CALL-UPS: July 18-24, 2017

Photo: Rafael Devers (3B, BOS)

Contributing writers: Jeremy Deloney (JD), Rob Gordon (RG), Nick Richards (NR) and Matthew St-Germain (MSG)

July 24, 2017

Rafael Devers (3B, BOS)
Despite rumors of potential acquisitions, the Red Sox decided to recall the 20-year-old from the minors and it is expected that he’ll play every day. Devers is one of the top prospects in baseball, recently coming in at No. 5 in the HQ midseason Top 50. He excels in virtually every facet of the game and has the potential to become one of the better hitters in baseball. The left-handed hitter can hit for BA as well as immense power while exhibiting good glovework at 3B. After a solid start to the campaign in Double-A, Devers was promoted to Triple-A in mid-July. He’s done nothing but hit since that promotion. While he can get a tad aggressive at the plate, he puts bat to ball easily and has the ability to use the entire field. When he finds a pitch to drive, he can hit it a long way to all fields. His well above average bat speed and outstanding strength combine to give him 30+ HR potential. But he’s more than just power. He has a solid eye and recognizes spin very well. He hit at least 32 doubles in each of the last two seasons, but has turned on the over-the-fence power in 2017, easily setting a career-high. Devers possesses good speed, but has yet to steal a base this season—he stole 18 bases in 2016. Not only is he a sound hitter, but he also has the potential to become an above average defender. He has good agility and range and has a very strong arm. There is still work to do to iron out the wrinkles, but he should be able to stick at 3B for the long-term. Devers is a career .295/.353/.480 hitter in the minors despite being young at every level of the minors. (JD)
STATS: Pawtucket (AAA) – 31 AB, .355/.412/.581, 1 2B, 2 HR, 0.38 Eye, 0 SB
Portland (AA) – 287 AB, .296/.366/.571, 19 2B, 18 HR, 0.56 Eye, 0 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Starting 3B
POTENTIAL: Starting 3B
RATING: 9C

Pedro Severino (C, WAS)
The Nationals recalled the 24-year-old backstop from Triple-A and he will serve as a reserve catcher for now. Severino has been a defensive standout since he was signed in 2010—he has spent his entire career in the Washington organization. With outstanding catch-and-throw skills, he makes an impact every game he plays. He owns clean, nimble footwork behind the plate and matches that with a cannon for an arm. Not only does he throw well, but he also receives and blocks like a veteran catcher in the big leagues. Severino is also considered to be a strong leader with a pitching staff. His offensive game hasn’t yet developed, however. Though he showed potential in 32 AB in the big leagues between 2015 and 2016, his approach has been far too inconsistent and unreliable. At times, he exhibits a short, controlled stroke with an ability to use the entire field. At other times, he becomes pull-conscious and swings with reckless abandon. Until he cleans up his batwork, there isn’t much offensive upside here. Severino lacks bat speed, but offers natural strength in his wrists an arms. For his career, the right-handed hitter has a batting line of .241/.291/.335 with a high of nine HR (2014). (JD)
STATS: Syracuse (AAA) – 161 AB, .211/.256/.298, 2 2B, 4 HR, 0.29 Eye, 0 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Reserve catcher
POTENTIAL: Starting catcher
RATING: 7E

Andrew Stevenson (OF, WAS)
Injuries are piling up the Nationals outfield and they summoned the 23-year-old from Triple-A to fill the void for the short-term. Stevenson was a second-round pick in 2015 and began the season in Double-A. After a hot start, he was promoted to Triple-A on May 1. The left-handed hitter is a possible top-of-the-order batter who knows his game—hitting hard grounders, using the middle of the field, and emphasizing contact over power and running like the wind. Stevenson makes very easy contact with a simple lefty stroke, but he’s added slight loft to it and now has the mechanics to smash line drives to the gaps. He generally has a solid eye at the plate, but he can still struggle with soft stuff away. Power will never be part of his game due to his swing, though his well above average speed suits his profile extremely well. As a defender, Stevenson can play all three outfield positions. He’s best in CF where his plus-plus range is enhanced by his routes and instincts. The only drawback is his fringy arm strength. For his career, he has a batting line of .280/.335/.366 with a high of three HR (2016) and 39 SB (2016). (JD)
STATS: Syracuse (AAA) – 285 AB, .246/.293/.319, 7 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 0.27 Eye, 9 SB
Harrisburg (AA) – 80 AB, .350/.429/.438, 5 2B, 0 HR, 0.58 Eye, 1 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Backup outfielder
POTENTIAL: Starting outfielder
RATING: 8C

