2017 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Spring Training, Take Two

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.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2017 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Spring Training

I just couldn’t help myself. After a long off-season with no baseball, the first week of Spring Training games has got me amped up for the 2017 season. Lots of legitimately exciting stuff happened already too. Here is the 2017 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Spring Training:

Aaron Judge NYY, OF – It was the homerun heard round the Twittersphere. Judge smashed a 93 MPH fastball that didn’t so much land as it did get stopped by the tippy top of the outfield scoreboard. I love a fundamentally sound 4-3 putout as much as the next guy (I was an expert at them), but bombs like this are what make you hit rewind on your DVR like 25 times.

Tyler Glasnow PIT, RHP – Glasnow came out throwing fire with his newly refined delivery, striking out 6 batters in 2 IP. The fastball clocked as high as 98 MPH, and he didn’t walk a single batter. If there is a real competition for Pittsburgh’s 5th starter spot, Glasnow jumped out to the early lead.

Harrison Bader STL, OF – Bader’s quick and powerful swing is still being underrated on mainstream prospect lists, and it is scorched bullet shots like this that makes you scratch your head as to why he doesn’t get more love. I guess he’ll have to settle for being another in a long line of Cardinals prospects who gets the “came out of nowhere/Cardinals voodoo” tag, even though he has been raking since freshman year in the SEC.

Cody Bellinger LAD, 1B – On last week’s Razzball Prospect Podcast: The Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Show, I wondered if Bellinger’s extreme uppercut swing is the future of baseball with launch angle and swing path being all the rage these days. This absolute moon shot only reinforced that thought. Of course, that same extreme uppercut is why I was a bit conservative on him in my Top 200, ranking him 26th overall.

Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – If those pull side homers didn’t do it for you, how about an opposite field dinger from one of the best power hitting prospects in the minors. There isn’t a clear path to playing time for Chapman at the moment, but there is no reason for Oakland to not trade Trevor Plouffe at the deadline if he has any value at all.

Jacob Faria TB, RHP – One of my favorite pitching prospect sleepers for two years running, Faria struck out 3 batters in 2 IP. Unless Tampa Bay’s rotation stays unusually healthy, Faria is almost sure to have his number called at some point this season.

Rhys Hoskins PHI, 1B – Non-Reading aided homer alert! Non-Reading aided homer alert!

Brad Zimmer CLE, OF – Drove in 5 runs in his Spring debut. Lined a single to center and showed off his raw power with an opposite field homer that he didn’t even get the sweet part of the bat on. With Cleveland’s shaky outfield situation, Zimmer could force his way into the lineup sooner rather than later.

Billy McKinney NYY, OF – Here’s a quick reminder of why McKinney was a former 1st round pick. He’ll have to keep showing off that power to regain his lost prospect shine.

Rowdy Tellez TOR, 1B – This is the play-by-play of Tellez’ 2nd at-bat on Sunday: late on a 1st pitch fastball, looked completely lost on a 12-6 curve, and finally whiffed bad on a breaking ball in the dirt. Drawing conclusions from one at-bat sample sizes in Spring Training is fun.

Carson Fulmer CHW, RHP –  Pitched two scoreless innings, striking out Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, and Franklin Gutierrez. Also unveiled a new, toned down delivery that will hopefully allow him to remain a starter.

Mark Appel PHI, RHP – I’m old enough to remember a time when Mark Appel vs. Kris Bryant was an actual debate. Feels like an eternity ago. He’ll get a fresh start in Philadelphia this year, and his stuff looked legit in his two inning, 3 K performance on Saturday. A wild pitch and hanging breaking ball were his only blemishes on the day.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2017 Off-Season Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: The Traded Prospects

With the free agent landscape almost barren this off-season, the trade market has dominated the hot stove. Let’s run down the impact these trades had in the fantasy baseball prospect world. Here is the 2017 Off-Season Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rundown: The Traded Prospects:

Yoan Moncada 2B/3B/OF, CHW – Dave Dombrowski whipped out the godfather offer to land the most valuable player available this off-season, Chris Sale. His mission to turn an organization with Dynasty level long-term talent into one with a 3-year compete window is nearly complete. You know Rafael Devers and Jason Groome are going to be burning a hole in his pocket at the trade deadline. As for Moncada, I always think it is much easier for a prospect to break in with a rebuilding team than it is with a contender. He no longer has to be pigeonholed in at third base, and can stick at second, or maybe even be transitioned to centerfield. He is more likely to get significant big league at-bats next season with Chicago, and will get a much longer leash than he would have gotten in Boston. He should also get the constant green light on the base paths. At worst, this has no impact on Moncada’s fantasy value, and I think it is actually a slight positive.

Michael Kopech RHP, CHW – Don’t be shocked if Kopech is the top pitching prospect in the game by mid-season. His fastball velocity has reached mythological status at this point, with there being more consensus on the existence of Big Foot than if he really did uncork a 105 MPH fastball earlier this year. Regardless, he seriously impressed in the Arizona Fall League, and put on a show during the nationally televised Fall League All-Star game, pitching 2 perfect innings with 3 strikeouts. If he can maintain the improved control and command he displayed in the AFL next season, there won’t be many pitching prospects I would rather own than Kopech. Unfortunately, with Chicago’s almost willful disregard for defense, especially catcher defense, he was likely better off in Boston.

Mauricio Dubon INF, MIL – Leave it to Milwaukee’s new management to target an underrated guy like the 22-year-old Dubon. He added doubles power to his already plus hit tool and speed at Double-A this season. He is still a slight 6’0’’, 160 pounds, so there is projection for some more homerun power down the line too. With Orlando Arcia and Jonathan Villar currently locked in at SS and 2B, respectively, Dubon’s path isn’t much clearer in Milwaukee than it was in Boston, although there could be some wiggle room at 3B or OF to carve out a niche as an almost everyday utility player if he hits.

