First-month minor league review – International League

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OPS Leaders
1. Steve Pearce (Pirates) – .349/.452/.605 – 1057
2. Dan Johnson (Rays) – .304/.375/.674 – 1049
3. Chris Carter (Mets) – .348/.408/.607 – 1015
4. Carlos Santana (Indians) – .300/.446/.550 – 996
5. Mike Hessman (Mets) – .297/.353/.637 – 990
6. Chase Lambin (Nationals) – .333/.385/.583 – 968
7. Dustin Martin (Twins) – .311/.400/.554 – 954
8. Justin Ruggiano (Rays) – .330/.419/.527 – 943
9. Jason Donald (Indians) – .323/.440/.500 – 940
10. Tyler Flowers (White Sox) – .286/.398/.543 – 940
– Santana is the elite prospect on the list and he could take over as the Indians’ catcher sometime around June 1, but Donald has a chance to beat him to Cleveland, possibly as a replacement for the slumping Luis Valbuena.
– Flowers is the other top prospect on the list. The White Sox would likely be better off right now with him DHing and Andruw Jones starting over Juan Pierre. However, it makes more sense to let him keep catching in Triple-A in the hopes that he’ll be the long-term replacement for A.J. Pierzynski.
– Carter deserved to make the Mets over Mike Jacobs this spring and he could still be of use now as a replacement for Frank Catalanotto. Unfortunately for him, too many teams like their bench players to be former regulars.
Notable hitters
John Mayberry Jr. (Phillies) – .300/.387/.511 – 898
Jose Tabata (Pirates) – .340/.404/.456 – 860
Chris Valaika (Reds) – .341/.380/.459 – 839
Hank Blalock (Rays) – .347/.407/.431 – 838
Jordan Danks (White Sox) – .276/.366/.471 – 837
Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) – .260/.333/.500 – 833


Freddie Freeman (Braves) – .277/.330/.479 – 8009
Chris Heisey (Reds) – .241/.307/.430 – 737
Josh Bell (Orioles) – .253/.282/.434 – 716
Dayan Viciedo (White Sox) – .267/.283/.422 – 705
Jesus Montero (Yankees) – .238/.304/.381 – 685
Fernando Martinez (Mets) – .239/.286/.394 – 680
Danny Valencia (Twins) – .267/.309/.356 – 665
Josh Reddick (Red Sox) – .187/.225/.413 – 638
Ruben Tejada (Mets) – .243/.288/.324 – .612
Juan Francisco (Reds) – .189/.208/.365 – 573
Todd Frazier (Reds) – .180/.311/.262 – 573
Brandon Snyder (Orioles) – .198/.303/.267 – 570
Josh Thole (Mets) – .180/.246/.279 – 525
– It looks like the White Sox made a mistake pushing the 21-year-old Viciedo up to Triple-A in his second year in the U.S. He wasn’t very impressive in hitting .280/.317/.391 in Double-A last season, and it would have made sense to let him conquer the level before promoting him. What little damage he’s done in the International League has come against lefties. He’s hitting .224/.234/.316 with a 21/1 K/BB ratio in 76 at-bats versus righties.
– Ike Davis got off to a fabulous start, of course, but the Mets have to be very disappointed in how the rest of their Triple-A prospects are progressing. Martinez, especially, has been a disappointment after such a promising spring. He’s walked just once in 71 at-bats, and it’s actually HBPs that have boosted his OBP.
