We’ll start our tour of the minors with Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, who is doing everything he can with the stick to push his way to the majors. Peterson’s sitting at .373 with five homers and six steals in his first look at Triple-A pitching. With a log jam ahead of him in the Dodgers outfield, it will likely take an injury or trade for him to get a shot, but he’s a great stock to own in dynasty formats.
Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras is looking more and more comfortable physically, and is even back to playing centerfield. He’s hitting as well as ever (.313/4/11), and would be a real upgrade over the regulars currently being run out by the Cardinals on a daily basis (Jon Jay .263, Peter Bourjos .163, Allen Craig .177). Taveras' ability to get on base would likely push him toward the top of the Cardinals lineup, even as a rookie. I recently stated on Twitter (@rsteingall) that I prefer Taveras to Gregory Polanco long term, despite the video game numbers the Pirates outfielder has put up this year (.400/4/24/4).
After a rough beginning to the season, Rockies top prospect Jon Gray looks to be getting on track. His last start was a gem (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO), as he pounded the zone with his plus stuff and showed the dominating profile that have scouts drooling over him as a potential future ace. Gray works the bottom of the strike zone, which is a philosophy within the Rockies organization for obvious reasons, and the results are beginning to show. He could be ready to arrive early this summer if the Rockies need a starter, and it will be interesting to see if he or Double-A Tulsa teammate Eddie Butler (2.87 ERA, 31.1 IP, 7 BB, 25 SO) gets the call first.
It’s been a rough start to the year for last year’s first overall pick, Astros pitcher Mark Appel, who was recently demoted to extended spring training. The move is not injury related, but Appel is clearly not showing the the stuff/results expected at his draft position. It’s possible an appendectomy Appel underwent earlier this spring could be why he’s lagging behind, so it will be interesting to see if this brief pit stop will cure what ails him. He should be back with High-A Lancaster within a few weeks if all goes well.
The Jays have rearranged pitcher Marcus Stroman’s schedule to have him pitch on the same day as Dustin McGowan, perhaps signaling a coming promotion. Jays management has always preferred McGowan in a bullpen role, and Stroman’s success this year (2.18 ERA, 20.2 IP, 6 BB, 26 SO) has come in the rotation. Stroman has electric stuff, with the knock being that he may be too small to handle a starter’s workload. He’s worth a flier in mixers, and is a must add for those speculating in AL-only formats.
Twins starter Alex Meyer is almost certainly an upgrade over the dregs the club is currently employing at the major league level. Meyer dominated in his last outing (6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO) for Triple-A Rochester, prompting rehabbing Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks to question coaches why Meyer is even down on the farm. Since coming over to Minnesota in the Denard Span deal, Meyer has shot through the organization. He has the ability to be a rotation anchor for years to come.
Miami third baseman Colin Moran, who made his return to the field following a minor knee sprain last week. Through five games for High-A Jupiter, he’s batting .316 with two doubles and two multi-hit games. Moran has an advanced bat, but may not provide the power typical of a corner infielder (projects to 15-20 homers). Moran has a clear path to playing time in Miami, so it’s just a matter of time before he’s manning the hot corner (ETA June 2015).
Follow Rob on Twitter @rsteingall