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 19:
Raul Mondesi Jr. KC, SS/Orlando Arcia MIL, SS – They can’t all be Francisco Lindor, a light hitting shortstop in the minors who ripped it up immediately upon stepping foot in the majors (and hasn’t stopped ripping it up). Mondesi and Arcia have both predictably struggled since being called up, slashing .196/.211/.250 and .184/.259/.245, respectively. If I was going to put my money on one guy to be the next Lindor, it would be J.P. Crawford, but I wouldn’t bet on that either.
Francisco Mejia CLE, C – The hit streak is over at 50! But it was really kinda already over at 49 after the umps gifted Mejia a hit on Saturday night by overturning a correctly called error after the game had already ended. Hit streak or no hit streak, it doesn’t change the fact that Mejia has exploded onto the prospect map, and might have the best hit tool of any catcher in the minors.
Willie Calhoun LAD, 2B – Big Willie Style (yes, I actually owned that CD back in the day) launched 2 homers last night, and continues to add to his cult-like status in the fantasy prospect world. I can’t wait for him to actually get the call to the bigs, hopefully sometime next season.
Lucas Giolito WASH, RHP – The inconsistent Giolito looked good this week, going 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 5 K. He isn’t exactly Stephen Strasburg’ing his way to the Majors, but not many do.
Ian Anderson ATL, RHP – Promoted from Rookie ball to Rookie ball, but the better Rookie ball, and looked good over 3.2 IP. Here is an excellent scouting report from Kyle Glaser over at Baseball America on the start.
Michael Kopech BOS, RHP – Exploded this week, going 5 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BB, 11 K. His only plus pitch is his fastball right now, but damn is it a plus pitch, carrying him to 60 K’s in 38.1 IP.
Kyle Lewis SEA, OF – If you want to know why Lewis’ knee injury scares me so much, just watch this video he posted on Twitter of some of his early rehab work. I’m far from a doctor, so feel free to ignore my concerns, although I have been known to be one helluva internet diagnostician.
Corey Ray MIL, OF – Showing a pulse at High-A, hitting 2 homers and stealing 2 bases this week. The power/speed combo isn’t going anywhere, but the hit tool still needs improvement.
Aaron Judge NYY, OF/Gary Sanchez NYY, C – Judge and Sanchez both knocked their 2nd career Major League homer last night. I don’t own these guys in any fantasy leagues, unfortunately, but I’m just excited as a Yankees fan. I know it’s hard to believe, but watching declining veterans chug their way to 80 something wins isn’t very exciting.
Kolby Allard ATL, LHP/ Sean Newcomb ATL, LHP – Who is the best pitching prospect in Atlanta’s minor league system? Ralph held my feet to the fire on this question in Episode 2 of the Razzball Prospect Podcast (we also talked about the Gourriel brothers and swapped childhood WWF stories), and I stuck to my guns and went with Allard. He rewarded my faith with a gem of a performance this week, going 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BB, 9 K. Newcomb is his biggest competition, and he had his 3rd dominant outing in a row, going 17.2 IP, 2 ER, 10 hits, 6 BB, 25 K over that span. The 23-year-old Newcomb is much closer to the majors, but the 19-year-old Allard already has better control and command.
Derek Fisher HOU, OF – Promoted to Triple-A and smacked 2 homers with 8 K’s in 6 games. The power/speed combo looks great, but his already weak hit tool has regressed this year, striking out 29% of the time.
Raimel Tapia COL, OF – Promoted to Triple-A and hasn’t missed a beat, slashing .444/.464/.741. He has quieted a lot of the doubters by not only thriving in the upper levels of the minors, but also drastically cutting his K%.
Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – 3 more homers this week, giving him 29 on the season in a pitcher’s park. He is never going to hit for average, but he is a sure bet to stick at 3B, and there doesn’t look to be a doubt that his power will play in Oakland Coliseum.
Travis Demeritte ATL, 2B – Finally got on the board for his new team, knocking out 2 homers in one game. That gives him a .218/.394/.473 triple-slash in 16 games outside of the High Desert.
Jake Junis KC, RHP – His name makes him sound like a talented but troubled musician who died too young, but he is really just a boring future number 3/4 starter. I mentioned him way back in Week 9, and he has continued to pitch well, going 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 7 K in his first start at Triple-A. If you are in a deep league and are looking for a “safe” starter, it is time to scoop Junis.
Thomas Szapucki NYM, LHP/ Yohander Mendez TEX, LHP – I know I can’t stop writing about these guys, but they keep putting up notable performances that continue to back up their breakout seasons. Szapucki threw up another double-digit K outing in 5.1 IP, albeit giving up 4 ER in the process, and Mendez threw his third straight shutout in the PCL (one of which came in July), giving up only 1 hit and striking out 6.
Austin Riley ATL, 3B – The hype has cooled dramatically since being a favorite off-season sleeper of many, but he has quietly put together a very respectable season as a 19-year-old in Single-A. He knocked 4 homers this week, and now has 14 homers and a .749 OPS on the season.
Erick Fedde WASH, RHP – Impressed in his first start at Double-A, going 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BB, 3 K. He still needs to develop a third pitch, but he’s dominating the minor leagues right now with the two plus pitches he does have (fastball/slider).
Erik Swanson NYY, RHP – 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 9 K as a 22-year-old in Single-A. I know the Yanks just got their hands on this guy a few weeks ago, but I think it’s time to move him up a level.
Yusniel Diaz LAD, OF – The talented Diaz is starting to turn it back on, hitting 3 homers in his last 7 games, including one last night. He is only 19 years old in High-A, so the .272/.338/.420 slash line really doesn’t look all that bad.
Dylan Davis SF, OF – Surprise, surprise … San Francisco looks to have themselves another underrated prospect who can be the next in a long line to “come out of nowhere” and become a legit contributor to the big league club. Davis clubbed homers in back-to-back-to-back games this week, giving him 20 homers, to go along with a strong 97/45 K/BB in 107 games. He was a 3rd round pick in the 2014 draft, which seems to be the area where the good drafting teams do their best work. He just turned 23 years old and has done most of his damage in High-A, but the plus raw power and plus bat speed are for real. Don’t expect a star, especially at AT&T park, but he definitely has a shot at being a legitimate power hitting corner outfielder.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)