Over this week, I am going to look at how the prospects I reviewed during this offseason and see how they have done so far this season. Today I’ll be going over the players who are currently in either the Majors or at AAA. All statistics are through Sunday
Welcome to the Show
Jason Heyward (ATL): 28 games, .291/.410/.616, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 14 R, 16 walks, 26 strikeouts
Heyward was named the starting right fielder out of Spring Training, as he impressed nearly everyone who saw him down in Florida. He hasn’t let up since, and is well on his way to winning the Rookie of the Year award. He’s been sidelined of late with a minor groin injury, and there has been talk as to whether or not he will need some time on the disabled list. He is already past the stats that I thought he would post in the Majors this season when I reviewed him. Whether or not his split numbers will stay that high remains to be seen, but he’s been a definite hit so far.
Jennry Mejia (NYM): 15 appearances, 13 2/3 IP, 0-2, 2.63 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 9 strikeouts, 7 walks
I was extremely surprised when the Mets put Mejia into the bullpen out of Spring Training. When I wrote about him during the offseason, I predicted (incorrectly) that he would not be in the Majors until 2012 at the soonest. Leave the Mets to make a liar out of me. However, I did also say that unless his control issues were managed, he’d struggle. 7 walks in 13 2/3 IP would qualify as struggling for me. The problem I really see at this point is that this seems likely to severely stunt his development. Long term his best value would seem to be as a starting pitcher, and he’s not going to develop as one until he goes back to the minors to get reps there. Now, there is the potential for the Mets to be grooming him as a closer-in-waiting for after the 2011 season, when Francisco Rodriguez will be a free agent again. But it just doesn’t seem to be the best answer for him.
Brian Matusz (BAL): 7 starts, 40 1/3 IP, 2-3, 4.91 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 33 strikeouts, 14 walks
Matusz was slated to start the season in the rotation for the Orioles, and has pitched reasonably well so far. When I wrote him up, I thought that he would post a strikeout rate of 8.25 per 9 innings, and a walk rate of 2.3 per 9. So far, he’s at 7.425 strikeouts per 9 and 3.15 walks per 9. He hasn’t quite matched the numbers I predicted, but until his last start had pitched reasonably well all the same.
Starlin Castro (CHC): 3 games, .333/.333/.833, HR, 6 RBI, 0 walks, 1 strikeout
Castro was called up on Friday to help spark the offense. His callup also moved previous SS Ryan Theriot over to 2B, and potentially for good if Castro hits while he is here. It will be interesting if Castro has a lot of struggles, as he has not played at all at AAA, and did not play a lot at AA either for that matter.
Carlos Santana (CLE): 29 games, .309/.446/.526, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 3 SB, 22 walks, 19 strikeouts
Santana has gotten off to a hot start, and realistically I have to imagine he will probably be up to the big club as soon as the expected date to avoid making a Super-Two player passes. The player currently blocking him at the Major League level, Lou Marson, is not hitting worth anything, and is realistically just a place holder until they bring up Santana.
Buster Posey (SF): 29 games, .345/.434/.536, 4 HR, 20 RBI, SB, 16 walks, 18 strikeouts
Posey was sent down to AAA after Spring Training so that he could play every day. His offense could very well be needed at the Major League level sooner rather than later, but unless something changes with Bengie Molina, there really isn’t a good spot to play him. I’ve heard talk that Posey is athletic enough that he may be able to play 1B or RF potentially, but clearly his future is behind the plate. I still don’t entirely understand why they brought him up at the end of last season. Hopefully, they don’t bring him up just to sit on the bench.
Jesus Montero (NYY): 24 games, .244/.306/.378, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 16 strikeouts, 8 walks
He’s not quite hitting up to the level that he has in the past, but he is still very young, especially for his level. The Yankees are best suited by continuing to let him try to develop as a catcher, as his bat is probably ready for the Majors now. However, he is their long-term solution behind the plate, and he is going to need probably the majority of this season at AAA continuing his development. Thankfully (for him anyway) the Yankees do not need his bat at the Major League level at this point, and can let him do this.
Trevor Reckling (LAA): 6 starts, 33 IP, 3-1, 4.64 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 23 strikeouts, 23 walks
Reckling has struggled a bit to this point, as control has clearly become a massive issue. This had already shown itself in previous seasons, and to me he is going to have to get that under control before he can even be considered for the Majors. Good for the Angels is the fact that they do not need to rush him, as they have other pitchers who can be called upon if they need someone at the Major League level. I wrote back in January that I thought he would be in the Majors during 2011, and I think that’s probably still right. He really could use the full season down at AAA to work on the control issues.
Desmond Jennings (TAM): 12 games, .269/.387/.346, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 6 SB, 5 walks 5 strikeouts
Health remains the problem, as he’s only appeared in 12 games out of 29 possible so far. The Rays are taking an extremely conservative approach with him, as they have their outfield at the Major League level pretty well locked in for this season. His batting eye remains excellent, as well as the speed. I could very well see the Rays leaving him down in AAA at least until September, as they really don’t have any pressing need for him in Tampa.
Daniel Hudson (CHW): 6 starts, 29 1/3 IP, 4-2, 5.83 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 34 strikeouts, 10 walks
Hudson was slated to the minors after Spring Training, as the White Sox have an extremely deep starting rotation, with Buehrle, Peavy, Danks, and Floyd at the top, and Freddy Garcia currently in the 5th starter role. I figured back in January that he would be up at some point this season, and I still think he will be. Garcia has not pitched particularly well, striking out 18 and walking 12 in 29 innings. He’s probably going to be given a lot of rope, but I would be surprised if he is still in the rotation come June 1st. Look for Hudson to be called up when that time comes.
Chris Carter (OAK): 29 games, .259/.354/.518, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 16 walks, 33 strikeouts
Carter has started his year in Sacramento, and while he is performing well, I have to imagine that the A’s are likely to keep him down there until at least midseason. The hard part is that for them to get Carter consistent playing time, he is going to need to play either 1B or DH. Current 1B Daric Barton has been solid this season, and appears very unlikely to lose his job. DH is a different concern, as that is currently being misused by the $66 million dollar man, Eric Chavez. The A’s are going to give Chavez every chance to succeed, and at this point he has managed to stay healthy, even if he hasn’t done well. Look for Carter to debut sometime after the All-Star break.