CALL-UPS: August 21-27, 2018

Aramis Garcia (C, SF)

Contributing writers: Chris Blessing, Rob Gordon, Nick Richards, Matthew St-Germain, and Andy Smith.

August 27, 2018

Aramis Garcia (C, SF)
Garcia had a breakout of sorts last year, hitting .272/.314/.497 with 20 2B and 17 HR over 324 AB, helping him to reach No. 12 on our Giants top prospects list. As a former second-rounder in 2014, it was a performance that the Giants brass were hoping to see out of the 6’2”, 220-pound backstop, especially after a down 2016 due to a facial fracture suffered in a collision. Despite performing well over his short promotion to Double-A last year, his dismal showing on repeat of the level here in 2018 is beginning to make his 2017 campaign look like a Cal League mirage. Garcia has slashed .233/.287/.395 at Double-A Richmond this year and has fared worse since his promotion to Triple-A Sacramento. There’s no game tool in the package that grades as a 50 right now and unless he can tone down his approach, his above-average raw power will consistently play fringe-to-below average. He’s good enough defensively to be a fringe-average defender and his arm is good, but he has trouble on transfers and accuracy at times and his CS% rates have never wowed. Sandwiched in between Buster Posey (C, SF) and Joey Bart (C, SF), Garcia’s future in the organization is either that of a backup or as trade bait, though his 2017 output has diminished his value all around. With just average defensive skills at projection and no carrying tool beyond power compromised by a fringe-at-best hit tool, Garcia’s currently projecting more as an organizational guy who is called up in emergencies just like this one in which Posey is out for the season. Catchers always take longer to develop the hit tool, but that the 25-year-old Garcia is already struggling in Double-A is a red flag. With all that said, he’s still getting to his power with 15 2B and 11 HR, and his splits show he was turning things around in the two months before his Triple-A promotion. However, Double-A is not the majors; Garcia’s bat is not ready for The Show. His career line: Career: 1,403 AB, .255/.316/.416, 79 2B, 3 3B, 47 HR, 0.33 Eye, 2 SB.
2018 STATS: Sacramento (AAA) — 38 AB, .237/.268/.263, 1 2B, 0.17 Eye
Richmond (AA) — 301 AB, .233/.287/.395, 14 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 0.26 Eye
CURRENT ROLE: Backup C
POTENTIAL: Backup C
RATING: 7D

 

August 26, 2018

No call-ups today.

 

August 25, 2018

No call-ups today.

 

August 24, 2018

No call-ups today.

 

August 23, 2018

Ryan Burr (RHP, CHW)
In a flurry of moves, the White Sox purchased the contract of RHP Ryan Burr from Triple-A Charlotte to fill a role in their bullpen. A former fifth-round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2015, the White Sox acquired Burr in a trade for international bonus pool money last August. The former Arizona State Sun Devil has been steady at almost every stop since entering professional ball. Burr has split 2018 between Double-A and Triple-A. He was solid in Birmingham, although he struggled at times with fits of wildness. Listed at 6’4’’, 225 pounds, Burr has struggled throughout his career repeating his unorthodox delivery. He’s cleaned up the delivery some, although he still stays a bit long paused at the balance point. In a scouted appearance this season, he was 94-97 mph with his FB. His high three-quarter arm slot and tall and fall delivery creates natural downward plane. When living in the lower half of the zone, the FB is heavy with solid arm-side run. The 24-year-old also features a low 80s SL with solid two-plane movements. It sometimes mimics a spike CB but mostly retains SL shape. He also throws an occasional CU, which wasn’t observed in the scouted appearance. Burr’s effectiveness hinges on keeping the FB down and around the zone. Without FB control, hitters will ignore his other two pitches. For now, look for Burr to be given mop up duty until he is able to establish FB as the effective tool it’s been at every level of his development.
2018 STATS: Charlotte (AAA) – 7 g, 0 gs, 0-1, 1.08 ERA, 8.1 IP, 2.2 Ctl, 8.6 Dom, 4.0 Cmd,  0 HR, .154 oppBA
Birmingham (AA) – 30 g, 0 gs, 4-2, 2.72 ERA, 43.0 IP, 4.8 Ctl, 9.0 Dom, 1.87 Cmd, 3 HR, .196 oppBA
CURRENT ROLE: RP
POTENTIAL: Middle RP
RATING: 6B

