Below you’ll find a roundup of notable moves from the past few days, as well as future expected moves and a Minor League Report, which includes a list of recent major league debuts and a few players who are “knocking down the door” to the majors. For this column, any lineup regulars, starting pitchers, or late-inning relievers are considered “notable,” meaning that middle relievers, long relievers, and bench players are excluded. You can always find a full list of updated transactions here.
Chicago White Sox
6/24/19: OF Jon Jay activated from 60-Day IL.
Batting sixth and playing right field in his White Sox debut on Monday, Jay will face off against lefty Eduardo Rodriguez at Fenway Park, where he has nine hits in 19 career at-bats. The 34-year-old is coming off of a 16-game rehab assignment after missing more than two months with a groin injury. In 63 at-bats, he had 19 singles and a pair of doubles.
Impressive rookie Oscar Mercado will take over as the starting center fielder with Jake Bauers moving to a corner outfield spot, making room for Bradley, one of last week’s “Knocking Down The Door” picks, to share first base/designated hitter with Carlos Santana. The 23-year-old had a ground-rule RBI double in his first major league at-bat on Sunday.
6/21/19: OF Gregory Polanco (shoulder inflammation) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 19.
Polanco and his surgically-repaired shoulder will get some time off, clearing some space in a crowded Pirates’ outfield for potential trade chips Corey Dickerson and Melky Cabrera. The 27-year-old Polanco has put up decent numbers since his return (.726 OPS, 8 HR), but he’s striking out at a 29% rate and has just four hits in his last 26 at-bats with 14 strikeouts. He returned just over seven months into what was estimated to be a 7-9 month recovery.
Notable Moves Involving Part-Time Players
- Colorado Rockies: INF/OF Garrett Hampson recalled from Triple-A.
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 3B/1B David Freese (strained hamstring) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 21. C Will Smith recalled from Triple-A.
- New York Yankees: OF Cameron Maybin (strained calf) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 22.
Expected Future Moves
- Cincinnati Reds: 2B Scooter Gennett could return from the injured list as early as Friday June 28, according to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Derek Dietrich (.941 OPS, 18 HR), who has been the team’s primary second baseman, could get most of his at-bats in a corner outfield spot to accommodate Gennett. One, if not both, players could be valuable trade chips next month.
- Houston Astros: OF George Springer will be activated from the 10-Day IL prior to Tuesday’s game.
- Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays are “optimistic” that 3B/1B Yandy Diaz will be activated from the 10-Day IL on Thursday June 27, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times. The 27-year-old Diaz is recovering from a strained hamstring.
6/23/19: Mike Foltynewicz optioned to Triple-A.
Two of last season’s eight finalists for the NL Cy Young award, Kyle Freeland (4th) and Foltynewicz (8th), are now back in Triple-A. Freeland was sent out by the Rockies at the end of May after posting a 7.12 ERA in 12 starts while Foltynewicz, who began the season on the injured list due to an elbow injury, allowed eight earned runs in his 11th start on Saturday before the Braves decided that he wasn’t going to figure things out while in the major league rotation.
The Braves have several options to fill Foltynewicz’s spot on Thursday, including Josh Tomlin, who pitched four scoreless innings of relief on Sunday, and Triple-A pitcher Bryse Wilson. Touki Toussaint and Kyle Wright, both currently available out of the Braves’ bullpen, are also in the mix.
6/22/19: Aaron Civale has contract purchased from minors.
Seventeen days after making his first Triple-A start on May 11, Zach Plesac made his major league debut at Fenway Park, holding the World Series champs to one run over 5 1/3 innings. Civale has been close behind him every step of the way, making the jump from Double-A to Triple-A on June 2 and, 20 days later, pitching six shutout innings against the Tigers in his major league debut on Saturday.
The Indians have had to dip deep into their rotation depth for the first time in years because of injuries to Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, and Corey Kluber. Thanks to Shane Bieber, Civale, and Plesac, an impressive trio of 24-year-old right-handers, things haven’t gone off the rails as the team is seven games over .500 and positioned to make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
6/23/19: Jeff Hoffman optioned to Triple-A.
In what might have been his best, and possibly last, chance to secure a spot in the Rockies’ rotation, Hoffman allowed 21 earned runs in 28 1/3 innings over six starts. Sent to the minors days before he was scheduled to pitch again on Tuesday, it’s safe to say that the 26-year-old right-hander failed to take advantage of his opportunity.
After taking a step in the right direction, allowing just one earned run in five innings of a game that would eventually finish with 28 runs scored on June 14, he was lifted in the third inning of his next start after hitting a batter on his 82nd pitch.
6/22/19: Jimmy Nelson moved to bullpen.
