smart man:

Cedar Rapids’ Stephen Gonsalves did it on the warning track while wearing socks but no shoes:

CEDAR RAPIDS San Jose’s Matt Lujan does it in style, kicking back pool-side:

lujan Of course there’s also those who think, instead of taking videos of yourself making funny faces under water, you could just, like, donate money or support a cause personal to you, free of social media:

Others are confused:

Others point out to the haters, hey, money is being donated regardless, which is cool:

Lucas Sims claimed he would be getting iced, but we have no visual evidence…yet:

You want to see more of this, right? Ladies, if you ever wondered what Jackonsville’s Austin Barnes looks like beneath that Suns uniform, today is your day:

Before: austin barnes before After: barnes after How about Pirates No. 2 prospect Jameson Taillon, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery? Stetson Allie

stetson splash Tigers prospect Pat Leyland, the son of longtime manager Jim Leyland, takes one from above:


Finally, this isn’t someone doing the Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s just some Minor Leaguer eating dinner out of a hotel ice bucket. Impressed, right?

eating dinner

*  *  *

Moving on, Spokane’s Jose Trevino shows off his teammate Reed Garrett’s new mustache, in case you ever wondered what Reed Garrett looked like with a mustache:

Chan Moon, I dunno what’s going on here:

Somewhere, Taijuan Walker is locked in a room, binge-watching 90s episodes:

Here’s a selfie for a top 2014 D-backs pick:

GCL Orioles left-hander Kevin Grendell has some kind words for outgoing MLB Commissioner Bud Selig following the news that Rob Manfred will take over next season:

Idaho Falls’ Eric Skoglund is 21 and just bought his first car. How old were you when you got behind the wheel of your own ride?

Memphis’ Tim Cooney with the best photo this season in front of Walter White’s house in ABQ:

Twins prospect Jose Berrios showing off his bling and Futures Game tee:

Dovydas Neverauskas wants your vote:

This is so true. I hear my old alarm ringtones on other people’s phones while riding the train and it makes me kinda stressed:

West Michigan’s Ross Kivett, standing up to cancer:


Want to challenge Phillies prospect Tyson Gillies in hockey? Fire up the PS3:

Minor Leaguers, and people in general, for reasons unknown to me, love watching Little League Baseball on television:

West Michigan’s Grayson Greiner is about three years late to the awesomeness that is Westeros, direwolves, dragons, Hodor and the one true king, Stannis Baratheon (that’s right — I said it):

Probably tastes good though:

Things you should avoid tweeting:

I’ve done this. I’m getting worse typing on the iPhone:

Finally, we want to send good wishes to Twins top prospect Byron Buxton, who was involved in a scary collision during his Double-A debut for New Britain on Wednesday night:

Minor League Bus Tweets of the Week

A Gulf Coast League bus breakdown:


Mmmm. Dinner at Walmart:

Okaaaaaay… TMI…

Chipotle Tweets of the Week Yankees first-round pick Ian Clarkin has decided we need more Chipotle in America:

Prospects who will be key figures in upper-level division races

Ken Jancef/

Ken Jancef/

By Sam Dykstra/

Just under three weeks. That’s all that remains in the Minor League regular season before the playoffs start for most leagues on on Sept. 3.

And as the window closes, the playoff races are tightening. Consider, for instance, the Southern League where all five North Division teams are separated by only three games and three South Division squads have only 1 1/2 games between them. That’s an extreme case, but you get the idea.

With only a few games left, it’ll take team efforts for some of these clubs to stand out among their peers and grab a ticket to the postseason. That being said, some individual players will undoubtedly have a bigger influence than others, given their talents.

These are some of those prospects in the Triple-A and Double-A circuits:

International League: A.J. Cole, RHP, Syracuse Chiefs — The Chiefs lead Pawtucket by one game in the North Division and have a three-game advantage above Rochester for the Wild Card, so they’re not a lock despite having the IL’s best record at 70-53. They’ll need every win they can get in these last few weeks, and it’ll certainly help when they have the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect on the mound.  (more…)


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