Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers

Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our Minor League Barometer series.

The top of the prospect charts has recently been racked with injuries. In the past week, Jasson Dominguez and Jackson Holliday have found themselves on the Injured List. They join Junior Caminero and James Wood on the shelf, though the latter is set to be activated soon. Roman Anthony returned from a three-game absence due to a minor elbow injury while Seattle farmhand Jonny Farmelo tore his ACL and will be lost for the remainder of the season - and likely longer. The moral of the story? Health and availability can be just as important as talent in some cases.

Let's take a look at some other noteworthy prospects in this edition of the Minor League Barometer.

UPGRADE

Trevor Martin, P, TB – Martin has been slightly older than the competition over his first two professional seasons, so perhaps his dominance should come as no surprise.  Still, the Oklahoma State product continues to mow down the opposition at High-A with a 2.97 ERA and 86:16 K:BB over 69.2 innings. The 23-year-old righty has always boasted strikeout stuff, but has improved his control from a season ago at Low-A when he walked 41 batters across 110 frames. Martin misses plenty of bats as opposing hitters are batting .223 against him this season. The Rays are notoriously conservative with their prospects, so the third-round pick from 2022 could spend the rest of the campaign at this level. When Martin reaches Double-A, that will be an excellent litmus test for his future path.

Kristian Campbell, 2B/OF, BOS

The top of the prospect charts has recently been racked with injuries. In the past week, Jasson Dominguez and Jackson Holliday have found themselves on the Injured List. They join Junior Caminero and James Wood on the shelf, though the latter is set to be activated soon. Roman Anthony returned from a three-game absence due to a minor elbow injury while Seattle farmhand Jonny Farmelo tore his ACL and will be lost for the remainder of the season - and likely longer. The moral of the story? Health and availability can be just as important as talent in some cases.

Let's take a look at some other noteworthy prospects in this edition of the Minor League Barometer.

UPGRADE

Trevor Martin, P, TB – Martin has been slightly older than the competition over his first two professional seasons, so perhaps his dominance should come as no surprise.  Still, the Oklahoma State product continues to mow down the opposition at High-A with a 2.97 ERA and 86:16 K:BB over 69.2 innings. The 23-year-old righty has always boasted strikeout stuff, but has improved his control from a season ago at Low-A when he walked 41 batters across 110 frames. Martin misses plenty of bats as opposing hitters are batting .223 against him this season. The Rays are notoriously conservative with their prospects, so the third-round pick from 2022 could spend the rest of the campaign at this level. When Martin reaches Double-A, that will be an excellent litmus test for his future path.

Kristian Campbell, 2B/OF, BOS – The Barometer mentioned Campbell in passing a couple of weeks ago, yet he continues to rake despite a recent promotion. He began the season at High-A where he slugged .306/.418/.558 with eight homers, 25 RBI and three steals in 40 games. Campbell received a quick bump to Double-A, where he hasn't stopped hitting going 20-for-51 (.392) with two home runs, 10 RBI and two steals from 12 contests. He was a leadoff hitter at Georgia Tech, but his swing has changed as a professional and that's resulted in more homers. And that doesn't appear to have impacted Campbell's ability to hit for average. He had his doubters during the draft process, though has done nothing but excel during his brief time in the minors.

Jaden Hamm, P, DET – Hamm has registered a 67:8 K:BB over 50 innings at High-A. Yes, you read that correctly. He's displayed pinpoint control thus far while also proving difficult to hit with the opposition batting .215 against. Hamm uses a lethal fastball/curveball combination, with both pitches showing nasty movement. The development of other offerings has been a point of emphasis in 2024, though he certainly hasn't needed much more than those two pitches as of yet.  This combination of filthy stuff and standout control should make the 21-year-old righty a prospect to watch.

Henry Bolte, OF, OAK – Bolte has struck like lightning this season (sorry, I couldn't help myself).  At 20, he's flashed intriguing power/speed combination at High-A by blasting 10 homers and swiping 24 bases in only 59 outings. Perhaps most impressive, Bolte has been able to hit for average and is slashing .289/.401/.531. Strikeouts are always likely to be a part of his profile, and it remains to be seen if he'll be able to hit for average at the higher levels. That being said, Bolte is in the midst of a breakout campaign in the Oakland system. So if he can hit even .250, his other loud tools would more than carry him.

