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 22:
Tom Murphy COL, C – Absolutely demolished a 482-foot homer on Sunday night, with an exit velocity of 108.8 MPH. It’s almost as exciting as watching Alec Baldwin and Jason Schwartzman canoodle with each other in the commercial before the clip. Hopefully you have this guy on your team already, because I’ve been hyping him all year (in the preseason, in my Rundown’s, and on the podcast). He is now 4 for 7 in his first 3 games of action, and I have every expectation of him joining the ranks of the fantasy catcher elite next season, which is not a very hard group to crack.
Byron Buxton MIN, OF – Minnesota scrapped trying to turn Buxton into a top of the order slap hitter, and let him just grip it and rip it. It has resulted in him absolutely exploding this week, going 10 for 19 with 3 dingers. For fantasy owners who have been waiting on Buxton for 3+ years, you can let out a big sigh now.
Lucas Giolito WASH, RHP – Fired a gem in his final start, going 8 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 5 K. He is up to only 115.1 IP, so Washington is almost sure to use him down the stretch in some capacity.
Tyler Glasnow PIT, RHP – Finished up the Minor League regular season in fitting fashion, striking out 8 and walking 4 in 5.2 IP.
Derek Fisher HOU, OF – Got hot just in time to make his Triple-A numbers look impressive, slashing .290/.347/.505 with 5 homers. On the downside, he is still striking out too much, but on the upside, he is striking out enough to keep him a legitimate sleeper. Still not too late to buy low-ish on Fisher.
Raimel Tapia COL, OF – I seriously hope Tapia is already owned in every Dynasty League, but now is probably the time to pick him up in some keeper leagues too. Major League pitching hasn’t slowed him down at all so far (.467 avg) and if Colorado clears a starting spot for him this off-season, he can do damage starting from Day 1 next season.
Ian Happ CHC, 2B – Broke into Double-A with a bang, and went out with a bang, knocking 2 homers in one game this week. It was everything in between that was the problem, but he still finished with a respectable .262/.318/.415 slash-line with 8 homers and 6 steals in 65 games at the level.
Franklin Barreto OAK, 2B/SS – Quietly put together a very strong season, and put the cherry on top in Triple-A this week, slashing .353/.389/.647 with 1 homer in 4 games. He is only 20 years old, but everything is pointing to Oakland giving him a shot at some point next season. They are probably feeling the heat to show something from that horrendous Josh Donaldson trade.
Justus Sheffield NYY, LHP – The 20-year-old Sheffield was promoted to Double-A for his final start and rung up 9 batters in 4 IP. He has easily outshined the centerpiece of that Andrew Miller deal, Clint Frazier, who has slashed .228/.278/.396 with a 30/7 K/BB in 25 games since the trade.
Jack Flaherty STL, RHP – It’s been an up and down season for Flaherty, but he finished up strong with a pitching line of 26 IP, 4 ER, 16 Hits, 6 BB, 26 K in his final 4 starts. It wasn’t quite the breakout season I was hoping for when I ranked him 69th overall in the off-season, but it was enough to maintain his prospect status.
Sean Newcomb ATL, LHP – Like Flaherty, had a strong finish to an up and down season, going 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 1 BB, 8 K this week. The stuff and potential are still the same, but he didn’t exactly take a step forward this year.
Cody Bellinger LAD, 1B – Drilled 3 homers in his brief 3 game cameo in Triple-A to drill home the point that he is the real deal. I thought Edwin Rios could be a hindrance to Bellinger’s playing time down the line, but I highly doubt that will be the case now.
Christin Stewart DET, OF – Had his first hot streak at Double-A, homering in 3 straight early in the week and homering again last night. There isn’t enough time for him to make his Double-A numbers look all shiny, but it might be a blessing in disguise for those in leagues where he is available in off-season drafts.
Austin Riley ATL, 3B – 3 homers this week to cap off his over month long hot streak. In fact, since an ice cold April and May, he has performed exactly like many hoped he would in his first year of full season ball.
Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – 5 homers this week, including 3 in one game. That gives him 36 homers on the year with a 173/68 K/BB in 135 games.
Erick Fedde WASH, RHP – 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 12 K. Considering he is coming off Tommy John surgery and reaching career highs in IP, this was a very encouraging final start to the season.
Sandy Alcantara STL, RHP – The hard throwing righty wrapped up the season with a couple of starts that makes it easy to dream on him for next year, going 13.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BB, 16 K.
Max Schrock OAK, 2B – I don’t think anyone was surprised to learn Billy Beane and the A’s were Max Schrock fans. They didn’t wait long to promote him to Double-A either, where he hit .391 with no K’s in 6 games.
Will Craig PIT, 3B – Hitting only 2 homers in 63 games is disappointing, but I can’t help but be impressed by the 37/41 K/BB and .412 OBP. He certainly has more power than he has shown, but for the most part, I think we are seeing the type of hitter he will become, high avg/obp with good but not great power.
Jorge Alfaro PHI, C – Has gotten a bit lost in the Minor League catcher hype with Gary Sanchez and Willson Contreras starting their MLB career with a bang, Francisco Mejia going on an epic hit streak, and Tom Murphy getting all the sleeper hype, but Alfaro deserves to be mentioned in the same breath (paragraph) as all these guys. He homered in back-to-back games this week, and considering Philly already called him up for a couple games not that long ago, it might not be long before he is making his mark in the majors as well.