Results tagged ‘ Shelby Miller ’

Successful September callups

By Kelsie Heneghan/

On Monday, Major League rosters expanded from 25 players to 40, meaning plenty of opportunities for Minor Leaguers to prove themselves at the highest level. Some players need just one September to earn a Major League roster spot, for others, it takes a couple tries to prove themselves in the final month of the season.

Here is a look at a few of the best September callups over the past five years.

Kevin Pataky/

Madison Bumgarner, SF (2009)

Baseball’s second-ranked prospect at the time, Madison Bumgarner led the Double-A Connecticut rotation with a 1.93 ERA over 19 starts and subsequently made his Major League debut on Sept. 8. The southpaw allowed two runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings in his first start and then tossed 4 2/3 scoreless frames over three appearances from the bullpen. Bumgarner returned to the Minors for the start of the 2010 season, but it wasn’t long before he was in the Majors for good and picking up World Series wins.



Jessica Kovalcin/

Jessica Kovalcin/


Dillon Gee, NYM (2010)

Though recovering from a torn labrum, Dillon Gee racked up a franchise-record 165 strikeouts with Triple-A Buffalo, earning his first trip to the Majors. In his debut on Sept. 7, the right-hander carried a no-hitter into the sixth against the Nationals and picked up the win. Over five September starts, Gee notched a 2.18 ERA with 17 punchouts for the Mets. The following April, he made two starts with  Buffalo before returning to New York’s rotation.




Danny Wild/

Jesus Montero, NYY (2011)

The catcher began the season as’s No. 9 overall prospect with the Yankees and ended it as baseball’s sixth-ranked with the Mariners. Jesus Montero led International League backstops with a .289 average and 21 homers with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before getting the call to New York on Sept. 1. There, he hit .328 with four homers and 12 RBIs over 18 games. The following offseason, Montero was traded to Seattle where he remained for the 2012 campaign.


Shelby Miller, STL (2012)

Allison Rhoades/Memphis Redbirds

Allison Rhoades/Memphis Redbirds

After ranking second in the Pacific Coast League with 160 strikeouts for Triple-A Memphis, Shelby Miller was promoted to St. Louis. The right-hander allowed two runs on eight hits while striking out nine over 7 2/3 innings from the bullpen before tossing six one-hit frames with seven strikeouts in his first Major League start. Miller stayed with the Cardinals during their postseason run and yielded two runs on four hits over two relief appearances in the NLCS.


Billy Hamilton

Ken Inness/

Billy Hamilton, CIN (2013)

The speedster ranked second in the Minors with 75 stolen bases as the Reds’ top prospect, and when he got the call to Cincinnati, he didn’t skip a beat. It only took 13 games for Billy Hamilton to tie the Major League lead for September swipes with 13. During that first stint with the Reds, the center fielder posted a .368/.429/.474 slash line, earning a spot in the starting lineup for 2014.

Draft Retrospective: Strasburg, Trout and more in 2009

By Jonathan Raymond

With the 2013 MLB Draft scheduled to take place on Thursday, we thought we’d take the next few days to run down how some of the more intriguing picks out of the top rounds from the last few Drafts have fared. We start with 2009.

  1. Stephen Strasburg, Washington (2013: MLB Nationals) — Strasburg has pretty much panned out as hoped for the Nationals, turning into one of the best pitchers in the big leagues.
  2. Dustin Ackley, Seattle (2013: MLB Mariners, Triple-A Tacoma) — Drafted as an outfielder out of North Carolina, Ackley soon made the move to second base. He made it to the Majors after just a year and a half in the Seattle system and debuted impressively, hitting .273/.348/.417 in 90 games in the bigs in 2011. The 25-year-old regressed in the following two seasons, though, and now finds himself in the Pacific Coast League after posting a .516 OPS in 45 games with the M’s to begin this year.
  3. Donavan Tate, San Diego (2013: Unassigned within Padres Org) — Tate signed for $6.25 million in 2009, underwhelmed in his 2010 debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, then missed much of 2011 due to a suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse. After hitting .226/.342/.278 in 107 games between Class A Fort Wayne and Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore last year, the outfielder failed to show up for San Diego’s Minor League camp due to a “personal issue” earlier this year and has yet to make an appearance anywhere this season.
  4. Tony Sanchez, Pittsburgh (2013: Triple-A Indianapolis) — Sanchez has dealt with injuries off and on throughout his career but appears to be healthy and is putting together perhaps his best season to date in the International League this year. He’s hitting .317/.415/.577 with six homers in 39 games for the Indians and put together his first career four-hit game on May 31.
  5. Matt Hobgood, Baltimore (2013: Class A Delmarva) — Now 22, the right-hander was mostly plagued by injuries in his first three Minor League seasons. The Orioles have the former starter working out of the bullpen in the South Atlantic League, where he’s posted a 2.38 ERA with one save in 34 innings for the Shorebirds.
  6. Zack Wheeler, San Francisco (2013: Triple-A Las Vegas) — Traded by the Giants to the Mets for Carlos Beltran at the deadline in 2011, Wheeler blossomed into one of baseball’s best pitching prospects, and appears to be close to making his debut with the Mets this year.

