We’re two weeks into the minor league season and some guys are starting out hot in the upper levels. Some of those hot starts have resulted in call-ups to the majors, as you’ll see later in the piece, but some are certainly worth noting as they may jump them up from Double-A to Triple-A. Let’s jump right in as we have quite a few guys to breakdown this week.


Eastern League


Rhett Wiseman (OF, WAS) – Wiseman is an interesting prospect to start off with as he was a third-round pick in 2015 and has since been stepping his way through the Nationals minor league system one level at a time. Now nearly 25 years old, he’s putting everything together at Double-A Harrisburg with a .345/.403/.862 slash line in 17 games with eight homers, 17 RBI, nine runs, and two steals. Each of the last few seasons have seen him put up improving counting stats including a 19-steal campaign in 2016 but that speed isn’t coming back anytime soon. Wiseman is a solid enough outfielder defensively who is taking advantage of the fact that he’s older than most at this level but if there is an injury on the major league roster, Wiseman could get a taste of the bigs given his hot start and productivity last season as well.


Matt Manning (RHP, DET) – Manning was a first-round selection of the Tigers in 2016 at ninth overall and since then the 6’6”, 215 lb. has been rocketing through the Detroit system including going from low-A to Double-A last year. Manning pitched 117.2 innings last year while striking out a system-high 154 batters with his three-pitch mix and posting a 3.29 combined ERA and .211 BAA. The arsenal is anchored by his mid-90s fastball that plays up due to the extension he gets in his delivery while playing well with his mid-80s power-curve that is a second plus-pitch and his burgeoning plus-changeup that has nice fade. In 22.2 innings so far in 2019 at Double-A Erie, he has a 1.59 ERA, 0.62 WHIP, .130 BAA, and a sparkling 32:4 K:BB ratio for a 39.5-percent K-rate. The Tigers are rebuilding all facets of the team and Manning will be playing a starring role in the newly reconstructed rotation likely starting next year with a ceiling of a number two starter.

Logan Webb (RHP, SF) – If you were paying attention to spring training this year, or last for that matter, Webb is a guy you would’ve seen grace the mound for the Giants and open some eyes of everyone. The well put together 6’2”, 220 lb. right-hander was a fourth-round selection of San Francisco in 2014 but did wind up tearing his UCL in 2016 and then being eased back into things in 2017. Webb uses a three-pitch mix of two plus-pitches in a mid-90s fastball with great heavy life and a mid-80s power slider that has the break of a curveball at times and then a still-developing changeup. In the first 21 innings of the 2019 campaign, Webb has a 2.14 ERA and a 21:7 K:BB ratio with a remarkably high 2.5 GB/FB ratio as well. The heavy life on his fastball and slider produce high ground ball rates routinely but unless the changeup comes around, he may be destined for a role in the bullpen as a late-inning arm relying on the plus-fastball-slider combo.

Southern League


Taylor Trammell (OF, CIN) – The top prospect in the Reds’ system gets a lot of talk being that it’s Nick Senzel but Trammell should be getting more talk than he is given his talent and start. Taken with the 35th-overall pick in the 2016 draft, Trammell has been a fast riser through the system for being a multi-sport high school kid when Cincinnati picked him. The first thing that sticks out with Trammell is his near double-plus speed that’s allowed him to steal 66 bags in the last 239 games played in full-season ball, but he’s far from a one trick pony as he has 21 homers and a .280/.372/.430 slash line in that span too. Trammell, getting his first taste of Double-A this year, is slashing .302/.448/.491 with three homers, 13 RBI, 10 runs, and four steals in 16 games this season. The 21-year-old outfielder has the speed and instincts to play centerfield though his fringy, 45-grade arm needs to be improved upon before getting to the majors and with his consistent double-digit walk rates and 55-60 grade hit tool, he profiles as the quintessential top of the order hitter who could have 15-home run pop in his game as well as 30-plus steal upside.

Cristian Pache (OF, ATL) – The loaded Braves’ system has gotten a lot of talk for the young arms they have coming but let’s not sell the bats short either. Pache might just be the best prospect in this system regardless of position. Pache was signed as an international free agent in 2015 and until this season has played in the pro ranks as a teenager including reaching Double-A last year at 19 years old. In 2018, while playing 122 games between High-A and Double-A, he slashed .280/.307/.410 with nine home runs, 56 runs, 47 RBI, and seven steals with a .334 BABIP, .325 wOBA, and a 19.5-percent K-rate. This year, starting back at Double-A Mississippi, he’s slashing .322/.369/.610 with two homers, 13 RBI, eight runs, and four steals in 16 games. Pache is an elite-level defender, as in the best defensive outfielder in the minors right now in both fielding and arm and when his bat catches up to the double-plus fielding grades he gets, watch out! Consistently a .280-plus hitter in the minors and with a 30-plus steal season in the books, there’s no reason not to think that Pache can’t be a .280 hitter with 15-20 home run pop and 25-plus steal upside when he realizes his potential fully.


