Archive for the ‘Movin’ On Up’ Category

For the vast majority of baseball fans, deadline deals in which contending teams push for the playoffs are mysterious in nature. Far more fans only see the big name coming to save the day as a good thing, rather than lament the loss of obscure minor leaguers whose name they’ve only just learned. The trend is changing as the internet opens up the vast minor league universe to hardcore fans but, for the majority of baseball fans, the names of prospects have very little in the way of context attached.

This week represents a turning point for two fanbases, as “the guy we got for Haren” and “the guy we got for Anibal” will make their respective débuts this week. Jacob Turner — key piece going from the Tigers to the Marlins in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante deal — and Tyler Skaggs — the main prospect haul from the Dan Haren-to-the-Angels trade of 2010 — are probable starters on Wednesday at Chase Field. As fate would have it, they will take the mound in either end of tomorrow’s unusual voluntary doubleheader in Arizona.

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The baseball Rule IV amateur draft is an inexact science at best. So many moving parts, so much information to parse, it is a wonder that anybody in scouting gets to keep their job for more than a year at a time.

The Mariners likely consider themselves quite fortunate when they drafted catcher Mike Zunino out of Florida this past June. Zunino was considered one of the most polished and advanced players in the draft, a player who figures to insert himself into the Major League conversation in a hurry.

Though his numbers in the 2012 college season left much to be desired, Zunino’s professional debut in the low-A Northwestern League has gone quite well. .373/.474/.736 well, in fact. So well that the Mariners are moving Zunino up to double-A this week, a very aggressive promotion indeed.

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The Baltimore Orioles care not for your conservative development plans for their high-end prospects. No sooner did the O’s promote top positional prospect Manny Machado to the big leagues, they announced the promotion of Dylan Bundy to Double-A. In his first pro season, fresh out of high school.

Bundy put up silly numbers in low-A this season and continued dominating the high-A Carolina League. The numbers weren’t as eye-popping but a 3.07 FIP is still pretty darn good, especially for a pitcher learning to work without his favorite weapon. The Orioles asked Bundy to put his cutter on the shelf so he might continue developing his curve.

The Orioles don’t have much to loose by moving Bundy up to Double-A to close out the season. His innings remain tightly managed and he now has a chance to show what he can do at the best league for prospects. Some Orioles fans might dream of seeing him with the big club down stretch and…well would you bet against the O’s doing it at this point? They don’t seem too interested in concerning themselves with what amateur prospect mavens think. Honestly: who knows what they might try next?

It is a good time to be a blue chip prospect. There are not many time this isn’t true (aside from the numerous times blue chips prospects fizzle and fail to stick in the big leagues) but this week seems especially fun for big armed prospect-types, as the promotions are flowing freely through the minor leagues.

Firstly, the Oakland A’s opted to call up one of the top pitching arms, Daniel Straily, to join the big club’s rotation. Despite not being an early-round pick, Straily earned his way to the bigs by putting up great numbers at each successive level, cluminating in a great AAA stint in which the 23 year-old righty allowed just eight runs in 53 innings. Those are PCL innings at everything! The 67/14 K/BB is pretty nice, too, I guess.

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Courtesy of Fangraphs.com

If you haven’t heard of Dylan Bundy before…you might be forgiven. As a full time baseball zealot, one can sometimes lose track of reality: not everyone tracks the progress of 19-year old pitching prospects in the Orioles system. If this applies to you, feel no shame. It is, however, time to rectify this significant hole in your baseball pleasure center.

Bundy was the Orioles first pick in the 2011 draft, selected fourth overall out of high school in Oklahoma. Bundy was best known for his exorbitant bonus demands (reportedly seeking a Strasburg-type contract before settling for a more pedestrian five-year, $6.225 million MLB deal.) Dylan Bundy is also a devoted long toss practitioner like Trevor Bauer, warning teams that frown on extreme long toss that he would not change his regimen.

That is what Bundy was known for before this season started. After thirty innings of sheer dominance in the low-A South Atlantic League, he is known as possibly the best pitching prospect in baseball – a prospect already on his way to High-A. (Update: Keith Law rates Dylan Bundy the best prospect in baseball in an update to his Top 25 list ($).)

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Well, well well: the Arizona Diamondbacks moved top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer up to AAA Reno less than one year after being made the third pick in the Rule 4 draft. Unfortunately for AA baseball fans, Bauer gets his latest promotion mere hours before an exciting pitching matchup against Mariners prospect Danny Hultzen of Jackson in the Southern League.

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