Luis Alexander Basabe OF, CHW – The Sale trade is a boon for the 20-year-old Basabe’s fantasy value. He wasn’t cracking the Benintendi/Bradley/Betts outfield triumvirate in Boston any time soon, and Chicago’s outfield talent is very weak up and down the organization. Even if he never hits above .250, the speed/power combo could provide solid value in fantasy, and Chicago might be inclined to stick with him through the slumps due to the raw talent and lack of good alternatives.

Alex Jackson OF, ATL – The relatively weak return that Seattle got for Jackson should tell you everything you need to know about his current fantasy value. It’s a similar return that the Yankees got for Justin Wilson last year. If you already have him on your team, he is a hold, and the only way I would buy low on him is if my fantasy team is in the exact same position as the Atlanta Braves.

Max Povse RHP, SEA/ Rob Whalen RHP, SEA – These guys have value in only the deepest of leagues. Povse profiles as an innings eating back-end starter who will hurt your ratios and not help all that much in strikeouts. Whalen profiles as something similar, or could end up in middle relief.

Albert Abreu RHP, NYY/Jorge Guzman RHP, NYY – Teams obviously weren’t beating down Cashman’s door to acquire Brian McCann, so he had to settle for two high risk, high reward lower minors arms. Abreu is further along than Guzman, and has a better chance to stick as a starter. Neither of their fantasy values change at all with this trade.

Josh Pennington RHP, MIL/Victor Diaz RHP, CHW – Two hard throwing righties, one already in the bullpen (Diaz), and the other likely destined for the bullpen (Pennington). As a New York Jets fan, it is kinda nice to use “hard throwing” and “Pennington” in the same sentence for once.

John Gant STL, RHP – Acquired in the Jaime Garcia trade along with Chris Ellis and Luke Dykstra. Nothing much to see here for fantasy prospect wise. Most interesting part of the trade is that Gant is now infamous for causing a minor rebellion when former Fangraphs prospect writer, Dan Farnsworth, ranked him the 2nd best prospect in the Atlanta Braves organization last off-season.

Adam Eaton trade update:

Lucas Giolito RHP, CHW – The question marks were starting to build even before this trade (fastball took a step back, control and command not improving), and now you can tack on a DH, a hitter’s ballpark, and a team that doesn’t quite believe in defense, catcher defense in particular. I ranked Giolito 5th in my End of Season Top 35, but he probably drops into the top 10 range now.

Reynaldo Lopez RHP, CHW – Lopez has yet to crack any of my Top 100 lists because I believe the bullpen risk is very high, plus, his projection as a starter is more of the mid-rotation variety. He can throw 100 MPH and his strikeouts spiked to 10.4 per 9 IP in the minors this year, so his strikeout upside is undeniable, but he also gave up 13 homers in those 109.1 MiLB IP, and will now be pitching in a homer happy home ballpark. On the bright side, Washington was stacked with pitching, so Chicago probably gives him a better opportunity to stick as a starter.

Dane Dunning RHP, CHW – A 3/4 type starter without huge strikeout upside is far more appealing in a pitcher friendly ballpark in the NL like Washington. On second thought, every pitcher is far more appealing in a pitcher friendly ballpark in the NL like Washington. Which is why I always build my fantasy teams around NL pitching, until they get traded to shitty situations in the AL. Sorry guys if you own these pitchers. I feel your pain.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Extra Innings

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: Extra Innings:

Remember when I said I was going to shift over to fantasy football? Fuck it, I’m sticking with fantasy baseball prospects. I’m sure I will sprinkle in some football stuff here and there, but I have too much fun writing about prospects to stop.

Yoan Moncada BOS, 3B – Is Byron Buxton’ing himself in his MLB debut, going 4 for 18 with 11 K’s. Like Buxton, just have to stay patient.

Alex Bregman HOU, 3B/SS/OF – Has been red hot for about a month now as I’m sure you know, but just wanted to note it hasn’t been on the back of his elite minor league contact skills, as he is carrying a 23% MLB K rate. That is why I value bat speed, exit velocity, and power at least equal to plate approach and contact skills in the minors. Everybody is striking out in the majors, so when you do make contact, better make it count.

A.J. Reed HOU, 1B/Aaron Judge NYY, OF – On the flip side of the coin, if you are already striking out a lot in the minors, it could get even worse in the majors. A 22.6% K rate for Reed has turned into a 33.1% rate in the majors (.175 avg) and a 24% K rate for Judge has turned into a 43.8% rate in the majors (.177 avg). I’m still on board with both players, but the risk is obvious.

Tyler O’Neill SEA, OF – Has turned it up another notch in the playoffs, launching 3 homers in 4 games. He also carried Team Canada in the Pan-Am games last year, as I noted in the off-season sleeper post I wrote for him. I’m one of those crazy humans who believes that “clutch” is a real thing, and it’s becoming clear that O’Neill is clutch. He is starting to have all the makings of a big time Major Leaguer.

Victor Robles WASH, OF – Carried over his hot hitting from the end of the season into the playoffs, going 6 for 14 in 3 games. His season line at High-A doesn’t stand out, but that’s just because he ran out of time.

Jose Berrios MIN, RHP – It’s been only 44.2 IP, but Berrios’ MLB debut has been an absolute disaster. He couldn’t get out of the 3rd inning in his start this week, going 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BB, 1 K. This certainly doesn’t doom his MLB career, but I am starting to question how high his upside is.

