Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers

Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our Minor League Barometer series.

Even before any highly anticipated call-ups occur, we have been informed the overall No. 1 prospect in baseball, Corbin Carroll, will see the big leagues before the end of 2022. The General Manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks confirmed as much recently, adding to what should already be an exciting stretch run of the season. Carroll has found little resistance throughout his brief time in the minors, looking the part of a future star at every stop. In 28 games since being promoted to Triple-A, the 22-year-old is slashing .297/.406/.523 with five home runs, 18 RBI and 11 steals. Carroll's ability to hit for average and power and steal bases should make him an elite contributor in Arizona for the remainder of the campaign and beyond.

Let's take a look at some other players making waves as the summer moves closer to its conclusion.

UPGRADE

Sal Frelick, OF, MIL – Speaking of players who have done nothing but hit since entering the minors, Frelick is also on the cusp of a promotion to the bigs after making it to his third different level this year. He brings much less of the power to the table than the aforementioned Carroll while his speed is only mediocre. Nevertheless, Frelick's average has actually increased with each successive level attained. Though the sample size is small for his current stop at Triple-A, he's batting a staggering .446 (29-for-65) through 17 games. Frelick has also recorded more walks (nine) than strikeouts (six) over that span. The Brew Crew could certainly use

Even before any highly anticipated call-ups occur, we have been informed the overall No. 1 prospect in baseball, Corbin Carroll, will see the big leagues before the end of 2022. The General Manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks confirmed as much recently, adding to what should already be an exciting stretch run of the season. Carroll has found little resistance throughout his brief time in the minors, looking the part of a future star at every stop. In 28 games since being promoted to Triple-A, the 22-year-old is slashing .297/.406/.523 with five home runs, 18 RBI and 11 steals. Carroll's ability to hit for average and power and steal bases should make him an elite contributor in Arizona for the remainder of the campaign and beyond.

Let's take a look at some other players making waves as the summer moves closer to its conclusion.

UPGRADE

Sal Frelick, OF, MIL – Speaking of players who have done nothing but hit since entering the minors, Frelick is also on the cusp of a promotion to the bigs after making it to his third different level this year. He brings much less of the power to the table than the aforementioned Carroll while his speed is only mediocre. Nevertheless, Frelick's average has actually increased with each successive level attained. Though the sample size is small for his current stop at Triple-A, he's batting a staggering .446 (29-for-65) through 17 games. Frelick has also recorded more walks (nine) than strikeouts (six) over that span. The Brew Crew could certainly use a table-setter at the top of their lineup, so expect to see Frelick emerge as a legitimate option within the next week or so.

Andrew Painter, P, PHI – Even the Phillies brass couldn't tell you with a straight face they knew Painter would be this good this quickly. Just 19 and selected in the first round of last year's draft, he's been nothing short of spectacular since entering the minors and is already on his third level this season. Painter's first start at Double-A was a gem tossing six scoreless innings while scattering three hits, fanning eight and not issuing a walk. The towering 6-7 righty has displayed exceptional control while missing a plethora of bats in the process. Painter's season ERA is a minuscule 1.11 through 18 starts and he's racked up 126 Ks in only 81.1 innings with the opposition hitting a putrid .157 against. If he continues to dominate at Double-A, he might be considered the best pitching prospect in baseball heading into 2023.

Jordan Diaz, 3B, OAK – Diaz recently received a bump up to Triple-A after slashing .319/.361/.507 with 15 home runs and 58 RBI in 94 games at Double-A. He provides exceptional bat-to-ball skills, which only appears to be getting better as he matures. The same can be said for Diaz's emerging power having already set a new career high in home runs this season. Though a September call-up to the Majors is highly unlikely especially given his limitations defensively, he's shown that his bat can ultimately play anywhere.

Zach Neto, SS, LAA – Some of the members of the 2022 Draft class make their first appearances with Neto already at Double-A following his selection at No. 13. He's already sizzling hitting .357 (15-for-42) with one homer and one steal through 10 contests. Neto hit over .400 as a junior at Campbell in the Big South Conference and wowed onlookers in the Cape Cod League last summer. While he may not provide huge power or speed numbers, his stay in the minors could be brief if he keeps impressing.

CHECK STATUS

Cade Cavalli, P, WAS – A switch has been flipped for Cavalli, who's been dominant since the beginning of July at Triple-A sporting a 1.47 ERA and 43:12 K:BB from his last 36.2 innings over seven starts. After an inconsistent start to the 2022 campaign, his ERA currently sits at 3.71 on the season while opposing batters are hitting just .215 against and only allowing three home runs in 20 outings. The last-place Nationals, fresh off the Juan Soto trade, are in full rebuilding mode and certainly in no rush to promote Cavalli to the Majors. That being said, he should vie for a rotation slot in spring training.

Owen Caissie, OF CHC – The results have been decent, albeit unspectacular for Caissie this season. The second-round pick in 2020 was supposed to offer tremendous raw power, but that hasn't translated to reality thus far in his brief professional career. Through 91 games at High-A, Caissie is hitting .255/.346/.402 with 10 home runs, 56 RBI and 11 steals. Though unafraid to take a walk, he's also fanned 110 times during that stretch. Caissie just turned 20, so he's still maturing and his power stroke may eventually evolve. For now, the results have only been mediocre.

Dustin Harris, OF, TEX – Harris is a toolsy outfielder in the Rangers organization vying for his second-straight 20-20 season. He seemed like a shoe-in for that before suffering a wrist injury earlier in August and has yet to return from the Injured List. The combination of power and speed is intriguing, though Harris has seen his average tumble with the increase in competition this season. Nevertheless, once healthy, Harris will likely have an everyday spot in the Texas lineup.  Due to the current injury, that may not happen until next year.

DOWNGRADE

Eury Perez, P, MIA –  Perez has been one of the biggest risers in the minors in 2022, but now finds himself on the IL with what is being called "arm fatigue". Hopefully that is the extent of the issue for the 19-year-old who's struck out 102 in 73 innings at Double-A. The 6-8 righty allowed 13 earned runs over his last three contests, ballooning his ERA from 3.05 to 4.19. As a result, the Miami organization will give Perez a break in his march towards the big leagues.

Landon Knack, P, LAD – Headlined as one of the top starters in the minors for the Dodgers heading into this season, Knack has hardly produced anything of note. Now 25, he's posted a 5.18 ERA in 13 starts and has been unable to work consistently deep into games with only 48.2 innings across 13 starts. Knack's control hasn't been as good as it was a season ago and he's been slightly more hittable. He still offers above-average stuff as witnessed by his 64 strikeouts, but the additional baserunners this year have proven costly.

Drew Gilbert, OF, HOU – A first-round pick by the Astros in 2022, Gilbert crashed into a wall last week at Low-A and was carted off the field. After being initially diagnosed with a non-descript forearm injury, it was later determined he had dislocated his right elbow and may end up needing surgery. The injury did occur to Gilbert's non-throwing arm, but will still sideline him for the remainder of this season. There's no indication the issue will linger into 2023, though expect the Houston organization to exercise caution with their fiery first-rounder regardless of the prognosis.

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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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