 

August 22, 2018

Framber Valdez (LHP, HOU)
As a relatively-aged signee back in 2015 as a 21-year-old, there’s long been rumors that Valdez would have to end up in the bullpen. True, a big reason for this beyond his age has been the lack of development on his changeup, but Valdez has continued to perform well in the rotation and has earned his first big league call-up. While the velocity backed up on Valdez’s fastball last year, it still sits in the low-90s and the late sinking action on the pitch allowed him to hold a plus grade. He best pitch is his plus curveball—graded the best curve in the Astros organization—a pitch he’ll throw in any count. The big issues for the 5’11” and 170-pound southpaw has been the development on his changeup and his overall command profile, and he’s seen movement on both fronts. While the control rate has snuck just passed 3 over a small sample size in Triple-A Fresno, he maintained a 2.8 rate over 94.1 IP at Double-A Corpus Christi prior to his promotion. Considering he averaged 4.2 last season over two levels, this was movement in the right direction. And while his changeup won’t likely ever be a weapon, more evaluators have been hanging a 50 on the pitch, giving Valdez two plus pitches alongside an average off-speed one, which should allow him a chance to start at the highest level. Going into this year, Valdez’s upside was more limited to the back of the rotation, but with progression on his change and command, he’s moved the tape measure forward more towards a mid-rotation upside at peak and still has some upside remaining. For now, he’ll operate as middle relief depth and a multi-inning guy, and as he was going to be exposed to the Rule 5 draft, he’s been moved onto the 25-man roster and should get some leash. Valdez’s career line. 323.1 IP, 3.87 ERA, 5 Sv, 3.5 Ctl, 10.3 Dom, 3.0 Cmd, 16 HR, .249 oppBA, 1.33 WHIP.
2018 STATS: Fresno (AAA) — 2 g, 2-0, 4.15 ERA, 8.2 IP, 3.1 Ctl, 9.3 Dom, 3.0 Cmd, 0 HR, .250 oppBA, 1.27 WHIP
Corpus Christi (AA) — 20 g, 4-5, 4.10 ERA, 94.1 IP, 1 Sv, 2.8 Ctl, 11.4 Dom, 4.1 Cmd, 7 HR, .256 oppBA, 1.28 WHIP
CURRENT ROLE: Middle reliever
POTENTIAL: #4 starter/Swingman
RATING: 7C

 

August 21, 2018

Michael Kopech (RHP, CHW)
22-year-old Michael Kopech has been called up to the majors. No. 15 on our Midseason Top 50 list of prospects, the big (6'3", 205 pound) right-hander is one of the top prospects in baseball, and one of the few pitching prospects who have a No. 1 starter ceiling if everything goes right. Of course that's always the issue, and in Kopech's case the keys for his success are two-fold: show better control and repeat his mechanics to cut down on the walks, and solidify the quality of his secondary offerings to ensure he remains on the starter track. His fastball is one of the best in the minors, a true plus-plus offering that reaches the upper-90s and shows plus arm-side run. Indeed, this is the pitch that allows him to have reasonable WHIPs despite his elevated walk rate: If the walks are high but the WHIP isn't, it must mean the other part of WHIP is low, the hits. For his career, batters are only hitting .203 off him. He's just very hard to hit. His slider is also plus, with a two-plane break sitting in the mid-80s. A more recent pitch, his curve, is not as quality as his other two, but already shows a good 12-6 shape that he can bury on batters, though it's not as consistent as he needs it to be. If that curve can hold its consistency, and he can keep his mechanics in check, Kopech could become an ace. It's too soon to tell if he will reach that level, and right now it's the control that needs to be improved to have big league success. In a bullpen role, his two top pitches could make him dominant. Obviously, the White Sox are hoping for more, as are fantasy team owners. A few weeks ago, on July 26, Brent Hershey wrote an Eyes Have It report on Kopech where he goes into great detail about his pitch mix and quality, as well as his observations of his start that day. The White Sox are certainly getting a pitcher on a roll, for in the eight starts since his July 5 outing, Kopech has faced 191 batters, striking out 34% of them while walking only 4%. That's the stuff that will take Kopech far. Kopech's career minor league line: 395.2 IP, 3.05 ERA, 4.4 Ctl, 11.7 Dom, 2.7 Cmd, 18 HR, .203 oppBA, 1.213 WHIP.
2018 STATS: Charlotte (AAA) – 24 g, 24 gs, 7-7, 3.70 ERA, 126.1 IP, 4.3 Ctl, 12.1 Dom, 2.8 Cmd, 9 HR, .219 oppBA, 1.274 WHIP
CURRENT ROLE: Starter
POTENTIAL: #1 starter
RATING: 9C


