The Arizona Fall League is a couple of weeks old now, so we’ll peek at a few of the highlights and lowlights. In a league with only six teams, there is a limited pool of players and we’ll have to take the small sample sizes with a grain of salt. There have been a few standout performances, and this league is a good way to get eyes on prospects returning from injuries or facing some tougher competition for the first time. One name from the AFL that has surfaced quite a bit this year is Reds’ outfielder Jesse Winker. Reports on Winker like his approach and power, with left field a likely destination when he reaches the bigs. Despite a concussion early in the season and a wrist injury that ended his season prematurely, the 21-year-old hit .327/.426/.580 with 13 homers in the hitter-friendly California League before a brief stint in Double-A. In 38 AFL at bats, Winker has two homers, two doubles, and a league-leading 13 runs batted in. He’s top 5 in average (.368), on-base percentage (.479), and slugging percentage (.632). I’m not totally on board the Winker train yet since he hasn’t seen much of Double-A, but I am at the station in line to buy a ticket. Here are some other noteworthy AFL prospect performances so far…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (29) | 2013 (23) | 2012 (25) | 2011 (30) | 2010 (14)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [82-80] NL Central
AAA: [77-67] Pacific Coast League – Nashville (2015: Colorado Springs)
AA: [77-63] Southern League – Huntsville
A+: [73-62] Florida State League – Brevard County
A: [72-67] Midwest League – Wisconsin
Jimmy Nelson, RHP
Heading into 2014, the Brewers checked in as the 29th ranked farm system according to Baseball America. This season was a step in the right direction though. The major league club looked like a playoff team for much of the first half before things fell apart in the second. Jimmy Nelson logged over 69 innings in the bigs and looks like a quality major league starter. Prospect Mitch Haniger was moved in the Gerardo Parra deal, but for the most part the farm stayed intact. With three picks in the top 50 of the June draft, the organization added a solid left-handed pitcher and two promising bats. This year saw a shake-up among minor league affiliates across all levels, and the Brewers were a part of that. Their AAA club is now Colorado Springs, formerly affiliated with the Rockies.
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (30) | 2013 (30) | 2012 (18) | 2011 (15) | 2010 (26)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [98-64] AL West
AAA: [60-84] Pacific Coast League – Salt Lake
AA: [75-65] Texas League – Arkansas
A+: [62-78] California League – Inland Empire
A: [68-71] Midwest League – Burlington
C.J. Cron, 1B | Cory Rasmus, RHP | Mike Morin, RHP | Matt Shoemaker, RHP
The Angels checked in at #30 in Baseball America’s organizational rankings for the second year in a row. A win now approach has left the farm in poor shape, and it got worse this past season when the organization sent Taylor Lindsey, R.J. Alvarez, and Jose Rondon to San Diego in exchange for Huston Street. What’s left is a pitching heavy top ten and very few impact prospects for fantasy purposes.
A Scottsdale Surprise might sound like something you’d find listed in the Urban Dictionary, but it’s really just the last two teams in our Arizona Fall League preview series. Some of the best prospects in baseball will be getting their extra reps in this fall. Each team in the majors is represented across the six Arizona Fall League teams and we’ve already covered a few of the fantasy relevant prospects on Mesa, Glendale, Salt River, and Peoria. You can follow the links at the end of this post to view those. Stats included are the cumulative stats for 2014 across all minor league levels. Strong farm systems like the Pirates and Red Sox are represented on the Scottsdale and Surprise rosters, so let’s take a look at some fantasy prospects from each to put a bow on this thing.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Arizona Fall League starts up next week and it gives us all a few more looks at some fantasy relevant prospects. Some players are getting in the extra reps for development, while others are making up for lost time due to injuries earlier in the season. Either way, all 30 MLB clubs are represented across six teams in the desert. This week we’ll take a peek at the big names on the Salt River Rafters and the Peoria Javelinas. Included with the blurbs are the combined stats for each player’s 2014 season regardless of minor league level. I’ll wrap up the AFL previews next week before we begin the 2015 team-by-team minor league countdown…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Prospect hounds looking for some action now that the minor league season is over can turn their attention towards the 2014 Arizona Fall League. The league is made up of six teams and each of those teams is affiliated with five major league clubs. MLB clubs will typically send prospects that need some more reps to refine their skills against different (sometimes tougher) competition. Other players on these rosters may have been injured at some point in the past season and need the extra game action to continue their rehab and development. The preliminary rosters have been released for each AFL squad and there are a bunch of fantasy relevant prospects for us to take a look at. For the next three weeks I’ll write up two teams and a few of the significant names from each, what their 2014 MiLB season looked like, and what we might expect from them in fantasy baseball going forward. Let’s get right to it with Mesa and Glendale…Please, blog, may I have some more?
