Spring Training stats should always be taken with a grain of salt, but if a player transformed his body, or improved his swing, or impressed coaches with a renewed mindset and work ethic, it could be a sign of legitimate improvement. Here is the 2017 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Spring Training, Take Two:
Andrew Benintendi BOS, OF – If you are concerned about Benintendi’s .179 batting average and 36% K% in his 33 MLB at-bats against lefties, maybe this rocket shot he crushed last night that cleared the fence in .2 seconds will help ease those fears. This guy is going to absolutely wear out Pesky Pole. Actually, the Red Sox are already preparing for the assault, reinforcing Pesky Pole with 40 feet of new steel, among other repairs.
Steven Matz NYM, LHP – Well, that was quick. Shortly after listing Matz 1st on my Post-Tommy John Surgery Death Zone Watch List, he was scratched from his next scheduled start due to “irritation” in his left elbow. He won’t have an MRI, but don’t worry, the trusty Mets PR department and front office assures that there is nothing structurally wrong. “There is nothing structurally wrong” sounds like the new “dreaded vote of confidence” mangers get right before being fired.
A.J. Reed HOU, 1B – The work Reed put in this off-season on conditioning and bat speed has clearly paid off, as not only has he raked in Spring, but Houston coaches have been raving about him. This is how you like to see young players respond to adversity, because it won’t be the last time they have to overcome obstacles, whether it be due to injury or the constant game of adjustments that is MLB hitting.
Kyle Lewis SEA, OF – I’m no doctor, but this video certainly looks like an encouraging sign that Lewis’ knee rehab is going well. Feel free to draft him with increasing confidence in prospect and Dynasty drafts.
Corey Ray MIL, OF – Ray also returned to game action this week after tearing his meniscus in October. While we are on the topic of injured 2016 college bats …
Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – Doubled in his first game back after taking a pitch to his wrist in live batting practice a couple weeks ago. There is nothing worse than a wrist injury for a hitter, so hopefully this will be the last we hear of it.
Jesus Aguilar MIL, 1B – Spring Training stats don’t matter, unless you are a 26-year-old bad bodied first baseman who basically has to hit like Babe Ruth in order for somebody to give you a shot. And that is exactly what Aguilar is doing this Spring, hitting .462 with 5 homers in 52 at-bats. He has been completely outplaying the Korean sensation, Eric Thames, and is making Milwaukee rethink their opening day roster. If you are looking for an Adam Duvall like breakout in the next couple years, keep your eye on Aguilar.
Jose Berrios MIN, RHP – Minnesota claims Berrios won’t make the MLB team because the WBC prevented him from being properly stretched out, but I have a sneaking suspicion it might also have something to do with his 8.02 ERA in 14 starts last year. I’ve jumped so far off the Berrios bandwagon that I actually had a Coors pitcher (Gray) and an AL East pitcher (Bundy) ranked ahead of him when I Re-Ranked the Graduates from My 2016 Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings back in early January (I would probably put Turner #1 now).
Raul Mondesi Jr. KC, SS/2B – It’s odd that people seem to completely ignore the obvious step forward Mondesi took last year in the upper levels of the minors, OPS’ing .779 at Double-A and .863 at Triple-A in 172 combined at-bats, while they overly focus on the inevitable struggles he had in the Majors. He hit well in Winter Ball, has been raking in Spring, and even if he doesn’t break camp with the team, I wouldn’t expect him to be held down for long. This is a potential elite speed/power combo who is not being valued like that in Dynasty drafts.
Franklin Barreto OAK, SS/2B – Billy Beane can’t wait until he can finally show something from that awful Josh Donaldson trade, and with Jed Lowrie and Chad Pinder the only thing in the way of that, you can bet Barreto will be called up sooner rather than later.
Cody Reed CIN, LHP/Amir Garrett CIN, LHP – I think I could have made a run at a rotation spot in Cincinnati’s dumpster fire of a starting rotation. Their ballpark is a launching pad and while I think both of these guys can be solid mid-rotation starters long term, they look like nothing but landmines for this season.
Alen Hanson PIT, UTIL – MLB’s cockamamie team control rules will finally help the player and not the team, as Hanson is out of options, and if he doesn’t make the big league club, there would be no shortage of teams who would jump at the chance to claim him. Plus, the United States doesn’t look all too keen about letting Jung-ho Kang back into the country, so there could be more playing time available than originally thought.
Jose Quintana HOU, LHP – Seriously Houston, just pull the trigger already. You have a million talented outfielders who deserve a shot and a highly volatile starting rotation.
Derek Fisher HOU, OF – Speaking of Houston outfielders, Fisher hit well this Spring, but has really impressed on the base paths, jacking 10 bases in 34 at-bats. It can be hard to know how much to trust minor league steal numbers, but it sure does seem like this man loves to run.
Austin Meadows PIT, OF – Meadows crushed a ball out of the ballpark against a lefty on Saturday, which continued his torrid Spring. I don’t care that he doesn’t have a spot yet (Polanco did just get scratched with shoulder soreness), I would be going out of my way to grab him in any Dynasty drafts where he is still available.
Koda Glover WASH, RHP – Dusty Baker knows who the closer is, but nanny nanny poo poo, he’s not telling.