Every Monday, I will be running down some of the notable performances from around the Minor Leagues, or anything that might have caught my eye in general. Here is the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 15:
Anderson Espinoza SD, RHP – “He’s in a better place now. He was sent to a great family out west where the sun shines year round and they have a big yard for him to play in.” – I know your parents told you this lie after your favorite pet died, but I promise you, I’m telling the truth when it comes to your favorite prospect.
Tom Murphy COL, C – Murphy’s been molten hot since I dropped him from #32 to #69 in my mid-season top 100 rankings, slashing .750/.759/1.571 with 5 homers in 7 games. Coincidence? … Yes, most likely.
Anfernee Grier ARI, OF – Hit .333 with a homer and 3 steals this week. I checked in on Grier and the rest of the top 30 2016 MLB Draft fantasy baseball prospects in my aptly named post, Checking in on the Top 30 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospects.
Lewis Brinson TEX, OF – 3 homers and 15 K’s in 11 games since returning to Double-A after a shoulder injury. I like this strikeout/power version of Brinson much better than the contact oriented slap hitter we saw earlier this year. Maybe the shoulder injury was preventing him from taking his usual big cuts, so he was just focusing on getting the bat on the ball.
Raul Mondesi Jr. KC, SS – Promoted to Triple-A last week for reasons that are unclear. Maybe it was a reward for his 50 game PED suspension, or the .243/.282/.432 with an 11/2 K/BB he put up in High-A upon his return. Either way, the 20-year-old Mondesi has unsurprisingly struggled in the early going, slashing .214/.241/.321. His raw talent is still elite, and we just have to trust that KC has a plan here, other than to just rush him to the majors due to his plus glove.
Jose Berrios MIN, RHP – Continues to make his case to get another shot at the majors, going 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BB, 9 K. I found it odd Minnesota gave him such a short leash the first time around, so I have no idea what their thought process is here.
Brent Honeywell TB, RHP – Promoted to Double-A this week and crushed it in his first two starts at the level, going 11.1 IP, 3 ER, 14 Hits, 1 BB, 11 K.
Tyler Jay MIN, LHP – Promoted to Double-A this week and got crushed in his first two starts at the level, going 10 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 5 BB, 8 K.
Jose De Leon LAD, RHP – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BB, 10 K. He might not have the most dominating stuff, but his K upside in a pitcher’s park in the NL West is hard not to like.
Matt Thaiss LAA, 1B – Thaiss was one of the safer bats from the college class, hitting for elite contact with an advanced plate approach. Now he is flashing those exact same skills in his first 8 games at Single-A, slashing .313/.389/.469 with a 3/4 K/BB. It looks like he has been moved off the catcher position permanently, and he’s not going to hit 30 homers, but he could reach the bigs in a hurry and make a legitimate impact.
Zack Collins CHW, C – Collins has started to heat up after being promoted to High-A this week, jacking 2 homers with a 3/4 K/BB in 3 games. He has a real shot to stick at catcher, and after flip flopping on Collins and Will Craig during my multiple MLB Draft Fantasy Prospect Rankings iterations, I might be bumping Collins back ahead of Craig again.
Will Craig PIT, 3B – On the other hand, Craig knocked his first homer of the season last night, and his underlying numbers have been good all year, so maybe I should just hold tight.
Ronnie Dawson HOU, OF – Dawson is another college hitter who is starting to find his stroke in pro ball, cracking 3 homers this week, which gives him 4 homers and 7 steals in 26 games at Low-A.
Kolby Allard ATL, LHP – Continues to prove the back injury is behind him, dominating at Rookie ball in his 2 starts this week, spinning 12 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BB, 14 K. He has the potential to be one of the top pitching prospects in baseball by mid-season next year.
Yadier Alvarez LAD, RHP – 4 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 5 K. Notable for walking only 1, as he walked 9 in his previous 3 starts in 12.1 IP.
Ronald Guzman TEX, 1B – Even after his first half breakout this year, Guzman still hasn’t gotten much respect on mid-season lists. To prove the doubters wrong, he’s turned it up another notch this week by slamming 3 homers. It brings season line to .303/.365/.516 with 14 homers as a 21-year-old in Double-A.
Alex Verdugo LAD, OF – Added power to his already plus hit tool this year, tacking on 2 more homers this week, and is now slashing .299/.361/.464 with 11 homers and a 45/28 K/BB as a 20-year-old in Double-A.
Josh Ockimey BOS, 1B – 2 homers this week and 4 in his last 9 games. His average (.263) has dropped to a more appropriate level for his K rate (25.4%), but the power has been steady all season.
Travis Demeritte TEX, 2B – Homered in his last two games, to go along with 5 K’s. That gives him 22 homers and 116 K’s on the year.
Erick Fedde WASH, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 5 K. He hasn’t given up more than a single earned run in his last 7 starts. He dropped off my top 100 list in my mid-season update, but if he keeps this up he will pop right back on in the off-season.
Edwin Rios LAD, 1B/3B – Rios has a sweet lefty swing that is a bit on the long side, but is also quick and results in hard contact. He reminds me of Ryan O’Hearn on a few levels. He is slashing .315/.353/.615 with 19 homers in 67 games, and has been even better since being promoted to High-A, slashing .369/.393/.723 with 13 homers in 33 games. He was a 6th round pick in last year’s draft, and considering Willie Calhoun was a 4th rounder, it certainly looks like Andrew Friedman brought The Extra 2% over with him to Los Angeles from Tampa Bay. Rios can definitely hit, and should be on your radar at the very least.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)