Baseball America’s midseason top 50 places Bryce Harper first

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Baseball America has kept the same top two from the preseason in re-ranking the game’s best prospects, going with Bryce Harper and Mike Trout at the top.

That was to be expected, of course.  In a mild surprise, BA elevated Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore past Atlanta’s Julio Teheran into the third spot, making him the game’s top pitching prospect.  Teheran was the No. 5 prospect and top pitcher in the preseason rankings, while Moore came in 15th.

Sliding in the rankings were Yankees catcher Jesus Montero (3rd to 8th) Royals outfielder Wil Myers (10th to 17th) and Rays right-hander Chris Archer (27th to out of the top 50).  Royals left-hander John Lamb, who ranked 18th in the preseason, also fell out of the rankings, but since he underwent Tommy John surgery, that was anticipated.

The biggest surprise is that BA threw Paul Goldschmidt into the rankings at No. 50.  Putting him in the final spot suggests that they’re not sold on him, but they also weren’t going to risk being embarrassed by leaving him off.  Goldschmidt, 23, is the leading home run hitter in the minors with 25 this season.  He’s hit .314/.431/.634 for Double-A Mobile.

Marlins option Tom Koehler to Triple-A, recall Hunter Cervenka

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Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.

Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.

Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.

Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are interested in Pat Neshek

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At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.

Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.