Hello again, fake baseball fans!  After a brief hiatus last week to take the fam on a much-needed vacation, I’m back with your weekly dose of fantasy baseball analytics here at Razzball.

Are you an owner who looks to jump on the exciting youngsters who get the call to The Show?  If so, you’re at the right place.  Today, we’ll be looking at the current crop of players in AAA to identify a few who may soon help your squads win championships.

Of course, some of these AAA players have been recently promoted and may not be available to your fantasy teams anymore.  In fact, I was lucky to grab a few shares of Christopher Morel a couple weeks before his promotion (for virtually nothing) and now enjoying the fruits of that labor.  I’ve also missed on a few others too, but that’s the fun of it.  There’s no time for a victory lap though.  We need to answer the question, “Who’s next?”

The topic of finding prospects is exciting enough on its own.  There’s no need for me to further introduce this subject with my eminent comicality and banter.  Comicality and banter…, ok maybe my vacation was too long, my apologies!  Let’s just dive right into the analytics and identify a few names to keep an eye on.

We’re all about bats today.  By now, you should have a good feel for the strengths and weaknesses of your offensive categories.  Are you falling behind in:  R? RBI? HR? AVE?  No matter what you need, I’ve got you covered here.

Overall Offensive Value

A couple weeks ago, I penned an article on Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+).  If you missed that one, you could read more (HERE).

In summary, wRC+ is a statistic which attempts to credit a hitter for the value of each outcome (single, double, etc.) rather than treating all hits or times on base equally, while also controlling for park effects and the current run environment.

The objective of wRC+ is to quantify run creation and normalize it so we can compare players apples-to-apples.  This is going to be very important when we look at players across both the International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL).

League average is considered 100 so we’ll be searching for players significantly north of that threshold.  Here are the top 20 across the IL and PCL, respectively:

The first thing to note is that a good number of these players have or are currently playing in the Bigs.  Most recently, Matt Mervis and Christopher Morel were notable promotions by the Cubs.  Mervis hasn’t exactly lit MLB on fire with a .222/.256/.317 slash and 1 HR.  On the other hand, Morel is the epitome of what we fake baseball folks look for in promotions, currently slashing .371/.389/.857 with 5 HRs in only 8 games.  Others like Keston Hiura, Zack Collins, and Jo Adell may have burned some bridges in the fantasy world but will certainly garner interest if/when they return to The Show.

Now, let’s look at some of the early season counting stats across the IL and PCL.

Runs & Runs Batted In

For quick reference, I took the liberty of highlighting the top 20 R & RBI producers with those also on the wRC+ list above.  It’s not a real surprise to see so many from the wRC+ list are also on these lists.  On the plus side, it helps narrows our search a bit for potentially impactful fantasy producers moving forward.

Home Runs

Again, we find a majority of the AAA HR leaders, including the top 6 in each league, rank in the top 20 on the wRC+ table above.  In fact, it’s reassuring to me that so many of the top players on the wRC+ list are also included on the other lists.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you limit your research to a single analytic, but some are clearly very useful to us in fantasy baseball.  wRC+ is one of them.


Now that we have the lists, who should we be keeping our eyes on, perhaps even stashing now, before the FAAB rush?  Here is a suggestion from each league:

Colton Cowser, OF, Orioles:  Colton Cowser has been on the fantasy radar for some time but has not yet received his call to Baltimore yet.  Unfortunately, a quad injury just this week may delay that call even further.  Regardless, there’s little question he is ready.  In his second stint in AAA, Cowser has flourished based on advanced metrics.

His BB% has almost doubled, K% has decreased by almost a third, and contract % is up to over 70%.  In addition to being 5th in the IL for wRC+, Cowser ranks 2nd in OBP (0.469), 7th in OPS (1.023), and 11th in BABIP (0.415).  Although I didn’t cover SB or the advanced stat of Speed (Spd) specifically, it’s worth noting Cowser has 5 bags (0 in 26 AAA games last year) and an impressive Spd value of 6.645 so far this season.  There’s little question he’ll get his shot to make an impact with the big club and your fantasy teams very soon.  Stash!

Jake Scheiner, 3B, Mariners:  Jake Scheiner is an under-the-radar player who is quietly making a name for himself in Tacoma this season, amassing 12 HRs and inclusion in all the top 20 lists above.  Scheiner was acquired by the M’s in 2019 and systematically worked his way through the system to the edge of a big league callup.

His current slash of .273/.383/.587 represents the best of his career, steadily increasing over the past 3 seasons in the upper minors.  Much like Cowser above, Scheiner’s advanced metrics show the same growth:  BB% is up, K% is down, contact % is up, ISO is up and BABIP is up.  He may very well be a Eugenio Suarez injury away from an everyday shot with Julio and the boys in Seattle.  If that happens, most fantasy owners will probably not know much about the prospect.  Keep an eye on but be ready to pounce!


I’ve said it before and will say it again here…huge props to the MLB teams which are bringing up so many of their young players instead of manipulating service time.  Certainly, not all prospects are ready and may not stick the first time (like Mervis).  For us in the fake baseball realm though, it’s always exciting to play the prospect lottery and ride the wave like we’re currently seeing with Christopher Morel.  Fun times!

Stating the obvious, fantasy baseball is a grind.  In addition to all the data to track for MLB players, it pays to keep an eye on the minor league stats as well so you’re ready to beat your league mates to the punch.  I’ll revisit this topic later in the season when we traditionally see more prospects getting the call.  For now, though, make sure you place some of the names above on your handy-dandy free agency board and hold it close!

As always, keep sifting through the number.  That’s where you find the gems!

Follow me on Twitter: @Derek_Favret.

Until next time, my friends!