Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

As any person over 6 feet will tell you, being tall is overrated. Your entire life comes with bigger expectations that due to your height you have the ability to do things smaller men can’t. Everything has to be bigger, stronger, and faster. It’s in this vein I introduce you to 6’8 Cuban import Michel Baez. Yes that is spelled correctly. While researching this post, trying to look under every rock for as much information as possible about the giant righty, I came across the comment section of MLB Trade Rumors from the day he signed. Let’s just say there are some gems. For example the guy who was really put off that a 6’8 pitcher didn’t throw 100, but a reported 93-97. You know, because control, command, fastball plane, and deception don’t matter at all. Only velocity!!! BTW is 96-97 not fast? Someone else wondered why the Padres gave him $3m, when he’s 6’8 and unknown. How can you miss a 6’8 guy? You know, because talented 5’10 guys never stick out on scouting trips. Scouts and prospectors only notice big shiny things. Okay, I’m getting off track here. Regardless of the opining of MLB Trade Rumor commenters, Baez did in fact fly under the radar. Turning out to be yet another diamond in the rough unearthed by my spirit animal A.J. Preller. How under the radar was Baez? So much so, that in the fall he didn’t appear in any of the international free agent rankings on MLB.com, Baseball America, or Fangraphs. Fast forward 9 months and many are saying Baez is a slam dunk for Top 100 lists going forward. Hell, he ranked #141 for me on my Top 200. A few weeks late I think I might have sold him short, then again he’s an A ball pitching prospect. Now let’s dig into Baez, and see if he might be the Top 100 guy many are touting.

As for Baez the player the he’s been impressive to say the least in his stateside debut, through 23 innings with the Padres A ball affiliate Fort Wayne he’s allowed 2 earned runs while striking out 33. This comes after just one start with San Diego’s rookie level Arizona League team, where he earned rave reviews from my favorite twitter follow Chris Kusiolek. The fastball has ticked up to 98 MPH with regularity and there’s talk of him hitting triple digits, I haven’t seen it myself. Obviously with that sort of size, there’s excellent downhill plane on the fastball, and some run too, meaning he should avoid the ills of a Giolito-Straight heater. He commands and controls it well too, consistently hitting his spots which is one of the bigger questions with any starter taller than 6’4. Bigger guys have more moving parts and typically have mechanical issues that they need to work through, think Tyler Glasnow. Fortunately it also means he’s built to eat innings, having gone at least 5 or more in every single one of his starts. Here’s some video from Baez’s last start where he blows one by Diamondbacks prospect Marcus Wilson.

The secondaries are where I have questions with Baez, I’ve seen a mid-80’s slider with some bite, but I’m not comfortable enough to label it anything but slightly above average. He does features a third pitch in a fringy changeup, but it’s an offering he needs to hone in order to make the leap from projectable hype-train to front of the rotation lock. If he doesn’t develop the change, we might be sliding into the dreaded “pen-arm” territory, but that tends to exist with any starter that lacks a deep arsenal of offerings.

In closing Baez looks to be a top prospect arm on the rise. One, who depending on how the next year goes could wind up a top 50 prospect rather easily. Look at how quickly an arm like Sixto Sanchez shot to the top of the heap in the best pitching prospect in baseball conversation. For right now Baez is a great buy, and if you’re in a league where he’s available and are looking for an arm, he’d be one of the first I’d add. Just in case you’re wondering I put my money where my mouth is too. Making Baez my highest auction bid to date in the Razzball 30 teamer, Razz30, dropping $30 of my $200 for FAAB.

 

Follow me on Twitter @Ralphlifshitzbb, and check out my weekly Live Baseball Show on Fantrax YouTube channel Tuesday’s at 9 PM EST

Going to a minor league game? Lend a hand to our crowd sourced scouting project. Simply take a quick 30 second video of an at bat and email it to me at [email protected]

   
  1. Steve says:
    (link)

    Thanks Ralph, do you see Honeywell getting called up near the trade deadline? Any insight on why they haven’t called him up already?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Steve: It’s the Rays and they have to be more cost control conscious. I’m not sure with Honeywell, my guess is unless they’re in the race come late August he won’t be up, but as I always say injuries happen. In fact the best ETA on most of these guys is when the MLB player at their position is injured.

