|Received On: 03/08/2017|
My first returns for this post came from Brewers righty Josh Uhen.
Josh Uhen was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fifth round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. The Wisconsin native (and product of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) has a pretty golden chance to be the hometown hero should he ever make it to the big leagues. Reportedly, Uhen had been on the Brewers' radar long before he was drafted but an injury that required him getting Tommy John in college was a bit of a setback. Nonetheless the Brewers took a chance on the righty whose fastball has been clocked at 100 mph, although it's been mainly sitting in the mid 90's. At this point Uhen is more of a reliever akin to the likes of John Axford, but his fastball, slider and change up combination will at least allow for him to be in the conversation as a middle reliever (at least) at the big league level. Hopefully he makes it, I always think it's great when local guys get to play for teams they grew up rooting for in their hometown.
|Received On: 03/09/2017|
More Brewers! This time from Jorge Lopez.
Jorge Lopez was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft. Lopez was a top 10 prospect in the Brewers farm system for many years and really started showing up on more radars as an arm to keep an eye on in 2015 when he dominated double-A and made his MLB debut the same year. 2016 started off on a bad note for Lopez but down the line he improved greatly. Armed with a fastball, curveball and change up, Lopez still projects to be a very serviceable middle of the rotation starter for the rebuilding Brewers and the (hopefully/doubtfully) contending Brewers of the future. If not his fastball-curveball combo can be lethal in a bullpen role. Either way, I hope great things are in Lopez's future.
Sidenote, you know the Brewers farm system is incredibly good when they just had a top prospect like Jorge Lopez (as well as others like Orlando Arcia) graduate and yet they're still in the top 3. Woof!
|Received On: 03/10/2017|
Going from one ex-AL East team to it's primary rival (once upon a time), here's Joe Biagini of the Toronto Blue Jays. Joe Biagini was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 26th round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft. After spending four seasons in the Giants org as a serviceable starter on his way up (albeit slowly), he became eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in 2015 and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. Most people didn't think Biagini (who'd never been above double-A) would last a whole year in Toronto but he proved to be a worthwhile asset in the Jays bullpen (first as a long man and then eventually as a set up man) and managed to stay on the 25-man roster the whole season. Now that the Jays don't have to worry about sending Biagini back to San Francisco, the question now is whether they see him as a reliever or starter long term. In the minors he was an okay-ish starter, in the majors? Who knows. For whatever it's worth the Jays have been stretching Biagini out like a starter and rumors of him being assigned to the triple-A Buffalo Bisons rotation to start the season so he can be used in a sixth starter role are swirling. Of course he could also be a long man or reliever but the Blue Jays have a fair number of options for the bullpen so it's not so clear cut. Expect the Jays to make a decision in the upcoming weeks.
|Received On: 03/11/2017|
Next up is a return from Orioles prospect Josh Hart.
Josh Hart was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. Seem as a top OF pick out of high school, the supplemental first rounder has made his strides in the minors slowly but very surely. Hart's spent some time on the DL during his career but he does still have the potential to be a very good defensive centerfield who may hit at the top of the lineup. His key attribute is his plus plus speed, but making solid contact appears to still be a work in progress for the centerfielder. At age 22, there's still time for him to put things together and be Adam Jones' successor in centerfield.
|Received On: 03/15/2017|
Here's my first Spring Training success from Yankees camp, from none other than Chance Adams.
Chance Adams was drafted by the New York Yankees in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. Chance Adams is seem as one of the Yankees' underrated sleeper prospects (of which they have a grab bag of prospects worthy of that title) and could be a bargain for a fifth rounder. Adams was originally drafted and put in a relief role (one that many thought would catapult him to the big leagues) but he was so effective that the Yankees tried him out as a starter and he's put up good results so far. So much so that he was invited to Spring Training this year and lasted quite a long while. Armed with a fastball that can reach 98-mph, a slider, a changeup and curveball, Adams has impressed both Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman. Keep an eye on this guy, he may be a very good middle rotation of the starter as early as next season.
|Received On: 3/20/2017|
I already talked about this return from Shigeru Sugishita, but I thought I'd just show it again. It's soooo freaking cool!
|Received On: 03/23/2017|
Next up is a return from D-Backs righty Silvino Bracho.
Silvino Bracho was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela back in 2011. Bracho slowly, but surely, moved up the D-Backs farmsystem as reliever who earned praise for his great control. Silvino made it to the big leagues in 2015 but has spent most of his time since in triple-A. Silvino came into Spring Training looking for a bullpen job with the D-Backs but instead was optioned to triple-A to begin the season. Armed with a fastball that sits in the mid-90's and a slider, Silvino has enough of a reputation as a really good reliever to be back in the big leagues soon.
|Received On: 03/25/2017|
Here is Marlins backstop Ramon Cabrera.
Ramon Cabrera was originally signed out of Venezuela by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a non drafted free agent back in 2008. He spent a few years with the Buccos but was traded to the Detroit Tigers in late 2012 in exchange for Andy Oliver. Two seasons after that Cabrera was selected off of waivers by the Pirates but was released a few months afterwards. Shortly after that Cabrera signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a free agent and finally made his MLB debut in 2015. He became a free agent this past offseason and signed a minor league deal with the Miami Marlins. But according to Clark Spencer he probably won't make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. Cabrera isn't much defensively but offensively he always puts up decent numbers in triple-A. Hopefully he'll be given another chance to be in the big leagues soon. Although he may also carve out a career as a journeyman catcher who plays at various triple-A affiliates.
|Received On: 03/27/2017|
Here's another Spring Training return from journeyman Ivan DeJesus Jr.
Ivan DeJesus Jr. is the son of former big leaguer, Ivan DeJesus. Ivan DeJesus Jr. was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2nd round of the 2005 MLB Player Draft. DeJesus spent several seasons with the Doyers before making it to the big leagues in 2011. The following year he was sent to the Boston Red Sox in the Nick Punto trade (that also netted the Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett). Then after playing for Boston, he was shipped out again to the Pirates in the Brock Holt/Joel Hanrahan trade (the same trade that netted the Pirates Mark Melancon). The following year he became a free agent and spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons in the minors for the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox. Ivan DeJesus Jr. was picked up as a free agent again before the 2015 season by the Cincinnati Reds. There DeJesus finally made good on his reputation as a utility guy with a good glove. Although the Reds tried out the utility infielder in the outfield way too much. DeJesus actually hit his first big league home run in 2015 too. DeJesus played one more season with the Reds before he was outrighted to triple-A and elected free agency. DeJesus signed with the Milwaukee Brewers on a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. With the departure of Scooter Gennett, DeJesus may make the Brewers roster out of Spring Training as a utility infielder on the bench. Best of luck to the journeyman infielder who somehow managed to make me write more about him that I thought I would. Sidenote, that 2011 Topps card is one of the first cards I ever had when I came into this hobby. Yes, I'm psyched that it's finally signed.
And those were my returns this past month.
Big thanks to Mr. Uhen, Lopez, Biagini, Hart, Adams, Sugishita, Bracho, Cabrera and DeJesus for the awesome autographs.
And as always, thank you (the readers) for stopping by :).
2017 TTM Count: 30