The minor league season is nearly a month in, but with the month of May starting we’re just going to call it a month in the books. That is only about 20% of the season, but it’s a good time to take a look at which players raised their stock with early performance in the season.

The position player who raised their stock the most

For me, there’s a clear answer for which position player has raised their stock the most with their performance in the month of April. And I don’t believe that it’s particularly close, either.

In December at the winter meetings the Cincinnati Reds made a move that 99% of Reds fans didn’t notice. In the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft (not to be confused with the Major League version where a player has to stick to the big league roster all year) the organization picked up Mitch Nay.

The former 1st rounder of the Toronto Blue Jay is 24-years-old and playing for the Daytona Tortugas. Ideally, at that age you want a guy to at least be in Double-A, but more likely in Triple-A. But, for Mitch Nay, things are a bit different. In late 2015 he began having knee problems, eventually finding out he had a staph infection that resulted in three surgeries and missing nearly two seasons as he recovered. He returned to the field last season in Lansing while still in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. However, he was not 100% at the time and his performance wasn’t strong as he was coming back after so much missed time and still recovering. You can read a little bit here from the Lansing State Journal with more information on Nay and what he went through with the infection and comeback.

When it comes to what he’s done on the field this year, it’s been quite impressive. He’s leading the organization in OPS. And home runs. And RBI. Nay is hitting .352, which also is tops in the organization. His on-base percentage is .414 and he’s slugging .614 (also tops in the organization). The production has been outstanding, and it’s come in the Florida State League, which is the toughest league in the minors to hit in. His walk rate is solid, and his strikeout rate is currently under 20%, too. Who knows if he can continue doing what he’s done, but he’s showing things he’s never shown before (this kind of power), and after missing so much time, he warrants a guy keeping an eye on.

The pitcher who has raised their stock the most

There were a few guys that jumped out among the pitchers, but I want to talk about one guy in particular today here at Redleg Nation. He’s the player that the Reds selected in the 18th round last season. He went 527th overall in the draft out of The University of Rochester. That player is John Ghyzel.

He’s a 21-year-old reliever (he’ll be 22 in two weeks) with the Dayton Dragons. From a numbers standpoint, things look good. He’s pitched in eight games, spanning 7.2 innings. In that time he’s allowed two runs (2.35 ERA) with three walks and 13 strikeouts. He’s been the final guy out of the bullpen in each of his games, racking up four saves along the way.

What the numbers aren’t showing you is what he’s been doing to get those numbers. And that is bringing the heat. He opened my eyes the first time I saw him this season by sitting 95-96 MPH and hitting 97 a few times. That was quite unexpected. The next time that I saw him pitch he was in a more expected 93-95 MPH range. Still good velocity, but a bit different from the 95-97 he was at a few days before. And then there was his last outing over the weekend. The right hander sat at in that 95-97 range with his fastball with the exception of his final pitch. That one was 99 MPH. It ended the game with a strikeout swinging on the outside corner. He also shows an inconsistent, but at times above-average breaking ball.

There’s definitely some things to work on for John Ghyzel – there’s a reason he is in Dayton and not in Cincinnati – his fastball control can be a little inconsistent still, and as noted, the breaking ball is too. But he’s showing legitimate big time velocity and a good offspeed pitch. For a guy who was drafted in the 18th round less than a year ago, his stock has to be up quite a bit.

Join the conversation! 20 Comments

  1. Hey Doug, good to hear about Nay. What position of positions does he play?

    And I’m in agreement about Ghyzel. He goes after hitters and seems to have the mental makeup of a late-innings guy. Impressive for a guy to show this so quickly who was a starter in DIII.

    • His history shows he has played mostly 3B in his career, with some 1B added into the mix more recently. Doug may be able to tell us if his defense can keep him at third as he moves up.

      • I have not seen enough of him at this point to say one way or the other. The last time I saw him in the field was a few years ago before he had multiple knee surgeries and had a very different body type (he’s bulked up since then).

  2. I love hearing that guys we’ve scarcely (or never) heard of are playing great. Hope to hear that these two are performing over a larger sample size as the year goes on. Nay in particular is enticing – he had the pedigree as a first round pick so if he’s healthy and productive maybe this success is sustainable. Thanks as always for these updates!

  3. This is going to sound a little bit like a hot take, and maybe it is, but I think the time is right to trade Eugenio Suarez (and Iglesias, but we’ll stick with Suarez for now).

    The Dodgers have been playing guys named Logan Forsythe, Max Muncy, and Kyle Farmer at 3B this year. That’s not quite Phil Gosselin bad, but it’s close. Who says no to:
    Eguenio Suarez to the Dodgers for 21 year old CF Alex Verdugo and 23 year old starting pitcher in AA Mitchell White? I don’t know, maybe the Dodgers say no and think a 21 year old CF can help them make the playoffs this year.

    My point in this exercise is that it might be time for the Reds to admit that their rebuild failed and they need to acquire more talent. Suarez is the only player on the roster outside of Iglesias they can probably get anything for in return. And what makes the Reds better in 2020? Suarez at 3B and Senzel at 2B? Or Senzel at 3B, Shed Long at 2B, and 23 year old Verdugo (or insert other actually competent CF) in CF?

