Roster Roundup: May 27-31

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to announce that Jason Martinez has joined FanGraphs. His twice-weekly Roster Roundup column, of which this is the first installment, will generally run Monday and Friday afternoons. In the coming months, his site, RosterResource.com, will become part of our offering here at FanGraphs, with Jason also driving our depth charts and the player contract information you see on player pages. We’re thrilled to have Jason join our team and can’t wait to bring his expertise, and the indispensable site he created, to our readers here.

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.

Lineup Regulars

Baltimore Orioles
5/28/19: OF DJ Stewart recalled from Triple-A.

Stewart earned the call-up by slashing .316/.425/.586 in 187 Triple-A plate appearances. He started in right field on Tuesday (3-for-4, SB) and Wednesday (0-for-4). Two months after failing to make the Opening Day roster, he should get a chance to play everyday.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Boston Red Sox
5/29/19: 1B Mitch Moreland (strained lower back/knee discomfort) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 26th.

Brock Holt and Steve Pearce will likely see an uptick in playing time with Moreland out of the lineup. Michael Chavis played first base in two of the last three games to accommodate Holt at second base, while Rafael Devers has moved up in the lineup—he’s hit second or third in four consecutive games.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Colorado Rockies
5/27/19: OF Charlie Blackmon (strained calf) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 24th.

David Dahl, Ian Desmond, and Raimel Tapia had mostly been sharing time between two outfield spots with Blackmon starting all but two games until his injury. Those three will now get the majority of the playing time in the outfield.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Detroit Tigers
5/29/19: 2B Josh Harrison (strained hamstring) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 28th. 3B Jeimer Candelario recalled from Triple-A.

Gordon Beckham, Niko Goodrum, and Ronny Rodriguez will all likely see time at second base in the absence of Harrison, who is on the injured list for the second time this season. Candelario appeared to get back on track during a two-week stint in Triple-A (15-for-42, 3 HR, 9 BB, 6 K), but he’ll have to battle Dawel Lugo for playing time at third base.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Houston Astros
5/29/19: SS Carlos Correa (fractured rib) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 27th.
5/27/19: INF Aledmys Diaz (strained hamstring) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 27th.

Correa’s injury, which is expected to sideline him for approximately 4-6 weeks, has the Astros shuffling their infield around, with Alex Bregman taking over at shortstop and Yuli Gurriel moving across the diamond to be the regular third baseman. The opening, therefore, is at second, where Tony Kemp and Jack Mayfield will likely platoon until either Jose Altuve or Diaz return from the injured list in early-to-mid June.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Los Angeles Dodgers
5/29/19: C Austin Barnes (strained groin) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 27th. C Will Smith has contract purchased from minors.

Barnes’ injury opens the door for catching prospect Will Smith, who we ranked as the 80th best prospect in the game prior to the season. The 24-year-old started back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday, and should get at least a few more before Barnes is eligible to return next week.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Miami Marlins
5/31/19: 1B Neil Walker (strained quad) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 31st.

Martin Prado and Garrett Cooper are the likely candidates to play first base in place of Walker, who is having a strong season for the Marlins (.818 OPS, 4 HR, 10 2B).

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Philadelphia Phillies
5/28/19: OF Odubel Herrera placed on the Restricted List, OF Nick Williams recalled from Triple-A. 

Herrera is on administrative leave, pursuant to Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. There is no timetable for return, although he must remain inactive for at least seven days. In the meantime, the red-hot Scott Kingery should get the bulk of the playing time in center field, where he’s started six times since May 19. Andrew McCutchen will play center field when Williams is in the lineup as the left fielder.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

St. Louis Cardinals
5/31/19: C Yadier Molina (strained thumb) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 29th. C Andrew Knizner has contract purchased from minors.

