Theme of the dayInternational signing day: July 2 is a big date on the Major League calendar -- it's the first date international amateur players can sign with Major League organizations, if they are at least 17 by June 15 the following year. Because of relatively new rules under the
Theme of the dayInternational signing day:
July 2 is a big date on the Major League calendar -- it's the first date international amateur players can sign with Major League organizations, if they are at least 17 by June 15 the following year. Because of relatively new rules under the collective bargaining agreement, all clubs face a hard cap for these signings, and because of previous penalties, some organizations aren't allowed to sign any player for more than $300,000. The biggest signing of the day in terms of money was the Blue Jays' inking of Dominican Republic shortstop Orelvis Martinez for $3.5 million, but it was the Dodgers who scooped up MLB.com's top international prospect
and Venezuela catcher Diego Cartaya for a $2.5 million bonus. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez covered international signing day news here.
Who stayed hotRangers OF Willie Calhoun, Triple-A Round Rock:
3-for-4, 2B, RBI -- The Rangers' No. 2 prospect is batting .405/.436/.514 during a nine-game hitting streak. The 23-year-old is having a down year offensively, but that's mostly due to a rough April, when he hit just .229 with a .673 OPS. Since May 1, Calhoun has hit .316 with only 20 strikeouts over 234 plate appearances in 55 games. He's putting the ball in play a ton, and the hits are starting to come. Where Calhoun is struggling is in the power category. In 2017 between Round Rock and Oklahoma City, the left-handed slugger hit 31 homers and produced a .572 slugging percentage. Those numbers are down to six and .421 through his first 80 games of 2018. Calhoun's groundball rate is up five percentage points while his flyball rate is down roughly the same amount, which could explain the power drop. The good news though is that his overall hit tool and contact rates are still strong.
Who needed this oneNationals RHP Jackson Tetreault, Class A Hagerstown: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 87 pitches, 64 strikes --
Like Calhoun, the Nationals' No. 11 prospect has turned things around since a rough couple of weeks to open the season. Monday's outing was the first start in 2018 in which Tetreault had not allowed an earned run. His nine strikeouts also set a new season high, besting the eight he accrued on two previous occasions -- most recently in his previous outing last Tuesday. A seventh-round pick last year, the 6-foot-5 right-hander has a 4.73 ERA with 77 strikeouts and 22 walks in 72 1/3 innings overall and has a 2.63 ERA with 46 K's in 41 frames since May 21. The 22-year-old right-hander is a project, but with a plus fastball and above-average curveball, the Nats' investment may be beginning to pay off.
The unexpectedDodgers OF Jeren Kendall, Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga: 2-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 2 K --
The 23rd overall pick in last year's Draft is known primarily for his plus-plus speed and defensive ability in center field -- and also for his high strikeout rates -- but he can occasionally flex some power. Still, he had yet to produce a two-homer game in the Minors before Monday and hadn't gone deep at all or even produced an extra-base hit of any kind since June 17, a stretch of 11 games. So it was a bit surprising to see the Dodgers' No. 7 prospect homer twice Monday in Rancho Cucamonga's 7-3 win at home over Inland Empire. Kendall now has nine long balls through 70 games and has produced a .231/.323/.404 line with 97 strikeouts. With a 99 wRC+, he's been a league-average bat in the California League, and it won't get any easier to produce power the higher he climbs.
Best matchupDomingo Acevedo vs. Bo Bichette:
With the way Jonathan Loaisiga
has made the jump from Double-A to the Majors look so seamless, it's worth seeing who else on the Yankees' 40-man roster might be capable of doing something similar. Acevedo, ranked five spots ahead of Loaisiga at No. 7 in the New York system, could fit the bill, and he was challenged Monday night in Trenton against a tough New Hampshire lineup led by Bichette. The Blue Jays' No. 2 prospect singled on the second pitch of Acevedo's outing, but the Trenton right-hander got him to ground out to third base in the third and to shortstop in the fifth. Acevedo finished after five innings and 89 pitches, having given up two earned runs on four hits and a walk while fanning five. After blister issues limited his velocity early in the season sent him to the disabled list for six weeks in April and May, Acevedo had his heater back up to the high-90's, according to the Trentonian
, and with a plus changeup also in his arsenal, he could make for an interesting Major League relief option down the stretch. What's more likely is that he'll continue to work as a starter and provide some emergency help when rosters open up in September.
Who strengthened their promotion caseYankees LHP Justus Sheffield, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre:
7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 100 pitches, 60 strikes -- Sheffield is one step closer to the Majors than Acevedo but isn't yet on the Yankees' 40-man roster, though he will have to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft this winter. MLB.com's No. 39 overall prospect continues to be one of the most reliable arms in the Yankees system. Monday's outing was his longest of the season and also his third straight quality start. Since making his Triple-A debut on May 6, the 22-year-old left-hander owns a 2.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 49 strikeouts and 22 walks in 51 2/3 frames. He looks ready for a shot at Major League hitters, and with Sonny Gray
continuing to struggle, Sheffield may get a chance to take his plus fastball and above-average slider and change to The Show soon.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.