Minor League Roundup: Springer Has Sprung

Another day, another spate of cancellations. This time, wet, cold, snowy and otherwise miserable conditions wiped the entire slates of the Eastern and Carolina leagues, plus a handful of games elsewhere across the country.

Never fear, baseball fans. The day was salvaged when the Astros decided to call up outfielder George Springer, a finalist for our Minor League Player of the Year last fall, from Triple-A Oklahoma City. J.J. Cooper also wrote this morning about what fantasy players everywhere can expect from the Astros’ next big thing.

With that in mind, it’s probably the last time you’ll see the young man’s name in this space. Try not to get verklempt as you read about the rest of the action from the day that was in the minors. Let’s kick things off with an animated GIF.

J.J.’s GIF Of The Day

George Springer

George Springer (Source: Milb.tv)

 

This very well may be the last time we get to talk about George Springer in a Minor League Roundup. If it’s the end, he said farewell in style with this second-inning grand slam against Colorado Springs lefty Christian Friedrich, who tried to come inside on Springer (which is never a very good idea).

International League (AAA)

Edward Salcedo (Photo by Mike Janes).

Edward Salcedo (Photo by Mike Janes)

Edward Salced0, 3b, Gwinnett (Braves). At 22, Salcedo is the second-youngest player with Gwinnett, with catcher Christian Bethancourt younger by a matter of months. Even so, Salcedo has been in pro ball for two fewer years than his teammate, which makes it all the more impressive that he’s found his way to Triple-A at such a tender age. Salcedo was 3-for-4 on Tuesday night, including two doubles and a home run off Kevin Gausman, one of the Orioles’ most promising arms. Salcedo needs to shore up his pitch selection and could stand to be less aggressive on defense, but overall the Braves have to be happy with what they’ve seen so far.

Cody Martin, rhp, Gwinnett (Braves). A former closer with Gonzaga, Martin worked out of the bullpen in his first pro season before transitioning to the rotation. He’s armed with a low-90s fastball with life, as well as a slider and changeup that both rate as solid-average. He’s also introduced a two-seam fastball that will help him as a starter. After relieving for three innings in his first outing this year—he piggybacked with Ervin Sanatana—his last two appearances have been starts, including 5 2/3 innings of two-hit, shutout ball on Tuesday with nine strikeouts and a walk. No matter how Atlanta chooses to utilize him, the team believes he could help soon.

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

Joc Pederson, of, Albuquerque (Dodgers). Just keep mashing, young man. Right now, though, Los Angeles’ outfield is full of Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp. Pederson, however, is making his case. He went 4-for-4 with a double, two home runs and five RBIs on Tuesday night, and is slugging a gaudy .692 in the early going. It’s just a matter of time.

George Springer, of, Oklahoma City (Astros). Normally, this spot is reserved for a pitcher, but Springer’s night was too hard to resist. The Astros thought the same thing, because they called him up late Tuesday. Houston’s center fielder of the future went 3-for-4 with a grand slam and four runs scored, and he has three longballs on the year. There are questions about whether he’ll hit for average, and he’ll get his chance to answer those questions starting Wednesday. His closing effort was so strong, in fact, that it could easily be considered baseball’s version of Costanza-ing.

 

Eastern League (AA)

All games postponed

Southern League (AA)

J.T. Realmuto

J.T. Realmuto, c, Jacksonville (Marlins). Miami’s third-round selection from 2010, Realmuto was converted from shortstop to catcher immediately after signing. He’s a better-than-average defender but has plenty of work to do with the stick. Evaluators noted that he tended to open up too soon and occasionally pull off the ball. He went 3-for-5 on Tuesday with a double, a run and an RBI but still is hitting .238 in a repeat of Double-A.

Andrew Heaney, lhp, Jacksonville (Marlins). The top arm in the Miami system is pitching like it. In three starts this year, Heaney has fanned 16 against three walks, and worked to a 1.56 ERA. He has a lively fastball that he can run up to 97 mph, a plus slider with depth and a changeup that rates as solid-average, especially against righthanders. He allowed one hit over six innings, walked one and struck out five. Marlins fans will be clamoring for his arrival as soon as possible to form the back end of a 1-2 punch with ace Jose Fernandez.

