Opening Day in the minor leagues

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With the minor league season starting today, Baseball America has released a list of where its top 100 prospects will open the season.
Among those skipping levels this year are Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon and Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles, both of whom are moving from low-A ball right to Double-A.
It’s not surprising in either case. Lyles actually probably would have spent a portion of last year in high-A under normal circumstances, but the Astros’ Lancaster affiliate in the California League is a horrible place for pitchers.
Also notable is that two of the Rays’ top prospects are starting the year on the DL. Both outfielder Desmond Jennings and shortstop Tim Beckham are dealing with wrist injuries. Jennings, who could be the team’s center fielder next year, is expected to join Triple-A Durham later this month. Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, is slated to play for high-A Charlotte once healthy.
Finally, Stephen Strasburg is set to make his debut for Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, with ESPNews providing live coverage.

Phillies option Hector Neris to Triple-A

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The Phillies announced that they’ve optioned right-hander Hector Neris to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Nerris, who saved 26 games as the Phillies closer in 2017 and ten games in that role this year, has struggled this year, posting a 6.00 ERA in 30 appearances. While his strikeout and walk rates aren’t too far off what he was doing last year his hit rate has spiked and he’s currently allowing 10.3 safeties per nine. The wheels have come off of late, as he has allowed nine runs on 15 hits — five of them homers — over his last eight innings of work. Yesterday he allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a game the Phillies had led by five.

It was clear that Gabe Kapler had lost faith in Neris as a result, using him almost exclusively in low-leverage situations. That changed on Saturday, as Kapler used him in a save situation and said after the game that they were easing him back into his role. That plan obviously changed after yesterday’s meltdown.

Seranthony Dominguez had been getting the call in save situations. He’ll get them more now.