While not the headliner in the trade that sent Jake Peavy to Boston, RHP Frank Montas had a reputation that preceded him. And that reputation was a guy who was throwing 100 MPH as a 16-year-old in the Dominican. Now, as a 21-year-old, he is still capable of that kind of velocity - while he sits 93-96 MPH as a starter, he can still reach back and throw 98 MPH if he needs it. Baseball Prospectus prospect watcher and word artist Jason Parks deemed his fastball "a motherfucker pitch." So ... yeah.
Montas got a late start to 2014 because of surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. While that kind of velocity is great, it needs to be paired with another pitch if a guy wants to be a major leaguer. And, in his four starts, so far it looks like his slider is becoming a legit offering. The mid-80s mph pitch has a lot more depth to it than it did last August. He can have trouble repeating his delivery, and he hasn't found any knack for throwing a changeup, but Montas now has major leaguer written all over him, as least in a relief role. 4 GS, 23.1 IP, 14 H, 4 BB, 26 K.
- Micah Johnson is on the disabled list after injuring his left hamstring on a double during Friday's game. Obviously, for a player who relies on his legs, this is a troubling development. The second baseman was off to an unremarkable start to his Triple-A career, batting .273/.304/.341 in 47 plate appearances. The 23-year-old was just 1-for-2 in stolen bases, perhaps suggesting that his legs were bothering him for awhile.
- Adam Engel, center fielder for Kannapolis, also went on the disabled list.
- Hector Gimenez was traded to Toronto. Replacing him as Charlotte's back-up catcher is Miguel Gonzalez.
With the July 2 signing period approaching, word is beginning to leak out regarding who will be signing who. Most deals, of course, are agreed at least a few weeks in advance of the start of the signing period, so these rumors are going to become more real soon. The White Sox have the third largest bonus pool to spend ($4.27 million) and they've been linked by Baseball America to two of the bigger names.
The firmest rumor seems to be that shortstop Amado Nunez is their top position player target. For whatever it's worth, the 16-year-old Dominican righty is projected to be offense-first and unlikely to stick at shortstop. $1 million is his likely price.
Baseball America also thinks the White Sox are in on right-handed pitcher Huascar Ynoa, who appears to be the second-most highly regarded pitcher this signing period, though this sounds like much more of a guess. Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams did scout him during the International Prospect League's spring training tour - though you can say that about every other guy who was playing at the same time. Ynoa is reputed to have advanced stuff for his age - a 90ish mph fastball, mid-70s curve and a decent changeup. He'll probably sign for $1.75 million, give or take.