We all want our prospects to put up video game numbers (unless you suck at video games), as they rip through the minors en route to Trevor Storying the big leagues. That is the dream. The reality is many times much different. It brings me no pleasure to write this, but here are the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Slow Starters:
Derek Fisher HOU, OF – First, he gets fired as the New York Knicks head coach, and now, he is off to a slow start in his first taste of Double-A (.213/.302/.383). Derek Fisher can’t catch a break. The good news is that he has a 9/6 K/BB in 12 games, and jacked his 2nd homer of the season last night. He struck out 132 times in 123 games between Single-A and High-A last season, so I’m actually more encouraged by this “slow” start than I am discouraged. I would hold in all leagues, or try to buy low.
Tim Anderson CHW, SS – Triple-slashing .182/.182/.227 with a 13/0 K/BB in his first 10 games at Triple-A. He was coming off a wrist injury to start the season, so we are a long way off from panicking.
Carson Fulmer CHW, RHP – I covered Fulmer’s slow start in my week 1 and 2 prospect rundowns because it was so spectacularly bad. His 3rd start was a step in the right direction (5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BB, 5 K), but his season line still stands at 8.53/1.74/8 in 12.2 IP. Not pretty.
Gary Sanchez NYY, C – After dominating the Arizona Fall League, Sanchez is off to a slow start at Triple-A, slashing .175/.250/.450 with 2 homers in 10 games. The power numbers are there, and his 8/3 K/BB is more or less in line with his career numbers, so I would expect the singles to start dropping at a normal rate too.
Willie Calhoun LAD, 2B – Williiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! You were supposed to be the next A.J. Reed! But even A.J. Reed didn’t start his first full minor league season in Double-A. The Dodgers were aggressive with the 21-year-old Calhoun, and he has not responded to the tune of .216/.245/.255 with no homers in 13 games. His BABIP sits at .268, so there is probably some bad luck at play, but his .043 ISO is not exactly encouraging either. The sample still isn’t large enough to make any determinations, but it would be nice to see him get it going a little bit.
Raimel Tapia COL, OF – It seems like all of Colorado’s prospects have gotten off to hot starts (Story, Dahl, Wall), but now we get to one who hasn’t. Tapia is slashing .212/.311/.250 with an 8/8 K/BB in 13 games at Double-A. Tapia is a streaky hitter, and considering the excellent K/BB, I’m expecting a hot streak any minute now.
Franklin Barreto OAK, SS – Like a few others on this list, Barreto has hit the Double-A roadblock. The 20-year-old Barreto is slashing a dismal .152/.188/.239 with a 15/2 K/BB in 12 games. He does have 1 homer and 3 steals, but he has looked seriously overmatched so far.
Nick Williams PHI, OF – Now we come to a few players that I was down on in the preseason. Williams has slashed .214/.250/.286 with no homers in 12 games in his first taste of Triple-A. If you liked him before the season, this shouldn’t change your opinion too much, but if you didn’t, well, you are still down on him.
Rafael Devers BOS, 3B – I was lower on Devers than most due to his distance from the majors and the considerable development he still had left to fully tap into that raw potential. The 19-year-old Devers has triple-slashed .135/.250/.250 with 1 homer in 14 games at High-A so far. This changes nothing about his future MLB potential, but it just highlights that he still has a long way to go.
Gleybor Torres CHC, SS – Triple-slashing .113/.266/.226, with 1 homer, and 1 steal in 14 games at High-A. Even with the massive hype he was getting this offseason, I was still down on him because of the lack of big power or speed.
Jack Flaherty STL, RHP – 7.84/2.03/8 in 10.1 IP at High-A. It is really just one bad start that has demolished his season line, so I wouldn’t worry at all.
Jacob Nottingham MIL, C – .150/.227/.325 with 2 homers in 12 games at Double-A. The power looks good (.189 ISO) and the K and BB rates are in line with his career numbers, so once his .115 BABIP regresses, he should be fine.
Matt Olson OAK, 1B – Olson’s power numbers took a hit last season at Double-A after leaving the comfy confines of the Cal League, so it would have been nice to see the power fully return in the hitter friendly PCL, but it was not to be to start the year. He has slashed .143/.311/.286 with 1 homer in his first 12 games at Triple-A. Considering the large dimensions of Oakland’s home ballpark, and that he plays a deep position, I’m starting to wonder how high his fantasy potential really is.
Dominic Smith NYM, 1B – Smith wasn’t hitting homers these past few seasons, but his elite contact skills made him an intriguing fantasy prospect. Well, now he isn’t hitting homers or making contact. The 20-year-old Smith is slashing .196/.226/.353, with 1 homer, and a 13/2 K/BB in 12 games at Double-A. He is much younger than his competition, and the raw talent is still huge, so patience is the name of the game here.
Jake Thompson PHI, RHP – 5.14/1.57/12 in 14 IP at Triple-A. I wasn’t a huge fan to begin the year, and I’m still not a fan.
Braden Shipley ARI, RHP – The PCL has done Shipley no favors to start the year, as his pitching line stands at 5.71/1.44/7 in 17.1 IP. This coming off a season where he struck out only 118 batters in 156.2 IP at Double-A. In fantasy, where K’s mean almost everything, I would be jumping off this bandwagon if you didn’t already last season.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)