PT TOMORROW: AL Central—SP options if Quintana is traded

NOTE: PT TOMORROW is our six-days-a week column at BaseballHQ.com that examines what MIGHT happen within any one MLB division to best prepare fantasy owners for the short-term future. This column posted Thursday morning, hours before Jose Quintana moved to the Cubs.—Ed.

 

Chicago White Sox

Jose Quintana (LHP, CHW) is back to being a tradable commodity again. In his last seven starts (40 IP) he has a 2.70 ERA on a 10.1 Dom, 3.6 Ctl. That includes surviving Coors Field July 8 with three ER and 10 K in 5.1 IP. Time for the prospects to show they're ready for The Show.

Reynaldo Lopez (RHP, CHW; pictured above) has been charged with only four ER in his last 18.2 IP (21 K, 3 BB) at Triple-A Charlotte, but two of those ER were from solo HRs, extending a string to five games in a row with at least one HR. Our No. 3 White Sox prospect has surrendered 12 HR in 17 starts and will need to at least match his 8.6 Dom (11% SwK%) and lower his 3.6 Ctl if he wants to succeed at hitter-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field.

Though his seasonal numbers aren't impressive (4.98 ERA, 1.47 WHIP through 17 starts), Lucas Giolito (RHP, CHW) has also been pitching better lately, with a 51/16 K/BB ratio over his last seven starts. Reports are that some of his velocity has returned, and while he's no longer a top 10 overall prospect, given his MLB experience, he's likely to return to rotation at some point in 2017.

What a difference a year has made for Jordan Guerrero (LHP, CHW). In 2016 at Double-A Birmingham, he was quite a mess. His Dom dipped from 8.5 at Single-A Winston-Salem in 2015 to 7.1, he suffered a career-worst 4.8 Ctl, and he finished with a 4.83 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 136 IP. Guerrero then opened 2017 with a 7.01 ERA in his first five outings with the Barons, but it came with 33 K, 7 BB and 1 HR in 25.2 IP. Since then, he's been lights-out, as 11 of his last 12 starts have resulted in two ER or less (2.29 ERA, 1.03 WHIP), supported by an 8.7 Dom (12% SwK%), 1.8 Ctl and 52% GB% in 78.2 IP.


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Cleveland Indians

While Mike Clevinger (RHP, CLE) is adding some stability to the Tribe's rotation, the Indians will need to look at their depth and trade bait before the deadline.

Shawn Morimando (LHP, CLE; pictured above) has offered Triple-A Columbus fans a most unusual 2017. In April, two one-run starts were surrounded by 23 ER, 33 H and 12 BB in 18.2 IP. In May, two consecutive shutdowns (13 IP, zero runs) were followed by six HR, 17 H and eight ER in the next two outings (12 IP). But outside of a June 21 hiccup, Morimando has since been otherworldly in keeping offenses from crossing the plate. Between June and July he's tossed three complete-game shutouts in seven games on the way to a 1.20 ERA with 40 K (12% SwK%), 12 BB, one HR and a 44% GB% in 52.2 IP. We chronicled his 2016 efforts in the March 30 PT Tomorrow.

Ryan Merritt (LHP, CLE) continues to stay prepared for another callup. After getting a spot start with CLE June 17, he's served well at Columbus in three outings. Over 21 IP, Merritt has given up three ER (two by solo HRs) on 16 K (11% SwK%), 3 BB and 15 H, with a 50% GB%.

 

Detroit Tigers

There's a chance, albeit a small one, that some team will take on the salary of a Justin Verlander (RHP, DET) or the resurgent Anibal Sanchez (RHP, DET) as the Tigers consider rebuilding for 2018. The team may still have some depth on their roster as well as at Triple-A Toledo.

In the last four times Matt Boyd (LHP, DET) toed the mound for Detroit, he was rung up for 36 H and 18 ER in 16 IP. He told George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press July 1 that his off-speed pitches weren't hitting their locations, and his slider was moving left or right but not down. Boyd's been working on his game in the Glass City. He issued four free passes in his first outing June 5 but improved to eight BB in his next six appearances. It's concerning that he's surrendered a homer in six of seven games, but he's overcome those to post a 2.23 ERA, 26 H and 45 K in 44.1 IP.

Chad Bell (LHP, DET) was showing some of the best skills of his Triple-A career to begin 2017 at Toledo before he was summoned to be a long reliever. He piled up 25 K (9% SwK%) against 7 BB with a 44% GB% in 21.2 IP (4 starts) on the way to a 1.25 ERA. Bell has logged relief outings of 71, 68 and 64 pitches along with two more starts for the Mud Hens May 31 and June 6, so it's likely he could be moved to the rotation with little or no need to build up innings at Toledo.

 

Kansas City Royals

The pitching news has been terrible for the Royals, as they've lost Matt Strahm (LHP, KC) for the season, and Nate Karns (RHP, KC) may join him if the diagnosis of his ailment him is thoracic outlet syndrome. Also, Luke Farrell (RHP, KC) has yet to rebound at Triple-A Omaha after allowing five ER in 2.2 IP in his MLB debut July 1.

Jake Junis (RHP, KC) left KC June 30 with a 5.66 ERA, but it looks like it hasn't bothered him much. In two starts since his most recent demotion to Omaha, he has 13 K and 2 BB in 11.2 IP. Junis also has six ER, but two of those ER fell in a "burn the tape" inning that featured no extra-base hits, two HBP and two errors.

In Eric Skoglund's (LHP, KC) June 9 appearance with the Royals, he escaped with two runs after giving up seven H and two BB in 1.1 IP. He's been slightly better since being returned to Omaha, but with 3.1 IP of game action in 22 days, he's had to build his innings back up. In his last four starts, Skoglund has logged 15.1 IP, with seven ER, 19 K and seven BB.

 

Minnesota Twins

Over the last month, the Twins rotation has combined for a 6.38 ERA, and the future may not be bright. Our Ballpark Tendencies page says Target Field played to a 10% disadvantage for LHB HRs and a 6% advantage for RHB HRs from 2014 to 2016. Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted that as of July 4, the park ranks third in MLB for the most baseballs that have left the yard.

At Double-A Chattanooga, Kohl Stewart (RHP, MIN) kicked off 2017 with an average of four BB per start through five games (6.05 ERA). He was then DL'd with left knee tendinitis. Eight weeks later, Stewart returned to the rotation with just three BB in 17 IP to go with 11 H and two ER. He appears to be getting back into form as he punched out six July 9 after getting only three K in his previous two starts. In spite of the early struggles, only one batter has homered off him in 2017.

Aaron Slegers (RHP, MIN) has been very steady after a rocky beginning at Triple-A Rochester. In his first five appearances, he allowed five or more ER in three of them. Since May 13, he's surrendered three ER or less in 10 of 11 outings. Slegers' 3.12 ERA during the stretch has come with 50 K, 16 BB, 4 HR, and a 48% GB% in 69.1 IP.

We looked at Double-A Chattanooga teammates Stephen Gonsalves (LHP, MIN) and Fernando Romero (RHP, MIN) in the June 22 PT Tomorrow. Both now sport sub-3.00 ERAs, lower than when we last analyzed them.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.