    Zack Wheeler Pitcher Las Vegas 51s Baseball Team

    Zack Wheeler is’s No. 7 overall prospect (Steve Spatafore)

  7. Mike Minor, Atlanta (2013: MLB Braves)
  8. Mike Leake, Cincinnati (2013: MLB Reds)
  9. Jacob Turner, Detroit (2013: MLB Marlins, Triple-A New Orleans) — Turner was given two cups of coffee in the bigs in 2010 and 2011 with the Tigers before becoming the big prize for the Marlins in the trade last year that brought Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit. He had a 3.38 ERA in seven starts for Miami last season and was 3-4 with a 4.47 ERA in the Pacific Coast League this year before tossing seven shutout innings in a win against the Mets on May 31.
  10. Drew Storen, Washington (2013: MLB Nationals) — The former Stanford closer notched 43 saves for the Nationals in 2011 before being hampered some  by injures in the last two years. Has a 3.14 ERA in 183 2/3 innings across four Major League seasons so far in his career.
  11. Tyler Matzek, Colorado (2013: Double-A Tulsa)
  12. Aaron Crow, Kansas City (2013: MLB Royals)
  13. Grant Green, Oakland (2013: Triple-A Sacramento) — The former Southern California star has had trouble sticking at a position, moving off shortstop, to centerfield, to the corner outfield spots, to a few tries at third base to second base, where he’s playing this year for the River Cats.
  14. Matt Purke, Texas (2013: Class A Hagerstown) — The lefty never signed with the Rangers, instead reentering the Draft the next year where Washington selected him in the third round. He’s battled arm problems, throwing just 15 1/3 innings for Hagerstown last year and making one appearance so far this season.
  15. Alex White, Cleveland (2013: MLB Rockies)
  16. Bobby Borchering, Arizona (2013: Double-A Corpus Christi)
  17. A.J. Pollock, Arizona (2013: MLB Diamondbacks)
  18. Chad James, Miami (2013: Unassigned in Marlins Org)
  19. Shelby Miller, St. Louis (2013: MLB Cardinals) — The right-hander debuted late with St. Louis last season and has been one of the best starters in the Majors this year, owning a 1.82 ERA in 69 1/3 innings.
  20. Chad Jenkins, Toronto (2013: MLB Blue Jays)
  21.  Jiovanni Mier, Houston (2013: Double-A Corpus Christi)
  22. Kyle Gibson, Minnesota (2013: Triple-A Rochester) — He missed part of 2011 and much of 2012 with Tommy John surgery. He has a 3.38 ERA in 66 2/3 innings for the Red Wings this year, striking out 59 and walking 19, and threw his first complete game following the surgery on May 8.
  23. Jared Mitchell, Chicago AL (2013: Triple-A Charlotte, Double-A Birmingham) — Mitchell tore a tendon in his left ankle during Spring Training in 2010 that derailed his season before it got out of the station. He returned last year to hit .237/.358/.420 between Birmingham and Charlotte but has mustered just a .156/.305/.229 line between those two clubs in 27 games this year.
  24. Randal Grichuk, Los Angeles AL (2013: Double-A Arkansas) — For better or worse, Grichuk will likely always be linked to the man who was picked directly behind him. For his part, the 21-year-old is still working his way through the Angels’ system and has a .243/.296/.491 line in 48 games for the Travelers this year. He’s shown good power, with 18 homers and a .488 slugging percentage for Class A Advanced Inland Empire last season.
  25. Mike Trout, Los Angeles AL (2013: MLB Angels) — He quickly made his way to the big leagues and emerged as one of the best players in baseball, finishing second in the AL MVP race in 2012.
  26. Eric Arnett, Milwaukee (2013: Unassigned in Brewers Org)
  27. Nick Franklin, Seattle (2013: MLB Mariners, Triple-A Tacoma) — Franklin began the year in the PCL and caught fire, hitting .324/.440/.472 in 39 games, leading to his Major League debut on May 27.
  28. Reymond Fuentes, Boston (2013: Double-A San Antonio)
  29. Slade Heathcott, New York AL (2013: Double-A Trenton) — The 22-year-old has progressed through the Yankees system steadily and owns a .246/.300/.377 line in 46 games for the Thunder this year. He recently outshined Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis while they rehabbed in the Eastern league.
  30. LeVon Washington, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Lake County) — Never signed with Tampa, instead opting to return the following Draft, where Cleveland took him in the second round.
  31. Brett Jackson, Chicago NL (2013: Triple-A Iowa)
  32. Tim Wheeler, Colorado (2013: Triple-A Colorado Springs)