Luke Weaver STL, RHP – I’ve been preaching that changeups are underrated in the prospect world, and Weaver is showing why they deserve more respect, spinning 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 8 K this week. He now has a 39/8 K/BB in 31 MLB IP.

Kyle Tucker HOU, OF/Rafael Devers BOS, 3B – Two of the most promising 19-year-olds in baseball each have a dinger in 3 post-season games. The more the game power shows up, the better.

Franklin Barreto OAK, 2B/SS – The 20-year-old Barreto is dominating the Triple-A playoffs, slashing .421/.500/.947. What started off looking like a solid but unspectacular year has ended up being a major step forward.

Renato Nunez OAK, 3B/1B/OF – Drilled 3 homers in 5 post-season games. He put up only a .690 OPS in Triple-A this year, but I like him a lot as a buy low/bounce back candidate for next season.

Kevin Gadea SEA, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 11 K in his playoff start this week. On the season, he has a pitching line of 68.2 IP, 18 ER, 56 Hits, 14 BB, 95 K. Who is this guy? Baseball America had him as an international sleeper back in 2013 after signing with Seattle for $42,000. He is 6’5’’, 190 pounds with a low 90’s fastball and a legitimate curveball and changeup. I don’t know much about him, but anybody his size putting up those kind of numbers with 3 legitimate pitches should be on our radar. Hat tip to bp42810 in the comments section at Minorleagueball.com for bringing him to my attention.

Jason Martin HOU, OF – In the same comments section, check out what Revilo wrote about 2013 8th round pick Jason Martin. At 5’11’’, 190 pounds he will almost surely remain underrated throughout his entire minor league career, but what he has done this year deserves to put him on the map. He slashed .270/.357/.533, with 23 homers, 20 steals, and 108/55 K/BB in the Cal League. He has a short, quick lefty swing that is geared more towards line drives than homers, but as evidenced by his power surge this year, there is definitely plenty of pop in his bat too. And oh yea, he has had two multi-homer games in the playoffs already.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 22

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 22:

Tom Murphy COL, C – Absolutely demolished a 482-foot homer on Sunday night, with an exit velocity of 108.8 MPH. It’s almost as exciting as watching Alec Baldwin and Jason Schwartzman canoodle with each other in the commercial before the clip. Hopefully you have this guy on your team already, because I’ve been hyping him all year (in the preseason, in my Rundown’s, and on the podcast). He is now 4 for 7 in his first 3 games of action, and I have every expectation of him joining the ranks of the fantasy catcher elite next season, which is not a very hard group to crack.

Byron Buxton MIN, OF – Minnesota scrapped trying to turn Buxton into a top of the order slap hitter, and let him just grip it and rip it. It has resulted in him absolutely exploding this week, going 10 for 19 with 3 dingers. For fantasy owners who have been waiting on Buxton for 3+ years, you can let out a big sigh now.

Lucas Giolito WASH, RHP – Fired a gem in his final start, going 8 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 5 K. He is up to only 115.1 IP, so Washington is almost sure to use him down the stretch in some capacity.

Tyler Glasnow PIT, RHP – Finished up the Minor League regular season in fitting fashion, striking out 8 and walking 4 in 5.2 IP.

Derek Fisher HOU, OF – Got hot just in time to make his Triple-A numbers look impressive, slashing .290/.347/.505 with 5 homers. On the downside, he is still striking out too much, but on the upside, he is striking out enough to keep him a legitimate sleeper. Still not too late to buy low-ish on Fisher.

Raimel Tapia COL, OF – I seriously hope Tapia is already owned in every Dynasty League, but now is probably the time to pick him up in some keeper leagues too. Major League pitching hasn’t slowed him down at all so far (.467 avg) and if Colorado clears a starting spot for him this off-season, he can do damage starting from Day 1 next season.

Ian Happ CHC, 2B – Broke into Double-A with a bang, and went out with a bang, knocking 2 homers in one game this week. It was everything in between that was the problem, but he still finished with a respectable .262/.318/.415 slash-line with 8 homers and 6 steals in 65 games at the level.

Franklin Barreto OAK, 2B/SS – Quietly put together a very strong season, and put the cherry on top in Triple-A this week, slashing .353/.389/.647 with 1 homer in 4 games. He is only 20 years old, but everything is pointing to Oakland giving him a shot at some point next season. They are probably feeling the heat to show something from that horrendous Josh Donaldson trade.

Justus Sheffield NYY, LHP – The 20-year-old Sheffield was promoted to Double-A for his final start and rung up 9 batters in 4 IP. He has easily outshined the centerpiece of that Andrew Miller deal, Clint Frazier, who has slashed .228/.278/.396 with a 30/7 K/BB in 25 games since the trade.

Jack Flaherty STL, RHP – It’s been an up and down season for Flaherty, but he finished up strong with a pitching line of 26 IP, 4 ER, 16 Hits, 6 BB, 26 K in his final 4 starts. It wasn’t quite the breakout season I was hoping for when I ranked him 69th overall in the off-season, but it was enough to maintain his prospect status.

Sean Newcomb ATL, LHP – Like Flaherty, had a strong finish to an up and down season, going 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 1 BB, 8 K this week. The stuff and potential are still the same, but he didn’t exactly take a step forward this year.

Cody Bellinger LAD, 1B – Drilled 3 homers in his brief 3 game cameo in Triple-A to drill home the point that he is the real deal. I thought Edwin Rios could be a hindrance to Bellinger’s playing time down the line, but I highly doubt that will be the case now.

