Tom Brennan - MINORS - IT'S GUPPY TIME! WHO'S HOT/NOT
My "Who's Hot, Who's Not" weekly minor league updates now get tougher to do, because – yes - THE GUPPIES HAVE ARRIVED.
Break out the fish food. These guys are hungry.
And who, might you ask, are the Guppies?
The Guppies are the 3 short season squads' players, those from the Brooklyn Cyclones, and the Kingsport and Gulf Coast League Mets. The GUPPIES are either new players to pro baseball, or were in a short season league or DSL team in 2014 and returning to one again in 2015.
Guppies hope to grow into sharks that can navigate their way to the majors someday and take a big shark bite out of a multi-year, multi- million $$ contract, like Juan Lagares (a former DSL guy) did this year.
Most guppies eventually flounder pre-majors, but it is exciting to find those who swim upwards, like last year's Cyclone Guppie Michael Conforto, who is growing well-defined shark fins as we speak.The GUPPIES teams have barely commenced play, so it is hard to target hot guppies just yet. But Vinny Sienna, Tucker Tharp, Michael Bernal, and pitchers Ty Badamo, Christian Montgomery (2 perfect innings, 5 Ks for Brooklyn), Nabil Crismatt and Merandy Gonzalez (5 perfect innings, 6 Ks) have burst out of the guppy holding tank quite nicely. This Hot/Not list should start to develop in earnest next week.
Meanwhile, four higher minors teams have already played about 70 games each, so identifying the Hot/Nots in that group is far easier.
For the full season teams' top 20, I of course have 23 guys. Drop whichever 3 you want, don't just sit there thinking I can't make up my mind! A brief summary below (stats thru Tuesday):
AAA – Pacific Coast League:
Johnny Monell (C.) - batting .374/.434/.551 1n roughly 170 PA’s - leading the PCL after a great spring. He gets called up over Whiffing Anthony Recker Tuesday – but will Johnny take advantage of this chance?
Alex Castellanos (OF) - 36 XBHs, including 22 doubles and 12 HRs. Impressive for just 61 games. But factoring in the AAA inflation factor, his .283 average and .360 OBP are sub-par.
Travis Taijeron (OF) - hitting .299/.410/.551, but those 67 Ks in 61 games remains a big upward obstacle in an otherwise strong year so far. But he is having a fine year so far.
Jayce Boyd (OF) - spanning AA and AAA, he is hitting .302 with 21 doubles in 215 at bats. Just 1 homer and 20 RBIs, though, so I almost left him off this list. Week-to-week – needs to do more.
Steve Matz (LHSP) - 2.19 ERA with 94 K's in 90 innings. Time for Queens.
Duane Below (LHSP) – an identical 2.19 ERA – he was on DL for over 3 weeks, but returned on Tuesday to toss 2 perfect innings of relief for Mr. Matz.
AA - Eastern League:
Brandon Nimmo (OF) – in midst of a 7 game hit streak (12 for 30), lifting his AA average to .319. Best thing to point out is his strikeouts are way down, to about 1 every 6 PA.
Brock Peterson (OF) – I usually don’t list guys over 30 years old, but 22 RBIs in his first 15 games with the team? Dude’s listed. Hitting .379/.422/.655.
Michael Conforto (OF): .364/.467/.597 in 21 AA games since being promoted. E Gads!
Luis Cessa (RHSP) – 2.82 ERA but a mediocre start Tuesday night. Making it 9 great starts, 3 poor ones.
Paul Sewald (RHRP) – Mr. Excellence: 1.44, 13 saves, 0.86 WHIP.Akeel Morris (RHRP) – premature and rough major league debut, but 34 IP, 11 H, 46 Ks in minors, mostly in High A.
Michael Fulmer (SP) - he seems to have clicked his seat belt and hit the accelerator. In his last 3 starts, covering 17.1 IP, a single run and 17 Ks, wit a sub 1.00 WHIP in that trio of games. He's been around so long it is hard to remember he only tturned 22 in March.
Dario Alvarez (LHRP): Last year’s shooting star sputtered for a while this year, but in last 7 relief outings, 7.2 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 0 R, 12 Ks, so he is back. 33 Ks in 23.2 IP this year.
HIGH A - Florida State League:
Jeff McNeil (@B – Hi A) - .331 BA, .407 on base, now up to 13 XBHs after a slow start in that area, and 11 of 13 steals.
Dominic Smith (1B) - 22 doubles, 42 RBIs, and burst through the .300 mark – now up to .304.
John Gant (RHSP) – struggled in AA a bit after skipping a level, but since moved to St Lucie, 2.23 in 5 starts, 38 K’s in 32.1 IP.
A BALL- S. Atlantic League:
Jonathan Johnson (2B) - .315/.426/.435, 12 steals
Patrick Biondi (OF) - .307, 15 steals in 50 contests. (on 7 day DL)
Luis Guillorme (SS) - .305/.370/.325. 11 errors in 63 games.
Note: Jonathan, Luis and Patrick Biondi (.307) combined have put in the equivalent of a full major league season: 580 at bats, .309, 69 walks, and 35 steals. No wonder Savannah is winning so much.
Casey Meisner (SP)– 7-2, stellar in ERA and strikeouts (2.13, 66)
David Roseboom (LHRP) - 1.15 ERA and 8 saves in 31.1 relief innings. 35 Ks and 0.80 WHIP. Alberto Baldonado and Jimmy Duff are also relieving well, but Roseboom is in a class by himself so far.
GUYS WHO COOLED OFF:
Matt Reynolds – (SS – AAA) - down to .276/.330/.412. 9 errors, 69 games. In fairness, need to mention 27 XBHs and 42 RBIs.
Gavin Cecchini – (SS – AA) - down to .287 after being as high as .340 not too long ago. Sixteen errors, 58 games. (but 3 hits in Wed nite's game, a possible sign he is ready to try to rejoin the Hot List).
LJ Mazzilli (2B – AA) – did not really cool off, but zero RBIs in 15 AA games is puzzling. Hitting .281/.369/.368.
Xorge Carillo (C – AA) – once reached .300 this year, but now down to .236.
Robert Gsellman (SP – AA): dominated in A ball, but slipped to a 4.70 ERA so far in 4 AA starts.
That’s my guppy synopsis and full season top 20 (err, 23) – a lot to like - hope it was enlightening, readers.