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)

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)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 17

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 17:

Thomas Szapucki NYM, LHP – There is no time for jokes, pick up Szapucki right now. The hard throwing lefty went 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 10 K last night in his second start at Low-A. He has an almost side-arm delivery which he slings a plus fastball and curveball with. I would have led with all the traded prospect stuff, but honestly, none of their values changed all that much in the fantasy baseball world, while Szapucki’s stock is shooting straight up. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is legitimately one of the best pitching prospects in baseball by this time next year.

Clint Frazier NYY, OF/Justus Sheffield NYY, LHP – Ok, now please allow me to wax poetic about the job Brian Cashman and the Yankees have done at the trade deadline. On second thought, I can’t seem to find any wax or poetry books in my apartment, so I’ll just praise them on a job well done. Well done, fellas! You turned a guy you signed for 4 years, $36 million into a prospect haul that is usually reserved for the top aces in baseball. Last thing left to do is force Frazier to cut all of his hair off in the name of your ancient hair grooming policy.

Travis Demeritte ATL, 2B – After beefing up their pitching prospect ranks to obese proportions, Atlanta is finally focusing on the other side of the baseball, absolutely stealing Demeritte away from Texas. Albies already has the inside track on the 2B job, so expect Demeritte to eventually be moved to 3B or OF.

Chris Okey CIN, C – 2 more homers this week, giving him 6 on the season in 30 games. He is a sure bet to stick at catcher, and is definitely rising up my first year player draft board right now. To hear more of my thoughts on which first year players are rising and falling, check out Episode 2 of the final Fantasy Gold Rush Podcast that I co-host with Razzball’s Ralph Lifshitz. It’s not really the final one, but we are moving it over to Razzball (moved to Thursday, as well) where it will be rebranded, and it will be the final one without commercials. Yup, we sold out already. We will also be on Blog Talk Radio now. Big thanks to Grey for helping us get more exposure, and JB for helping us from the get go on the technical side of things.

Andrew Benintendi BOS, OF – Benintendi has been quiet of late, but he exploded at Double-A this week, crushing 2 homers last night to cap off a week where he slashed .500/.545/.950. His OPS is now up to .875 at the level.

A.J. Reed HOU, 1B – On fire since returning to Triple-A, collecting 14 hits and 2 homers in 9 games. Don’t let his brief MLB struggles scare you off quite yet.

Eloy Jimenez CHC, OF – 15 hits and 2 dingers over 6 games this week. I hope the Yanks don’t end up regretting passing on this guy for Gleybor Torres instead.

Christin Stewart DET, OF – Inexplicably still at High-A, and is explicably still raking at the level, crushing 2 more homers to give him 23 on the season. It’s time to get him a taste of Double-A this year before it is too late.

Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – The homers keep coming, with 2 more this week (24 on the season), while the K’s are improving, striking out only 3 times and putting up a 26/13 K/BB in the last 25 games.

Francis Martes HOU, RHP – 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 BB, 9 K at Double-A this week. The rapid ascent to the majors many thought was possible this past off-season obviously didn’t happen, but he has maintained his nasty stuff all season, and it is starts like this from the 20-year-old Martes that really gets you excited.

Yohander Mendez TEX, LHP – 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BB, 6 K. Mendez continues to prove his breakout season is for real, even as the innings pile up (84.2 IP).

Anthony Alford TOR, OF – Slashed .391/.500/.870 with 1 homer and 1 steal this week, and now has a .938 OPS with 3 homers and 7 steals in the last month. It looks like he is finally shaking off those early season injuries (knee, concussion).

Will Craig PIT, 3B – Is still not hitting for much power (.117 ISO) but is showing off his advanced plate approach with a 14.4% K rate and 15.8% BB rate. I have no doubt that the power will come, so this is turning into a very encouraging start for Craig in pro ball.

Heath Quinn SF, OF – Exhibit A of why I think 75% of the teams in baseball have no idea what they are doing when it comes to the Amateur Draft. San Francisco somehow stole Quinn with the 95th overall pick (I ranked him the 14th overall prospect in my pre-draft fantasy rankings), and he is now slashing .341/.431/.537 with 4 homers in 33 games. If you ever wonder how some teams (St. Louis, Houston, San Fran, and now Los Angeles too) seem to just constantly churn out good players from their system, it’s because so many teams are clueless on how to draft properly.