ERA Leaders
1. Chris Resop (Braves) – 1.40 ERA, 32/14 K/BB in 25 2/3 IP
2. Jake Arrieta (Orioles) – 1.50 ERA, 30/19 K/BB in 36 IP
2. Andrew Kown (Nationals) – 1.50 ERA, 15/8 K/BB in 24 IP
4. Armando Galarraga (Tigers) – 2.30 ERA, 28/6 K/BB in 31 1/3 IP
5. R.A. Dickey (Mets) – 2.33 ERA, 22/5 K/BB in 38 2/3 IP
6. Ivan Nova (Yankees) – 2.43 ERA, 32/12 K/BB in 37 IP
7. Jeremy Hellickson (Rays) – 2.57 ERA, 35/7 K/BB in 35 IP
8. Sam Lecure (Reds) – 2.67 ERA, 25/10 K/BB in 30 1/3 IP
9. Alfredo Figaro (Tigers) – 2.76 ERA, 21/9 K/BB in 29 1/3 IP
9. Dillon Gee (Mets) – 2.76 ERA, 27/4 K/BB in 29 1/3 IP
– With Chris Tillman struggling to find any consistency, Arrieta is probably going to be the next pitcher added to Baltimore’s rotation. He doesn’t have the upside of Tillman or Brian Matusz, but he could be a nice long-term No. 4 behind those two.
– Gee is expected to be the choice to join the Mets rotation if anyone is needed. I’m skeptical that he’ll make it in the majors as a starter, but he is worthy of the opportunity. With his control, he should at least be able to give the team some innings.
Notable starting pitchers
Matt Maloney (Reds) – 3.05 ERA, 28/2 K/BB in 20 2/3 IP
Aroldis Chapman (Reds) – 3.12 ERA, 30/13 K/BB in 26 IP
Jeff Manship (Twins) – 3.48 ERA, 13/3 K/BB in 20 2/3 IP
Carlos Carrasco (Indians) – 3.49 ERA, 25/14 K/BB in 28 1/3 IP
Travis Wood (Reds) – 3.77 ERA, 32/8 K/BB in 31 IP
Chris Tillman (Orioles) – 3.98 ERA, 24/7 K/BB in 31 2/3 IP
Brad Lincoln (Pirates) – 4.76 ERA, 18/9 K/BB in 28 1/3 IP
Lucas Harrell (White Sox) – 5.00 ERA, 15/11 K/BB in 27 IP
Zach McAllister (Yankees) – 5.52 ERA, 24/8 K/BB in 31 IP
Shairon Martis (Nationals) – 6.20 ERA, 20/10 K/BB in 24 2/3 IP
Daniel Hudson (White Sox) – 6.56 ERA, 28/10 K/BB in 23 1/3 IP
Brandon Erbe (Orioles) – 6.66 ERA, 18/12 K/BB in 24 1/3 IP
Michael Bowden (Red Sox – 6.86 ERA, 12/13 K/BB in 19 2/3 IP
Hector Rondon (Indians) – 9.13 ERA, 22/9 K/BB in 22 2/3 IP
Collin Balester (Nationals) – 11.57 ERA, 10/13 K/BB in 21 IP
– I really like Rondon — I probably would have ranked him as the circuit’s fourth-best pitching prospect behind Chapman, Tillman and Hellickson at the beginning of the year — but he’s already given up eight homers this year. That’s just three fewer than he allowed in 146 1/3 innings in a 2009 season split evenly between Double- and Triple-A. His command has also gone downhill in a big way, so it’s possible he’s hurt.
Relievers
Jay Sborz (Tigers) – 0.00 ERA, 7 Sv, 10/4 K/BB in 9 1/3 IP
Scott Mathieson (Phillies) – 0.71 ERA, 4 Sv, 12/4 K/BB in 12 2/3 IP
Anthony Slama (Twins) – 1.10 ERA, 6 Sv, 20/7 K/BB in 16 1/3 IP
Craig Kimbrel (Braves) – 1.20 ERA, 6 Sv, 21/5 K/BB in 15 IP
Daniel Schlereth (Tigers) – 1.46 ERA, 0 Sv, 15/12 K/BB in 12 1/3 IP
Mark Melancon (Yankees) – 1.76 ERA, 3 Sv, 15/5 K/BB in 15 1/3 IP
Robbie Weinhardt (Tigers) – 4.15 ERA, 0 Sv, 11/3 K/BB in 13 IP
Jess Todd (Indians) – 4.50 ERA, 2 Sv, 15/8 K/BB in 12 IP
– With Billy Wagner apparently out of the picture for 2011, Kimbrel is even more interesting as a fantasy prospect. He may well take over as Atlanta’s closer at some point during 2011, if not right from Opening Day.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.