At some point, Nelson could very well return to his pre-injury form when he posted a 3.49 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, and 10.2 K/9 in 29 starts back in 2017. But, in a heated NL Central race, the Brewers can’t afford to give the 30-year-old an unlimited opportunity to figure things out, although they could now pick and choose with some lower-leverage spots out of the bullpen. Adrian Houser will start in Nelson’s place on Wednesday, although it’s expected to be a bullpen day with Nelson, Freddy Peralta, and Aaron Wilkerson all capable of throwing multiple innings.
6/24/19: Enyel De Los Santos optioned to Triple-A.
6/23/19: Enyel De Los Santos recalled from Triple-A.
With no pitcher locked in as the Phillies’ No. 5 starter, De Los Santos let a golden opportunity slip away with a rough outing on Sunday. In four innings against the Marlins, the 23-year-old allowed four earned runs and seven hits in a 6-4 loss. One of the better pitchers in Triple-A over the past two seasons (2.77 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 8.5 K/9 in 30 starts), the Phillies have been reluctant to give the 23-year-old an extended look in the majors, opting to use him out of the bullpen in multiple stints earlier in the season. Vince Velasquez, who returned from the bullpen to throw five strong innings on Saturday (ER, H, 0 BB, 5 K), is expected to remain in the rotation for now.
San Diego Padres
6/22/19: Chris Paddack recalled from High-A.
Back from an 11-day break, Paddack pitched four shutout innings on Saturday before allowing two runs in his final frame during a 6-3 loss to the Pirates. While the results were promising, the 23-year-old right-hander still does not resemble the guy who had a 1.55 ERA after pitching 7 2/3 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts against the Mets on May 6. Not only did he have more walks than strikeouts for the first time this season—he walked three and struck out one—it was only the second time he walked more than one batter in his 13 starts.
In six starts since being inserted into the rotation last month, Fedde had a 3.94 ERA with 15 walks and 15 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings. Not all that impressive, but not terrible. And not good enough to stick around after Voth’s impressive start on Sunday, in which he allowed two earned runs in six innings with no walks and seven strikeouts.
Expected Future Moves
- Colorado Rockies: Chi Chi Gonzalez will have his contract purchased from the minors on Tuesday June 25. The 27-year-old, who last pitched in the majors in July 2016 with the Rangers, will be taking Hoffman’s rotation spot.
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Tony Gonsolin will have his contract purchased from the minors on Wednesday June 26. He’ll be making his major league debut versus the Diamondbacks in Arizona. With Ross Stripling expected to take Rich Hill’s rotation spot on Tuesday, Gonsolin is likely making a spot start in order to give the other starting pitchers an extra day of rest.
- New York Mets: Noah Syndergaard is set to make a rehab start on Tuesday, putting him in line to make his return to the Mets’ roster as early as Sunday June 30. In that case, he will have missed two starts due to a strained hamstring.
6/22/19: RP Blake Parker reinstated from Family Medical Emergency list.
Parker returned after a three-day absence, pitching a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts to pick up his 10th save in a 5-3 win over the Royals on Saturday. The 34-year-old had been shaky over his past nine appearances, allowing 10 earned runs in eight innings, including five home runs. Regardless of whether he can reverse that trend, the Twins could be on the lookout for bullpen help next month. Former Indians closer Cody Allen was also signed to a minor league contract over the weekend.
6/23/19: Blake Treinen (strained shoulder) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 21.
If you were wondering what happened to Treinen, one of most dominant pitchers in baseball last season and kind of bad in 2019, this could be the answer. Apparently, the 30-year-old has been dealing with soreness in his shoulder, which could have something to do with his 6.14 ERA and .295 opponent’s batting average over his last 19 appearances. He had an 0.78 ERA and .158 opponent’s batting average in 2018.
With Lou Trevino also struggling after a breakout rookie season in 2018 and Joakim Soria sporting an ERA over 5.00, it’s Liam Hendriks who is expected to take on closing duties. The 30-year-old Australian is having his best season (1.49 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, 10.6 K/9, 7 holds, 1 save) since entering the league nearly a decade ago.
Tampa Bay Rays
6/23/19: Diego Castillo (shoulder inflammation) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 23.
The Rays are now down two pitchers from their three-man closer committee. Until Jose Alvarado is reinstated from the Restricted List, which could be any day now, Emilio Pagan should be the go-to guy in save situations. The 28-year-old, who has a 1.23 ERA, 0.818 WHIP, and 11.2 K/9 in 26 appearances, picked up his fourth save of the season on Friday.
Expected Future Moves
- Chicago Cubs: Craig Kimbrel could make his final appearance for Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday and join the Cubs by Thursday or Friday, according to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic. The 31-year-old has made three rehab appearances, including back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.