Supplemental first round:

  1. Steve Baron, Seattle (2013: Class A Advanced High Desert)
  2. Rex Brothers, Colorado (2013: MLB Rockies)
  3. Matt Davidson, Arizona (2013: Triple-A Reno) — Davidson emerged as one of the D-backs’ best prospects over the last couple years. He’s hitting .285/.332/.460 in 51 games for the Aces this season.
  4. Aaron Miller, Los Angeles NL (2013: Class A Great Lakes) — The former starting pitcher is now trying his turn in the outfield. The 25-year-old hit .297/.333/.541 with a home run and eight RBIs in 28 games for Double-A Chattanooga last year and is hitting .167 in 19 games between Double-A and Class A this year.
  5. James Paxton, Toronto (2013: Triple-A Tacoma) — The native Canadian never signed with the Blue Jays and became a fourth-round pick of the Mariners the next year. The 24-year-old is 2-4 with a 5.01 ERA for the Rainiers this season.
  6. Josh Phegley, Chicago AL (2013: Triple-A Charlotte) — Enjoying a breakout year offensively for the Knights, Phegley has a .329/.386/.639 slash line with 11 homers and 14 doubles in 41 games.
  7. Kentrail Davis, Milwaukee (2013: Double-A Huntsville)
  8. Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles AL (2013: MLB Diamondbacks, Triple-A Reno) — Acquired by the D-backs in 2010 as part of the package for Dan Haren, Skaggs turned into one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. The 21-year-old tossed six shutout innings in a spot-start win over Texas on May 27 after posting three straight quality starts for the Aces from May 11-22. Overall has a 5.23 ERA in 51 2/3 innings in the PCL with 54 strikeouts to 17 walks.
  9. Chris Owings, Arizona (2013: Triple-A Reno)
  10. Garrett Richards, Los Angeles AL (2013: MLB Angels) — He’s spent the past couple years working mostly out of the bullpen and making the occasional start for the Angels. He has a 4.92 career ERA in 128 big-league innings.
  11. Brad Boxberger, Cincinnati (2013: MLB Padres, Triple-A Tucson)
  12. Tanner Scheppers, Texas (2013: MLB Rangers) — Scheppers has worked out of the Rangers’ bullpen the last two seasons and boasts a 0.66 ERA in 27 1/3 innings this year.
  13. Michael Belfiore, Arizona (2013: Triple-A Norfolk, MLB Orioles) — Belfiore was dealt to Baltimore for Josh Bell in 2012. A reliever since 2011, the 24-year-old has a 4.28 ERA in 27 1/3 frames for the Tides and was called up to the Majors in May.
  14. Matt Bashore, Minnesota (2013: Unassigned in Yankees Org)
  15. Kyle Heckathorn, Milwaukee (2013: Triple-A Nashville)
  16. Tyler Kehrer, Los Angeles AL (2013: Unassigned in Marlins Org)
  17. Vic Black, Pittsburgh (2013: Triple-A Indianapolis) — The 25-year-old has a 2.63 ERA and 11 saves in 19 appearances for Indianapolis. He posted a 1.65 ERA and saved 13 games for Double-A Altoona last year.

Faith-based analysis: Why to restore the faith in Zack Wheeler

Zack Wheeler ranks second in the PCL with 40 strikeouts. (Steve Spatafore/51s)

Zack Wheeler ranks second in the PCL with 40 strikeouts. (Steve Spatafore/51s)

By Sam Dykstra/

Long-suffering Mets fans far and wide have been waiting for their chance to see Zack Wheeler make his Major League debut, ever since the 6-foot-4 right-hander came to the organization from San Francisco in the 2011 trade deadline deal that sent Carlos Beltran the other way.

