The minor league season concluded on Sunday, although all 20 Triple-A teams will participate in a two-week competition called “Final Stretch.” This tournament consists of two series of five games at home and on the road that will keep them active until October 3.
The Double-A, Class-A High and Class-A Low playoffs kicked off on Tuesday. But if a branch of a Major League team did not make the playoffs, the Triple-A club is the only one left active. Therefore, several organizations are taking advantage of “Final Stretch” to give their luxury prospects a little more playing time before the minor league campaign is finally over.
Here is a look at some of the most eye-catching Latin American prospects who were promoted to the top tier of the minor leagues for Triple-A’s “Final Stretch”:
Gabriel Moreno, C, Buffalo (TOR No. 1/MLB No. 33)
The 21-year-old receiver was one of the most prominent prospects of the first half of the season until he broke his thumb in June. The Venezuelan hit .373 / .441 / .651 with eight homers, a triple and nine doubles in 32 games for Double-A New Hampshire, adding batting and power to what was already a promising defense. Moreno made two appearances at the Florida Complex League this month and is now in Buffalo for the first time. Two weeks will not affect Moreno’s status much, but it will be valuable to have more information about his improvements at bat.
Oneil Cruz, SS, Indianapolis (PIT No. 3 / MLB No. 53)
The Dominican saw some Double-A action in 2019 and played the 2021 season at that level, hitting a .292 / .346 / .536 offensive line with 12 homers and 18 ripped off in 62 games.
He missed the entire month of July and most of August due to a strained right forearm and if it hadn’t been for the ailment, he would have gone up to Triple-A sooner. The gunner stands out for his great power and powerful arm at shortstop, which he will soon be able to show in Indianapolis.
Roansy Contreras, RHP, Indianapolis (PIT # 6)
The Dominican, who came from the Yankees through the trade for starter Jameson Taillon, was on his way to break into Double-A Altuna with a 2.00 ERA, 64 strikeouts and just nine walks in his first eight starts (45 innings).
Then, as happened with Cruz, he suffered a strain on his right forearm at the end of June and was absent until September 1. Slowly, he has increased his workload with three starts this month – his longest was 3.1 chapters – and he will continue that work in Indianapolis. When he has a good time, the right-hander reaches 90 miles per hour with his fastball and some also highlight his good change.