Bryan Reynolds SF, OF – Speaking of San Francisco draft steals, they got another one with Reynolds at 59th overall. He is slashing .296/.373/.480 with 3 homers and 2 steals in 26 games at Low-A.

Ian Anderson ATL, RHP – The 3rd pick in the draft has impressed in the early going, putting up a line of 15 IP, 0 ER, 11 Hits, 4 BB, 14 K in 4 starts. I liked him a lot coming into the draft, and he will probably rise in my top 100 in the off-season.

Luke Weaver STL, RHP – Continued his dominance this week by going 8 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 8 K. Weaver is another pitcher who will be rising up the ranks in the off-season.

Erick Fedde WASH, RHP – 11.2 IP, 1 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BB, 14 K in his two starts this week as he just keeps on dominating the further away he gets from Tommy John surgery. Tack him on to the already strong stable of arms Washington has down in the minors.

Edwin Rios LAD, 1B – I broke Rios down in my Week 15 Rundown, and he has smoked 4 more homers since then. He got promoted to Double-A this week and cranked his first homer at the level last night. I told you to at least keep an eye on Rios in week 15, but it might be time to actually pick him up now.

Isan Diaz MIL, 2B – Diaz has been smoking hot the last two months, and he was starting to get some helium in the prospect world. I piled on the hype train last Friday too when I wrote a Isan Diaz, 2016 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Sleeper/Breakout post for him.

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

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 16

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 16:

Alex Bregman HOU, SS/3B/OF/David Dahl COL, OF/Braden Shipley ARI, RHP – One of these things is not like the other, but all are getting the call to the big leagues. I would pick up Bregman and Dahl in leagues of all sizes, they have been raking all season. Shipley I would touch only in deeper leagues. He has put up mediocre stats in the PCL (5.8 K/9), but there is more K upside in there than he has displayed this year.

Josh Hader MIL, LHP – 6 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BB, 6 K in his start this week as he tries to right the ship coming off rocky outings in his previous two starts. Fighting through some adversity can actually help him in the long run, especially since there is a clear and obvious reason for it, Colorado Springs and the PCL. Don’t go panic selling Hader for some mediocre return.

Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – Showed off his homerun power cracking 2 of them this week. He still has only 2 homers in 30 games, but any adjustment to unlock more game power was unlikely to come this year anyway. My co-host, Ralph Lifshitz from Razzball.com, and I will be bullshitting about Senzel and many more of the MLB Draft prospects in Episode 2 of our new podcast, Fantasy Gold Rush, which should drop sometime tomorrow. You can now find our Pilot and all future episodes on iTunes.

Willie Calhoun LAD, 2B – The year of Willie continues! Smashed 5 more homers, giving him 22 on the season. Just keep working on that 2B defense.

Tom Murphy COL, C – 1 homer and 3 walks in 5 games this week. 3 BB! Those 3 walks were over 50% of his BB total on the season up to that point.

Paul DeJong STL, 3B – I wrote about DeJong way back in week 5, and he has kept hitting for power since then. He hit 2 more dingers this week, giving him 18 on the season in Double-A. His 110/28 K/BB needs improvement, but his first full season of pro-ball has been a smashing success.

Jose De Leon LAD, RHP – 8 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BB, 10 K and now has 29 K’s in his last 3 starts in the PCL. His early season injury and lack of big fastball or nasty breaking pitch has kept the hype in check, but I think his fastball/changeup combo is going to play on the next level.

Raul Mondesi Jr. KC, SS – After questioning KC’s developmental strategy with Mondesi last week, he has gone on an absolute tear, collecting 11 hits with a homer and 5 steals at Triple-A. KC is like the parents who throw their kid in the deep end of the pool in order to teach him how to swim.

Kyle Tucker HOU, OF – Is it too early to have mid-season top 100 prospect risers and fallers? Because Tucker has been underwhelming since generating tons of hype on mid-season lists everywhere. He has 9 K’s in his last 9 games and hasn’t had an extra base hit since July 7. He is still super talented, but there is a long way to go for the 19-year-old.

