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 4:
Byron Buxton MIN, OF – Turned it on since getting demoted to Triple-A, seeing his OPS jump .111 points … from .497 to .608. Oof. I oddly see this as a positive, though. He wasn’t simply overmatched by MLB pitching. There is something fundamentally wrong with his swing right now, and it should be correctable.
Ozzie Albies/Dansby Swanson ATL, SS – Both of Atlanta’s shortstops of the future are moving on up, Albies to Triple-A and Swanson to Double-A. Because I’m good at pattern recognition, it looks like Albies will get the first shot to win the SS job at the Major League level.
Harrison Bader STL, OF – Went deep in back-to-back-to-back games this week. It inspired me to write a Harrison Bader, 2016 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakout post last Friday after the first 2 homers, and Bader and his former coach both liked the article on Twitter! He is now slashing .345/.402/.560, with 5 homers, and 3 steals in 21 games at Double-A. He might want to think about changing his name to Harrison Gooder, because you know, branding and everything.
Bobby Bradley CLE, 1B – Starting to really heat up, and after launching 3 dingers this week, his season line stands at .253/.340/.529, with 6 homers, and a 36/11 K/BB. Expect more homers, strikeouts, and walks for about the next, say, 15 years or so.
Tyler Glasnow PIT, RHP – Struck out 18 batters and gave up no earned runs over 11 IP in his two starts this week. He walked only 1 in his first start, and then 5 in his second start, so the control is still spotty.
Josh Hader MIL, LHP – Somebody get this man some more hype! I tried to all off season, but it seems like it has barely taken. He has only thrown up a pitching line of 0.78/1.09/32 in 23 IP at Double-A so far, and he hasn’t given up more than a single earned run in any of his 5 starts. I’m not sure if Milwaukee will want to call him up this season, but in Dynasty Leagues, he is a must own.
Phil Bickford SF, RHP – The 18th overall pick of the 2015 draft, Bickford has been nothing short of a strikeout machine these last two years. He had an insane 17.24 K/9 in 86.2 IP in JuCo in 2015, and has now struck out 33 batters in 20.2 IP this year at Single-A. He has excellent control, is still only 20 years old, and has prototypical starter size at 6’4’’, 200 pounds. He doesn’t have the huge fastball, but color me intrigued.
Lucas Sims ATL, RHP – 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BB and 11 K in his start this week at Triple-A. He leads all of MiLB with 42 K’s, and is starting to regain some of that prospect shine. He is an underrated stash option in redraft leagues too.
Cody Reed CIN, LHP – 12 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BB and 11 K at Triple-A in his first two starts since returning from a cut finger. With Cincinnati’s shaky rotation, he is another underrated stash option in redraft leagues.
Orlando Arcia MIL, SS – Got his legs going this week, stealing his first 4 bags of the season, and also tacked on his 2nd and 3rd homer. He is triple-slashing .308/.341/.462 at Triple-A, and his 2015 breakout was clearly for real.
Jorge Mateo NYY, SS – Has been quietly putting up a very strong season at High-A, slashing .326/.392/.500, with 2 homers, and 7 steals in 22 games. His K% is up, and he has been caught stealing 5 times, so there are a few things to keep an eye on, as well.
Jesse Winker CIN, OF – Triple-A hasn’t slowed Winker down at all, and he continues to have one of the most advanced plate approaches of anyone in the minors. He smacked his first 2 homers of the season this week, and is now slashing .316/.404/.434 with a 11/12 K/BB in 20 games.
Jose Peraza CIN, 2B/SS/OF – Feet don’t fail me now. Peraza has only 2 steals and has been caught 4 times in his first 21 games at Triple-A this season. Considering basically all of his value comes from his speed, this is not exactly a great sign.
David Dahl COL, OF – Just keeps smoking the ball, hitting 2 more homers this week. He now has 8 homers, 8 steals, and a 1.026 OPS on the season. If he keeps hitting bombs, we might have to start calling him Double D.
Ryan McMahon COL, 3B – Has gone ice cold this week, and is now slashing .192/.271/.274, with no homers, and a 28/8 K/BB in 21 games at Double-A. Sorry Colorado, you can’t have all the breakouts.
Brett Phillips MIL, OF – I think it is time to slap Phillips with the slow starter label. He seemed like a hot starter early on, but his K’s were way up and there wasn’t much power, so I held off on tooting his horn. The singles have started to dry up now, and his season line now stands at .257/.360/.365, with only 1 homer, and 1 steal. He is still walking, but I’m starting to think the power/speed combo may be more of the moderate variety.
Dominic Smith NYM, 1B/Franklin Barreto OAK, SS/Nick Williams PHI, OF – Three really slow starters who have picked it up this week. None of their season lines are anything to write home about, but we can take them off the slow start watch list.
Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – The power is real. Crushed 3 more dingers this week (7 total), which brings his OPS up to .987 in a pitcher’s park at Double-A.
Tyler O’Neill SEA, OF – Another Cal League slugger whose power is translating to Double-A, as O’Neill hit 2 more homers in back-to-back games this week. That brings his total up to 6, and he has a .961 OPS on the season. I’ve been hyping him to death for months now, so you know the deal.
Travis Demeritte TEX, 2B – .294/.378/.718, with 8 homers, and 4 steals in 21 games at High-A. Since I hyped him in my week 1 rundown, he has just kept hitting.
Mike Soroka ATL, RHP – The 18-year-old Soroka has been brilliant in his full season pro debut at Single-A, dominating hitters to the tune of 1.33/0.89/29 in 27 IP. He has a first round pedigree and is very young for his level. There is not a negative to be found here.
Tyler Jay MIN, LHP – Was looking good to start the year until he ran into the Jupiter Hammerheads this week, and the Jupiter Hammerheads lived up to their awesome team name by touching Jay up for 10 hits, 5 earned runs, and no strikeouts in 4.1 IP. Looks like he still has some kinks to work out with his conversion from reliever to starter. Jupiter Hammerheads … I just wanted to say it one more time.
Domingo Acevedo NYY, RHP – The 22-year-old Acevedo has just been destroying Single-A, with a line of 1.91/0.81/32 in 28.1 IP. He relies heavily on his big fastball, so it is tough to get too excited until we see him against tougher competition, as much as I would like to as a Yankees fan.
Hunter Dozier KC, 3B/OF – Put another 2 homers on the board for the hot hitting, former 8th overall pick in the draft. He is slashing .307/.409/.640, with 6 homers, and 4 steals in 21 games at Double-A. At 24, he is old for the level, but the talent is still there and maybe he is just a late bloomer.
Christin Stewart DET, OF – The 34th overall pick of the 2015 draft, Stewart is powering up at High-A this year, hitting 8 homers in 24 games. He jacked 15 homers in the SEC last year, and then 10 more once reaching pro ball. He is striking out too much, and the batting average is low, but the power is too much to ignore at this point.
Ryan Cordell TEX, OF/Jordan Patterson COL, OF/Peter O’Brien ARI, 1B/OF – Three older prospects that I liked very early on in the off season, but convinced myself they were destined to be bench players. They are killing it in the early going, though, and who the fuck am I to say they are destined to the bench? If you like rooting for the underdog, pick these guys up and give em a shot.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)