Another week brings another round of promotions to a few top flight prospects.
LHP Brian Matusz – Baltimore Orioles
Promoted from Double-A Bowie to the majors on August 4th
Prior to the 2008 draft, the consensus was split as to who was the best pitching prospect in the draft. Some preferred Missouri righthander Aaron Crow while others preferred Matusz, a southpaw from the University of San Diego. Fourteen months later, Matusz will be making his major league debut while Crow has yet to sign a professional contract. Matusz signed too late to debut last season -- pitched in the AFL -- but he has breezed through the minors this year. His numbers with High-A Frederick (7.6% BB, 26.8% K, 3.09 FIP) quickly pushed him to Double-A Bowie, where he was no worse for the wear (6.3% BB, 26.1% K, 2.48 FIP). Jumping from Double-A to the majors is a tough task, but the 22-year-old can throw four pitches for strikes and brings a veteran's approach to the mound. With limited experience beyond High-A, he might struggle early on, but he got off on the right foot by allowing an earned run on six hits in his five-inning debut on Tuesday. Matusz could top out as a number two starter.
OF Josh Reddick – Boston Red Sox
Promoted from Double-A Portland to the majors on July 31st
A 17th round pick in 2006, Reddick was an unexpected addition to the major league roster last week. The 22-year-old was enjoying a solid season for Double-A Portland (.243 ISOP, 10.5% BB, 21.6% K, .365 wOBA) but he didn’t expect the call to the majors. When he was called into his manager’s office, he thought he might have been traded or promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket but was floored with the news that he was heading to the show. He has made the most of his opportunity by smacking three doubles and a homer in his first weekend as a major leaguer. “Sheez, he did about everything. He squared up about six balls, he had a bloody nose, he about covered it all. I think you can see why guys in the organization have raved about what he can do. He’s got some thunder in his bat, he’s got a real quick bat, he’s athletic,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona told The Boston Herald. Reddick could ultimately replace J.D Drew or Jason Bay, the latter being a pending free agent.
RHP Neftali Feliz – Texas Rangers
Promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City to the majors on August 3rd
A standout starting pitcher for most of his minor league career, the 21-year-old Feliz was moved to the Triple-A bullpen earlier this season and proved to be lights-out in the role, striking out 20 over 16.2 innings while walking three and allowing just four earned runs. The showing earned Feliz a trip to the majors and he’ll come out of the pen, much like Derek Holland did earlier in the year. Holland has since moved into the rotation, but Feliz could be a long-term fixture at the back-end of the Rangers bullpen. He has the stuff to close games and he could be another Francisco Rodriguez type. Feliz made his major league debut on Monday and threw 30 pitches (21 strikes) en route to two scoreless innings. Working predominantly off a fastball that consistently registered in the upper-90's while hitting or exceeding 100 MPH seven times, he fanned four of the six batters he faced.
OF Desmond Jennings – Tampa Bay Rays
Promoted from Double-A Montgomery to Triple-A Durham on August 1st
One of the more electrifying talents in the minors, Jennings, 22, spent much of last year sidelined with back and shoulder injuries. Honing his craft in Double-A this year and healthy again, Jennings cranked out 25 doubles, eight triples and eight homers all the while going 37-for-45 in stolen base attempts and having a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 1/1. It was more than enough to get him bumped up to Triple-A and he could debut in the majors before the year is out. Because rumors are swirling about Carl Crawford getting traded in the offseason, Jennings could replace him in the Tampa Bay outfield as early as 2010.
Discussion Question: Entering the season, Lars Anderson was comfortably in the top half of most top 100 prospects lists while Reddick sniffed the lower-end of them. Given the way their seasons have went, has Josh Reddick surpassed Lars Anderson as a prospect?
To keep up to date with all of the latest promotions, or to alert us of a prospect getting promoted, check out our promotions thread.
Contact Ryan Fay at firstname.lastname@example.org