CALL-UPS: May 15-21, 2018

Photo: Juan Soto (RF, WAS)

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

May 21, 2018

Juan Soto (RF, WAS)
Soto was signed by the Nationals for $1.5 million in 2015, and less than three years later he has rocketed through Washington’s system and received The Call. The GCL MVP in 2016, Soto has displayed above-average-to-plus bat-to-ball skills throughout his time in professional baseball. He has solid bat speed and contact skills, as well as an ability to adjust within at-bats well beyond his 19 years of age. Power has been a little more difficult to come by from his 6’1”, 185-pound frame, and injuries last year in the form of a fractured ankle and hamate bone limited his opportunities. This spring, Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long widened Soto’s stance, adding bend in the knees to help lower his hitting plane and in turn increasing his launch angle and the results have been impressive. Across three levels this year, Soto has slashed .362/.462/.757, with 10 2B, 4 3B, and 14 HR, over 152 AB. Defensively, Soto is likely relegated to a corner due to fringe-average speed and arm strength, and will need to get his arm to average to profile in RF. Regardless, Soto’s bat looks to have 60s on both the hit and power, and as such, he’s our No. 2 Nationals prospect and No. 28 overall prospect in the game. And while Soto’s performance surely has pressed the issue with the parent club, a rash of injuries have burned through the Nationals outfield, forcing infielders into outfield duty. One such player, Howie Kendrick (2B, WAS), blew out his Achilles’ tendon yesterday, thus necessitating the call for Soto. His career minor league line: 453 AB, .362/.434/.609, 30 2B, 8 3B, 22 HR, 0.88 Eye, 9 SB.
2018 STATS: Harrisburg (AA) — 31 AB, .323/.400/.581, 2 2B, 2 HR, 0.57 Eye, 1 SB
Potomac (A+) — 62 AB, .371/.466/.790, 3 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 1.38 Eye
Hagerstown (A) — 59 AB, .373/.486/.814, 5 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 1.08 Eye, 2 SB
CURRENT ROLE: In mix for OF starts
POTENTIAL: Starting RF
RATING: 9C

 


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Jose Briceno (C, LAA)
Briceno broke onto the scene in 2013, slashing .333/.356/.614, with 16 2B and nine HR for Grand Junction in the Pioneer League. The 6’1, 210-pound Venezuelan was able to back up that performance next year at Single-A Asheville, slashing .283/.336/.476, with 23 2B and 12 HR over 315 AB, earning organizational All-Star status for the Rockies. Briceno moved from the Colorado to the Braves in a minor trade for David Hale (RHP, NYY), and then would be packaged alongside Andrelton Simmons (SS, LAA) the next year to the Angels, where’s he’s resided since. Unfortunately, the bat hasn’t traveled with Briceno, as he’s stalled out a bit in the upper levels. He does possess a bit of thump, but his approach has been poor, often leaving him with sub-Menzoa BA lines and poor contact rates. Briceno’s defense is what likely get’s him a major league opportunity, as he has an above-average arm that consistently results in 40%+ CS%. His English is good, as well as his make-up, but this is likely a major league back-up profile at upside. Briceno has done well with the stick here in 2018, but his numbers are likely inflated because of the high-offensive environment of the PCL, so don't expect that success to carryover to the bigs. His career minor league line; 2,015 AB, .240/.290/.370, 109 2B, 6 3B, 47 HR, 0.34 Eye, 54 SB.
2018 STATS: Salt Lake (AAA) — 88 AB, .261/.272/.500, 3 3B, 6 HR, 0.11 Eye, 3 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Reserve C
POTENTIAL: Backup C
RATING: 6C

 

May 20, 2018

Chris Flexen (RHP, NYM)
The 23-year-old made the jump from Double-A to the majors late last summer, but was greeted rudely by big league hitters. He compiled a 7.88 ERA and 11 HRs allowed over 48 IP. He has fared better so far this season in Triple-A, his first such tour at that level. After battling injuries during the three years immediately following being selected in the 14th round of the 2012 draft, he has found more health and consistency from 2016 onward. His arsenal includes a two-seam FB, a SL, and a CB—but none are plus offerings at the big league level. He will have to limit both the free passes and the long ball to reach his ceiling. His career minor league numbers over 457 IP: 3.29 ERA, 3.0 Ctl, 7.4 Dom, and 2.5 Cmd.
2018 STATS: Las Vegas (AAA) - 8 g, 7 gs, 3-3, 3.40 ERA, 39.2 IP, 2.5 Ctl, 7.0 Dom, 2.8 Cmd, 4 HR, .304 oppBA, 1.49 WHIP
CURRENT ROLE: Long reliever
POTENTIAL: #4 starter
RATING: 7C