Christin Stewart DET, OF – Had his first hot streak at Double-A, homering in 3 straight early in the week and homering again last night. There isn’t enough time for him to make his Double-A numbers look all shiny, but it might be a blessing in disguise for those in leagues where he is available in off-season drafts.

Austin Riley ATL, 3B – 3 homers this week to cap off his over month long hot streak. In fact, since an ice cold April and May, he has performed exactly like many hoped he would in his first year of full season ball.

Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – 5 homers this week, including 3 in one game. That gives him 36 homers on the year with a 173/68 K/BB in 135 games.

Erick Fedde WASH, RHP – 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 12 K. Considering he is coming off Tommy John surgery and reaching career highs in IP, this was a very encouraging final start to the season.

Sandy Alcantara STL, RHP – The hard throwing righty wrapped up the season with a couple of starts that makes it easy to dream on him for next year, going 13.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BB, 16 K.

Max Schrock OAK, 2B – I don’t think anyone was surprised to learn Billy Beane and the A’s were Max Schrock fans. They didn’t wait long to promote him to Double-A either, where he hit .391 with no K’s in 6 games.

Will Craig PIT, 3B – Hitting only 2 homers in 63 games is disappointing, but I can’t help but be impressed by the 37/41 K/BB and .412 OBP. He certainly has more power than he has shown, but for the most part, I think we are seeing the type of hitter he will become, high avg/obp with good but not great power.

Jorge Alfaro PHI, C  – Has gotten a bit lost in the Minor League catcher hype with Gary Sanchez and Willson Contreras starting their MLB career with a bang, Francisco Mejia going on an epic hit streak, and Tom Murphy getting all the sleeper hype, but Alfaro deserves to be mentioned in the same breath (paragraph) as all these guys. He homered in back-to-back games this week, and considering Philly already called him up for a couple games not that long ago, it might not be long before he is making his mark in the majors as well.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Tom Murphy Rundown (everyone else coming tomorrow)

Due to the Holiday weekend, the Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown will be running tomorrow. Which works out perfectly, because the final day of the Minor League regular season is today. But because I couldn’t help myself, I’m gonna do one:

Tom Murphy COL, C – Absolutely demolished a 482-foot homer last night, with an exit velocity of 108.8 MPH. It’s almost as exciting as watching Alec Baldwin and Jason Schwartzman canoodle with each other in the commercial before the clip. Hopefully you have this guy on your team already, because I’ve been hyping him all year (in the preseason, in my Rundown’s, and on the podcast). He is now 4 for 7 in his first 3 games of action, and I have every expectation of him joining the ranks of the fantasy catcher elite next season, which is not a very hard group to crack.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 21

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 21:

Gary Sanchez NYY, C/Alex Bregman HOU, SS – Remember when people said last season’s rookie class was a huge anomaly and this year’s class wouldn’t have much of an impact? Um … yea. Sanchez and Bregman have just destroyed Major League pitching for the past couple of weeks, which continued the very strong play of this year’s rookies. When people say the same thing about next year’s rookies that they did about this year’s, don’t believe them.

Heath Quinn SF, OF – If you are looking for “the next Willie Calhoun,” you may have to look no further than Heath Quinn. Quinn mashed for 3 straight years at Samford, not exactly a baseball powerhouse, but still D1, and is now ripping it up in his first year of pro ball, slashing .335/.424/.552 with 8 homers. I had him ranked as the 14th best fantasy prospect coming into the draft, and San Francisco managed to steal him in the 3rd rd (95th overall). In the past, you might have been able to scoop him for nothing in off-season drafts, but I get the feeling fewer and fewer people are going to be sleeping on these later draft round sleepers. Either way, definitely target Quinn and you should still get good value on him.

Bryan Reynolds SF, OF ­– Promoted to Single-A last week and has continued to rake, slashing .395/.410/.579. Reynolds is another sleeper who I ranked much higher than he was drafted, but isn’t quite the sleeper Quinn is, because many people were surprised he fell to the 2nd rd. Like Quinn, he is still a guy you should be able to get at a good value in first year player drafts.

Ronnie Dawson HOU, OF – I had Dawson pegged as one of the better power/speed combo sleepers in the draft, and he has displayed those skills in pro ball, slashing .360/.385/.560 with 1 homer and 2 steals this week. That gives him a season slash line of .237/.363/.388 with 7 homers and 12 steals in 63 games at Low-A. The hit tool has lagged behind, but you should be able to grab him very late in drafts.

Alec Hansen CHW, RHP – Got roughed up a bit in his first start out of Rookie ball at Single-A, going 5 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BB, 6 K. Ralph Lifshitz and I discussed on Episode 4 of the Razzball Prospect Podcast just how much we should trust his dominant rookie ball numbers, so this start wasn’t exactly encouraging in that regard.

Jason Groome BOS, LHP – Groome began his professional career this week, going 4 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 8 K over two starts. He throws an already plus 12-6 curve which he has good command over, to go along with a low 90’s heater. He has the upside to be worthy of a top pick in a first year player draft, but I still prefer the safety and proximity to the majors of the top college players from the class.

Tom Murphy COL, C – Murphy’s assault on the PCL continued, slashing .444/.444/.889 with 2 homers this week. I ranked him 4th in my pre-season Dynasty League Prospect Sleepers article, which also featured Trevor Story, Josh Hader, Willie Calhoun, Tyler O’Neill, Derek Fisher, Harrison Bader and Bobby Bradley, among others. Not bad, if I say so myself.

Derek Fisher HOU, OF – Has come alive in Triple-A recently, bringing his OPS up to a very respectable .752. He has has also cut down on his K’s, striking out “only” 21% of the time.

Bobby Bradley CLE, 1B – Has consistently mashed all season in a pitcher’s park, and tacked on 3 more homers this week … ho hum.

