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June is typically when prospect movement to the majors begins to heat up, and yesterday four highly regarded prospects inched closer to The Show with their promotion to Triple-A.
Wil Myers, OF/3B?, Kansas City Royals
Myers was promoted to Omaha after hitting .343 with 13 home runs, 30 RBIs, 32 runs scored, four steals and a 1.146 OPS in 134 at-bats with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Last year the Royals were aggressive in promoting their top Triple-A position prospects to the majors, so there's a good chance Myers will arrive in Kansas City sometime this summer if he continues to wield a hot bat. Keep in mind that he might need close to as much time at Omaha as Hosmer had last season (144 at-bats) before they'd be comfortable moving him up.
In recent weeks, Myers has become a full-time center fielder and has played a couple of games at third base, so the Royals are embracing his fine athleticism. The organization has even acknowledged that he might play some first base. The Royals are showing the mentality that they are willing to use Myers' versatility to their advantage and won't let roadblocks stop him from reaching the majors and helping the big league club.
Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Kansas City Royals
Like Myers, Odorizzi is also making the jump to Omaha after registering a 4-2 record, 3.32 ERA and a 47:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 38 innings with Northwest Arkansas. Because of injuries and performance setbacks that have befallen other young pitchers, Odorizzi is arguably the most promising young hurler in the organization right now.
There are some factors working in Odorizzi's favor for a call-up this year. For one, the Royals have been snake-bitten by injuries to their starting rotation (Jonathan Sanchez, Danny Duffy), so they might not have a choice at some point because of necessity. Odorizzi is finishing his fifth season of professional service time, so he needs to be protected on the 40-man roster by this November. A 40-man roster bump-up for Odorizzi is inevitable; it's just a matter of when.
Jedd Gyorko, 3B/2B, San Diego Padres
Gyorko was rewarded with a jump to Triple-A Tucson after he hit .262 with six home runs, 17 RBIs, 18 runs scored and a .786 OPS in 130 at-bats with Double-A San Antonio. After hitting .365 in high Single-A, Gyorko's .279/.357/.429 showing in Double-A was somewhat disappointing even though San Antonio's Wolff Stadium is arguably the PETCO Park of the minors.
Considered a hitting talent with a sweet swing, Gyorko should be able to find his stroke again at Tucson, one of the most extreme hitter-friendly atmospheres in the minors. The best news regarding Gyorko is that the third baseman-by-trade has logged 17 games at second base. The Padres cut bait with veteran 2B Orlando Hudson, and Alexi Amarista will assume keystone duties for now. But don't count Gyorko out of the long-term picture.
Trevor Bauer, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Bauer, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2011 draft, has been moved to Triple-A Reno, where he will start his first Pacific Coast League game Friday night versus Oklahoma City. In 48 1/3 innings at Double-A Mobile, Bauer went 7-1, with a 1.68 ERA, one home run allowed and a 60:26 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
So far, Bauer has proven he can dominate professional batters, but he has one severe chink in his armor: his 4.6 walks per nine innings as a pro.
Armed with a deep repertoire of pitches that includes a low- to mid-90s fastball and a knee-buckling curveball, Bauer has proven he can be a dominant strikeout machine (12.5 whiffs per nine frames) despite his quirky ways and his smallish 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame.
As of today, Bauer has the inside track over fellow blue-chip prospect Tyler Skaggs when it comes to who will get the first crack at a major league rotation spot this year. Of the four players on this list, Bauer is probably the closest to the majors despite his walk troubles.
The Toronto Blue Jays are calling up a catcher, and no, it's not Travis d'Arnaud.
In a surprising move, Toronto demoted slugger Adam Lind to Triple-A Las Vegas and replaced him with catcher/infielder Yan Gomes.
Gomes was hitting .359 with five homers, 22 RBIs, 17 runs scored, and a .956 OPS in 131 at-bats with Las Vegas. He's starting at third base Thursday while Brett Lawrie starts serving a four-game suspension.
Gomes, the first Brazilian-born player to reach the majors, is a decent slugger whose value will be enhanced by his catcher eligibility. The former 10th-round pick pounded 13 home runs and slugged .464 in 290 Double-A at-bats during the 2011 campaign.
Outside of some pop, Gomes is a hitter without a firm foundation. A hacker, Gomes compiled 26 strikeouts to only six walks during his 33-game stint at Las Vegas. During his professional career, Gomes has carried a walk rate of 6.9 percent.
At Vegas this season, the 24-year-old logged 12 games at catcher, nine at first base and 10 at third base, and he can hold his own at all three spots.
In AL-only formats, Gomes is worth monitoring because of his versatility and possible catcher eligibility. Bottom line, though, Gomes profiles as a bench player, and a lot of circumstances would have to work in his favor for him to get a legitimate shot to start past Lawrie's ban.