Matt Wieters, who is 12-for-31 with three homers on the season, will be the starting catcher while Molina is out. He’s batting 5th on Friday. Knizner, ranked by FanGraphs as the No. 82 prospect in the game, will begin his major league career in a backup role. The 24-year-old has an .805 OPS and five homers in 155 Triple-A plate appearances.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Seattle Mariners
5/29/19: SS J.P. Crawford (sprained ankle) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 29th.

Crawford had taken a hold of the starting shortstop job since a promotion on May 10. Now they’ll go back to Tim Beckham, who hit his 11th home run on Thursday but also committed his 13th error (and 12th at shortstop) on the season.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Tampa Bay Rays
5/31/19: C Mike Zunino activated from 10-Day IL.

Zunino, who has been out since May 8th due to a strained quad, is catching and batting 8th on Friday. Erik Kratz, who was 1-for-17 with eight strikeouts since being acquired on May 16, was designated for assignment. Travis d’Arnaud will serve as Zunino’s backup.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

 

Starting Pitching

Arizona Diamondbacks
5/31/19: Jon Duplantier recalled from Triple-A.
5/27/19: Luke Weaver (strained forearm) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 27th.

Weaver was in the midst of a breakout season (3.03 ERA, 3.03 FIP, 9.8 K/9 in 11 starts) so an extended stay on the injured list would be a major blow to the Diamondbacks, who will now have three rookies in their rotation. Duplantier (No. 87 on FanGraphs’ pre-season prospect list) will make his first major league start on Friday versus the Mets. He’s been good in five relief appearances (12 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 5 BB, 12 K), but has had trouble finding the strike zone in six Triple-A starts (17 IP, 13 BB). His latest 4.1 inning outing was his longest of the season, so he’s not likely to pitch deep into this one.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Cincinnati Reds
5/28/19: Lucas Sims recalled from Triple-A.

Making his first major league start since 2014, Sims shut out the Pirates through seven innings before allowing four runs in the eighth. The Reds couldn’t have asked for a better outing from Sims (7.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, BB, 9 K, W), who was only making a spot start and was sent back to Triple-A the following day.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Cleveland Indians
5/28/19: Zach Plesac has contract purchased from minors.

The Indians, who only used seven starting pitchers in each of the last two seasons, had already used eight in 2019 before calling on Plesac to make his major debut on Tuesday. The 24-year-old, who began the season in Double-A, did not disappoint, allowing just one earned run in 5.1 innings in a 7-5 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mike Clevinger appears on track to return next month, although he’ll need at least one rehab start.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Colorado Rockies
5/31/19: Kyle Freeland optioned to Triple-A.

Freeland has a 7.13 ERA and 16 homers allowed in 59.1 innings, compared to a 2.85 ERA and 17 homers allowed in 202.1 innings last season. The 26-year-old lefty will try to figure things out in the minors while Chad Bettis is the leading candidate to take his spot in the rotation when it comes up again.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Los Angeles Angels
5/29/19: Nick Tropeano recalled from Triple-A.

Tropeano’s 2019 debut came as the “primary” on Wednesday. He entered the game in the second and held the A’s scoreless for three innings before allowing a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth. He was optioned back to Triple-A Salt Lake, although he likely return the next time the Angels need someone to eat some innings.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Minnesota Twins
5/28/19: Michael Pineda (knee tendinitis) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 28th. Devin Smeltzer has contract purchased from minors.

Bad timing for Pineda, who appeared to be hitting his stride. It didn’t slow the Twins down one bit, though, as Smeltzer, a 23-year-old lefty who was pitching for Double-A Pensacola just one month ago, pitched three-hit ball and struck out seven over six shutout innings against the Brewers in his major league debut. If he sticks around, his next start could come next week against the Indians.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

New York Yankees
5/29/19: James Paxton activated from 10-Day IL.