Eloy Jimenez CHC, OF – Putting the finishing touches on his breakout season, cracking two more homers. The hype machine will be working overtime for this kid all off-season.

Kyle Tucker HOU, OF – Launched his first homer at High-A this week, and has impressively been nonplussed by the advanced competition at only 19 years old, slashing .297/.409/.514. Pretty sure that is the first time I have ever written “nonplussed” in my life.

Dylan Davis SF, OF – Homered in 3 straight games this week to give him 26 on the season. I doubt he will keep up the .294 average in Double-A, but the power isn’t going anywhere.

Jose De Leon LAD, RHP – Only in baseball do teams consistently not play their best players in order to finagle things like their 40-man roster, team control rules, arbitration etc … But Jose of Leon’s recent performance is not making it easy on Los Angeles, going 14.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BB, 23 K in 2 starts this week. If LA ever decides to give him a shot, I would give him a shot on your fantasy team too.

Tyler Glasnow PIT, RHP – Don’t forget about Glasnow. He is on the comeback trail returning from a “minor” shoulder injury, and could rejoin Pittsburgh’s rotation sometime in the next week or two. His control has been off (even more off) since returning, but his stuff has looked great and I would still roll with him down the stretch if you need K’s.

Lewis Brinson MIL, OF – Brinson’s “down year” is quickly not looking all that down. He exploded with 3 more homers this week, including 2 in one game, and his season line now stands at a solid .265/.303/.468 with 15 homers and 17 steals in 98 games.

Jesse Winker CIN, OF – Wrist injuries have completely sapped Winker’s power this year (3 homers), but he has continued to display his elite plate approach and hit tool (.303/.392/.382 with a 54/52 K/BB). I’m still betting on the power coming when he gets completely healthy.

Michael Kopech BOS, RHP – 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 BB, 10 K. As excited as I am about his 14.2 K/9 and 100 MPH fastball, I am equally as worried that Tommy John surgery is right around the corner. That is just the life of a flame throwing youngster.

Triston McKenzie CLE, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 9 K. Doesn’t throw 100 MPH but is still putting up the eye popping K numbers (13 K/9).

Dylan Cease CHC, RHP – The hard throwing Cease continues to rack up K’s, striking out 7 batters in 4 IP this week, which comes off an 8 K in 3.2 IP outing last week. He should certainly start to crack top 100’s this off-season.

Kolby Allard ATL, LHP/Brady Aiken CLE, LHP – There seems to be a split over which lefty phenom is the better prospect. Allard went 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BB, 9 K this week at Single-A, while Aiken slung 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 5 K at Low-A, which is his third consecutive start with a basically identical line. I still prefer Allard, but Aiken’s recent surge as he gets further away from Tommy John surgery certainly has him catching up.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 20

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 20:

Tom Murphy COL, C – Strikeout problems? What strikeout problems? Murphy has a 16/9 K/BB in his last 31 games, and only 4 K’s in 14 August games. The power has been just fine too, swatting 10 bombs over that 31 game span. Not only is his stock in Dynasty Leagues on the rise, but he can make a serious impact on re-draft leagues in September.

Gary Sanchez NYY, C – Talk about a catcher making a serious impact on fantasy leagues, Sanchez crushed 4 more bombs this week. With Sanchez and Willson Contreras already making their mark in the majors, and Murphy not far behind, fantasy catcher production is going to get a major boost next season.

Yermin Mercedes BAL, C – If you are looking for a deep league catcher sleeper, Yermin Mercedes is one to keep your eye on. And I guarantee it will be the cheapest Mercedes you will ever buy. Mercedes was an Independent League find by Baltimore in 2014 after he absolutely destroyed the league as a 21-year-old, crushing 17 bombs and hitting .380 in 60 games. He had a solid debut season with Baltimore last year, but be has really broken out this season, slashing .337/.402/.571 with 19 homers and a 78/43 K/B in 109 games split between Single-A and High-A. He is old for the level at 23 years old, but a lot of that has to do with the unique circumstances of his career, and he has hit well at every league he has played in since 18 years old. The power is also definitely very real, as he is built like a little pit bull, and has plenty of bat speed. He might not stick at catcher, especially with Baltimore, but he is a deep sleeper bat to watch at any position. 

Lucas Giolito WASH, RHP – It’s about damn time Giolito had a statement game like this, going 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BB, 10 K. Even with all of the consternation surrounding him this year, he still has a pitching line of 3.22/1.36/109 in 106.1 IP.

Josh Hader MIL, LHP – Hader had a statement game of his own last night, going 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BB, 12 K. Surprisingly, this is his first double-digit K game of the season, but it just goes to show how consistent he has been all year maintaining an 11.6 K/9.

Jose De Leon LAD, RHP – Continues to impress in the PCL, spinning 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BB, 10 K. Dodger Stadium will be the perfect park for his fly ball tendencies.

A.J. Puk OAK, LHP – 5 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BB, 5 K. Control was the major question with Puk coming into the draft, and he has done everything he could in pro ball to answer those questions with a 32/6 K/BB in 25 IP at Low-A. Keep in mind that Low-A (or more accurately named short-season A ball) is a glorified Rookie Ball league, so I would take these numbers with a grain of salt.

Willie Calhoun LAD, 2B – Speaking of grains of salt, the too small to be good Calhoun just keeps ripping it up, knocking 2 more dingers this week to give him 27 on the year.

Brendan Rodgers COL, SS – The #3 ranked prospect in my mid-season top 100, Rodgers exploded for 4 homers this week, giving him 19 on the season in 103 games. I ranked him one spot ahead of Alex Bregman, who has started to turn it on himself this week, knocking his first 3 homers of his MLB career.