Brusdar Graterol (RHP, MIN) – The 20-year-old righty burst onto the prospect scene last year when he threw over 100 innings for the first time in his pro career after missing 2016 with a Tommy John procedure and being lightly used in 2017. With a fastball that routinely touches triple-digits deep into starts that carries lots of sink, a hard slider that sits in the upper-80s, a curveball that resembles a slurve, and a developing changeup, he has an arsenal that makes him a candidate to be a frontline starter in the future. For the first taste of Double-A in 2019, the 22.1 innings he’s pitched have been great with a 2.01 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 24:10 K:BB ratio and a 52.9-percent groundball rate. There is plenty of development left for the young righty as he continues to build up his innings load following the TJ surgery, but the raw talent is most certainly there as the Twins look to reshape their rotation in the next year or two with Graterol being a key cog.

Texas League


Gavin Lux (SS, LAD) – Lux is a former first-round pick out of the Wisconsin High School ranks in 2016 and after a bumpy start in pro ball, he had the best slash line amongst all shortstops in the minors last year at .324/.399/.514 while also reaching Double-A Tulsa at just 20 years of age. While putting up that slash line, Lux hit 15 home runs, 85 runs, 57 RBI, and 13 steals across both levels. Now you’re starting to get the picture for what Lux can bring to the middle infield. Now in 2019, a .333/.377/.596 slash line has shown up in the first 13 games with three home runs and 10 each of RBI and runs. Clearly, his natural position of shortstop is locked in for the Dodgers in Corey Seager and hence the Dodgers have started playing Lux at the keystone in the lower levels since there is more of a full-time opening there going forward. Lux will likely split 2019 between Double-A and Triple-A before making his debut in 2020.

Khalil Lee (OF, KC) – The Royals rebuild is coming given the talent they’ve acquired in the last couple of years and Lee is one of those. Acquired with a third-round pick in the 2016 June draft out of the Virginia High School ranks, Lee has now started a season for the first time at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and a hot start has proven that to be a good move for the still 20-year-old outfielder as he has a .306/.375/.403 slash in the first 18 games with a home run, 14 RBI, 12 runs, and seven steals. Plate discipline is something that he needs to work on, and he has been, with a K-rate that is still over 23-percent every year of his career while his BB-rate has dropped out of the double-digits. He is still young and does possess the raw tools to be above-average across the board not including his near double-plus arm that profiles best in right field. When everything clicks, Lee should be a .280-plus hitter with 20/20 upside in either center or right.


Dustin May (RHP, LAD) – Is that Carrot Top on the mound? Not quite. It’s the 6’6”, 180 lb. righty Dustin May for the Dodgers who does have one of the best heads of hair in the minors. He has been a hot topic amongst MLB ranks as the Orioles tried to get him as part of the Manny Machado trade, but the Dodgers wouldn’t budge because of the upside they feel May possesses. Since getting to pro ball, May has switched from a straighter four-seamer to a more sinking two-seamer which has also seen his velocity jump up three mph to sit at 92-97. The lanky righty also uses a hard-breaking curveball, a changeup, and a newly added cutter to keep hitters at bay and it’s worked well so far. In his last 151.2 innings pitched between High-A and Double-A, May has struck out 142 batters while walking just 35. The Dodgers need all of the young pitching they can get their hands on and May is just that type of guy with the ceiling of a top-flight number-three starter.


Triple-A teams this year are playing with the same baseballs that the major league teams are using. The juiced balls that have created a power boom in the majors the last couple of years have now wondered down to the highest level of the minors. So all of these numbers need to be taken with a grain of sand.

International League


Cavan Biggio (2B, TOR) – While all of the attention in the Blue Jays’ system has been being paid to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the newly-injured Bo Bichette , Biggio has been the one lighting up the stat lines at Triple-A. In the first 16 games of the season, the second baseman is slashing .415/.500/.642 with three home runs, eight RBI, eight runs, and two steals. The counting stats have been there for the last two years including going 26-99-80-20 last year at Double-A in 2018 though the batting average just hasn’t been terribly high at any point in his pro career until the start of this season. The Blue Jays aren’t playing for the playoffs this year and will need to see what they have in their young players at some point soon, especially how weak that offense has been, so Biggio may be up sooner rather than later.

