By Rob Leibowitz
Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays)
Marcus Stroman is making a strong bid for promotion. Three starts in, Stroman has allowed five earned runs and struck out 26 in 20 2/3 innings of work, walking only six while keeping the ball on the ground exceptionally well. The righty owns multiple plus pitches and has weapons to face down lefties with a good cutter and at least average changeup.
Former Jays rotation members are not fairing as well. Kyle Drabek has been awful in his return from TJS, allowing 28 hits and five home runs in 19 2/3 innings of work. The command just is not where it used to be. Similarly, former rotation mainstay Ricky Romero has walked nearly as many batters (8) than he has struck out (10) in 15 innings of work. Don't look for any help here.
The hitters are mostly journeymen. First baseman Dan Johnson continues to produce in the minors with a .295/.423/.541 line. At 34, he's not likely to receive any more extended looks, though.
Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox)
For those waiting for the beginning of the Matt Davidson era, you'll have to continue. The slugger has struck out nearly 50 percent of the time and is hitting .181 at the moment. Davidson has never been expected to be much more than a .240s hitter with a decent OBP, but he has to at least make some contact in order to be in the majors.
Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians)
Jesus Aguilar is tearing things up, batting .369/.438/.677. Back in February, I expressed appreciation for the righty's developing plate discipline and all-around game but wondered when or if the power would come. Well, it appears to have arrived. Keep a close eye on the DH production of the Indians. An opportunity could easily arise.
Jose Ramirez is playing well in Triple-A yet has no place to play in the majors, blocked by both Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera. Ramirez has been flashing some speed and pop but is still most likely on the utility-man path to the majors.
Trevor Bauer received a spot start to pitch for the Indians in a double-header and shined. In 24 2/3 combined innings, the righty has now struck out 29 batters while allowing 17 hits and walking just eight. All that effort to fix his mechanics looks to have worked, making Bauer still a long-term middle to upper end of the rotation possibility. Both he and Aguilar should be on keeper-league rosters if possible depending on your league's rules.
Rob covers more teams....
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