Dansby Swanson ATL, SS – On Ep. 3 of the Razzball Prospect Podcast, Ralph Lifshitz and I talk about our modest expectations for Swanson in fantasy (.250/.294/.313 in 17 MLB PA’s), and also talk about some of the other buzzy prospect names of the week. We finish the show with a Milwaukee Brewers’s top 10 fantasy prospects ranking in honor of our first ever guest, JB Gilpin.

Joey Gallo TEX, 3B/1B – 3 more dingers and 14 more strikeouts. His improved K rate has slowly deteriorated as the season has progressed, but I’m still betting on his unrivaled power.

Alen Hanson PIT, 2B/3B/OF – .309/.374/.495 with 3 homers and 7 steals in the last month. Pitt has him starting all over the field (2B/3B/OF), so it certainly looks like they are preparing him for a utility role, at least for September. I still like Hanson for fantasy, but he is more of a sleeper at this point who is going to have to earn playing time in the majors, as opposed to a guy who gets a starting job with some leash right out of the gate.

Josh Ockimey BOS, 1B – Has fallen into a deep slump, slashing .136/.313/.212 in his last 20 games. Not exactly the lasting mark you want to leave on your breakout season.

Mitch Keller PIT, RHP – Threw his third shutout in a row this week, going 18 IP, 0 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BB, 21 K over that span. He doesn’t have lockdown #1 starter stuff, but his control is impressive, walking a grand total of 16 batters in 119.1 IP.

Jacob Faria TB, RHP – Had his first 0 BB game in Triple-A, going 7 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 8 K. He hasn’t had the best statistical season, but he has kept the K’s up all the year, and he might even earn a spot MLB start or two in September.

Grant Holmes LAD, RHP – First 4 starts with Oakland have been a disaster, going a combined 19 IP, 19 ER, 36 Hits, 4 BB, 11 K. I wouldn’t be too worried as he is establishing new highs in IP, but it does bring up the concern of if these stud pitching prospects can maintain their stuff for 180+ IP. You can’t really know for sure until they do it.

Wladimir Galindo CHC, 3B – The 6’3’’, 210-pound Galindo was a top prospect from the 2013 international signing period who was known for his raw power. And that raw power has continued to develop this year, knocking 8 homers in 54 games at Low-A as a 19-year-old. He is still raw, as evidenced by his 29.6% K rate, but his potential to become a fantasy beast is obvious.   

Tommy Edman STL, SS/2B – Like clockwork, St. Louis has another mid-round draft pick (6th rd pick this year) who has immediately excelled in pro ball. Edman is slashing .305/.416/.473 with 4 homers, 5 triples, 12 doubles, and 14 steals in 52 games at Low-A. He has elite contact skills, putting up a 22/37 K/BB, which backs up his 57/76 career K/BB in 168 games as a 3-year starter at Stanford. His upside isn’t sky high, and he may top out as a utility infielder, but I know better than to bet against St. Louis draft picks.

Ryne Birk HOU, 2B – It’s no wonder Birk got no respect coming into the draft this year (13th rd pick) being a small 2B and all, but he put up very solid numbers in the SEC, slashing .310/.378/.478 with 7 homers and 8 steals (he hit 10 homers his Sophomore year), and is now carrying that success over to pro ball (.293/.385/.455 with 4 homers and 5 steals). Like Edman, his best skill is his plus hit tool (16/21 K/BB in 43 games split between Low-A and Single-A) and as you know from his college stats, there is some pop in his bat too. Even though he was picked 7 rounds later, I might actually prefer Birk to Edman, although I like them both.

Harol Gonzalez NYM, RHP – Gonzalez leads the NYPL (short season A ball) in K’s, putting up the lights out pitching line of 1.72/0.93/77 in 68 IP. He is a small righty, and doesn’t have a big fastball (88-94 MPH), but he already has a great feel for pitching, using two different plus changeups, to go along with solid command, and a developing curve to lay waste to Low-A hitters. If he fills out a little more and tacks some extra velocity on his heater, the Mets could have themselves another fast rising pitching prospect.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 19

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 19:

Raul Mondesi Jr. KC, SS/Orlando Arcia MIL, SS – They can’t all be Francisco Lindor, a light hitting shortstop in the minors who ripped it up immediately upon stepping foot in the majors (and hasn’t stopped ripping it up). Mondesi and Arcia have both predictably struggled since being called up, slashing .196/.211/.250 and .184/.259/.245, respectively. If I was going to put my money on one guy to be the next Lindor, it would be J.P. Crawford, but I wouldn’t bet on that either.

Francisco Mejia CLE, C – The hit streak is over at 50! But it was really kinda already over at 49 after the umps gifted Mejia a hit on Saturday night by overturning a correctly called error after the game had already ended. Hit streak or no hit streak, it doesn’t change the fact that Mejia has exploded onto the prospect map, and might have the best hit tool of any catcher in the minors.

Willie Calhoun LAD, 2B – Big Willie Style (yes, I actually owned that CD back in the day) launched 2 homers last night, and continues to add to his cult-like status in the fantasy prospect world. I can’t wait for him to actually get the call to the bigs, hopefully sometime next season.

Lucas Giolito WASH, RHP – The inconsistent Giolito looked good this week, going 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 5 K. He isn’t exactly Stephen Strasburg’ing his way to the Majors, but not many do.

Ian Anderson ATL, RHP – Promoted from Rookie ball to Rookie ball, but the better Rookie ball, and looked good over 3.2 IP. Here is an excellent scouting report from Kyle Glaser over at Baseball America on the start.