- St. Louis Cardinals: Jordan Hicks is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a torn UCL, which will likely require season-ending Tommy John surgery. He’ll be placed on the 10-Day IL ahead of Tuesday’s game. Considering that a relief pitcher can usually return within 12-14 months, the 22-year-old could opt to have the surgery as soon as possible so he has a chance to return late next season. John Gant and Carlos Martinez are the leading candidates for save chances while Hicks is out.
Minor League Report
Major League Debuts (June 21-23)
- Domingo Leyba, PH, Arizona Diamondbacks: 1-for-1 6/22/19
- Bobby Bradley, 1B, Cleveland Indians: 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, BB, K 6/23/19
- Aaron Civale, SP, Cleveland Indians: 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 BB, 6 K, W 6/22/19
- Michael Brosseau, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays: 1-for-5, 2 K 6/23/19
Promotions (May 26-June 25): Top 130 Prospects
- Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Rays #2 High-A Charlotte 6/25/19
- Jo Adell, CF, Los Angeles Angels #11 Double-A Mobile 6/3/19
- Brendan McKay, SP/DH, Tampa Bay Rays #14 Double-A Mobile 6/3/19
- Nick Madrigal, 2B, Chicago White Sox #32 Double-A Birmingham 6/6/19
- Chris Paddack, SP, San Diego Padres #34 MLB 6/22/19
- Mitch Keller, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates #37 MLB 5/27/19, 6/12/19
- Kyle Wright, RP, Atlanta Braves #39 MLB 6/24/19
- William Contreras, C, Atlanta Braves #55 Double-A Mississippi 6/5/19
- Francisco Mejia, C, San Diego Padres #57 MLB 6/17/19
- Alec Bohm, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies #66 Double-A Reading 6/21/19
- Jose Suarez, SP, Los Angeles Angels #79 MLB 6/2/19, 6/8/19
- Will Smith, C, Los Angeles Dodgers #80 MLB 5/27/19, 6/23/19
- Andrew Knizner, C, St. Louis Cardinals #82 MLB 5/31/19
- Jarred Kelenic, CF, Seattle Mariners #84 High-A Modesto 5/30/19
- Nolan Gorman, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals #85 High-A Palm Beach 6/20/19
- Logan Allen, SP, San Diego Padres #93 MLB 6/18/19
- Leody Taveras, CF, Texas Rangers #94 Double-A Frisco 6/20/19
- Peter Lambert, SP, Colorado Rockies #120 MLB 6/6/19
- Yordan Alvarez, OF, Houston Astros #125 MLB 6/9/19
Knocking Down the Door
Daniel Johnson, OF, Cleveland Indians (Triple-A Columbus)
The Indians might not be done calling on rookies to help out in 2019. Civale, Mercado, and Plesac have done their part and Bradley contributed in his debut. Next in line could be Johnson, a left-handed hitting outfielder acquired from the Nationals this past offseason in the Yan Gomes trade.
Like Civale and Plesac, the 23-year-old began the season in Double-A before forcing his way to Triple-A with a strong performance. Since joining Columbus in late May, the 23-year-old is slashing .297/.365/.532 with three homers, 11 doubles, and three triples. He now has 36 extra-base hits on the season between Triple-A and Double-A, only six behind Bradley (24 HR, 18 2B).
Ben Bowden, RP, Colorado Rockies (Triple-A Albuquerque)
The 24-year-old lefty pitched a scoreless inning in his Triple-A debut on Saturday, extending his scoreless streak to 24 innings. In fact, the only three earned runs he’s allowed this season came on one swing of the bat, a home run by Harrisburg catcher Tres Barrera on April 10. If we pretend for a moment that this game never happened, Bowden has pitched 26 scoreless innings on the season with seven hits allowed, six walks and 42 strikeouts. With veteran left-hander Mike Dunn out of picture after being designated for assignment last week, Bowden’s path to the majors couldn’t be more wide open.
Junior Fernandez, RP, St. Louis Cardinals (Double-A Springfield)
With Hicks likely done for the season and Alex Reyes still having a difficult time staying healthy, the Cardinals could turn to another young fireballer to help out their bullpen in 2019. The 22-year-old Fernandez, who had lackluster results after being converted to a relief pitcher in 2018, appears to be flourishing in the role a year later. In 18 appearances since being promoted to Double-A, Fernandez has a 1.55 ERA. 3/4 BB/9, and 13.0 K/9, including a current streak of 8 1/3 scoreless innings.
As is the case with most playoff hopefuls, the Cardinals will undoubtedly be seeking bullpen help ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. But before deciding just how much help they need, they might want to find out if one of their young pitching prospects is ready to contribute.