Update: Last Monday's "Minor League Review and Preview," the wordy precursor to "Farm Tracker," encouraged readers to "keep an eye on Greenville RHP Roniel Raudes," at 18 one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League and a teammate of uber-prospect RHP Anderson Espinoza. Well, Baseball America's Josh Norris has a glowing game report on Raudes.
Meanwhile, Saturday's bonus edition of Farm Tracker included commentary on Hartford (Rockies) vs. Portland (Red Sox), Myrtle Beach (Cubs) vs. Carolina (Braves), and Peoria (Cardinals) vs. Wisconsin (Brewers), three games that featured thirteen noteworthy prospects.
Today's edition offers a look ahead.
What I'll Watch This Week:
Some difficult viewing choices confront me in the early part of the week. The Monday evening slate in particular offers quite a few intriguing prospects and match-ups. Returning from multiple injuries that cost him the last two seasons, Jameson Taillon will make his second start in Triple-A for the Indianapolis Indians (Pirates), who host the Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers) at 7:05 ET. Elsewhere, the Salem Red Sox (Red Sox) and Carolina Mudcats (Braves) of the High-A Carolina League will begin a fascinating series that features four of our top 30 fantasy prospects: 2B Yoan Moncada (#4), 3B Rafael Devers (#11), and OF Andrew Benintendi (#29) of the Red Sox, and SS Dansby Swanson (#13 of the Mudcats. All except Devers are off to fast starts in 2016. At 7:30 SS Alex Bregman (#15) and the Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros) will battle the Springfield Cardinals (Cardinals) of the Double-A Texas League, while OFs Kyle Tucker (#47), Daz Cameron (#79) and the Quad Cities River Bandits (Astros) will take on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Brewers) of the Low-A Midwest League. Then, at 8:00, C Willson Contreras (#93) and the Iowa Cubs (Cubs) will visit 3B Joey Gallo (#7), SS Jurickson Profar, and the Round Rock Express (Rangers) of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, while a pair of top pitching prospects, the scuffling Carson Fulmer (#65) of the Birmingham Barons (White Sox) and the sizzling Edwin Diaz (11 IP, 1 BB, 16 K, 1.64 ERA) of the Jackson Generals (Mariners) will square off in Double-A, Southern-League action.
The match-up of the night, however, will begin at 7:35 ET when the 8-2 Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds) face the 7-2 Biloxi Shuckers (Brewers) in an early-season clash of Southern League titans. Better yet, the scheduled pitching match-up features two aces, Pensacola's Amir Garrett (#76) and Biloxi's Josh Hader (#94). Garrett (12 IP, 2 BB, 11 K, 1.50 ERA) and Hader (9 IP, 3 BB, 12 K, 1.00 ERA), both LHPs, have baffled Southern League hitters and should continue to do so. Expect to find them much higher on updated prospect lists this summer. Redraft owners can ignore Garrett and Hader in 2016, but that will not be the case next season, when both pitchers should compete for spots in their Major-League clubs' respective rotations.
Mercifully, Tuesday and Wednesday will feature some afternoon and even late-morning contests viewable on MiLB.TV. My tentative plan is to catch Corpus Christi-Springfield at noon ET on Tuesday the 19th and then Salem-Carolina at 7:00 P.M.. The Red Sox and Mudcats will finish their series at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday the 20th. Then, intriguing young starter Albert Abreu will take the mound for Quad Cities against Wisconsin at 7:35 P.M.
As always, enjoy the games!