Michael Kopech BOS, RHP – Exploded this week, going 5 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BB, 11 K. His only plus pitch is his fastball right now, but damn is it a plus pitch, carrying him to 60 K’s in 38.1 IP.

Kyle Lewis SEA, OF – If you want to know why Lewis’ knee injury scares me so much, just watch this video he posted on Twitter of some of his early rehab work. I’m far from a doctor, so feel free to ignore my concerns, although I have been known to be one helluva internet diagnostician.

Corey Ray MIL, OF – Showing a pulse at High-A, hitting 2 homers and stealing 2 bases this week. The power/speed combo isn’t going anywhere, but the hit tool still needs improvement.

Aaron Judge NYY, OF/Gary Sanchez NYY, C – Judge and Sanchez both knocked their 2nd career Major League homer last night. I don’t own these guys in any fantasy leagues, unfortunately, but I’m just excited as a Yankees fan. I know it’s hard to believe, but watching declining veterans chug their way to 80 something wins isn’t very exciting.

Kolby Allard ATL, LHP/ Sean Newcomb ATL, LHP – Who is the best pitching prospect in Atlanta’s minor league system? Ralph held my feet to the fire on this question in Episode 2 of the Razzball Prospect Podcast (we also talked about the Gourriel brothers and swapped childhood WWF stories), and I stuck to my guns and went with Allard. He rewarded my faith with a gem of a performance this week, going 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BB, 9 K. Newcomb is his biggest competition, and he had his 3rd dominant outing in a row, going 17.2 IP, 2 ER, 10 hits, 6 BB, 25 K over that span. The 23-year-old Newcomb is much closer to the majors, but the 19-year-old Allard already has better control and command.

Derek Fisher HOU, OF – Promoted to Triple-A and smacked 2 homers with 8 K’s in 6 games. The power/speed combo looks great, but his already weak hit tool has regressed this year, striking out 29% of the time.

Raimel Tapia COL, OF – Promoted to Triple-A and hasn’t missed a beat, slashing .444/.464/.741. He has quieted a lot of the doubters by not only thriving in the upper levels of the minors, but also drastically cutting his K%.

Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – 3 more homers this week, giving him 29 on the season in a pitcher’s park. He is never going to hit for average, but he is a sure bet to stick at 3B, and there doesn’t look to be a doubt that his power will play in Oakland Coliseum.

Travis Demeritte ATL, 2B – Finally got on the board for his new team, knocking out 2 homers in one game. That gives him a .218/.394/.473 triple-slash in 16 games outside of the High Desert.

Jake Junis KC, RHP – His name makes him sound like a talented but troubled musician who died too young, but he is really just a boring future number 3/4 starter. I mentioned him way back in Week 9, and he has continued to pitch well, going 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 7 K in his first start at Triple-A. If you are in a deep league and are looking for a “safe” starter, it is time to scoop Junis.

Thomas Szapucki NYM, LHP/ Yohander Mendez TEX, LHP – I know I can’t stop writing about these guys, but they keep putting up notable performances that continue to back up their breakout seasons. Szapucki threw up another double-digit K outing in 5.1 IP, albeit giving up 4 ER in the process, and Mendez threw his third straight shutout in the PCL (one of which came in July), giving up only 1 hit and striking out 6.

Austin Riley ATL, 3B – The hype has cooled dramatically since being a favorite off-season sleeper of many, but he has quietly put together a very respectable season as a 19-year-old in Single-A. He knocked 4 homers this week, and now has 14 homers and a .749 OPS on the season.

Erick Fedde WASH, RHP – Impressed in his first start at Double-A, going 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BB, 3 K. He still needs to develop a third pitch, but he’s dominating the minor leagues right now with the two plus pitches he does have (fastball/slider).

Erik Swanson NYY, RHP – 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 9 K as a 22-year-old in Single-A. I know the Yanks just got their hands on this guy a few weeks ago, but I think it’s time to move him up a level.

Yusniel Diaz LAD, OF – The talented Diaz is starting to turn it back on, hitting 3 homers in his last 7 games, including one last night. He is only 19 years old in High-A, so the .272/.338/.420 slash line really doesn’t look all that bad.

Dylan Davis SF, OF –  Surprise, surprise … San Francisco looks to have themselves another underrated prospect who can be the next in a long line to “come out of nowhere” and become a legit contributor to the big league club. Davis clubbed homers in back-to-back-to-back games this week, giving him 20 homers, to go along with a strong 97/45 K/BB in 107 games. He was a 3rd round pick in the 2014 draft, which seems to be the area where the good drafting teams do their best work. He just turned 23 years old and has done most of his damage in High-A, but the plus raw power and plus bat speed are for real. Don’t expect a star, especially at AT&T park, but he definitely has a shot at being a legitimate power hitting corner outfielder.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 18

Every Monday (or Tuesday in this case), 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 18:

David Dahl COL, OF/Alex Bregman HOU, 3B/SS – The Bizzaro World version of Byron Buxton and Corey Seager. This time, the toolsy outfielder with some K problems is thriving (Dahl: .382/.404/.600), while the more contact oriented infielder is struggling (Bregman: .135/.196/.173). Just goes to show that every prospect, regardless of their profile, has risk, especially in their MLB debut.

Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – Senzel is answering questions about his power potential, smashing homers in back-to-back-to-back games this week. That gives him 6 homers and 15 steals in 45 games on the season. With Kyle Lewis’ knee injury, and Ray struggling at High-A, it is hard to argue for anyone but Senzel as the top pick in first year player drafts, although you know I’ll try 🙂

Lewis Brinson MIL, OF – My top rated prospect traded at the deadline, Brinson is making a good first impression with his new team, slashing .448/.448/.690 with 1 homer and 3 steals in 7 games at Triple-A. My prospector in crime, and co-host of the first ever Razzball Prospect Podcast, Ralph Lifshitz, disagrees, and thinks Clint Frazier is #1. Along with ranking the top 20 prospects traded at the deadline, we also discussed some of the recent studs called up to the majors. And oh yea, I’m now contractually obligated to mention that this blurb was brought to you by Flo from Progressive, Verizon Fios, and Omaha Steaks.

Kyle Tucker HOU, OF – Having a late season power surge, doubling his season homer total by smoking 3 of them this week. That gives him 6 on the season for all you Communications/English majors out there.

Justus Sheffield NYY, LHP – Seriously impressed in his first start for New York at High-A, going 6 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 11 K. It was the most K’s he had in a game this season, and just his 2nd double digit K game.

Alex Reyes STL, RHP – The PCL has not been kind to Reyes, but he flashed his massive upside on Saturday night, going 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BB, 8 K. His numbers on the season aren’t pretty, but his stuff still is.

Brad Zimmer CLE, OF – Cleveland may have traded their #1 real life prospect, but they hung on to their top rated fantasy prospect in my mid-season top 100. Since being promoted to Triple-A, Zimmer is slashing .327/.431/.429, with 1 homer, 2 steals, and a 16/9 K/BB in 13 games. That gives him 15 homers and 35 steals on the season.

Bobby Bradley CLE, 1B – Another Cleveland prospect who I ranked over Frazier for fantasy, Bradley crushed 3 homers since the calendar turned to August, giving him 22 on the season. Now that I’m thinking about it, the Yanks passed on Jimenez (#43) for Torres (#63), and presumably passed on Zimmer (#17) for Frazier (#38). Yes, fantasy is different than real life, but I really hope the Yanks picked the right prospects.

Kolby Allard ATL, LHP – These next 4 pitching prospects are some of my favorites in the entire minor leagues. Allard went 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 11 K in a dominating performance as an 18-year-old in Single-A. Considering this is basically his rehab year after back surgery, his stock is back on the rise.

Thomas Szapucki NYM, LHP – I told you to pick up Szapucki last week, and he rewarded you with a 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hit, 4 BB, 11 K gem of a performance. Well, it wouldn’t have rewarded your fantasy team, but it always feels good when your prospects are dominating.

Yohander Mendez TEX, LHP – Called up to Triple-A this week and threw 5 shutout innings as he continues to build on his breakout season.

Yadier Alvarez LAD, RHP – 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 7 K. Stat line speaks for itself.

Aaron Judge NYY, OF – Yesterday, I gave you this video of Judge hitting a beastly Grand Slam off Reynaldo Lopez on Sunday Night as a mea culpa for being one day late with the Rundown. I also gave you an apology courtesy of Larry David for the minor inconvenience it may have caused you. And if the Grand Slam didn’t give it away, Judge has looked no worse for wear since returning from a knee injury, slashing .318/.375/.545 in 6 games.

Ronald Guzman TEX, 1B – Called up to Triple-A and homered in his first game at the level. Then proceeded to get 2 singles in his next 17 at-bats.

Dylan Cozens PHI, OF – 5 homers in 2 games this week. It’s kinda funny that it doesn’t matter what Cozens does in Reading, everyone will still be skeptical. I haven’t heard one person say they are really buying in. The universal agreement actually worries me a bit. Maybe we all can’t see what is right in front of our faces.

Isan Diaz MIL, 2B – Showing no signs of slowing down, cracking 3 homers this week to give him 18 on the season. He will start to get some respect on top 100’s this off-season, but his small second baseman status will still inevitably keep him underrated.

Francis Martes HOU, RHP – Just as exciting and upsidey as my favorite pitching prospects I mentioned above, Martes went 13.1 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BB, 19 K in his 2 starts this week. I really don’t have a good explanation for why he isn’t one of my favorites.

Renato Nunez OAK, 3B – Nunez went into a deep mid-season funk, be he has started to come out of it, hitting 6 homers in his last 17 games, and is slashing .348/.400/.783 this week. His overall slash line isn’t impressive, but he has 19 homers on the year, and I still really like his swing and natural feel for hitting.

Chase Vallot KC, C – A little rusty after returning from a few freak injuries, but he is starting to heat up again, cracking homers in back-to-back games. He is the epitome of the bat speed/power/strikeout sleepers that I love, and he has a puncher’s chance of sticking at catcher.

Edwin Rios LAD, 1B – 2 homers this week and his 3rd in 9 games at Double-A. The more the power shows up away from Rancho Cucamongo and the Cal League, the better he looks.

Triston McKenzie CLE, RHP – I actually like this next group of pitching prospects a lot too. McKenzie got promoted to Single-A this week, and struck out 11 batters with 0 walks over 5 IP, albeit with a homer and 3 ER. He looks like a lock to sit comfortably within most top 100’s this off-season.

Mitch Keller PIT, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BB, 9 K. He had struggled in his previous 3 starts, so having one of his best starts of the season this week was encouraging.

Luke Weaver STL, RHP – Promoted to Triple-A (PCL) last night and went 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BB, 4 K. He has given up more than 2 ER in only one start this season.

Max Wotell CIN, LHP/Lucius Fox TB, SS/Erik Swanson NYY, RHP – Wrote a deep sleeper post for these guys on Thursday when technical difficulties delayed the release of our Razzball Prospect Podcast. We talked about them on the podcast too. I don’t think there is any corner of the internet that has hyped up these guys in the last week more than we have.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)