 

Ariel Jurado (RHP, TEX)

Juardo checks in as Texas' No. 14 prospect. He has been a starter throughout his minor league career, and will fill that role for the Rangers in a spot capacity. Making the jump all the way from Double-A, he brings with him career stats of a 3.35 ERA, an excellent 1.8 Ctl, a Dom of 7.1, and a nice Cmd of 3.9. His stellar control rates are the keys to his success, as he stays around the plate and forces teams to put his sinkerball in play. He has some long-term potential to be an innings-eater for a major league rotation, but the odds of him having an extended stay in Texas this early in his development are low. Look for him to return to Frisco (or possibly Round Rock) before long in order to continue his skills refinement.
2018 STATS: Frisco (AAA) - 6 gs, 1-1, 2.57 ERA, 35 IP, 2.1 Ctl, 4.6 Dom, 2.3 Cmd, 5 HR, .233 oppBA, 1.09 WHIP
CURRENT ROLE: Spot starter
POTENTIAL: #4 starter
RATING: 7C

Kevin Shackelford (RHP, CIN)
Shackelford has bounced between Cincinnati and Louisville numerous times over the past two seasons, but has still not acculumated the innings or service time to exhaust his rookie eligibility. He relies heavily on his sinker to try and induce ground balls while also mixing in a SL and cutter. He has been pitching professionally since 2010, and for now is strictly bullpen depth for the pitching-starved Reds. His career minor league numbers covering 439.2 IP: a 3.48 ERA, 2.9 Ctl, 6.4 Dom, and 2.3 Cmd. His Dom over the past two seasons in Triple-A has been a much-improved 11.7, so if he can carry some of those recent strikeout gains with him to the big club then he'll have a chance to stick.
2018 STATS: Cincinnati (NL) - 4 g, 0-1, 9.00 ERA, 5 IP, 3.6 Ctl, 9.0 Dom, 2.5 Cmd, 0 HR, .417 oppBA, 2.40 WHIP
Louisville (AAA) - 5 g, 0-0, 3.86 ERA, 4.2 IP, 5.8 Ctl, 11.6 Dom, 2.0 Cmd, 0 HR, .188 oppBA, 1.29 WHIP
Pensacola (AA) - 3 g, 1 gs, 0-0, 2.45 ERA, 3.2 IP, 7.4 Ctl, 4.9 Dom, 0.7 Cmd, 0 HR, .182 oppBA, 1.36 WHIP
CURRENT ROLE: Bullpen depth
POTENTIAL: Middle reliever
RATING: 6C

Jake Cave (OF, MIN)
Cave was acquired from the Yankees during spring training, and he carries a career minor league slash of .284/.345/.420 over 2,519 ABs. He has hit 40 HR and added 59 SBs during his six-year tenure. Strikeouts and poor plate discipline have always been issues for him, and as such will likely regulate him to a backup/platoon role should he ever attain a permanent spot on a 25-man roster. Batting from the left side will at least provide Cave with a small silver lining. For now he will provide depth at all three OF positions, as he has displayed excellent defensive skills from pole to pole. His power numbers have also increased as he has reached his mid-20's (now age 25), which is another checkmark towards a quest for relevancy.
2018 STATS: Rochester (AAA) - 132 AB, .265/.355/.356, 7 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 0.55 Eye, 4 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Reserve OF
POTENTIAL: Reserve OF
RATING: 6B

 

