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 14:
Alex Bregman HOU, SS/3B – If you missed last night’s Futures All-Star Game, you might have missed one of the most exciting baseball games of the year. Bregman put on a show in the first half of the game, going 3 for 3 with a homer short of the cycle. He was mic’d up and giggling like a little school girl about hitting a homer in his next at-bat to anyone who would listen to him. He didn’t, making outs in his final 2 at-bats.
Yoan Moncada BOS, 2B – Moncada picked up where Bregman left off, crushing a 2nd deck bomb to give the World team the lead in the 8th inning, which secured him the MVP award. He also laced an opposite field single on a nice inside out swing vs. hard thrower Jeff Hoffman in his second at bat, and then swiped second easily. That power/speed combo is why I ranked him #1 in my mid-season top 100.
Alex Reyes STL, RHP – By far the most impressive pitcher of the night, striking out 4 batters in 1.2 IP. He was hitting 100 MPH easy and dropping good curveballs in for strikes. He also flashed some solid changeups that I originally mistook for two seam fastballs because they were almost hitting 90 MPH. There is still plenty of refinement to go, but his fantasy upside is unrivaled.
Eloy Jimenez CHC, OF – Had the entire Cubs organization holding their breath as he made a daredevil catch over the RF fence down the foul line, and then launched a homerun derby quality homer in the 9th inning. Not bad for a 19-year-old who has played in Single-A all year.
Yu-Cheng Chang CLE, SS – Did Imaginary Brick Wall just get the Asian market bump that I hear so much about in baseball? After writing a sleeper post for Taiwanese SS Yu-Cheng Chang last week, my website hits from Taiwan spiked by 20%! That gives me over 100 hits all-time from Taiwan! Ni hao, all my new Taiwanese friends. Chang had a 4-hit game just hours after I wrote that article too.
Josh Bell PIT, 1B – It didn’t take long for Bell to show off the power he added this year, crushing a grand slam in his 2nd Major League at-bat. Too bad it doesn’t look like Pittsburgh is going to make a point of getting his bat in the lineup.
Willie Calhoun LAD, 2B – Willie just keeps on hitting, smashing 3 more homers this week on his way to the Futures All-Star Game (where he went 0 for 2).
Harrison Bader STL, OF – Promoted to Triple-A and went 5 for 22 with 2 doubles and a homer in his first 5 games at the level. He was also caught stealing and put up a 6/0 K/BB.
Austin Byler ARI, 1B – The adopted step child, black sheep, the one we only speak about in whispers of my Finding the Next A.J. Reed article is starting to show a pulse, slashing .417/.481/.792 with 2 homers this week after getting a late start to his season due to suspension. He is 23 years old with a 52/14 K/BB in 36 games at Single-A, so I’m going to need to see a lot more and at a higher level to start really getting excited.
David Dahl COL, OF – Dahl made Bader’s Triple-A debut look like child’s play, slashing .500/.536/.846 with 2 homers and 0 K’s in 6 games. If you took Urias, Giolito, Glasnow, and Reed out of my mid-season top 100, Dahl would have been a top 5 fantasy prospect.
Brendan Rodgers COL, SS – 2 more dingers this week, and continues to impress with his power/contact skills, slashing .295/.362/.505 with 13 homers and a 55/24 K/BB in 68 games at Single-A. I gave Rodgers the slight edge over Bregman on my top 100 because of Coors and a better chance to stick at SS, but they are basically even in my book.
Tom Murphy COL, C – Smashed 4 homers this week, giving him 11 on the year in only 44 games. It also comes with a fun 55/5 K/BB. That huge power at Coors Field from a catcher is why I ranked him 69th in my mid-season top 100, but the lack of contact skills and plate approach is why he dropped from my 32nd ranking of him in the off-season. All in all, I’m still on board.
J.P. Crawford PHI, SS – Slashed .480/.515/.840 with 2 homers this week at Triple-A. He is definitely a better real life prospect, but I still think he is going to be an impact fantasy player too.
Tyler O’Neill SEA, OF – Ranked 45th on Baseball America’s mid-season top 100! And oh yea, Hader (#22), Bader (#89), Fisher (#94), and Calhoun (#98) also cracked their top 100. I mean, I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have a few fans over at BA. They obviously know what they are doing over there, and I love that my favorite sleepers are starting to get some national hype!
Jacob Faria TB, RHP – Continues to pitch well at Triple-A, going 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 9 K. He hasn’t shown up on any other mid-season top 100’s so far, so it looks like he is still being slept on.
Yohander Mendez TEX, LHP – Got a spot start at Triple-A this week, and impressed by going 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BB, 7 K. This guy has the look of a big time lefty starter, and he is putting up the numbers to back it up too.
Kyle Lewis SEA, OF – The #1 ranked prospect from my MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings is starting to show why I liked him so much, slashing .435/.519/.913 with 3 homers and a 2/5 K/BB this week at Low-A. He has a 12/13 K/BB in 21 games on the season, and considering strikeouts were thought to be the main concern with Lewis, he is off to a very encouraging start.
Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – Playing exactly as advertised in his first 19 pro games, displaying an advanced plate approach (11/11 K/BB), speed (10 steals), and doubles power (6).
Christin Stewart DET, OF – 3 more homers in his last 5 games, and his monster power season in the pitcher friendly Florida State League earned him a spot in the Futures All-Stars Game.
Luke Weaver STL, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BB, 7K in his start this week, which continued his excellent season. Scouts love to drool over dominant curveballs, but it seems like devastating changeups have been slightly undervalued recently, and Weaver has one.
Alen Hanson PIT, 2B – I was seriously starting to think a hot streak was never going to come, but Hanson found his groove this week, slashing .423/.484/.462 with 4 steals. His overall numbers are still unimpressive, but he is stealing bases and the raw talent is still there.
Cody Ponce MIL, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 12 K in his best start of the season as he he is ramping up after having early season forearm fatigue. Ponce stands a physically imposing 6’6’’, 240 pounds and throws a mid 90’s fastball with a solid slider and inconsistent curveball and changeup. The risk is high here as with many other pitching prospects, but his talent is equal to any of the pitchers showing up on the back half of mid-season prospect lists.
Max Schrock WASH, 2B – I stumbled upon Schrock in early June during the same search that I found Ronald Acuna with (who I wrote about in that week’s rundown) when I went searching for sleeper prospects that Carson Cistulli has made famous, underrated low-k/contact guys. I didn’t mention him because he was 21 years old in Single-A, didn’t have much power, and I just have more fun writing about underrated bat speed/power guys. But Schrock was promoted to High-A recently, and hit 3 homers in his first 13 games (2 in the last week), along with continuing to display his excellent contact skills (27/24 K/BB in 68 games on the year) and speed (19 steals). I would be more excited about him as a real life prospect, but even in fantasy, it is looking more and more like he has the potential to make a legitimate impact.
Luis Urias SD, 2B/UTIL – I found the 19-year-old Urias during that same search, but was even less inclined to mention him because he gets caught stealing more than he is successful (26 for 58 in his MiLB career). He has just kept on hitting, though, and is now slashing .327/.401/.438 with 5 homers, 8 steals, and a 31/30 K/BB in 82 games. He hit a homer in Triple-A last night too. I think I’m gonna start mentioning these guys …
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)