    Imagine a 2020 lineup that has:
    Votto – 1B
    Shed Long – 2B
    Peraza – SS
    Senzel – 3B
    Taylor Trammell/Alex Verdugo – RF/CF
    Winker – LF
    Tucker – C (Stephenson waiting in the wings).

    • Boldly and creatively adding talent is a good idea. A question: can a player who just signed a long term deal be traded in the first season? There used to be a prohibition against that in the CBA. As for this example, the Dodgers would have to want to use him at short; Turner is expected to return at third and produced 5 WAR there last year.

      • I do not believe there is any issue trading him now; he doesn’t have 10/5 rights and there is no no-trade clause. Justin Turner is 33. They could use Suarez at SS for the next year and half while Seager recovers and seamlessly transition him to 3rd as Turner ages. Or the Reds could hold on to him and…lose 100 games this year and cross our fingers for 2019.

    • Maybe that centerfielder in 2020 is Trammell. Suarez is young, under team control for years, and is currently the best all-around player on the team.

  4. Glad you went with a couple of under-the-radar names. I thought you might go with a couple of easy low hanging fruit, obvious ones like Tony Santillan and Shederick Long.
    If you visit Doug’s site, you know all about Mitch Nay. Great story and hope for the best with him. He may be playing 3B in Pensacola soon. Hope his May (and June, and July, and August, and hopefully September post-season) is as good as his April was.
    Ghyzel was a new name for me until I kept seeing his name several times in April on Doug’s daily minor league recaps. Recognized his name here but didn’t know his story. A small school 18th rounder, you can’t help but want to pull for those types. A real hidden gem in the making.
    Thanks for the updates. Thanks for shining a little limelight on some lesser known players.

  5. Who’s stock has dropped the most?
    Robert Stephenson. He came into spring training as a serious contender for the ML rotation.
    Last night: 2.1 IP, 7H, 7R, 6ER, 3BB, 5K on 75 pitches (44 strikes).
    That on the heels of an 8 BB game. Maybe it is time for Stephenson to go to AA. Brutal, from a former top-50 prospect in MLB. Should not be occupying a 40-man roster spot with this crap. Outright him off of the 40-man, or DFA him. Whatever it takes. Has absolutely no trade value now, zero, even as a change of scenery trade candidate.

  6. Stock it is too late to sell: Homer Bailey. Happy Birthday a day early Homer. You are now 32. You’ve been in our lives for more than a decade when you were the most promising name in the Reds’ Firmament of the Future. And so, where are we after all that time? A lifetime 66-67 pitcher — sub .500 — with a lousy ERA and no more understanding of the fine points of your craft than a decade ago, as evidenced by the relentless stream of gopher balls. Your legacy: Perhaps the greatest symbol of the front office ineptitude that has driven this franchise into a ditch as deep as the Marianas Trench. As it stands, the Reds will get about one win for every $3 million of that franchise-ruining contract you were given. We used to fantasize about your future. It turned out to be the future that never was. The only remaining question; can you reach triple-digit wins for your career before vanishing from our collective memories forever, surfing on an ocean of cash.

    • While I’ll give credit for strong writing style, I disagree. Bailey was a solid choice to extend when they signed him. The Reds were still in their winning window and needed another pitcher; who would you have signed in his stead?

      • Not Homer. The Pirates were one of the worst hitting teams in MLB and he no-hit them twice. His era vs non-Pirates was like 3.75 at the time or something. That’s not nowhere near a $100 mil contract….not even allowing for cheap GABP HRs

        • All free agent pitchers of any decent caliber were commanding big dollars and long term commitments, and only one team – the one that risked the most – could win the player’s services. Many pitchers wind up hurt during long-term deals, as well, but you could not sign someone without such a commitment. In hindsight it is always possible to say ‘not the guy who didn’t work out’, but you have to commit to someone from the outset. I’m not trying to pick on you, Indy, but I know you’ve commented on this board for a while and would love to know if you had a better idea at the time.

        • Homer must have 3 no-hitters, then, because he also no-hit the Giants.

  7. The Homer Bailey hate continues to baffle me.

    Bringing him up in a thread about two minor leaguers is even more baffling.

    Go have a snickers, PhilBoyd. You’re grumpy and angry when you’re hungry.

    • My understanding is that Homer intentionally blew out his elbow, so he could not play for two years but instead do rehab, which he finds to be more relaxing.

    • Outstanding, Doug.

  8. Homer and Mesoraco were the bridge for the rebuild. Both signed big contracts with huge financial commitments in 2018 and both had multi-year injuries that delayed the rebuild at least a year and probably two years. The reason the Reds aren’t competing in 2018 is because both of those players aren’t All Stars or cornerstones of the franchise anymore and the Reds are paying them ~$35 million in 2018 to finish out their careers here so the franchise can move forward after they are gone. That wasn’t the plan but it isn’t anyone’s fault.

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A Minors Obsession