I was hoping to be able to link to the first ever Razzball Baseball Prospect Podcast today, but Ralph and I got Murphy’s Law’d trying to record it. And not Daniel Murphy’s Law, who has had everything go right for him since last season’s playoffs, but Edward Aloysius Murphy’s Law, which is the one that says, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” We are going to give it another shot tomorrow, and hope to have it posted by Saturday. In the meantime, let’s talk about some prospect sleepers who were traded at the deadline and deserve more respect in the fantasy world. These aren’t fringe top 100 guys, but are players you should be keeping your eye on, or picking up if you are in especially deep leagues.
Max Wotell CIN, LHP – A 3rd round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, the 6’3’’, 195-pound Wotell is your prototypical projectable teenage pitcher. The first thing you should know about him is his awesomely funky left-handed delivery, which makes Josh Hader’s funky delivery look textbook in comparison. He throws a live low 90’s fastball that can get on hitters in a hurry, and can break off some nasty sliders too. In 40.1 Rookie ball innings, he has racked up 47 K’s (31 K in 29.2 IP this season). There are still some control issues (3.6 BB/9) and he needs to develop his changeup, but he wouldn’t be such a deep sleeper if everything was already perfect. If you missed out on Thomas Szapucki, Wotell can be the next “out of nowhere” hard throwing lefty starter to pick up steam in a hurry.
Lucius Fox TB, SS – Fox is not so much a sleeper as he is a buy low candidate. He signed for $6.5 million in the last international free agent signing period after manipulating the amateur player rules. He was born in the Bahamas, played high school ball in Florida, then moved back to the Bahamas. Dare I say, he was sly like a Fox. As you can probably tell by the signing bonus, Fox is an elite athlete with great bat speed and plus speed, but he made this list for a reason, and that reason is the poor numbers he has put up this season in Single-A. He is slashing .207/.305/.277, with 2 homers, and a 76/37 K/BB in 75 games. The silver lining is that he just turned 19 years old on July 2nd, and he has still managed to steal 25 bags. Like Tampa Bay, if you want to bet on his elite raw talent, now is the time to buy.
Erik Swanson NYY, RHP – The deepest sleeper on the list, the 22-year-old Swanson was drafted as a reliever in the 8th round of the 2014 draft. He transitioned into a starting role this season, and the early returns have been promising, putting up a pitching line of 3.43/1.25/78 in 81.1 IP at Single-A. He is built like a bulldog at 6’3’’, 220 pounds, and he throws an easy mid-90’s fastball to go along with a developing curveball and changeup. He looks like a dead ringer for John Lackey on the mound, who also happened to be a bit of a late bloomer, not truly breaking out in the majors until he was 26 years old. Swanson may very well top out as an Adam Warren-like jack of all trades, but he has some good stuff and his true upside is still unknown due to his recent role change. Keep him in the back of your mind.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)