Luke Jackson

Luke Jackson (Photo by Robert Gurganus)

Texas League (AA)

Luke Jackson, rhp, Frisco (Rangers). With his 90-95 mph fastball and hard curveball that got better as last season went along, Jackson has the ability to dominate. Like most young pitchers, his changeup needs work, and it’s his clear No. 3 right now. After a rocky last start, Jackson ironed things out on Tuesday, when he fanned eight over six innings of three-hit shutout ball against Arkansas.

Aledmys Diaz, ss, Springfield (Cardinals). Signed for a scant $8 million out of Cuba in early March, Diaz has started ablaze. He entered the evening hitting .333/.342/.583 and added two more hits and an RBI to his ledger. For someone who entered with a reputation as a defender, the offense is a welcome surprise.

Florida State League (Hi A)

Eric Jagielo

Eric Jagielo, 3b, Tampa (Yankees). The Yankees haven’t developed an everyday position player since Brett Gardner, and that lack of talent has been exposed again as injuries decimated the big club. New York drafted Jagielo with their first of three first-round picks in last year’s draft in the hopes he could eventually end that streak. He started slowly this year, but has come on since. He went 2-for-4 with three runs and his fourth longball of the year Tuesday. Still, he’s striking out five times for every one walk, a problem that will bear watching going forth.

Marco Gonzales, lhp, Palm Beach (Cardinals). The second pitcher from Gonzaga in today’s roundup, Gonzales was the Cardinals’ first-rounder in last year’s draft. He offers an 88-91 mph fastball and an above-average changeup, as well as an average curveball. On Tuesday, he allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits and three walks over 6 2/3 innings. He fanned five, and now has 12 punchouts in 11 2/3 frames this year.

California League (Hi A)

Seth Mejias-Brean, 3b, Bakersfield (Reds). A member of the 2012 Arizona College World Series champs, Mejias-Brean was drafted by the Reds in the eighth round that summer and has impressed the organization with his play at third base and his hit tool. He’s never hit lower than .305 for a full season and has begun to tap into his power thanks to some mechanical adjustments. He went 3-for-5 with a triple, a homer, three runs and two RBIs on Tuesday, and is also the owner of one of the minors’ most joyfully silly mugshots.

Cam Bedrosian, rhp, Inland Empire (Angels). Plenty of ink has been spilled over Phillies reliever Kenny Giles‘ start, but Bedrosian’s early work has been just as impressive. The righthander moved to the bullpen last year, where he pared his arsenal down to just his fastball (92-95 mph) and power slider. He fanned the side on Tuesday, and for the year has whiffed 15 over his first 15 2/3 innings while surrendering one hit and two walks. His success should expedite his path to the big leagues, as well as the Angels’ return on the $1.116 million investment they made four years ago.

Carolina League (Hi A)

All games postponed

Franmil Reyes (Photo by Bill Mitchell).

Franmil Reyes (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Midwest League (Lo A)

Franmil Reyes, rf, Fort Wayne (Padres). Reyes didn’t make the Padres Top 30 Prospects this year, but he’s making a strong push to do so next year. He went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, three runs and two RBIs on Tuesday, and is hitting .286/.318/.500 through the first 10 games. Reyes got $700,000 from the Padres in 2012, and cuts an intimidating presence at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds. He’s got plenty of pull power but, as expected for an 18-year-old in low Class A, has plenty of rough edges.

Edwin Diaz, rhp, Clinton (Mariners). Just another in the Mariners’ stockpile of talented arms, the Puerto Rican Diaz was the Mariners’ third-rounder two seasons ago. He attacks opponents with two plus offerings in his fastball (which sits at 90-94 mph and touches 96) and slider. He has better command than would be expected for a pitcher his age, and on Tuesday he put his skills to good use with five innings of three-hit, shutout ball with five strikeouts.

South Atlantic League (Lo A)

Tyler Wade, ss, Charleston (Yankees). A plus athlete and an above-average defender, Wade performed well enough last spring to convince the Yankees to pop him with their fourth-round selection. He’s splitting time at short with Abiatal Avelino, and on Tuesday as a DH he went 4-for-5 with two doubles, three runs, two RBIs and a stolen base.

Tyler Danish, rhp, Kannapolis (White Sox). As a prep player in Florida last spring, Danish went 94 innings without allowing an earned run. He brings a low-90s heater with plenty of sink, as well as a late-breaking slider. He’s also working on a changeup. He allowed two runs (one earned) over six innings on Tuesday in one game of his team’s doubleheader with Hickory. He allowed five hits, two walks, fanned two and induced a stunning 14 groundballs against just three flyouts.