The Show Before the Show: Episode 119

Astros' Whitley talks ascent through system in first full season

July 20, 2017 1:27 PM ET

Check out the latest episode of The Show Before the Show, MiLB.com's official podcast. A segment rundown is listed below, in case you want to skip to a particular section. Like the podcast? Subscribe, rate and review The Show Before the Show on iTunes. The podcast is also available via the Stitcher app. Send your questions and feedback to podcast@milb.com. You can follow hosts Tyler Maun (@TylerMaun) and Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) on Twitter.

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Listen to The Show Before the Show Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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Marlins acquire four prospects in Phelps deal

Report: Hernandez, Lopez, Miller, Schiraldi headed to Miami

By Danny Wild | July 20, 2017 1:12 PM ET

The Marlins acquired Brayan Hernandez, the Mariners' No. 6 prospect, in a five-player deal that sent veteran reliever David Phelps to Seattle on Thursday afternoon.

Phelps was shipped west by Miami in exchange for four prospects, including the 19-year-old Hernandez, an outfielder who signed with the Mariners out of the Dominican Republic three years ago. Right-handers Brandon Miller, Pablo Lopez and Lukas Schiraldi are also headed to Miami in the deal, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Danny Wild is an editor for MiLB.com. Follow his MLBlog column, Minoring in Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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Prospect Roundup: Games of July 19

Cardinals' Kelly keeps raking; A's Olson homers, walks four times

By Sam Dykstra | July 20, 2017 12:56 PM ET

Cardinals C Carson Kelly, Triple-A Memphis: 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, K -- Kelly put himself in the conversation to be the game's top catching prospect last season when he broke out offensively at Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, and he's been even better with the bat in 2017. Wednesday brought his fifth three-hit game of the season and his 10th home run, which set a career high. He's now hitting .283/.375/.459 with 23 extra-base hits and a 118 wRC+ in 68 games during his second go-round with the Redbirds. The 23-year-old has grown into an asset defensively behind the plate after playing third base during his first two seasons in the Minors, and he's become a more well-rounded player with his improvements at the dish. He'll be back in St. Louis at some point this season, but Yadier Molina's extension through 2019 did him no favors over the longer term. If Kelly keeps performing like this, however, some tough decisions could be coming soon for the Major League club.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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Photos of the Week: July 13-19

Keuchel's rehab, Colon's Red Wings debut highlight top images

By Robert Coles | July 20, 2017 10:59 AM ET

Take a look back at the past week in the Minors with some of the best photos from MiLB.com's photographers. Want more? Follow @MiLB on Instagram

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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Appy notes: Bechtold finds fit with E-Twins

Third baseman feeling comfortable following junior college success

By Bob Sutton | July 20, 2017 10:46 AM ET

Andrew Bechtold didn't travel his intended path to professional baseball, but the Elizabethton Twins third baseman is quite sure the route proved beneficial.

Along the way, he took part in a National Junior College Athletic Association national championship with Chipola College in Florida and found appreciation in the way his development played out.

Bob Sutton is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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MWL notes: Dawson benefits from bat boy days

Astros prospect put aside football following high school experience

By Curt Rallo | July 20, 2017 10:37 AM ET

Baseball wasn't much of a blip on Ronnie Dawson's radar when he was a high school junior. A punishing linebacker, the Ohio native was getting offers from Michigan and Wisconsin to play football.  

But that all changed after a staff member for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers saw Dawson play high school baseball.

Curt Rallo is a contributor to MiLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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In-season farm system grades: AL, NL Central

Brewers, White Sox earn rave reviews; Royals have room to grow

By Kelsie Heneghan and Alex Kraft | July 20, 2017 10:25 AM ET

With about six weeks left in the Minor League regular season, members of the MiLB.com staff hand out grades to all 30 farm systems based on their prospect and team performance so far. The American and National League East Division made up the first installment in the series, followed by the Central Divisions today and the West on Friday. Kelsie Heneghan provides the grades here for the AL Central, while Alex Kraft breaks out his red pen for the NL Central.

American League Central

Chicago White Sox
Grade: A-

It was a very exciting offseason for the South Siders as their system was bolstered by the additions of Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. Chicago has carried that prospect-acquisition mentality into this season, picking up an impressive haul from the Cubs and Yankees -- most notably Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and Blake Rutherford. While it's great to have an organization full of exciting names, many of its top prospects struggled in the first half. Kopech, Giolito, Lopez and Carson Fulmer have all had trouble keeping runs off the board, though they continue to rack up strikeouts. Beyond their current top 10, the deep White Sox also boast Alec Hansen, Jordan Stephens and Dane Dunning -- each of whom are enjoying dominant seasons on the mound. If they keep it up, those righties could gain their fair share of the spotlight, too. At the plate, top overall prospect Moncada reached Chicago this week after a solid first season at Triple-A. Just like the parent club, however, the Minor League squads are struggling in the win-loss columns. The system as a whole ranks 30th overall with a .426 winning percentage as Class A Kannapolis (49-45) is the only club with a winning record. There's too much talent to earn anything other than an A, but team performance is a factor in this evaluation -- hence the minus.

Kelsie Heneghan and Alex Kraft are contributors to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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Hillcats' Cervenka marching toward history

Indians prospect looking to make it from Prague to the Majors

By Michael Leboff | July 20, 2017 10:19 AM ET

Martin Cervenka's baseball journey started the same as millions of other kids. His dad, Filip, was his first coach and taught him and his brother, Marek, how to play. Marek wanted to be a pitcher, so naturally, Martin's destiny took him behind home plate.

"I started playing when I was 4 or 5," Cervenka said. "My dad played a lot back home and he coached my brother and me for a while, so that's how we got into it. One time over dinner he asked me and my brother where we wanted to play. He wanted to pitch and I said I wanted to be a catcher, so I've been a catcher ever since I started playing."

Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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Red-hot Smith comes through again for 51s

Mets No. 2 prospect accounts for offense with homer, double

By Josh Jackson | July 20, 2017 2:57 AM ET

Dominic Smith's hitting over the last month has been many things, but one thing it hasn't been is a surprise.

"I'm a second-half player. This year, I started hot and I'm heating up [again] in the second half," the Mets No. 2 prospect said.

Smith homered and belted a go-ahead three-run double to spark Triple-A Las Vegas to a 4-3 win over visiting Fresno on Wednesday. He's gone 20-for-47 (.426) with three homers and 14 RBIs over an 11-game hitting streak.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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Angels elevate top prospect Jones to 66ers

Teen outfielder gets midseason bump for second straight year

By Gerard Gilberto | July 20, 2017 2:00 AM ET

Although his first full-season numbers might not be eye-popping, Jahmai Jones continues to climb the organizational ladder.

On Wednesday, the Angels promoted their top prospect from Class A Burlington to Class A Advanced Inland Empire. At 19 years old, Jones will be the youngest player on the 66ers roster. His promotion came less than a week after the organization elevated second-ranked Matt Thaiss from Inland Empire to Double-A Mobile.

Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @GerardGilberto4. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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