Mike Ford (1B, NYY) – Before the injury to Greg Bird , not many were talking or looking at Ford to come up despite his hot start. But injuries change things quickly. In his last 137 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre going back to the 2017 season, Ford has slashed .268/.349/.490 with 27 homers, 87 RBI, 77 runs, and a steal with a .203 ISO, .279 BABIP, and .368 wOBA. All of which suggests he is a decent hitting first baseman that certainly has some pop in his bat while maintaining a K-rate at less than 15-percent in that span and a near 10-percent BB-rate. Ford won’t set the world on fire but he can be a serviceable replacement for the ailing Greg Bird who may miss quite a bit of time with the foot injury.

Cole Tucker (SS, PIT) – Another guy who has taken the call-up talk by storm this week, as well as the waiver wires, is Tucker and that marvelous head of hair he’s totting around. Tucker is mainly known for his plus-speed as he’s posted 25 or more steals in a season thrice in the last four years. His bat hasn’t been out-of-the-world great has been good enough to be a leadoff type hitter and paired with his double-digit career walk rate, the OBP is a big boost to the profile. At 6’3” and 205 lbs. he’s now a fairly standard-sized shortstop and he has the range and defensive wherewithal to stay there long-term. Now he may fit the size of the position, but the power won’t be there like it is for so many other young shortstops. Tucker is a throwback to a leadoff, speed, and defense shortstop type who should remain in the majors this year as long as he hits decently enough to pull his weight.


Enyel De Los Santos (RHP, PHI) – De Los Santos is a well-traveled as he’s on his third team since becoming a pro in 2015. The righty has been steadily been progressing through the levels hoping a level at a time until he reached Triple-A with the Phillies last year for 126.2 innings pitched with a 2.63 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 7.82 K/9, 3.06 BB/9, and 1.16 WHIP in that span. Now in 2019, he’s picked up where he left off with a 2.81 ERA, 3.44 xFIP, 13.5 K/9, 2.81 BB/9, and a 1.13 WHIP in the first 16 innings of the season with a 24:5 K:BB ratio to boot. De Los Santos utilizes a three-pitch mix with a plus-combo of a fastball and changeup that are ready to get big league hitters out right now but the curveball needs help and focus to get better more consistently. He could come up sooner and be used in a bullpen role for the Phillies in the second half of this season with his fastball-changeup combo as well.

Pacific Coast League


Ty France (3B, SD) – France was slated to be the starting third baseman for the Padres coming into the year until San Diego signed Manny Machado . Now he is getting the call-up to play second base in the confines of Petco Park with Luis Urías not hitting and Jose Pirela going on the IL. In 2018, France combined to hit .267/.355/.464 with 22 homers, 96 RBI, 84 runs, and three steals between Double-A and Triple-A and now to start 2019 he is hitting a ridiculous .423/.500/.885 with nine homers, 28 RBI, and 24 runs in 19 games including a homer in seven-straight. They have moved him to second base in the minors and he hasn’t committed an error in the small sample size, but he is still figuring out the defense at the keystone. He swings a nice bat, but the power surge isn’t likely to stick since prior to last year he had 20 total home runs in his pro career dating back to 2015. If you need middle infield help France could be an intriguing grab in deeper leagues.


Zac Gallen (RHP, MIA) – Gallen has one of the highest floors of any young arm in the Marlins system as a back-of-the-rotation type pitcher who happens to be off to the best start of any pitcher in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Through 25.1 innings, four starts, Gallen has a microscopic 0.36 ERA and 0.63 WHIP with a 31:4 K:BB. The 23-year-old righty has been using his four-pitch mix that includes four above-average offerings anchored on his mid-80s cutter that works really well backdoor against lefties with his low-90s fastball, curveball, and changeup all playing well off of it and well off the downward plane he’s able to create. He won’t light up a radar gun but his pitchability and control give him the floor of a number-four starter that can eat innings and post decent K-rates in the majors.

Griffin Canning (RHP, LAA) – From the top pitcher in the PCL to the second-best pitcher in the PCL to start the year, it’s the fast-rising Canning from the Angels. As the anchor of the UCLA staff in 2017, he slipped out of the first round in the 2017 draft and then the Angels had him take the summer off from pitching to not tire out the youngster’s arm. However, in 2018, Canning made it all the way to Triple-A Salt Lake City where he is now to start the 2019 season. In the first 16 innings of this year, he’s pitched to a 0.56 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with a 17:2 K:BB ratio on top of his 64:22 K:BB ratio in 59 innings to close out last year at that level. The righty has four major-league average pitches right now and all have room for more projection to become plus offerings down the road. The fastball is the anchor of the arsenal with two distinct breaking pitches in a curveball and a slider and a changeup rounding it out. He has the upside of a number two starter when all is said and done and that’s exactly what the Angels need right now.