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 17:
Thomas Szapucki NYM, LHP – There is no time for jokes, pick up Szapucki right now. The hard throwing lefty went 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 10 K last night in his second start at Low-A. He has an almost side-arm delivery which he slings a plus fastball and curveball with. I would have led with all the traded prospect stuff, but honestly, none of their values changed all that much in the fantasy baseball world, while Szapucki’s stock is shooting straight up. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is legitimately one of the best pitching prospects in baseball by this time next year.
Clint Frazier NYY, OF/Justus Sheffield NYY, LHP – Ok, now please allow me to wax poetic about the job Brian Cashman and the Yankees have done at the trade deadline. On second thought, I can’t seem to find any wax or poetry books in my apartment, so I’ll just praise them on a job well done. Well done, fellas! You turned a guy you signed for 4 years, $36 million into a prospect haul that is usually reserved for the top aces in baseball. Last thing left to do is force Frazier to cut all of his hair off in the name of your ancient hair grooming policy.
Travis Demeritte ATL, 2B – After beefing up their pitching prospect ranks to obese proportions, Atlanta is finally focusing on the other side of the baseball, absolutely stealing Demeritte away from Texas. Albies already has the inside track on the 2B job, so expect Demeritte to eventually be moved to 3B or OF.
Chris Okey CIN, C – 2 more homers this week, giving him 6 on the season in 30 games. He is a sure bet to stick at catcher, and is definitely rising up my first year player draft board right now. To hear more of my thoughts on which first year players are rising and falling, check out Episode 2 of the final Fantasy Gold Rush Podcast that I co-host with Razzball’s Ralph Lifshitz. It’s not really the final one, but we are moving it over to Razzball (moved to Thursday, as well) where it will be rebranded, and it will be the final one without commercials. Yup, we sold out already. We will also be on Blog Talk Radio now. Big thanks to Grey for helping us get more exposure, and JB for helping us from the get go on the technical side of things.
Andrew Benintendi BOS, OF – Benintendi has been quiet of late, but he exploded at Double-A this week, crushing 2 homers last night to cap off a week where he slashed .500/.545/.950. His OPS is now up to .875 at the level.
A.J. Reed HOU, 1B – On fire since returning to Triple-A, collecting 14 hits and 2 homers in 9 games. Don’t let his brief MLB struggles scare you off quite yet.
Eloy Jimenez CHC, OF – 15 hits and 2 dingers over 6 games this week. I hope the Yanks don’t end up regretting passing on this guy for Gleybor Torres instead.
Christin Stewart DET, OF – Inexplicably still at High-A, and is explicably still raking at the level, crushing 2 more homers to give him 23 on the season. It’s time to get him a taste of Double-A this year before it is too late.
Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – The homers keep coming, with 2 more this week (24 on the season), while the K’s are improving, striking out only 3 times and putting up a 26/13 K/BB in the last 25 games.
Francis Martes HOU, RHP – 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 BB, 9 K at Double-A this week. The rapid ascent to the majors many thought was possible this past off-season obviously didn’t happen, but he has maintained his nasty stuff all season, and it is starts like this from the 20-year-old Martes that really gets you excited.
Yohander Mendez TEX, LHP – 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BB, 6 K. Mendez continues to prove his breakout season is for real, even as the innings pile up (84.2 IP).
Anthony Alford TOR, OF – Slashed .391/.500/.870 with 1 homer and 1 steal this week, and now has a .938 OPS with 3 homers and 7 steals in the last month. It looks like he is finally shaking off those early season injuries (knee, concussion).
Will Craig PIT, 3B – Is still not hitting for much power (.117 ISO) but is showing off his advanced plate approach with a 14.4% K rate and 15.8% BB rate. I have no doubt that the power will come, so this is turning into a very encouraging start for Craig in pro ball.
Heath Quinn SF, OF – Exhibit A of why I think 75% of the teams in baseball have no idea what they are doing when it comes to the Amateur Draft. San Francisco somehow stole Quinn with the 95th overall pick (I ranked him the 14th overall prospect in my pre-draft fantasy rankings), and he is now slashing .341/.431/.537 with 4 homers in 33 games. If you ever wonder how some teams (St. Louis, Houston, San Fran, and now Los Angeles too) seem to just constantly churn out good players from their system, it’s because so many teams are clueless on how to draft properly.
Bryan Reynolds SF, OF – Speaking of San Francisco draft steals, they got another one with Reynolds at 59th overall. He is slashing .296/.373/.480 with 3 homers and 2 steals in 26 games at Low-A.
Ian Anderson ATL, RHP – The 3rd pick in the draft has impressed in the early going, putting up a line of 15 IP, 0 ER, 11 Hits, 4 BB, 14 K in 4 starts. I liked him a lot coming into the draft, and he will probably rise in my top 100 in the off-season.
Luke Weaver STL, RHP – Continued his dominance this week by going 8 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 8 K. Weaver is another pitcher who will be rising up the ranks in the off-season.
Erick Fedde WASH, RHP – 11.2 IP, 1 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BB, 14 K in his two starts this week as he just keeps on dominating the further away he gets from Tommy John surgery. Tack him on to the already strong stable of arms Washington has down in the minors.
Edwin Rios LAD, 1B – I broke Rios down in my Week 15 Rundown, and he has smoked 4 more homers since then. He got promoted to Double-A this week and cranked his first homer at the level last night. I told you to at least keep an eye on Rios in week 15, but it might be time to actually pick him up now.
Isan Diaz MIL, 2B – Diaz has been smoking hot the last two months, and he was starting to get some helium in the prospect world. I piled on the hype train last Friday too when I wrote a Isan Diaz, 2016 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Sleeper/Breakout post for him.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)