Recent callup Tyler Thornburg of the Milwaukee Brewers did not last long in the major leagues as he was sent back to the minor leagues after allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings with four home runs surrendered and two strikeouts against the Toronto Blue Jays last night. He might have stuck around a start or two had he pitched well, but with Shaun Marcum not expected to miss too much time, Milwaukee sent him down to Triple-A so at least he got a promotion out of the move. Thornburg had a 3.00 at Double-A in 75 innings with 71 strikeouts and a .212 batting average against. He doesn’t figure to see time again in the big leagues until September when rosters expand.
Justin Grimm’s stay with the Texas Rangers looks to be a short one with Derek Holland expected back from the disabled list around the first of July and Roy Oswalt joining the rotation this week. Grimm allowed three runs in six innings in his major league debut against the Houston Astros while striking out seven. Grimm, a 5th round pick in the 2010 draft, had a 1.87 ERA in Double-A with 67 strikeouts in 77 innings with only 14 walks allowed.
Drew Pomeranz is doing his best to get back to Colorado as soon as possible, posting a 2.61 ERA in Triple-A with 42 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings. Despite his strikeout rate, he still gives up a few too many hits with a .269 batting average against which is not going to play well in Coors Field. If you are in a deep NL-only league, maybe you can reserve him but I don’t see him as an impact pitcher this season the rest of the way.
Gerrit Cole, the first pick in the 2011 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates was just promoted to Double-A after going 5-1 with a 2.55 ERA in High-A ball. Cole chalked up 69 strikeouts in 67 innings with a .217 batting average against. Making his first start at AA tonight, he allowed two runs in five innings with six strikeouts.
While he is not considered a top prospect any longer, Josh Vitters is still just 22-years-old at Triple-A and as the Chicago Cubs continue to make over their team the second half of the season, Vitters could see some at bats to help an NL-only team. Vitters, who still needs work in his plate discipline, is batting .280 in 250 at bats with 10 home runs and 36 RBI with a stolen base.
For a team that has traded away some of its top minor league talent in the past few seasons, the Philadelphia Phillies look to have another hitter on the way to the major leagues with first basemen Darin Ruf crushing pitching at Double-A. Ruf is batting .331 on the season with 12 home runs and 46 RBI (which leads the Eastern League) in 236 at bats. Ruf has hit over .300 in three of his four minor league seasons, batting .290 in the other year.
First basemen Nathan Freiman leads the Texas league (AA) in RBI with 60 for the San Diego Padres. Freiman is batting .291 on the season with 15 home runs and should be in line for a promotion soon to Triple-A with the Padres short on hitters. Freiman has hit between .288 and .294 in his three previous minor league seasons after being selected in the 8th round of the 2009 draft from Duke University.