Ode to Julio Teheran: Atlanta, if you're gonna bring him up, don't have him face my former employers. Also, as good as Teheran was last year, he has quietly not been that good this year. That being said, he's 21 years old. He's the youngest starting pitcher in all of baseball now. And I'll tell you what, when it's all said and done? Teheran is going to be GOOD. Damn good. His stint in the majors this time around lasted just one start, but he'll be back…possibly sooner, rather than later.
Minor League Top 10
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP – High-A Frederick (BAL) – 2-1, 3.00 ERA, 15 IP, 13 H, 5 ER, 18/4 K/BB ratio – When we last left baseball's top prospect, he was destroying Low-A ball way more than he probably should have. 30 innings, 5 hits, no earned runs and 40 strikeouts to only TWO walks. So Baltimore challenged him (finally) and now he's starting to slot in to a talent level that's still above what others play at. He's still special, he's still only 19 and he could be a Double-A guy next year if he continues to pitch this well.
2. Jurickson Profar, SS – Double-A Frisco (TEX) – .299/.375/.496, 30 XBH (6 HR), 41/29 K/BB ratio – Speaking of special 19-year-olds playing above the talent level of their peers, Profar has been building up an offensive resumè that turns heads. While he has gone a couple weeks without a home run, he's starting to spray the ball all over the field, as he has now hit in nine of his last 10 games (12-for-37, .324) and has seen his triple slash start to look really good, even in a hitter's league. A 15 HR season with something looking like .300/.400/.500 is in play here for a 19-year-old shortstop, and that's truly special.
3. Trevor Bauer, RHP – Triple-A Reno (ARI) – 3-0, 1.97 ERA, 32 IP, 25 H, 7 ER, 42/14 K/BB ratio – Bauer's pitching efficency has been called into question since his arrival to the Arizona system, but in the highest offensive environment in the upper levels, Bauer is actually getting BETTER. Better K/BB ratio, better WHIP, all five of his starts have been quality, he has two 11-strikeout games…and Arizona is in need of some pitching help as the rotation struggles behind Ian Kennedy and (gulp) Joe Saunders. Bauer can't be long for Reno at this point.
4. Taijuan Walker, RHP – Double-A Jackson (SEA) – 4-2, 3.04 ERA, 53 1/3 IP, 47 H, 20 R (18 ER), 55/20 K/BB ratio – The 19-year-old has started to blossom into a true front-line rotation piece, but he has been roughed up in his last two appearances and has struck out five or more in only three of his last eight stats. Much like Bundy, he hasn't been asked to go much further than the fifth or sixth most of the time, but considering we're now 11 starts in for Walker, the kiddie gloves will have to come off at some point to see what he can do in the last third of a game when he gets that far. Look for that to happen after the Southern League All-Star Game (which he will be a part of).
5. Oscar Taveras, RF – Double-A Springfield (STL) – .323/.376/.581, 32 XBH (12 HR), 32/18 K/BB ratio – It's officially not fair at this point. Asked before the season to jump up to Double-A becuase of his bat, Taveras has not only delivered, but is now looking like one of the top prospects in all of baseball thanks to an incredible hit tool. He turns 20 on June 19, he's an incredibly hard-working player and he continues to get better each and every day. St. Louis might have their next star player ready to assume an every day job before he's ready to drink legally.
6. Wil Myers, RF/3B (?) – Triple-A Omaha (KC) – .341/.388/.714, 16 XBH (8 HR), 18/6 K/BB ratio – Speaking of not fair, the 21-year-old North Carolina native was tearing up the Texas League (.343/.414/.731) and needed a new challenge. The problem is that Myers is now blocked at the two positions they have tried him out at while moving him out of the position he first came up as (catcher) while continuing to mash at levels that just don't warrant anymore time in the minors. Kansas City will most not likely make a run this year (Who wants Frenchy?) but consider this for a second: Cain/Gordon/Hosmer/Butler/Myers/Moose/Perez/Colon/Escobar could be the Royals starting lineup next year. Moose would be hitting SIXTH. That's why Kansas City fans continue to hold out hope. Now about that pitching staff…
7. Miguel Sano, 3B – Low-A Beloit (MIN) – .240/.350/.507, 30 XBH (14 HR), 74/33 K/BB ratio – Sano has come back down to Earth a bit, and the strikeouts have come with him. The rate has climbed over his 258 plate apperances (28.7%), but he's still walking over 10% of the time and the power is still God-like. I hope someone gets video of him come June 19 at the Midwest League All-Star Game because he might end the home run derby himself in one round.
8. Gerrit Cole, RHP – High-A Bradenton (PIT) – 4-1, 2.76 ERA, 62 IP, 50 H, 24 R (19 ER), 62/19 K/BB ratio – You want to talk about a player who is on cruise control, Cole has been absolutely sensational after a rough start. However, much like Walker, the former #1 overall pick has basically gone between five and six innings due to pitch counts. But over the last ten starts? He has yet to allow more than three runs in any start, more than six hits (each of his last three starts) and has struck out between three and seven batters each time out. That consistency is not only fantastic, but shows that Cole has found his rhythm and once his stamina is built up, watch out. He'll be a shoe-in for the Florida State League All-Star Game, and chances are it might be has last pitch as a Marauder, as well.
9. Manny Machado, SS – Double-A Bowie (BAL) – .234/.331/.364, 20 XBH (3 HR), 45/28 K/BB ratio – He's coming up on his 20th birthday, but he's slumping his way towards it right now, as he is only 6 for his last 42. The good thing is that it's not coming by way of the strikeout, as he's putting the ball into play, but it's just not going right for him at this point. Give him a week or two to come around and he could still figure out something special before year's end, and now, the way Baltimore is playing, he could be someone to contribute to a great core with Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, something Baltimore fans weren't thinking about before this season started.
10. Francisco Lindor, SS – Low-A Lake County (CLE) – .278/.341/.400, 17 XBH (4 HR), 38/17 K/BB ratio – The 18-year-old has cooled off a bit, but had a three hit game on Sunday and a three WALK game last Thursday. Him and Sano will be the stars of the Midwest League All-Star Game, and while Sano might be the home run derby champ, don't be surprised if Lindor wins the game's MVP.