Minor league K leaders: Edwar Cabrera, Shelby Miller at the top

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Here’s a quick look at the minor league leaderboard for strikeouts.

1. Edwar Cabrera (23 – Rockies) – 68 K – 4.14 ERA in 50 IP for low-A Asheville
2. Shelby Miller (20 – Cardinals) – 59 K – 3.15 ERA in 40 IP for high-A Palm Beach
2. Tyler Skaggs (19 – D-backs) – 59 K – 3.20 ERA in 45 IP for high-A Visalia
4. Matt Moore (22 – Rays) – 56 K – 3.54 ERA in 40.2 IP for AA Montgomery
4. Brad Peacock (23 – Nationals) – 56 K – 2.13 ERA in 42.1 for AA Harrisburg
4. Eric Surkamp (23 – Giants) – 56 K – 1.88 ERA in 38.1 IP for AA Richmond
7. Jake Odorizzi (21 – Royals) – 55 K – 2.45 ERA in 36/2 IP for high-A Wilmington
8. Josh Smith (23 – Reds) – 54 K – 1.91 ERA in 42.1 IP for low-A Dayton
8. Allen Webster (21 – Dodgers) – 54 K – 2.47 ERA in 47.1 IP for high-A Rancho Cucamonga
10. Chad Bettis (22 – Rockies) – 51 K – 3.26 ERA in 47 IP for high-A Modesto
10. Jose Cisnero (22 – Astros) – 51 K – 5.94 ERA in 33.1 IP for high-A Lancaster
10. Brad Meyers (25 – Nationals) – 51 K – 2.61 ERA in 48.1 IP between AA/AAA
10. Juan Nicasio (24 – Rockies) – 51 K – 1.90 ERA in 42.2 IP for AA Tulsa
10. Joseph Wieland (21 – Rangers) – 51 K – 1.62 ERA in 44.1 IP for high-A Myrtle Beach

– Cabrera’s name certainly isn’t very well known, and as a 23-year-old in low-A ball, he’s not nearly the same kind of prospect as the next few guys on this list. His fastball is a bit below average, so he’s not going to be taken very seriously unless he can do it at higher levels.

– After Cabrera come the big names.  Of guys yet to make their major league debuts (basically, a qualification that allows me to rule out Julio Teheran), Miller may well be the top pitching prospect in the game.  Skaggs is showing incredible potential as well, though his walk rate is a bit high.  Of course, he’s the youngest pitcher on the list.

– Moore isn’t quite dominating the Southern League the way I thought he would, mostly because he’s given up six homers.  He has an outstanding 1.03 WHIP, and he’s striking out five batters for every one he walks.

– Peacock and Surkamp could be factors this year.   Peacock, blossoming in his fourth year in the Nationals system, has picked up velocity and now occasionally hits the mid-90s with his fastball.  A debut in the second half is a possibility, and he could be part of a very exciting rotation with Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann next year.  Surkamp, another young lefty for the Giants, doesn’t have the fastball of either Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner, but with two excellent offspeed pitches, he projects a mid-rotation guy.

– A few other names worth mentioning: Detroit’s Charlie Furbush is the strikeout leader for pitchers who have spent all season in Triple-A.  He’s fanned 47 while amassing a 2.90 ERA in 40.1 IP.  2010 first-rounder Drew Pomeranz would have made the list if the Indians weren’t being so careful with him; he has 48 strikeouts in just 32.2 IP.  And the top reliever on the board is Boston’s Juan Rodriguez.  He has 43 strikeouts in 24.1 IP for low-A Greenville.

UPDATE: Conflicting reports on the Blue Jays calling up Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

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UPDATE: Welp, Hécto Gómez may not have this one right. Scott Mitchell of TSN is reporting that it’s “highly unlikely” Guerrero is recalled unless some sort of injury occurs, so I suppose we should all stand down.

Anyone up for keeping him down until the Super Two cutoff in June?

3:35 PM: Héctor Gómez‏, a baseball writer from the Dominican Republic, reports that The Blue Jays will call up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He will reportedly make his MLB’s debut on Tuesday. The Blue Jays have not confirmed this yet, but I’m sure we’ll hear sometime this weekend.

As we’ve noted over and over, Guerrero has nothing left to prove in the minors and has not had anything to prove there for some time. Guerrero is currently 7-for-17, with a line of .412/.500/.824 in five Triple-A games this year. In one he hit the ball clear the heck out of the stadium. This coming off a 2018 season in which he hit .381/.437/.636 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI in 408 minor league plate appearances.

A minor injury in spring training made Guerrero unavailable for Opening Day and gave the Jays cover to keep him down in the minors to start the season. With that Guerrero is ensured of not getting a full year’s worth of service time in 2019 and thus the Jays have obtained a full six years of control of him after this season. As such, there really is no baseball nor business reason to keep him down on the farm any longer.