After the team’s No. 2 prospect posted a 3.27 ERA in six starts at the Triple-A level in 2012, it was assumed he’d move up to the Majors at some point this season, perhaps sooner than later. But it would all come down to his performance in Las Vegas, the Mets reiterated, as the team was not about to call up their top pitching prospect only to see him wallow and lose precious development time.

Unfortunately for both sides, Wheeler stumbled in his first few outings in the Pacific Coast League. But given his recent performance, it might be time to start thinking once again about Wheeler making the trek to Flushing.

We’ll start with the struggles. Through April 25, the right-hander was 0-1 with 5.79 ERA over his first five starts with the 51s. The biggest troubles stemmed from a relative lack of control. He had walked 15 through 23 1/3 innings over that span, including a six-walk start on April 19, all the while giving up 15 earned runs on 26 hits.

Then came the reasoning behind the struggles. Reports emerged that the 22-year-old had developed — and played through — a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand. The malady had kept him from throwing his slider and had affected other parts of his game as well. It was believed by the hurler and others that the injury came as a result of throwing in the arid climes of Southern Nevada.

Whatever the case may be, the Pacific Coast League had not been kind to Wheeler in his first weeks in the circuit.

In his last two starts, however, it looks like things have begun to change for the better.

Wheeler —’s No. 8 prospect — allowed just one run on five hits and struck out eight in a season-high 6 2/3 innings against Sacramento to earn his first win this season on April 30. He followed that up with his first scoreless outing of the year — six innings of three-hit ball to go with four strikeouts. Most importantly, the hard-throwing right-hander walked just one apiece in each of those gems.

Those two starts allowed Wheeler’s stats to better reflect his potential on the mound. His ERA dropped from 5.79 to an even 4.00 while his walk rate plummeted from 5.8 walks per nine innings to 4.2. (He walked batters at a rate of 3.6 between Buffalo and Double-A Binghamton last season.) His 40 strikeouts ranked tied for second in the PCL, as of late Tuesday.

This isn’t the first time he’s bounced back after a rough introduction to the Triple-A level. As my colleague Jonathan Raymond pointed out, Wheeler did not perform well in his first four starts last year in the International League, going 0-2 with a 4.71 ERA before finishing 2-2 with a 3.27 mark following two stellar starts to close out the year.

“It usually happens every year. There’s a little bit of a slow start, you start making tweaks and adjustments and find it,” Wheeler told Raymond. “I just want to carry it from here. It’s baseball, you know. You gotta make those adjustments and just pitch.”

Among those adjustments were some mechanical shifts that seem to have worked out the kinks from those early performances.

“I was lifting my leg and rotating my shoulders and when we looked at the video, we realized I was rotating too much instead of keeping my shoulders square to the plate,” Wheeler told’s Danny Wild.

Let’s not forget either that, no matter how fast some expected Wheeler to make the biggest jump in baseball, there is plenty of precedent for top prospects going down the same road he is on now. Shelby Miller, 4-2 with a 1.96 ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals this season, began last season 4-8 with a 6.17 ERA for Triple-A Memphis. He was 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA from July 14 to the end of the season.

Wheeler’s former and future teammate, Matt Harvey, the Mets’ ace who has wowed the nation with a 1.28 ERA and 58 strikeouts through seven starts this year, didn’t jump out to a great start in his Triple-A debut. His ERA didn’t fall below 4.00 — Wheeler’s current mark — until May 29, despite posting a 5-1 record for Buffalo over that time. He would eventually finish 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA before being called up in late July.

Like Harvey before him, Wheeler has had time to work out his flaws in the Minor Leagues and should be allowed some more time before he takes his talents to Citi Field. Indeed, the early-season blip makes it easier for the Mets to keep him in Vegas and delay the beginning of his arbitration clock. Even so, his last two starts indicate that Wheeler’s prospects for a Major League debut appear closer on the horizon than they did in mid April.

Twenty Top 100 Prospects and Their Chances of Making Opening Day Rosters at The Start of SpringTraining

Today is Friday, Feb. 15. In baseball terms, it is the “voluntary date on which all non-World Baseball Classic position players may be invited to Spring Training.” But most Major Leaguers, from the veterans to rookies, are already in camp. It is the rooks, or would-be rooks, that we focus on here and now. Turns out that 20 members of’s Top 100 Prospects have at least a reasonable shot of cracking their first Opening Day roster. They are below. Let me know in the comment section what you think of my assessment regarding which ballplayers might/might not make their respective clubs.

A links advisory: Click on the bolded team name for the MLB depth chart; click on the player name for his bio and MiLB stats; and the number in parentheses listed after the player name is his overall ranking in our Top 100 list.