  2. El Famous Burrito says:
    (link)

    Forget all that shit, Jordan Luplow is getting called up!

    Which may be French for “The Plow”

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @El Famous Burrito: Hahahahaha I like me some Luplow. Good approach, and he had a nice power break this year.

      • El Famous Burrito says:
        (link)

        @Ralph Lifshitz: I mock, but yeah I added Luplow after he appeared on yours and Halp’s list. He was unowned in just about every league.

        And now, he’s a real player! That’s the power of Razzball baby!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
          (link)

          @El Famous Burrito: The Power Of Razz (sang like Huey Lewis)

  3. Mike L says:
    (link)

    Playing for next year. Gonna roll with your advice and let Giolito go. Who do you take…Beuhler, Honeywell, or Allard?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Mike L: Honeywell, I think Buehler has the highest upside, but there is some durability concerns for me still.

  4. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
    (link)

    Nice job on the pod this week! Really enjoyed the Devers look. Speaking of . . .

    Trying to crowdsource a FAAB bid for Devers in my 12 team keep-7 league (+$3 inflation, $100 FAAB). Average is very valuable this year in the league, so I’d love to place a bid that should get me Devers, but still make him an attractive keeper next year with the inflation.

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: I say between 10-13? What do players like him typically go for in this league?

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
        (link)

        @Ralph Lifshitz: Yeah I have $11 penciled in right now. Last year Bennetendi went for $9, Bregman went for $12 (he was at the peak of the hype train at the time). This year Alonso went for $6 after that monster multi-HR weekend he had leading into FAAB bidding, LoMo went for $8 after a similar period, Kendrys Morales was dropped and picked up at $5. Aside from Bregman last year, no non-closers have gone for over $10 yet this year (though no big un-owned prospects have arrived yet).

  5. CubbieFever says:
    (link)

    Ralph,

    Great write up. Baez looks like a beast!

    Wanted to get your thoughts on Adbert Alzolay for the Cubs. He has been shooting up prospect boards and there has been quite a bit written about him as a potential trade piece for the cubbies.

    What do you see in his future?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @CubbieFever: Great fastball the command is fringy, has a decent change and breaking ball. Looks like a guy with some mid-rotation upside. I’m not as excited as others, but he’s a guy trending up.

  6. Swfcdan says:
    (link)

    It’s happened! Bit late for this GIF now darn https://giphy.com/gifs/paul-comment-ron-5mBE2MiMVFITS

    How do you see PT shaking out. Devers hitting vs righties, Nunez vs lefties? Have him in a keeper and dynasty, my dynasty allows freedom to call up and demote minors, so I got that home run already from him! Going to keep switching him in and out based on playing time, loved that swing for his first bomb!

    Was going to ask you another prospecty question but you already answered it on Greys thread haha.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Swfcdan: Hahaha! It’s happening! You weren’t the guy I bet $100 with were you?

      I assume Nunez is a super utility guy playing primarily at 3rd. I think Devers, as long as he hits, will see the strong side there, with some DH days. Nunez should spell OF, Boegy, and Pedroia.

      • Swfcdan says:
        (link)

        @Ralph Lifshitz: Haha no, I’m the UK guy (Sheffield Wednesday fan), and wouldn’t dare bet that kinda money with Ralphie about a prospect matter.

        Decent amount of playing time then, not quite what I was expecting when he got the call, but I guess shielding him from lefties is smart at first. Hopefully an everyday role by the start of next year.

        Own Fisher and excited for him too, you think he stays up also? Can’t believe they’d go back to playing Aoki doki over him.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
          (link)

          @Swfcdan: Damn I hope Fisher stays up.

          I’m waiting for the Devers guy to show his face

          • Swfcdan says:
            (link)

            @Ralph Lifshitz: Haha guess you won then, demand that money from him!

