Wisler to Triple-A
There was talk this spring that Matt Wisler had an outside shot at making the San Diego Padres rotation this spring. In the end, they sent him to Double-A where he had made 20 starts the year before. In that regard, it's not surprising that it took him only six starts to force a promotion to Triple-A, which he received over the weekend, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.
Wisler was cruising through Double-A, having even less trouble this go-round than he did last season. The 21-year-old right-hander had a 2.10 ERA at the time of the promotion, and for the first time in his career was striking out over a batter per inning.
The strike outs are noteworthy because Wisler isn't generally an overpowering pitcher. He gets by with good command and great control, the latter of which has led to a minuscule career 2.2 BB/9. I wouldn't expect Wisler to continue to miss bats at this rate once he reaches the major leagues, but because his extreme strike throwing ability, he can get away with more balls in play.
Wisler's approach will play well in Pecto Park, and he profiles as a mid-rotation starter. He should probably spend the rest of the season in Triple-A, but it's hard to expect that he will given the Padres struggles this year.
Kukuk Up to Salem
Cody Kukuk isn't nearly as close to the major leagues as Wisler, but he's got one step closer this weekend. The Red Sox left-hander was promoted to High-A Salem of the Carolina League, where he went four innings and struck out four in his first outing on Saturday.
Kukuk, the Sox 7th round pick in 2011, leaves Low-A ball behind with a 1.88 ERA, despite walking a batter every other inning. That lack of control, however, is still an improvement over last year when he walked 6.8 batters per nine innings.
The lack of control for Kukuk remains his biggest issue. He's tall (6'4") which makes it hard for the left-hander to repeat his delivery and could ultimately lead to him in a bullpen role. The development of his change-up will also play a role in that decision.
For now, however, the Red Sox have no intention of developing him as anything other than a starting pitcher, nor should they. Having just turned 21, there is still plenty of time for him to continue the refinement of his mechanics and improve his control.