(Walt Barnard)

(Walt Barnard)

TEXAS RANGERS (3): SS Jurickson Profar (1), 3B Mike Olt (22) and LHP Martin Perez (95)

  • Questions worth asking: Can Profar unseat veteran Elvis Andrus at shortstop, or do the Rangers shift him to another position (2B, CF) in order to get his dynamic talents into the Majors immediately? Still 19, doesn’t he need a full season at Triple-A to polish his tools? Speaking of positional changes, where does Olt play? He’s a very good third baseman, but isn’t Adrian Beltre, who is signed for three more years, outstanding on the hot corner? Can Olt slug his way into the starting right field spot, or should he join Profar at Triple-A Round Rock? Does Perez finally put it together in Texas’ fifth rotation slot? Can he hold off vet righty Colby Lewis to make his first April rotation?
  • Chances worth guessing: Profar (50%), Olt (50%) and Perez (75%)

BALTIMORE ORIOLES (1): RHP Dylan Bundy (4)

  • Questions: At 20 and with just 23 Minor League starts under his belt, is Bundy ready? He could probably hold his own right now, sure, but would getting beat up early on hurt him down the road? How much better does he have to be than the Matusz-Arrieta-Britton types to convince Baltimore to hand him the No. 5 starter role?
  • Chances: 25%

TAMPA BAY RAYS (3): RF Wil Myers (4), RHPs Jake Odorizzi (45) and Chris Archer (46)

  • Questions: With Matt Joyce stationed in left field and Desmond Jennings in center, why not start out with Myers in right? Does Tampa Bay want to delay initializing his arbitration clock, or would Andrew Friedman and Co. rather go with the proven Ben Zobrist out there? With perhaps the deepest starting rotation in baseball, do Odorizzi and Archer have much of a shot? Would a trade of ace David Price make sense, given the unbelievable depth in able arms? Will Odorizzi and Archer foster the Minors’ best 1-2 punch at Triple-A Durham?
  • Chances: Myers (50%), Odorizzi (25%) and Archer (25%)


Prospect Q&A: Cardinals RHP Jordan Swagerty on Getting His Swag Back

(Quad Cities River Bandits)

(Quad Cities River Bandits)

Jordan Swagerty (@JordanSwagerty) is probably off your radar for the 2013 Minor League season. He didn’t pitch in 2012, so that probably explains that.

Here’s why he should be: Nine months after major surgery — and 16 months since his last MiLB appearance — Swagerty is healthy again, raring to go.

The last time we saw him in action, the now-23-year-old right-hander swept through three levels in the Cardinals’ system in 2011, compiling a 1.83 ERA and an 89-to-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 93 2/3 innings, his first since St. Louis made him a second-round draftee in 2010.

Forty-two days from Spring Training, Swagerty is in Arizona, completing two bullpen sessions a week, waiting to resume his trek to the Majors. I caught up with him on the phone this afternoon.

Me: How has the offseason been?

Swagerty: To me, it’s been about a 13-month offseason, but it’s been good. Still going to rehab everyday and getting my arm back in shape. It’s finally coming around. I’m going to be ready for Spring [Training], so it’s exciting to get back to baseball mode.

Me: What stage of rehab are you at?

Swagerty: I have been throwing pens now for  a while and actually, probably going to have to slow it down for a bit, just so I don’t build up too fast because I’m going to have a little extra time to play with, which is nice. I’m still strengthening everything, making sure everything is right, stretching everything out. It’s nice to have a couple weeks of time that is extra in case there was something that went wrong.

Me: Sounds like an on-time recovery.

Swagerty: Yeah, actually a little bit earlier than I thought, so everything is on schedule. That is nice thing.

Me: What have you been up to aside from rehabbing this past year?

Swagerty: I did I did a lot of hunting during hunting season, spent a lot of time in the weight room — I can’t do a whole lot of upper body, but whatever I can to strengthen my legs. Reading some books and finding a way to stay focused. I’ve been rehabbing here [in Arizona], but I did get time [in Texas] over the holidays. Two or three weeks at home, always good to see family.

Me: What’s been the challenge of not pitching in a game for more than a year?

Swagerty: Seeing your buddies playing, it’s easy to get you down because you want to be out there. I guess the challenge is staying focused on what you have to do on an everyday basis, going to rehab — rehab get’s very repetitive, so staying focused on what you have to do everyday and not trying to look toward the end of it, I think, is the biggest challenge.