July 23, 2017

Anthony Banda (LHP, ARI)
The Diamondbacks recalled the 23-year-old from Triple-A and he’ll make his major league debut with a spot start on Saturday, July 22. Banda was a 10th round pick of the Brewers in 2012 before they shipped him to Arizona in July 2014. His stock has gone up the past two years as his velocity has increased and his curveball has improved to near-plus status. Though he hasn’t exactly had a dominant season, particularly in the last month, he has the athletic delivery and pure stuff to be a solid #4 starter in the near future. Banda works off of a 90-94 mph fastball that can touch 98 mph on occasion. It gets fairly straight at the higher velocity and he can sometimes be guilty of overthrowing. When he keeps his mechanics in check, his fastball exhiits arm side fade. Banda’s curveball flashes plus and it has evolved into his go-to pitch when finishing hitters. His change-up is a distant third pitch, but it features solid fade and good differential from his fastball. Banda has struggled a bit with right-handed hitters in 2017 and his control has been far too inconsistent. Regardless of some struggles, there is enough here to keep him on the radar. Banda has a career 3.72 ERA, 3.3 Ctl, and 8.7 Dom. (JD)
STATS: Reno (AAA) – 18 gs, 7-5 5.08 ERA, 101 IP, 2.2 Cmd, 3.8 Ctl, 8.3 Dom, 11 HR, .261 oppBA
CURRENT ROLE: Likely only a spot start
POTENTIAL: #4 starter
RATING: 7A

Steven Brault (LHP, PIT)
The Pirates promoted the 25-year-old after placing OF Gregory Polanco on the disabled list. Brault vaulted to the majors in 2016 when he posted a 4.86 ERA, 4.5 Ctl, and 7.8 Dom in 33.1 innings with Pittsburgh. He was originally an 11th round pick of the Orioles in 2013 before being sent to the Pirates in February 2015. He goes after hitters from a low ¾ slot with a fastball that sits between 87-91 mph. He can bump it to 93 mph when needed and it exhibits solid sinking action which induces a ton of groundballs. Because of its movement, left-handed hitters have a devil of a time trying to make hard contact. Brault mixes in a slider that has evolved into an above average pitch along with a change-up that flashes plus. Because of his deceptive delivery and arm slot, all of his pitches play up a bit. He succeeds by keeping hitters of balance and working the edges with above average control. Brault doesn’t have high upside, but his pitchability could help him to succeed in the majors. He owns a career 2.61 ERA, 2.6 Ctl, and 8.1 Dom in the minors. (JD)
STATS: Indianapolis (AAA) – 17 gs, 8-4 2.06 ERA, 100.1 IP, 2.6 Cmd, 3.2 Ctl, 8.5 Dom, 4 HR, .214 oppBA
CURRENT ROLE: Long reliever
POTENTIAL: #4 starter
RATING: 7C
 

July 22, 2017

Carson Kelly (C, STL)
To the casual observer Kelly looked like a stalled and potentially maxed out prospect three seasons ago, slashing .219/.263/.332 over 389 AB to finish out 2015. Buried beneath those surface stats was a guy still new and transitioning masterfully to the hardest position in the game, and a burgeoning breakout that would rocket the 23-year-old Kelly to blue-chip status and in the conversation as the best catcher in the minors today alongside Francisco Mejia (C, CLE) and Jorge Alfaro (C, PHI). The 6’2”, 220-pound, native Chicagoan was drafted in the 2nd round in 2012 out of high school in Portland, OR, not as a C but as a 3B, a position he would stay at over his first two full seasons. He’d transition permanently to C that offseason and start at full-season Single-A Peoria in 2014. Kelly’s numbers were nondescript yet promising for a player so new to catching, which makes his rapid ascendance since then so much more impressive. After two seasons of fringe-average production, both Kelly’s defense and bat took off in 2016, breezing through the Texas League to Triple-A Memphis and eventually a brief cup with the parent company to round out the year. Kelly’s defense now sits at near plus-plus, arguably above-league-average mlb defense right now, with smooth framing, strong arm, excellent makeup, and ability to expertly call games. 2017 has seen Kelly’s bat begin to catch up, flashing both average hit (83.6% contact rate, 0.83 Eye, no platoon splits in ’17) and power game tools (career high .459 SLG in ’17). He also has doubled his walk rate on repeat of the level. It’s clear now that the Cardinals have something special in Kelly and working as an apprentice to Yadier Molina (C, STL) is just icing on the cake. There’s first-division, All-Star-level potential here and as such he’s No. 39 in our 2017 Midseason Top 50 Prospects list. That said, even the best catching prospects can take a considerable amount of time to transition to the majors and often struggle mightily. A backup role will remain in the cards for Kelly for the foreseeable future, but with Eric Fryer (C, STL) designated he’s now more likely to remain up than return quickly. His career minor league line: 1955 AB, .253/.315/.377, 97 2b, 6 3b, 45 HR, 0.52 Eye, 2 SB. (MSG)
2017 STATS: Memphis (AAA) — 244 AB, .283/.375/.459, 13 2b, 10 HR, 0.83 Eye
CURRENT ROLE: Backup C
POTENTIAL: Starting C
RATING: 8C