Phil Bickford SFG, RHP – Another player whose wheels came off after getting mid-season list helium. His velocity is down and he had a poor showing at the national showcase Futures Game. I mentioned the added risk with Bickford due to his high-effort delivery in my Top 10 Fantasy Breakouts post last month, and that risk looks like it is rearing its ugly head already. Rumor has it that San Francisco is also making him very available in trades, so leaving AT&T park can be another big blow to his fantasy value.

Chris Shaw SFG, 1B – Has seriously struggled since being promoted to Double-A, slashing .188/.220/.294 in 21 games. Considering he already had a few obstacles to overcome by being a 1B only guy in a huge ballpark, the poor start at Double-A is concerning.

Bobby Bradley CLE, 1B – Smoked 3 more homers this week and continues to play exactly as advertised this season.

Kolby Allard ATL, LHP – Returned to full season ball this week, and didn’t disappoint by going 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 4 K.

Rafael Devers BOS, 3B – The hot streak continues, hitting 2 more bombs. After the slow start, he has now raised his triple-slash up to .271/.333/.432 with 7 homers and 10 steals in 91 games.

Christin Stewart DET, OF – Slashed .417/.500/.667 and clubbed his 21st homer of the season this week. Stewart is long overdue for a promotion to Double-A.

Yadier Alvarez LAD, RHP – 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 10 K in his first start in full season ball. If this guy is somehow still available in your Dynasty League (of any size) I would probably pick him up right now.

Ryan McMahon COL, 3B – Showing signs of life, slashing .429/.500/.879 with a homer this week and has a .859 OPS in the last month. His stock has certainly taken a hit this year, but he hasn’t gone bankrupt quite yet.

Anthony Alford TOR, OF – Another player trying to rise from the dead, Alford slashed .333/.462/.667 with 2 homers and 1 steal this week. Unlike McMahon, there are legitimate reasons for Alford’s disaster season (concussion, knee injury).

Triston McKenzie CLE, RHP – 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BB, 8 K and now has a pitching line of 0.48/1.04/42 in 37.2 IP. He looks like a string bean right now, but he can become a true beast once he starts adding muscle.

Rhys Hoskins PHI, 1B/Daniel Palka MIN, OF/Dylan Cozens PHI, OF – I’ll dedicate this last section to my main man Ralph, who is higher on all of these guys than I am. They are the top 3 in homeruns in the entire minor leagues right now, with 28, 25, and 25, respectively, but I have some questions about each one’s ultimate fantasy impact. If you can grab these guys on the cheap, then I definitely get chasing the power upside, but they aren’t players I would be buying in trades or drafting high in upcoming/off-season prospect drafts.

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

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 15

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 15:

Anderson Espinoza SD, RHP – “He’s in a better place now. He was sent to a great family out west where the sun shines year round and they have a big yard for him to play in.” – I know your parents told you this lie after your favorite pet died, but I promise you, I’m telling the truth when it comes to your favorite prospect.

Tom Murphy COL, C – Murphy’s been molten hot since I dropped him from #32 to #69 in my mid-season top 100 rankings, slashing .750/.759/1.571 with 5 homers in 7 games. Coincidence? … Yes, most likely.

Anfernee Grier ARI, OF – Hit .333 with a homer and 3 steals this week. I checked in on Grier and the rest of the top 30 2016 MLB Draft fantasy baseball prospects in my aptly named post, Checking in on the Top 30 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospects.

Lewis Brinson TEX, OF – 3 homers and 15 K’s in 11 games since returning to Double-A after a shoulder injury. I like this strikeout/power version of Brinson much better than the contact oriented slap hitter we saw earlier this year. Maybe the shoulder injury was preventing him from taking his usual big cuts, so he was just focusing on getting the bat on the ball.

Raul Mondesi Jr. KC, SS – Promoted to Triple-A last week for reasons that are unclear. Maybe it was a reward for his 50 game PED suspension, or the .243/.282/.432 with an 11/2 K/BB he put up in High-A upon his return. Either way, the 20-year-old Mondesi has unsurprisingly struggled in the early going, slashing .214/.241/.321. His raw talent is still elite, and we just have to trust that KC has a plan here, other than to just rush him to the majors due to his plus glove.