After speculating who might get the call this September, we now know which prospects are getting their feet wet in the majors. More importantly, we can decide which ones may provide some fantasy value. Unlike hitter call-ups, pitchers sometimes change roles completely when they first break in. So an arm like Taijuan Walker – whom we all know is destined to be a starter – finds himself pitching out of the pen to help the Mariners in their playoff hunt. It’s not exactly Earth-shattering and it happens often, but it means we’re not going to be streaming a start from the likes of Walker or Andrew Heaney over these last two weeks, making them all but irrelevant in anything but the deepest of redraft leagues. Here – in no particular order – are the September pitcher call-ups with varying degrees of fantasy relevance for the rest of this season…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last week was about speculating which players might be getting the call this September and providing any kind of fantasy value in redraft leagues. With September now a week old, we have the names of the players who have indeed been added to rosters. With all of these call-ups, it’s important to remember that playing time could be sparse and their impact in a 12-team standard mixed league may be minimal. However, those of us who are playing in deeper leagues or keepers may have been rostering some of these players already. In that case their call-ups are more meaningful. They can add depth to the fantasy roster and sometimes it’s just fun to get a look at someone you’ve been hoarding in your NA spot or on your farm. Additionally, just because September 1st has come and gone doesn’t mean more players can’t be added as the month progresses and the MiLB playoffs come to an end. We’ll take a look at the pitchers next time, but for now let’s dive into some of the bats that got the call to the majors this past week…Please, blog, may I have some more?
September call-ups are almost upon us. Despite monster minor league numbers, it appears the Cubs are not going to add Kris Bryant to the roster. Bryant dominated in 2014, hitting an obscene .328/.438/.674 with 43 home runs, 114 runs, 102 RBIs and even 15 steals across two levels of the minors. I couldn’t hit that in Bases Loaded on my Nintendo. While the Cubs did promote Javier Baez and Jorge Soler to get their feet wet, they seem content to leave Bryant where he is whcih in turn makes him worthless to the prospect hounds in redraft fantasy leagues.
There are two sides to the situation. On one hand Bryant could be added to the roster which gives him some major league at bats and makes all of us fantasy owners very happy. On the other hand, the Cubs could give him the full year in the minors without having to drop anybody from their 40-man roster or start his clock. That clock is important, as Bryant being called up a month or two into next seeason could buy the Cubs another year of his services should he decide to become free agent when eligible. Bryant will be worth the wait, but that’s what we’ll have to do – wait. That leaves us to figure out who is worth a look this September. Assuming that the following players will all be called up, here are some of the names (along with their 2014 MiLB stats) that I think could help fantasy owners in redraft leagues this September…Please, blog, may I have some more?
The MiLB season is now heading into the playoffs, and we should have answers for everyone about who will or will not be called up when rosters expand by midweek. For those of you that spent yesterday drafting your fantasy football team, went to bed early last night, slept late this morning, or have just been hiding under a rock, we do have the answer to one of the most asked about players – Joc Pederson WILL be added to the Dodgers roster. I mentioned that I felt that they might make a move to get him on their playoff-eligible roster prior to the deadline so he’d be eligible for postseason competition just in case someone gets hurt. Don Mattingly went out of his way to explain that Joc won’t be thrown to the wolves and that they don’t intend to cut anyone’s playing time to get him ABs. That statement would seem to reflect my theory – that he’s simply being added as an “insurance policy”. (The news broke before Pederson became the first PCL player to record a 30/30 season in 80 years last night BTW.)
We can now also assume that Colorado won’t be calling Jonathon Gray up – he was placed on the MiLB DL yesterday with “general soreness” – GM-Speak for “he’s reached his innings limit” for those of you who aren’t bi-lingual.
Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 22 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top-50/Top-100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.
Disclaimer: The bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top-50/Top-100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.
(Keep checking in daily for information regarding our end-of-season Top 100 and Organizational Top-10 Lists that will be rolling out as the minor league season ends – those of you following me on Twitter will be notified there as well.)Please, blog, may I have some more?