  7. RomaPizzaOfStuartFL says:
    (link)

    Long time reader, first time posting – love what you guys have to say (if anyone is in the eastern Florida area all we do is watch MLB network and talk fantasy all day) stop by the pizzeria! Needing help narrowing down keepers…

    Alex Reyes 25th rd
    Ian happ 25th rd
    Chris archer 16th rd
    Kris Bryant 25th rd
    Jacob faria 25th rd
    Bradley zimmer 25th
    Yu darvish 14th rd

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Thanks! Where in Florida? How many keepers should this be widdle down to?

      • RomaPizzaOfStuartFL says:
        (link)

        @Grey: sorry had an early start drinking today haha it needs to go down to 5 keepers (the league has strict roster rules only 2 players per position allowed) and we are in stuart!

        • RomaPizzaOfStuartFL says:
          (link)

          @RomaPizzaOfStuartFL: just to make your life even harder, one of my workers is in the same league and he is having an even harder time deciding. We try to make trades no one ever wants to accept but he has

          Rizzo 2nd rd
          Lindor 1st rd
          Devers 25th
          Moncada 25
          Brinson 25
          Bellinger 25
          Judge 25
          Jose Ramirez 6th
          Rosario 25th
          Sano 25
          Acuna 25

          My team is in 3rd place and the team above is in 2nd place keepers don’t hAve to be in until spring training so we do still have time to see how things pan out thanks grey!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
          (link)

          @RomaPizzaOfStuartFL: Nice I want to go to the fantasy baseball pizza shop.

          I guess it would have to be Faria and Reyes. Because you could only keep two starters correct? That’s my answer either way.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Not Faria, Reyes

      • Grey

        Grey says:
        (link)

        Oops, I’m in the wrong post… Sorry Ralph!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
          (link)

          @Grey: Hahaha no worries Grey!

  8. OddBall Herrera says:
    (link)

    Man, I apparently was wrong to go red alert on Mcmahon when Desmond was taken out. I guess his injury wasn’t as bad as feared.

    Think we see Dominic Smith soon now that Duda is out of town? Kind of a Josh Bell clone?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @OddBall Herrera: I think we see Smith soon. He’s a better Bell, maybe less raw power.

  9. Robert says:
    (link)

    Interested in your opinion Ralph : 10 team h2h redraft league, Benitendi or Brinson?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Robert: Benintendi

  10. Thorbs says:
    (link)

    Good stuff as always!

    As probably the high guy on Bader from most prospect writers, how quickly do see him reaching maybe a 20-10 level with decent peripherals?

    An owner is shopping Ender Inciarte, and has asked for Bader and picks, which I’m inclined to do as Ender is a solid Runs and Average guy in the top half of the order.

    Having said that, Bader hasn’t looked overmatch in an admittedly super-small sample size.

    • Thorbs says:
      (link)

      @Thorbs: Alternatively, he’s come back with a 4th and 5th rounder (I’ve got 2) for Inciarte…it’s a 12-team, 10×10 H2H, keep-20 + 8 minor leaguers, so that’d allow me to keep my stable of minor leaguers to offset the draft picks (Acuna, Robles, Verdugo, Tapia, Bader, Weaver (who may not be eligible depending on how long Waino is out), Mahle, Duplantier).

      I’m inclined to do it, as I’d keep picks 1 – 3 and have my own 5th rounder.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
        (link)

        @Thorbs: Yeah I like that.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Thorbs: I think he can do that relatively quickly. He’s an advanced college guy. They typically move fast.

  11. Jaaaaaake.crab says:
    (link)

    I just want to say, I’m glad we’re calling it the Razzball 30 teamer, as opposed to saying “one of the razzball 30 teamerS.”

    We all know there is only 1. razz30 is lyfe

    Also, i hate you and your hard work. signed, reddit.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Jaaaaaake.crab: Nice! Does Reddit hate my writing too? I thought it was just my videos? Also I’m too fly for Reddit

  12. Nightpandas says:
    (link)

    Got offered Honeywell for Urias in a keeper…what do you think?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
      (link)

      @Nightpandas: Yes even if it’s Luis Urias hahahaha

Comments are closed.