Tyler Olson (LHP, CLE)
Claimed off waivers from the Royals last July, Cleveland marks the fourth organization for the 6’3”, 195 pound Olson in his short career. Signed out of Gonzaga in 2013 in the 7th round by the Mariners, he initially started out in the rotation due to good deception and a fringe-to-average four-pitch mix. Olson works with a high 80s FF and a similar SI with more depth, as well as a CH and a slurvy CB. None of his pitches grade much beyond average, but he can locate them around the zone and sports a career 2.6 control rate. By 2015, Olson had assumed somewhat of a swing role and made it up to Seattle for 11 g, compiling a 5.40 ERA and 1.44 WHIP over 13.1 IP. He found similar results over a brief spin with the Yankees last year. Olson’s been difficult to hit for left-handed batters, as a ’17 slash line of .132/.224/.353 attests, in line with his previous performance, but interestingly, 5 of his 7 HR he’s given up have come against them. And while his stats at Triple A Columbus look sterling, especially the 11.5 Dom, 4.7 Cmd, and a .194 oppBA, keep in mind that comes with a 24.7% hit rate and 80.8% strand rate. With Boone Logan (LHP, CLE) hitting the DL, Olson has been summoned to provide another bullpen lefty. Long term, he projects best as a lefty-specialist. Olson’s career minor league line: 341.2 IP, 3.95 ERA, 4 Sv, 2.6 Ctl, 8.2 Dom, 3.2 Cmd, 27 HR, , .262 oppBA, 1.32 WHIP. (MSG)
2017 STATS: Columbus (AAA) — 33 g, 2-0, 3.32 ERA, 40.2 IP, 2 Sv, 2.4 Ctl, 11.5 Dom, 4.7 Cmd, 7 HR, .194 oppBA, 0.96 WHIP
CURRENT ROLE: Middle reliever
POTENTIAL: Lefty specialist
RATING: 6D

 

July 21, 2017

Matt Koch (RHP, ARI)
With a temporary need for another arm as Taijuan Walker goes on paternity leave, the Diamondbacks called up 26-year-old Matt Koch. The 6'3", 215-pound right-hander appeared in seven games for the team last September, throwing 18 credible innings where he struck out 10 of the 69 batters he faced while walking only four. In a nutshell, that's what you get with Matt Koch: good command and control, low strikeout totals, pitching to contact. With these types of pitchers, if the contact goes through the holes, the WHIP goes up, and if not the innings can go quickly and efficiently. Koch throws his low-90s mph fastball with great control to both sides of the plate. His slow curve is another average pitch, and his cut fastball gives him a third. His change-up is below average. Koch lost a couple of months this year to a shoulder impingement, which is why his innings are sparse. Coming back from that injury possibly affected his results as well, for while his low-A numbers were good, his Triple-A results were poor. He is probably only up for a few days, but he has been climbing the minor league levels step by step and if now healthy he is ready to help a major league team in the middle innings. He could provide the team with back-to-back appearances, or even a spot start as needed. In six minor league seasons his ERA is 4.38 with a 1.331 WHIP and a Cmd of 3.4 in 471.0 IP. (NR)
2017 STATS: Reno (AAA) – 4 g, 4 gs, 2-1, 8.47 ERA, 17.0 IP, 1.3 Cmd, 3.7 Ctl, 4.8 Dom, 5 HR, .290 oppBA
Hillsboro (A-) – 2 g, 2 gs, 1-0, 84.91 ERA, 11.0 IP, 9.0 Cmd, 0.8 Ctl, 7.4 Dom, 2 HR, .302 oppBA
CURRENT ROLE: Bullpen depth
POTENTIAL: Middle reliever
RATING: 6A

 

July 20, 2017

Yoan Moncada (2B, CHW)
After the big trade that sent Todd Frazier packing to New York, the White Sox added HQ’s No. 1 prospect—pre-season and midseason—to the big league roster. The 22-year-old is expected to play every day at 2B barring any unusual struggles. Moncada was obtained from the Red Sox in December 2016 as the centerpiece of the gargantuan return for LHP Chris Sale. The switch-hitter is an explosive athlete who can do it all on the field. His numbers may not be elite at present, but there is a ton of projection in his strong frame. At his peak, Moncada could be an ideal middle-of-the-order run producer who hits for both BA and power while posting a high OBP and stealing a load of bases. He is a much better hitter from the left side where he exhibits more present pop. Though he has a tendency to swing overly aggressively, he is willing to work counts and find a pitch to his liking. His exceptional bat speed allows him to catch up to any fastball and make extremely hard contact to all fields. Adding to his plentiful tools are his improved pitch recognition and hand-eye coordination. As a defender, Moncada has played exclusively at 2B this season, though some still see him eventually moving to 3B because of his cannon arm. While not a Gold Glove contender, he’s improved his footwork and can make the routine plays. Moncada has a chance to become an elite player in very short order as an asset in every fantasy category. For his minor league career, he has a batting line of .285/.390/.470 with a high of 15 HR in 2016. (JD)
STATS: Charlotte (AAA) – 309 AB, .282/.377/.447, 9 2B, 12 HR, 0.48 Eye, 17 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Starting 2B
POTENTIAL: Starting 2B/3B
RATING: 9A

