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 6:
Blake Snell TB, LHP – I predicted in last week’s rundown that Snell was going to be fine, and he was fine, going 10.1 IP, 4 ER, 13 Hits, 2 BB, 16 K in his two starts this week. Correctly predicting that one of the best pitching prospects in the game would be fine is the kind of hard hitting analysis that you can expect to get around here at Imaginary Brick Wall.
Chase Vallot KC, C – Bat speed, power, and strikeouts make for some of my favorite prospect sleepers (remember Trevor Story?), and the 19-year-old Vallot checks all of those boxes. The 40th overall pick of the 2014 draft, Vallot crushed 13 homers in 80 games at Single-A last season, and he is off to a strong start this season, slashing .279/.391/.529, with 6 homers, and a 43/16 K/BB in 31 games. Here is a scouting video of him in high school displaying that super quick bat speed, and here is a video of him absolutely crushing a homer earlier this year. He is built like a brick shit house, and even if he doesn’t stick at catcher, I feel pretty confident in saying Vallot is going to continue to hit the ball very hard when he isn’t striking out. He is a great deep league sleeper.
Ronald Guzman TEX, 1B – The Rangers paid the 6’5’’, 205 pound Guzman $3.5 million back in 2011, and it is just now starting to pay off in a big way. Guzman is slashing .319/.382/.529, with 5 homers, and a 29/10 K/BB in 32 games at Double-A this season. He has a sweet lefty swing and has always had a reputation for being a pure hitter. He doesn’t have huge power right now, but I don’t think it is a stretch to assume it will come as he continues to age and get stronger. You don’t have to squint all that hard to see Nomar Mazara-lite here, and Guzman is another excellent deep league sleeper.
Tyler Glasnow PIT, RHP – Looks like Greg Maddux in one start, and then Rick Ankiel the next. His BB line in 7 starts this season reads 3,0,3,1,5,1, 5. Because I consistently score above 140 on those free online IQ tests, I know that the next number in the sequence will probably be a low one.
Jameson Taillon PIT, RHP – Got those K’s going again this week, striking out 11 batters in 6 IP, and if you haven’t heard already, word on the internet street is that Taillon is first in line to get the call.
Derek Fisher HOU, OF – I told you to buy low on Fisher two weeks ago in my Top 3 Buy Low Dynasty Prospects article, and I hoped you listened, because Fisher crushed 5 homers since then, and it brings his season line to .248/.354/.504, with 8 homers, and 4 steals in 34 games at Double-A. I ranked him 20th overall in my preseason top 100 , and considering there is still not much hype around him, you might be able to buy him at a reasonable price.
Tim Anderson CHW, SS – Anderson was another player who I touted in that Buy Low column, and he has been scorching hot since then as well. He hit .438/.471/.750 this week with homers in back-to-back-to-back games, and he is now hitting .276 on the season, with 3 homers, and 8 steals in 33 games at Triple-A. By the way, the third guy I wrote about in that buy low column was Lewis Brinson, and he is still struggling. You know what to do. Unless you believe in the law of averages and think I’m due to get one wrong, then maybe you don’t know what to do.
Alex Bregman HOU, SS/3B – Meet Houston’s new 3B of the future. Here is an excellent article by Brian McTaggart at MLB.com on how the transition is going so far, and what Houston’s thinking and strategy with Bregman has been from the beginning of the year.
Andrew Benintendi BOS, OF – Benintendi knocked out High-A pitching worse than Rougned Odor just knocked the hell out of Jose Bautista. Only difference is that Benintendi is getting a promotion and Odor is getting a suspension. He’ll be in Double-A starting today.
Josh Hader MIL, LHP – Threw another gem this week. Reports have been positive about his secondary offerings, and he has maintained the increased velocity that he found in the Arizona Fall League, consistently sitting in the mid 90’s. Hader is one of the best pitching prospects in the game.
Kyle Zimmer KC, RHP – Got back in action last week and is slowly building his pitch count up. In his two brief appearances, he has stuck out nine and walked four in 4.2 IP. If he can remain healthy, the Royals are sure to find a role for the 24-year-old Zimmer on the big league club this year, preferably as a starter, but he can be elite out of the bullpen, as well.
Willie Calhoun LAD, 2B – Willie is on fire this week, slashing .400/.455/.600, and he is finally showing flashes of that special hitting ability that he displayed in 2015. Maybe including him in my Top 100 Fantasy Prospect Fallers post that I wrote last week has lit a fire under his ass. And yes, me and Willie are on a first name basis now after how many times I have written about him since February.