The Yankees eased Paxton back in with a four-inning, 66-pitch outing (4 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 7 K) in a 7-0 win against the Padres on Wednesday. He induced 15 swinging strikes, nearly as many as his two 12-strikeout games in April (20 on 4/16, 17 on 4/21). The 30-year-old Canadian is due to pitch again next week in Toronto.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Philadelphia Phillies
5/31/19: Zach Eflin (mid-back tightness) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 28th. Cole Irvin recalled from Triple-A. 
5/28/19:
Nick Pivetta recalled from Triple-A.

Pivetta returned from Triple-A on Tuesday and quickly found himself in a 3-0 hole four batters into the game against the Cardinals. But the 26-year-old settled down and pitched like the breakout candidate everybody thought he would be in the preseason. He allowed just one more hit and two walks as he threw shutout ball over the next 4.1 innings to pick up his third win. With Vince Velasquez now in the bullpen and Eflin on the injured list, Pivetta has a good chance of sticking around.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Pittsburgh Pirates
5/27/19: Mitch Keller recalled from Triple-A.

Keller’s major league debut couldn’t have started out much worse as he allowed six first inning runs to the Reds, including a grand slam to Jose Iglesias. The good news is that the 23-year-old, who came into the season as FanGraphs’ 37th ranked prospect overall and No. 1 in the organization, was able to string together three scoreless innings before exiting the game and heading back to Triple-A on somewhat of a positive note.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

San Francisco Giants
5/29/19: Tyler Beede recalled from Triple-A.

Beede’s first three major league starts, two in 2018 and one earlier this season, have been ugly to say the least (10 IP, 14 ER, 16 H, 10 BB, 12 K). His fourth start came yesterday against a Marlins team that can’t hit and in a stadium (Marlins Park) where not a lot of runs are scored. So while it may have been the equivalent of an uncontested layup, Beede had a very good start (6 IP, ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 4 K, W). If he had struggled again, it probably would’ve been a while before the Giants gave him another one. As things stand, he’ll likely take the mound again next week versus the Mets.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

St. Louis Cardinals
5/30/19:
Genesis Cabrera recalled from Triple-A.

With a rotation spot open after Michael Wacha was demoted to the bullpen, the Cardinals showed a lot of confidence in the 22-year-old Cabrera to make his major debut on the road against a powerful Phillies lineup. The results were nothing to write home about (4.1 IP, 5 R, 3 ER) but he wasn’t helped by two unearned runs in the first, nor will he be the last pitcher to give up a home run to Bryce Harper, who got him for a two-run blast in the third. Whether it was enough to get another start next week is yet to be determined.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Washington Nationals
5/29/19: Anibal Sanchez activated from 10-Day IL.  

Prior to his stint on the injured list, Sanchez had an ERA over 5.00 in nine starts and did not resemble the pitcher who had one of his best seasons as a major leaguer in 2018. But there’s hope after he pitched one-hit ball over six shutout innings with seven strikeouts against the Braves on Wednesday. His next start will come at home against the White Sox next week.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Expected Future Moves

  • Los Angeles Angels: SP Jose Suarez will be recalled from Triple-A to make his major league debut on Sunday versus the Mariners. The 21-year-old lefty had a breakout season in 2018, posting a 3.92 ERA and 10.9 K/9 in 117 innings over three levels (AAA/AA/A+). He was FanGraphs’ No. 79 ranked prospect coming into the season.
  • New York Yankees: SP CC Sabathia is on track to return on Sunday in a home matchup against the Red Sox. His last start against them came in Game 4 of last season’s ALDS (3 IP, 3 ER, L).

Late-Inning Relievers

Baltimore Orioles
5/27/19: Mychal Givens was removed from the closer’s role.

Save chances are few and far between for the Orioles, and Givens was only thought to be part of a closer committee when the season began, but he did have four saves and no other Orioles pitcher had more than one, so it was safe to assume he was their “closer.” After four consecutive disastrous outings (2.2 IP, 8 ER, 7 H, 3 losses, 2 blown saves), however, it was safe to assume that manager Brandon Hyde would say, when asked, that Givens was no longer in that role. Who is the closer now? Well, there is no obvious answer and, trust me, it’s not because there are multiple good options. Shawn Armstrong, who picked up his second career save on Monday, is the best bet going forward.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

New York Mets
5/31/19: Seth Lugo activated from 10-Day IL.

