Midway into the month of May, on the heels of Mother's Day, a new slew of prospects, all highly thought of, a couple who have already had a stab at the Show, make their way back to the Majors with the first wave of hopeful promotions.
Probably the most interesting at this juncture is another in the long line of Cubs youngin's with the mega talent, Ian Happ. Theo Epstein's first round selection in 2015, Happ went .259-9-33 with ten steals after being drafted, then kicked through High-A (.296-7-42) Carolina, then Double-A Tennessee (.262-8-31), earning a ticket to Triple-A Iowa to begin this season. After hitting .298-9-25 over 26 games, the big club decided Happ was ready, and here he is. Happ came up as a second sacker, but has played the outfield thus far in Chicago. He is likely here to stay.
Minnesota's 2012 Compensation pick, Jose Berrios, made his debut with the Twins in 2016, and started 14 games, winning three, but otherwise posting a horrific seven losses, 8.02 ERA and 1.97 WHIP over 58.3 innings. This suggests that the soon-to-be 23-year-old wasn't ready, but considering his 3-0, 1.13 numbers at Triple-A Rochester, maybe he is now. The solid 7.6 innings tossed with just one walk and two hits for a team that is having some nice pitching says maybe Berrios is indeed safe now.
Eddie Butler was also a 2012 Compensation pick, but for the Rockies where he went 6-16, 6.50 over 159.6 lousy innings, so the frustrated Coloradans swapped Butler to the Cubs (how rich can they get?) for James Farris in February. The right-hander only won one game at Iowa, but over five starts and 30.6 innings, Butler scored a 1.17 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP with 17 strikeouts, then winning his first start at Wrigley.
The Athletics signed hurler Michael Ynoa in 2008 as a free agent, for whom the tall (6'7") Dominican toiled until Hot Stove 2014, when they swapped Ynoa along with Jeff Samardzija for Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien. With the swap, Ynoa moved exclusively to relief. And, though he earned no saves in the Minors, over 226.6 minor league innings, Ynoa has whiffed 232. In the bigs, he has 46.3 frames with 43 whiffs, a pair of wins, and could be good to fill a deep-league hole: some whiffs, some innings, perhaps a win, little potential damage.
The Angels activated Luis Valbuena, who should get a chunk of playing time spelling the rest of the lineup at first, third, and DH. Valbuena, still just 31, has some pretty good pop with a homer every 30 at-bats and 85 total over his career. In fact, Valbuena banged 25 for the Astros in 2015 and is likely available in most free agent pools.
Giants new third sacker Christian Arroyo was the team's first-round selection in 2013 and over 359 games since being selected, he hit .300-23-204. Though he posted a solid .343 OBP, Arroyo walked just 92 times to 238 punchouts. But, Arroyo has played well enough since being called up to push Eduardo Nunez into a utility role.
Another NL third sacker worth checking out is the Mets' T.J. Rivera, a 28-year-old originally signed by the Metropolitans in 2011 who has hit .324-36-348 with a .370 OBP over seven minor league seasons and 630 games. Rivera is one pleasant and stable surprise for the team, and is hitting at a .299-1-8 clip over 22 games. Again, in a deep league, such numbers make a valuable contribution.
Welington Castillo may be due back, but Caleb Joseph is red-hot, and in a deep league makes a great second backstop at this point. Joseph hit .440-1-5 over the past week over 22 at-bats, raising his season numbers to .284-2-9. If he keeps hitting, he will keep seeing pitches.
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