Kyle Martin (RHP, BOS)
The Red Sox promoted the 26-year-old to the majors for the first time and he’ll provide a fresh arm in the bullpen. Martin was a ninth-round pick in 2013 and he’s pitched as a reliever for his entire pro career. He has a tall, large frame (6’7” 230 pounds) and throws on an intimidating downhill plane. Now in his second year at Triple-A, Martin has succeeded mostly due to his fastball/change-up combination, with the change-up being the better of the two. His 91-95 mph sinker can be thrown for strikes, but he’s not been able to master his slider. Due to the outstanding action on his change-up, he is extremely effective against left-handed hitters. Martin uses his offspeed pitch in any count and it often induces very weak contact. He has been able to strike out hitters because of his downhill plane and deception, but he might need to enhance his slider to be potent in the big leagues. Furthermore, his command could use some polish. For his minor league career, Martin has a 3.47 ERA, 2.7 Ctl and 9.3 Dom. (JD)
STATS: Pawtucket (AAA) – 23 g, 0-4 3.79 ERA, 38 IP, 2.0 Cmd, 4.0 Ctl, 8.3 Dom, 4 HR, .243 oppBA
CURRENT ROLE: Long reliever
POTENTIAL: Setup reliever
RATING: 7D

 

July 19, 2017

Colin Moran (3B, HOU)
The Astros recalled the 24-year-old after placing Carlos Correa on the disabled list. Moran was the sixth-overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Marlins before they shipped him to Houston at the trade deadline in 2014. The left-handed hitter had his worst pro season in 2016 while in Triple-A, yet still earned 23 AB with the big league club, hitting .130/.200/.174. The 2017 campaign has been an entirely different story. He’s easily shattered his previous high in HR (10 HR in 2016) while also making much better contact than last year. Moran is a tall, natural-hitting infielder who tweaked his swing and approach in the offseason to add more pop to his game. Other than 2016, he’s always hit for a high BA and he’s continued to do so this year even with the power spike. He uses the whole field and can hang in against left-handed pitching. Moran has a solid understanding of the strike zone and owns ideal plate coverage. The rest of his game is fringy at best. He could very well be one of the slowest prospects around as he rarely steals bases and lacks the quickness to be an above average infielder. His strong arm may be one of his best assets, however. Moran has mostly played 3B this season and has also seen action at 1B and LF. If he hits, then he will play. He has a career line of .291/.354/.432 in the minors. (JD)
STATS: Fresno (AAA) – 302 AB, .308/.373/.543, 15 2B, 18 HR, 0.56 Eye, 0 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Likely to see fair amount of time at 3B
POTENTIAL: Starting 3B
RATING: 7B
 

July 18, 2017

Andrew Kittredge (RHP, TAM)
As Jumbo Diaz gets designated for assignment, the Rays will try yet again to find a reliable middle reliever as they called up 27-year-old Andrew Kittredge for the first time. The right-hander came over from Seattle in a trade this past winter, and he was bouncing up and down between Double-A and Triple-A for the Mariners. This year with the Rays he's been quite effective for Durham, and this gives him a chance to show what he can do in the majors. The 6'1", 200-pound Kittredge has three pitches fronted by his mid-90s mph fastball. He has a slider and a curve in his mix as well. Early in his relieving career he had major problems with his control, so while he could always strike guys out, his WHIPs were frequently ugly. For Durham it has all come together with a nice 2.1 Ctl to go with a 9.3 Dom, and with batters hitting only .232 against him, his 1.077 WHIP looks great. It even got him to the Triple-A All-Star Game, and now he's with the Rays. There's speculation that the Rays, in the hunt for a wild-card slot, will look to trade for quality bullpen arms. In the meantime, Kittredge is the latest to try to give them quality results in the middle innings. In seven minor league seasons his ERA is 4.15 with a 1.424 WHIP and a Cmd of 3.2 in 394.2 IP. (NR)
2017 STATS: Durham (AAA) – 30g, 2gs, 5-1, 1.90 ERA, 52.0 IP, 4.5 Cmd, 2.1 Ctl, 9.3 Dom, 2 HR, .232 oppBA
CURRENT ROLE: Bullpen depth
POTENTIAL: Middle reliever
RATING: 6D

 

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.