Big League Debut: Ravelo, Nola and Collins Arrive

Rangel Ravelo- The Cardinals reached down into their talented Memphis roster and rewarded one of its core players by promoting 1B/LF Rangel Ravelo to the show. The 27 year-old Cuban was drafted by the White Sox in 2010 in the sixth round out of Hialleah High School in Florida. He was traded to the Oakland A’s as part of the package for right-hander Jeff Samardzija, but never reached the majors. The Cardinals signed him as a minor league free agent in April of 2017. He’s spent the last three seasons hitting in the middle of the Memphis lineup and is a career .299/.370/.461 hitter for the Redbirds. He’s hitting .333/.414/.543 in Triple-A in 2019. He’s a worthy call-up but is a poor fit on a roster that lacks flexibility like the Cardinals. With Ozuna and Goldschmidt ahead of Ravelo on the depth chart it looks like he’s just up as bench piece.

Austin Nola- The older brother of Phillies ace Aaron Nola gets the call to Seattle after a seven year minor league career. The Marlins drafted Nola out of LSU in the fifth round of the 2012 draft as a slick fielding senior sign. He was a shortstop at Baton Rouge but converted to catching in 2017. He’s hitting .327/.415/.520 with Triple-A Tacoma but in reality he’s a contact oriented hitter with minimal power and speed. He’s a high makeup guy, and I know you may not want to hear it, but those players have value in organizations. Nola can be left on the wire but should spend some time all over the diamond for the Mariners and will probably be back and forth from Tacoma to Seattle a few times in 2019.

Zack Collins- The White Sox popped Collins with the tenth pick in the 2016 draft out of the University of Miami. Collins is lauded for his prodigious power and ability to draw walks, but the rest of the skill set isn’t all that appealing. He grades out as a below-average defender, although he’s much improved since he entered the White Sox organization. He lacks the required mobility and athleticism to be anything more than what he is behind the plate, which is troublesome for a team that wants to develop Collins and also nurture a young pitching staff. His .250/.374/.482 line is actually pretty similar to what I think he can do at his peak, give or take a bit on the OBP but I’ve been more on the optimistic side with Collins. He’s in a strange spot though because if the White Sox commit to using him behind the plate he has the potential to be a top-five catcher. If they choose to limit him to DH and first base, which he started playing this year in Charlotte, he’s a matchup play that provides an OBP floor. Lance Brozdowski ranked Collins as the White Sox number 12 prospect on our pre-season list. He needs to be added in all two catcher formats due to his upside.