Jose Berrios MIN, RHP – Continues to make his case to get another shot at the majors, going 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BB, 9 K. I found it odd Minnesota gave him such a short leash the first time around, so I have no idea what their thought process is here.

Brent Honeywell TB, RHP – Promoted to Double-A this week and crushed it in his first two starts at the level, going 11.1 IP, 3 ER, 14 Hits, 1 BB, 11 K.

Tyler Jay MIN, LHP – Promoted to Double-A this week and got crushed in his first two starts at the level, going 10 IP, 8 ER, 10 Hits, 5 BB, 8 K.

Jose De Leon LAD, RHP – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BB, 10 K. He might not have the most dominating stuff, but his K upside in a pitcher’s park in the NL West is hard not to like.

Matt Thaiss LAA, 1B – Thaiss was one of the safer bats from the college class, hitting for elite contact with an advanced plate approach. Now he is flashing those exact same skills in his first 8 games at Single-A, slashing .313/.389/.469 with a 3/4 K/BB. It looks like he has been moved off the catcher position permanently, and he’s not going to hit 30 homers, but he could reach the bigs in a hurry and make a legitimate impact.

Zack Collins CHW, C – Collins has started to heat up after being promoted to High-A this week, jacking 2 homers with a 3/4 K/BB in 3 games. He has a real shot to stick at catcher, and after flip flopping on Collins and Will Craig during my multiple MLB Draft Fantasy Prospect Rankings iterations, I might be bumping Collins back ahead of Craig again.

Will Craig PIT, 3B – On the other hand, Craig knocked his first homer of the season last night, and his underlying numbers have been good all year, so maybe I should just hold tight.

Ronnie Dawson HOU, OF – Dawson is another college hitter who is starting to find his stroke in pro ball, cracking 3 homers this week, which gives him 4 homers and 7 steals in 26 games at Low-A.

Kolby Allard ATL, LHP – Continues to prove the back injury is behind him, dominating at Rookie ball in his 2 starts this week, spinning 12 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BB, 14 K. He has the potential to be one of the top pitching prospects in baseball by mid-season next year.

Yadier Alvarez LAD, RHP – 4 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 5 K. Notable for walking only 1, as he walked 9 in his previous 3 starts in 12.1 IP.

Ronald Guzman TEX, 1B – Even after his first half breakout this year, Guzman still hasn’t gotten much respect on mid-season lists. To prove the doubters wrong, he’s turned it up another notch this week by slamming 3 homers. It brings season line to .303/.365/.516 with 14 homers as a 21-year-old in Double-A.

Alex Verdugo LAD, OF – Added power to his already plus hit tool this year, tacking on 2 more homers this week, and is now slashing .299/.361/.464 with 11 homers and a 45/28 K/BB as a 20-year-old in Double-A.

Josh Ockimey BOS, 1B – 2 homers this week and 4 in his last 9 games. His average (.263) has dropped to a more appropriate level for his K rate (25.4%), but the power has been steady all season.

Travis Demeritte TEX, 2B – Homered in his last two games, to go along with 5 K’s. That gives him 22 homers and 116 K’s on the year.

Erick Fedde WASH, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 5 K. He hasn’t given up more than a single earned run in his last 7 starts. He dropped off my top 100 list in my mid-season update, but if he keeps this up he will pop right back on in the off-season.

Edwin Rios LAD, 1B/3B – Rios has a sweet lefty swing that is a bit on the long side, but is also quick and results in hard contact. He reminds me of Ryan O’Hearn on a few levels. He is slashing .315/.353/.615 with 19 homers in 67 games, and has been even better since being promoted to High-A, slashing .369/.393/.723 with 13 homers in 33 games. He was a 6th round pick in last year’s draft, and considering Willie Calhoun was a 4th rounder, it certainly looks like Andrew Friedman brought The Extra 2% over with him to Los Angeles from Tampa Bay. Rios can definitely hit, and should be on your radar at the very least.

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

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 14

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