May 19, 2018

Michael Hermosillo (OF, LAA)
Not among the Angels' top 15 prospects, the 23-year-old Hermosillo will be making his major league debut when he first appears in a big league game. An outfielder who provides solid defense at all three positions, Hermosillo offers slight pop and decent speed; he has put up career totals of 24 HR, 63 2B, 16 3B, and 87 SB over 1,376 minor league ABs. While not excelling at any one particular aspect of the game (speed is his best attribute, yet his SB success rate is only 65%), he is adeqate enough to be a future 4th outfielder or to fill the weak side of a platoon. Given that his age should allow for several more years of skills development, it isn't outside of the realm of possibility for him to become a regular, but his plate discipline will have to improve in a hurry. His Eye in the minors checks in at 0.58, and he has a career triple slash of .267/.370/.389. His counting stats in Triple-A this season have been fairly impressive, which has helped to prompt his call-up. A lengthy stay is in doubt, however, as his role at present is simply to provide depth following a Justin Upton HBP (who may yet avoid a trip to the DL).
2018 STATS: Salt Lake (AAA) - 135 AB, .267/.389/.481, 3 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 0.38 Eye, 7 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Backup OF
POTENTIAL: 4th/Platoon OF
RATING: 7E

May 18, 2018

Austin Meadows (OF, PIT)
Starling Marte pulls up lame and the Pirates call up Austin Meadows to take his place for now. The 23-year-old Meadows, our No. 44 prospect and Pittsburgh's No. 2 prospect, is a five-tool player who has had injury problems that have slowed his ascent. As a prospect he has no real weaknesses, with decent speed and good defense being his worst skills. His power is real and his batting skills are excellent. The 6'3", 210-pound outfielder is a career .291 hitter in the minors, and with his good walk rates and solid contact, he should be able to put up decent numbers in the majors as well. He only appeared in 81 games last year due to hamstring and oblique injuries, and truthfully his batting line that year was sub-par for what he is capable of. So far this year he has improved his Triple-A slash line, but he is still finding his way back and his OPS is still down from his career norms. If healthy, he could put up double-digit home runs and steals while playing solid defense. For now the Pirates would take healthy over the course of a season, and it's quite possible he will only be up for a few days until Marte comes back. His potential is high though, and it's just a matter of staying healthy and living up to that potential. His career line: 1,621 AB, .291/.356/.453, 106 2B, 26 3B, 35 HR, 0.52 Eye, 62 SB.
2018 STATS: Indianapolis (AAA) – 121 AB, .281/.326/.380, 9 2B, 1 HR, 0.35 Eye, 8 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Starting OF
POTENTIAL: Starting OF
RATING: 9D

Randy Rosario (LHP, CHC)
Needing bullpen reinforcements, the Cubs called up 23-year-old lefty Randy Rosario to provide middle relief. The 6'1", 200-pound Rosario was a starter until last year when he transitioned into the bullpen and the shift has helped him succeed. His control, which used to be poor, has improved out of the pen. His mid-90s mph heavy fastball works well there too, resulting in a career hr/9 of 0.3 with only 11 HRs allowed in 370 IP. That fastball is coupled with a slider that flashes plus and is effective against left-handed batters. He's been having a great start to his Triple-A career this year, pitching 17.1 innings and striking out 12 of the 65 batters he's faced and walking just five. Batters are hitting just .167 off him in Iowa. Since this is the only Triple-A time he has had, and he's just 23, he is likely to be sent back down in short order to continue gaining experience in the pen. His three-quarter delivery has good deception, with batters having a hard time picking up the pitch out of his hand. That deception, along with a solid FB/SL combination, give Rosario the tools to eventually become an effective setup reliever in the majors. For now he gives the Cubs bullpen an arm that is not worn out. Rosario's career minor league line: 370.0 IP, 3.24 ERA, 3.7 Ctl, 7.3 Dom, 2.0 Cmd, 11 HR, .245 oppBA, 1.330 WHIP.
2018 STATS: Iowa (AAA) – 11 g, 0 gs, 0-0, 0.52 ERA, 17.1 IP, 2.6 Ctl, 6.2 Dom, 2.4 Cmd, 0 HR, .167 oppBA, 0.865 WHIP
CURRENT ROLE: Middle reliever
POTENTIAL: Setup starter
RATING: 7D

Steven Baron (C, STL)
Another Cardinals catcher goes down as Carson Kelly goes on the DL, so St. Louis calls up 27-year-old Steven Baron to back up Francisco Pena behind the plate. The 6'0", 205-pound Baron did appear in four games for Seattle back in 2015, but has otherwise been bouncing between Double-A and Triple-A ever since. One look at his career batting line tells you why that is. Organization depth pieces are nice for the organization, but worthless for fantasy owners. Baron is likely up only for a few days as emergency backup. If he does play, he brings neither speed nor power to the plate. However, he does provide some defense, throwing out four of the 10 base steal attempts made against him in Memphis. His career line: 2,260 AB, .233/.292/.335, 118 2B, 13 3B, 29 HR, 0.31 Eye, 39 SB.
2018 STATS: Memphis (AAA) – 59 AB, .153/.167/.186, 2 2B, 0 HR, 0.05 Eye, 0 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Backup C
POTENTIAL: Backup C
RATING: 4D