Lugo’s return could give a struggling Mets’ bullpen a shot in the arm. He’s been their best setup man, by far, with a 3.12 ERA, 11.8 K/9 and six holds.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

Philadelphia Phillies
5/29/19: Adam Morgan (strained forearm) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to May 26th. 

Aside from closer Hector Neris, Morgan has been the Phillies’ best reliever in 2019 (1.96 ERA, 18.1 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 18 K, 12 holds). Now he’s one of six relievers on the injured list and the Phillies are in need of some late-inning help. Rookies Edgar Garcia and J.D. Hammer could get an opportunity for a higher-leverage role.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource

 

Minor League Report

Major League Debuts

  • Josh Taylor, RP, Boston Red Sox: IP, ER, 2 H, 0 BB, K  5/29/19
  • Zach Plesac, SP, Cleveland Indians: 5.1 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 2 K  5/28/19
  • Garrett Stubbs, C, Houston Astros: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, K  5/28/19
  • Jack Mayfield, 2B, Houston Astros: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI  5/27/19
  • Will Smith, C, Los Angeles Dodgers: 2-for-4, 2B  5/28/19
  • Devin Smeltzer, SP, Minnesota Twins: 6 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 7 K  5/28/19
  • Mitch Keller, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates: 4 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 7 K, L  5/27/19
  • Genesis Cabrera, SP, St. Louis Cardinals: 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K, L  5/29/19
  • Jacob Waguespack, RP, Toronto Blue Jays: 4 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, BB, 7 K  5/27/19

Knocking Down the Door

Isan Diaz, 2B, Miami Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans)

In a perfect world, Starlin Castro would be having a good season and the Marlins could entice another team to take on some of his remaining salary in a trade — he’s making just under $12 million in 2019 and he has a $1 million buyout in 2020 — and possibly even get something in return, before handing the second base keys over to Diaz, who was acquired last offseason in the deal that sent star outfielder Christian Yelich to the Brewers.

Well, Castro has a career-worst .571 OPS, so he’s looking more like a release candidate at this point. Diaz, however, is doing his part with a .277/.367/.489 slash line, 10 homers, and 10 doubles in 216 Triple-A plate appearances. Expect him in the majors soon, possibly in time to face his former team in Milwaukee next week.

Zac Gallen, SP, Miami Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans)

Gallen started the season with seven no-hit innings and 11 strikeouts, and he hasn’t slowed down since. In 11 Triple-A starts, the 23-year-old right-hander has a 1.70 ERA, 10.7 K/9, and a 0.676 WHIP (not a misprint). So what gives? As bad as the Marlins are, their starting rotation is actually pretty good. Unless they’re willing to go to a six-man rotation or can trade Jose Urena, who is reportedly drawing interest, there is no room for Gallen at the moment. Things can change quickly in baseball, though.

Brendan McKay, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A Durham)

The No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft, McKay was considered a close-to-major-league-ready prospect coming out of Louisville. The only question was whether he’d reach the majors as a pitcher, position player, or both. Two years later, the answer is becoming clear. McKay the pitcher is on the brink of the majors while McKay the hitter, while not bad, isn’t anywhere close. In his Triple-A debut on Tuesday, the 23-year-old lefty pitched five shutout innings with no walks and four strikeouts. Including 41.2 innings in Double-A, McKay now has a 1.16 ERA, 0.793 WHIP, nine walks, and 66 strikeouts.

With Tyler Glasnow out indefinitely due to a forearm strain and Brent Honeywell Jr. still not close to returning — he had Tommy John surgery last February — the Rays could use all the pitching help they can get as they try to stay in the AL East race.





16 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
tuna411member
3 years ago

nice article.