With All-Star season upon us in the minors, some reshuffling of personnel can be expected. Here are some moves that may happen:
Kris Bryant to Iowa: Okay, so I started with an obvious one. It seems pretty clear that Bryant is ready for the next level, yet still has work to do with his defense and cutting down on strikeouts. However, the reaction that most expect may not happen. Iowa third baseman Christian Villanueva may not get sent down to Tennessee in order to accommodate Bryant, but rather be moved to second base. This looks like a possible scenario if infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Logan Watkins are promoted to the big leagues.
Armando Rivero to Iowa: The hard-throwing right-hander is primed for a move following an All-Star appearance. But he may have to wait for a little while if the parent club is looking to trade some of their pitchers before a spot at the Triple-A level opens. The organization can loan out Frank Batista or Yoanner Negrin to the Mexican League again, or cut Marcos Mateo, but those moves do not seem likely.
Gioskar Amaya to Tennessee: If the first scenario with Bryant happens, Tennessee has plenty of in-house options to fill third base. Stephen Bruno, Anthony Giansanti, and Jonathan Mota all having experience there and veteran infielders Elliot Soto and Jeudy Valdez are available. While Amaya doesn’t have outstanding numbers, he has hit a consistent .274 and his fielding is about right where you want it at .978, and was named a Florida State League All-Star. Amaya has more upside than previous Smokies’ infielder Wes Darvill.
Willson Contreras to Tennessee: Contreras is following a May in which he hit .370 by batting .378 in his last ten games. This move may take a little while as the organization will want to see if draft choices Kyle Schwarber or Mark Zagunis can be jumped to Daytona in a similar fashion to what happened with Bryant last season.
Jordan Hankins to Daytona: All-Star Hankins has had a surprisingly good season for Kane County, batting .304/.342/.421/.763 with one home run and 26 RBI in 48 games. At 22 years old, Hankins is a better fit in the Florida State League than 20-year old Jeimer Candelario. The move could help Candelario get back on track offensively from his .194 average. It is good to note that Candelario has improved his defense at third to a .949 average.
Tyler Skulina, Paul Blackburn, and Juan Carlos Paniagua to Daytona: Kane County has the best pitching staff in the Midwest League thanks in part to the trio of Skulina, Blackburn and Paniagua. Daytona’s pitching staff is in disarray as Starling Peralta is on suspension and former relievers Justin Amlung and Nathan Dorris are being used in the rotation. All three could join All-Star Felix Pena and 2013 second round pick Rob Zastryzny in a much more formidable starting rotation. Starter Tayler Scott may move back down to the Cougars in the process.
Oliver Zapata to Kane County: This move would be made to free up more playing time for both Shawon Dunston Jr. and Trey Martin. Dunston and Martin are in a quasi-platoon and Dunston can move into a starting role with the Cougars while Martin would receive more at bats with Boise. A switch-hitter who can play all three outfield positions and having experience at Single-A, Zapata fits better as a fourth outfielder.
With Arismendy Alcantara seeing time in the outfield and Logan Watkins playing first base, both seem to be more ready to make the jump to the big leagues than management will admit. Expect both players to get the call once some trades go down.
From my point of view, the only positive outcome to the Cubs signing catcher Yorvit Torrealba is that he takes over as a starter at Triple-A Iowa after Welington Castillo returns from the disabled list and Rafael Lopez is promoted. Veterans John Baker and Eli Whiteside would end up being released if that was to occur.