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Bryse Wilson (RHP, ATL)
Another week, another pitching prospect for the hurler rich Atlanta Braves. Now it's Bryse Wilson's turn to get a start, and to audition for a permanent home in Atlanta's rotation. Wilson was our No. 11 ranked Atlanta prospect in the preseason, but that ranking was more a reflection of how deep Atlanta's system is. Despite that, it was not a foregone conclusion that the 6'1", 225-pound righty would remain a starter. Coming into this season, and even early in the season, scouts were wondering if his home would ultimately be in the bullpen. His fastball and slider are fine, but the change-up was below average from his lower three-quarter delivery. To his credit, Wilson knew he had to work on that third pitch, and that's precisely what he did. He's been developing his off-speed offering with a two-seam grip as with his fastball. Success followed: In his five starts at High-A he dominated, but then in Double-A Mississippi his command seemed off and he got hit harder even while his Dom rose. Yet in three starts at Triple-A Gwinnett his Dom jumped even higher, this hits fell off, and only five HR in those 20 innings provided a blemish. In his last start he struck out 13, walked none and gave up only a single hit in a complete game effort. Now Atlanta has rewarded his progress that has seen him rise four levels in a single season. Did we mention he's only 20 years old? Just two years ago he was pitching in high school, so he's made remarkable progress. His mid-90s fastball (reaching as high as 97) is plus with solid arm-side run and sink. His slider, sitting in the mid-80s has an effective two-plane break. And now his glove-side change-up gives him a third look for batters. As for his command and control, that was always his skill. From day one as a professional he has had a Ctl in the mid-2s. Across three levels in 2018, Wilson has faced a combined 514 batters, while striking out 139 of them (27%), unintentionally walked 33 of them (6%), and giving up eight HR over 123.2 IP (0.6 hr/9). And over his final 13 starts since July 3 between AA and AAA, he has struck out 66 of the 197 batters faced (33%) and walking only 9 (5%). With the high Dom numbers he puts up, the good control and command, a true bulldog mentality, and now an improved third pitch, looks as if the Braves have themselves another good pitcher. Wilson's career minor league line: 287.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 2.5 Ctl, 9.6 Dom, 3.8 Cmd, 16 HR, .217 oppBA, 1.075 WHIP.
2018 STATS: Gwinnett (AAA) – 3 g, 3 gs, 3-0, 4.50 ERA, 20.0 IP, 0.9 Ctl, 10.8 Dom, 12.0 Cmd, 5 HR, .205 oppBA, 0.850 WHIP
2018 STATS: Mississippi (AA) – 15 g, 15 gs, 3-5, 3.97 ERA, 77.0 IP, 3.0 Ctl, 10.4 Dom, 3.4 Cmd, 3 HR, .258 oppBA, 1.338 WHIP
2018 STATS: Florida (A+) – 5 g, 5 gs, 2-0, 0.34 ERA, 26.2 IP, 2.4 Ctl, 8.8 Dom, 3.7 Cmd, 0 HR, .167 oppBA, 0.863 WHIP
CURRENT ROLE: Starter
POTENTIAL: #3 starter
RATING: 8C

 

Previous Week

 

PLAYER POTENTIAL RATING

Scale of (1-10) representing a player’s upside potential

10 - Hall of Fame-type player
9 - Elite player
8 - Solid regular
7 - Average regular
6 - Platoon player
5 - Major League reserve player
4 - Top minor league player
3 - Average minor league player
2 - Minor league reserve player
1 - Minor league roster filler

 

PROBABILITY RATING

Scale of (A-E) representing the player’s realistic chances of achieving their potential

A - 90% probability of reaching potential
B - 70% probability of reaching potential
C - 50% probability of reaching potential
D - 30% probability of reaching potential
E - 10% probability of reaching potential


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.