 

May 17, 2018

Christian Arroyo (3B, TAM)
Though having primarily played third base over the past two seasons in the minors, the versatile Arroyo has also spent considerable time at both 2B and SS. He will get a short-term opportunity to occupy the hot corner in Tampa Bay due to Matt Duffy’s recurring hamstring problems, and don’t be surprised if he logs some innings at those other positions, as well. Arroyo was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Evan Longoria to the Giants over the winter, so Tampa would obviously like to see him succeed. Following the trade, he checked in as Tampa’s No. 7 prospect. A first-round pick out of high school in 2013, he carries a .296 career batting average over 1,556 minor league at-bats, but that comes with an Eye of only 0.38. During that same span (the equivalent of three full seasons, if you will) he has managed a scant 25 home runs and 18 stolen bases. He garnered 125 AB with the Giants last season and managed three HRs while batting only .192, with a broken hand costing him much of the year. His minor league history suggests that he could develop into an RBI and run contributor at the highest level while also offering the aforementioned position flexibility. Arroyo will need to continue to fill out his 6-1, 180-pound frame and develop more power in order to be a big fantasy contributor. He won’t turn 23 until the end of May, so there is still time. For now, though, don’t expect many counting stats from him.
2018 STATS: Durham (AAA) - 65 AB, .200/.235/.308, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 0.21 Eye, 0 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Reserve INF
POTENTIAL: Starting 3B/INF
RATING: 8C

 

Hunter Dozier(1B, KC)
The former first-round pick (2013) has been spending time at both corner infield spots and the outfield while in Triple-A in 2018. After only accumulating 111 AB in 2017 due to a variety of joint injuries, the team's No. 2 prospect is now getting his first recall since 2016 in order to fill in for the injured Lucas Duda. His 2018 stats haven't been overly impressive, but his pedigree shows that he has the ability to carry a high average and offer 15+ HR potential. In 1,921 career minor league AB he has 55 home runs, a .261 batting average and a 0.46 Eye. Based on his stagnant development over the past two years, it would be tempting to assume that he may never become the top power bat that the Royals envisioned when selecting him eighth overall out of Stephen F. Austin State (where he hit 17 home runs in 212 AB as a junior). However, he is now entering what should be his prime years of production (he will turn 27 in August), so with the right playing-time opportunity he fits the mold of the ideal post-hype prospect. Getting an extended opportunity will be the key, though. Right now his stay will be subject to how quickly Duda returns. But with the Royals likely being sellers at this year's trade deadline, Dozier could be up to stay later this summer. (On a related side note, Dozier would probably fall somewhere around step five or six in Ryan Bloomfield's recent Prospect Paths to Stardom hierarchy.)
2018 STATS: Omaha (AAA) - 118 AB, .254/.385/.339, 7 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 0.56 Eye, 2 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Starting 1B
POTENTIAL: Starting CI/OF
RATING: 7B

 

 

May 16, 2018

Miguel Gomez (2B, SF)
We previously profiled Gomez’s history in his call-up piece last July and it’s a good starting point on the 5’9”, 206-pound Dominican, now in his seventh season of professional baseball. Gomez didn’t avail himself too well during his brief cup last year, slashing .242/.235/.303 over 33 AB with only two 2B. Gomez returned to Double-A Richmond to start 2018 and posted similar numbers to his 2017 campaign, but has struggled since his promotion to Triple-A Sacramento. The limited shine that he had coming into 2017 has abated some. Gomez still has excellent bat-to-ball skills and identifies pitches well, but his aggression gets the best of him and limits and already sparse profile. He doesn’t take a walk and his heavy feet and poor speed don’t project the profile much beyond occasional starter. Defensively, he’s still limited to 2B, but after May 13, he only committed three errors and none at the major league level. Still, he’s below average defensively. Without power or speed, combined with poor defensive skills, a role as a major league bench guy seems even rosy at this point. Gomez has good make-up and coaches like his work ethic, but it’s hard to see him carving out a significant major league role without an explosion in his power skills. With both Joe Panik (2B, SF) and Alen Hanson (2B, SF) down, he’ll get some run alongside Kelby Tomlinson (2B, SF) at the keystone. Gomez’s career line: 1,625 AB, .310/.345/.460, 101 2b, 13 3b, 39 HR, 0.35 Eye, 11 SB.
2018 STATS: Sacramento (AAA) — 11 AB, .091/.091/.182, 0.00 Eye
Richmond (AA) — 101 AB, .297/.317/.416, 6 2b, 3 3b, 0.20 Eye, 1 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Platoon 2B with Kelby Tomlinson
POTENTIAL: Reserve infielder
RATING: 6B

