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Hot Prospects To Watch - Anthony Kay, Jarren Duran, Nick Madrigal All Promoted


With the MLB draft having come and gone last week, we can get back to the regularly scheduled programming. If you're looking for a change of pace to MLB games and minor league contests, many of the youngsters drafted last week will be in action starting this weekend in Omaha for the College World Series. It's always a fun watch.

Back on the minor league circuit, two high-profile pitching prospects received bad news. Forrest Whitley, the No. 6 prospect in baseball, went on the injured list at Triple-A Round Rock on May 29 with shoulder fatigue. The 21-year-old has gone 0-3 with a rough 12.21 ERA, 2.06 WHIP and 29 strikeouts in five starts and three relief outings. His upside is so high, though, that he should remain stashed in dynasty leagues.

The other injured hurler is Brent Honeywell, who had surgery to fix a fracture in his right elbow on Monday. Tampa's top pitching prospect was recovering from Tommy John surgery, so this is a significant setback that might keep him out for most of the 2020 season. The silver lining is that his ulnar collateral ligament, which was repaired during his TJ surgery, was not damaged. Honeywell's upside makes him worthy of stashing in dynasty/keeper leagues as well.

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Mets Promote Kay To Triple-A

Anthony Kay - SP, New York Mets

The team's No. 7 prospect deserved a promotion after posting a 1.49 ERA in the Eastern League with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Kay was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse on Monday after making 12 starts for Binghamton, where he had 23 walks and 70 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings. He allowed only two home runs in his time there.

Drafted 31st overall in 2016, Kay had a 4.54 ERA with Single-A Columbia last year before being promoted to High-A St. Lucie, where he posted a 3.88 ERA in 10 outings. Between the two levels, the left-hander struck out 123 batters over 122 1/3 frames.

The 24-year-old product out of the University of Connecticut already has had Tommy John surgery and features a refined three-pitch mix and can reach the mid-90s with his heater. His curveball has an elite spin rate and he also throws an above-average changeup with late sinking action. Kay's command and control are what have helped him move quickly through the Mets system.

He might not make his major league debut in 2019, but Kay should be firmly in the mix to pitch in New York's rotation at some point in 2020. He has the upside to settle in as a middle-of-the-rotation arm at the big league level whenever he gets there.

 

Duran Hungry Like The Wolf

Jarren Duran - OF, Boston Red Sox

The 22-year-old left-handed hitter isn't living in an ordinary world. He's yet to come undone in the minors. OK, enough of the Duran Duran references. He was promoted to Double-A Portland on June 3 after slashing .387/.456/.543 with four homers, 19 RBI, 18 stolen bases and 49 runs scored in 50 games with High-A Salem. His exploits earned him a nod in the Carolina League All-Star Game.

This comes after the Long Beach State alumni hit .357/.394/.516 with three home runs, 35 RBI, 52 runs scored and 24 stolen bases in 34 attempts in 67 games with Low-A Lowell and Single-A Greenville in 2018. He hit .377 in three years in college and was drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 draft by Boston.

Power has never been a big part of Duran's game, but his elite speed has quickly made him one of the team's top outfield prospects in the system. His game is based on a gap-to-gap line-drive swing from the left side that will help him hit for a high average at all levels. Duran's defensive abilities should allow him to stick in center field.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder will absolutely be a fantasy asset at the major league level because of his speed, but he should also be able to help owners out in batting average. The Red Sox would like to see him improve defensively and work on improving as a base stealer before they bring him up. Duran could be a regular in Boston's outfield by the 2021 season, though.

 

Madrigal Rising Quickly

Nick Madrigal - 2B, Chicago White Sox

Like Kay and Duran, Madrigal was recently promoted to Double-A Birmingham after hitting .272/.346/.377 with two home runs, 27 RBI, 20 runs scored and 17 stolen bases in 21 attempts in 49 games for High-A Winston-Salem. He had an impressive 17:6 walk-to-strikeout rate in his 218 plate appearances.

The 22-year-old was taken with the fourth overall pick last year out of Oregon State after helping the Beavers win the College World Series. He was also drafted in the 17th round out of high school in 2015. He's taken to Double-A pitching in the early going, recording eight knocks (one double), two RBI and three steals in his first 12 at-bats over three games.

Madrigal won Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2017 and was considered the best pure hitter in last year's draft. He does nothing but hit line drives to all fields and managed to strike out just five times in 173 plate appearances in his first minor league season at three levels. Madrigal also has the skills at second to eventually become a Gold Glover.

Chicago's No. 4 prospect won't hit for a ton of power at the major league level, but his advanced hitting mentality, plate discipline, contact-oriented approach and plus speed will make him an asset in all fantasy leagues when he makes his big league debut. That could happen towards the end of this season, but we'd bet on 2020 for a more full-time role.

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