Carson Fulmer CHW, RHP – Just when it looked like he was getting it together, Fulmer threw up an absolute dud this week (4 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 8 BB, 3 K). I covered him in my Top 100 Fallers post, as well.
Josh Ockimey BOS, 1B – Ockimey made this prophetic tweet on February 4, and now the rest of the prospect watching world knows too, that this is the year of the Ockimey. He triple-slashed .333/.412/.733 this week, bringing his season line to .300/.442/.600, with 7 homers, and a 32/28 K/BB in 31 games at Single-A. He is turning himself into the type of power hitting prospect you have to love for fantasy.
Christin Stewart DET, OF – Stewart has kept raking since I wrote about him in week 4, smashing 4 more homers this week, and it brings his season total up to 13 homers with a .979 OPS in 37 games at High-A. The time is definitely now to start making moves on him, if you haven’t already.
Max Kepler MIN, OF – Was off to a bit of a slow start this year, but he turned it on this week, slashing .444/.565/.611. His excellent plate approach and K/BB have translated just fine to Triple-A.
Kyle Tucker HOU, OF – I probably should have included Tucker in my Top 100 Fantasy Prospect Risers post last week, as he has looked solid all year at Single-A, and is now slashing .328/.403/.438 with a 28/16 K/BB in 34 games. The power hasn’t been great with only 1 homer, but he has stolen 16 bags, and the hit tool is more important for his development right now anyway. I ranked him 89th in my preseason top 100, and the arrow is certainly pointing up.
Luis Ortiz TEX, RHP – Things are also looking up for Texas’ big right hander. The 30th overall pick of the 2014 draft, Ortiz spun a 1-hit gem this week, and has a 2.60/1.05/28 in 27.2 IP pitching line at High-A this year. I would have ranked him higher in the preseason if he hadn’t suffered a forearm injury last year limiting him to only 50 IP, but if he stays healthy this year, he will be firing up prospect lists everywhere.
Gleyber Torres CHC, SS – Torres has been red hot these past few weeks, bringing his triple-slash up to .252/.340/.425, with 4 homers, and 5 steals in 33 games at High-A. The slow start is no more.
Franklin Barreto OAK, SS – The 20-year-old Barreto started on the slow start watch list, then I took him off after a hot week, and now he is back on again. He has gone ice cold of late, and is now slashing .235/.288/.331, with 3 homers, and 9 steals at Double-A. He is still very young for the level, and is playing in an extreme pitcher’s park, so things aren’t as bad as his hitting line suggests.
Forrest Wall COL, 2B – Since I wrote about Wall’s hot start in week 2, he has been anything but, and his season line at High-A has now dropped to .231/.321/.325, with 1 homer, and 7 steals. He was also placed on the 7-day DL on May 11. When it rains it pours.
Edwin Diaz SEA, RHP – Will be permanently moved to the bullpen, because whenever you can give up on your upper 90’s throwing, 9.4 K/9 stud 22-year-old starting pitching prospect, that is move you just have to make.
Dylan Cozens PHI, OF – Mashed 3 dingers this week, and the 6’,6’’, 235 pound Cozens is now slashing .287/.368/.581, with 10 homers, and 9 steals in 36 games at Double-A. He has a bit of a long swing, and struggles with hard stuff on the inner third of the plate, but he has still been long overdue to make the Rundown. Better late than never.
Mike Soroka ATL, RHP – Bounced back nicely this week (5.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 BB, 5 K) after a rough outing the week before (4 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BB, 3 K). His season line now sits at 1.96/1.01/37 in 36.2 IP. If you want to read a more in depth scouting report on Soroka, Benjamin Chase over at Tomahawk Take had a great up to date report on him last week.
Drew Ward WASH, 3B –A 3rd round pick in the 2013 draft, Ward is finally putting his plus raw power to good use this year, slashing .305/.399/.547, with 7 homers, and a 37/17 K/BB in 34 games at High-A. Scouts have doubts that he can stick at 3B, but he is a bat first prospect who should be on your radar in deeper prospect leagues.
Tyler Viza PHI, RHP – We are going super deep now. The 21-year-old Viza always had good stuff, and it is starting to translate into good results this season, as he is dominating High-A in the early going (35.2 IP, 7 ER, 35 Hits, 6 BB, 36 K). He throws a strong 5-pitch mix with a fastball that sits between 91-94 MPH. Viza likely tops out as a mid-rotation starter, but he is an interesting pitcher prospect in super deep leagues. At the very least, remember the name.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)