 

May 15, 2018

Franmil Reyes (OF, SD)
Looking to add some thump to a lineup that could surely use it, the Padres called up 22-year-old Franmil Reyes and immediately began his big league career by starting him in right field and hitting sixth. Reyes is an interesting case study for he was not highly ranked in the Padres' organization. In part that is because he hasn't been looked upon with favor by most scouts, and in part this is because San Diego has a great organization with lots of talent ahead of Reyes. What don't the scouts like about him? He's a swing-and-miss type with a long swing (though he has been trying to improve), he's a huge guy (6'5", 240 pounds) who is stuck in a corner outfield position because of his sub-par defense, and he's a 20-grade runner. On the positive side of the picture, he's merely leading the minor leagues with 14 HRs and these are not just cheap, Pacific Coast League barely-clearing-the-fence shots. Reyes has power that can play anywhere. Furthermore on the statistics side of the ledger is this interesting four-year progression in skill:

Year  ISO BB% KO%
2015 .138  9% 18%
2016 .174  9% 20%
2017 .206  8% 24%
2018 .402 14% 20%

That Isolated Power has been growing every year, the walks were steady until a big jump up this year, and the strikeouts, which got worse last year, have bounced back to a very acceptable 20% rate. There's no question that playing in the PCL has helped him this year (do not expect him to hit .300 in San Diego), and some of those walks this year could be pitchers afraid to pitch to him in a way that major leaguers won't hesitate to attack. His career BA of .268 is much more likely to be what he could produce in the majors, with a swing that can lead to slumps. But that power can play, and San Diego surely could use some, and even if he is just being showcased for a possible trade, Reyes is being given a chance to see if that bat can handle major league pitching. There's risk here, but he has improved his skills enough to make it to the majors, and that's already progress. For more details about Reyes, please note Alec Dopp's recent WatchList article. His career line: 2,542 AB, .268/.334/.437, 144 2B, 20 3B, 82 HR, 0.43 Eye, 34 SB.
2018 STATS: El Paso (AAA) – 127 AB, .346/.440/.748, 7 2B, 14 HR, 0.69 Eye, 0 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Starting OF
POTENTIAL: Starting OF
RATING: 7D

 

Dawel Lugo (2B/3B, DET)
As Jeimer Candelario goes on the 10-day DL, the Tigers called up 23-year-old Dawel Lugo to make his major league debut as infield depth for the team. The 6'0", 190-pound Lugo was a 3B until he was converted to 2B after Detroit acquired him from Arizona. So Lugo could provide help at either position. Lugo has a quick bat and good hand-eye coordination with a good contact rate that could lead to decent BA numbers. He has decent power, though more of the doubles variety for now. He doesn't bring much speed to the base paths. His OBP is down this year from his career norm, and that's primarily due to his very poor walk rate this year: he has come up to the plate 143 times so far in Triple-A, and walked just once while striking out 20 times. A 0.05 Batting Eye won't cut it in the majors, and his career mark of 0.27 isn't that great. So he still has skills to develop, and at 23 year of age in his first taste of Triple-A, he still has time to make those adjustments. He is likely only up for a few days this time. His career line: 2,513 AB, .277/.307/.397, 107 2B, 26 3B, 48 HR, 0.27 Eye, 23 SB.
2018 STATS: Toledo (AAA) – 141 AB, .284/.287/.369, 7 2B, 1 HR, 0.05 Eye, 2 SB
CURRENT ROLE: Backup 3B
POTENTIAL: Starting 3B
RATING: 7B

 

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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.