CHECK STATUS

Alex Freeland, SS, LAD – Freeland produced a decent 2023 at High-A, though the Dodgers brass decided to return him there to begin this season. And he came out hot out of the gate by slashing .346/.518/.593 with two home runs, 21 RBI and five steals across 23 contests. That resulted in a quick promotion to Double-A, where the 22-year-old has more than held his own producing a .276/.417/.485 line with six homers, 17 RBI and 11 swipes in 37 games. Freeland is a switch-hitter who can handle the bat, displays stellar plate discipline and may only be scratching the surface of his power potential. Add in the stolen base element, and he could find himself rocketing up the prospect charts sooner rather than later.

Cristian Hernandez, SS, CHC – Hernandez scuffled at Low-A as a teenager in 2023, yet has bounced back as a mature 20-year-old slashing .304/.420/.446 with three home runs, 25 RBI and 26 steals through 54 appearances at Low-A. Speed is Hernandez's calling card, but his strike zone recognition and his ability to make contact has been significantly improved. Though he doesn't offer standout power, he's not completely devoid of that asset and has decent enough size to develop some pop. Hitting for average, getting on base and swiping bags will be Hernandez's chief value as he ascends the higher levels and he should get a taste of High-A sometime this year.

Winston Santos, P, TEX – Santos is another player repeating the same level as a season ago while finding far different results this time around. The 22-year-old righty posted an ugly 6.29 ERA at High-A last year with batters going .295 against while being snakebitten by the long ball as he served up a staggering 19 home runs from 25 outings. 2024 has been a different story for Santos  as he's notched a 2.43 ERA and 80:19 K:BB ratio through 11 starts while only allowing three homers and only conceding a .207 average. He throws strikes, with his most dangerous pitch being his fastball. Santos doesn't carry the size of a prototypical starter and his off-speed pitches can be dangerous, albeit inconsistent. He's righted the ship for now, though it remains to be seen if he can become an elite starter.

Brooks Baldwin, SS, CHW – Baldwin can play almost anywhere on the diamond, but his bat has been the most impressive part of his game this season batting .341 with a .415 OBP in 60 games at Double-A. The 23-year-old switch-hitter has also drawn 27 walks compared to 39 strikeouts over that span while showing a standout command of the strike zone and the ability to make consistent contact. Baldwin has also produced four homers and 15 steals after 15 and 22 bags in 93 games between Low-A and High-A last year. Given his positional versatility, the White Sox should have no trouble finding a spot for him in their everyday lineup as early as 2025, though Baldwin may end up being a better real-life player than fantasy commodity.

DOWNGRADE

Everson Pereira, OF, NYY – Pereira debuted with some fanfare last summer for the Yankees, but struggled in limited action by only batting .151 over 27 games for the parent club. With the acquisitions of Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo, there was no room for him and began the campaign at Triple-A. Pereira had been decent across 40 games at that level as he slashed .265/.346/.512 with 10 home runs, 27 RBI and five stolen bases. However, he struggled by fanning 59 times while only picking up 16 walks. Pereira would have likely needed multiple injuries or a trade to see the Majors again, but now that'll have to wait a while as he'll undergo season-ending internal brace surgery on his right elbow. Though not quite as severe as Tommy John surgery, he'll still likely miss some time in 2025. Pereira is still only 23, but he'll clearly be a non-factor in the short-term.

Mick Abel, P, PHI – Abel's stock has fallen rapidly with a dismal campaign thus far, which has been caused by multiple issues. He continues to walk too many batters with 34 free passes over 50.2 innings at Triple-A. While that's always been a part of Abel's player profile, he still managed to limited the damage at the lower levels while also maintaining his strikeout rate. For the first time in his professional career, he's averaging less than a K per inning. Abel's inability to find the strike zone has also led to mistakes being punished by opposing hitters as they're batting .302 against alongside 11 home runs across 11 starts. While the Phillies are far from giving up on him as a starter, a lack of command/control could eventually put him in the bullpen.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jesse Siegel
Siegel covers college football, college basketball and minor league baseball for RotoWire. He was named College Sports Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
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