The minor league season is winding down and September calls are less than a week away, so it’s time for us to put a bow on the 2019 minor league season and my second stint here at Razzball. Big thanks to Grey and the team for all of the opportunities they’ve given me over the years. Writing about fake baseball on the internet is a great escape from real life. Too bad my real life is getting crazy enough that I won’t be able to do this again next year. You’ll be in great hands with Itch, and you won’t have to wait long for your prospect news. My guess is that the 2020 previews will be right around the corner! Good luck to all of you in your fantasy leagues and thanks for your support and comments.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The minor league season is winding down and so is my time here at Razzball. Indians prospect Yu Chang (3-for-5) blasted a pair of homers Friday night – his eighth and ninth dingers on the season. It’s been a disappointing year for Chang, mainly because he has above average power and yet hasn’t taken advantage of the homer happy Triple-A environment. You’re probably asking why I’m leading with him. Here’s why – prospect fatigue. Chances are a guy in your dynasty league is sick of Chang and is willing to sell him at a discount – believing he won’t amount to anything but a Quad-A type. But Chang is just two years removed from a 24-homer, 11-steal season at Double-A and his plate discipline is in line with his other MiLB years. Chang is now 24, and that’s another reason owners might be ready to give up. I’d be willing to take a flyer on him at the right price and hope I run into another Aquino or something even remotely similar. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Angels outfield prospect Jordyn Adams was a double shy of the cycle Monday night and is riding a seven-game hitting streak. Being one hit short of a cycle is like being one person short of a threesome. In my case, I’m consistently two people short of a threesome. Good thing I have you over-the-internet friends to cheer me up. Here’s what I said about Adams in the preseason, where he ranked fifth in the Angels top ten: “Adams is a toolsy former wideout drafted 17th overall in 2018. His double-plus speed will work as SAGNOF at the very least. It’s a wait-and-see approach like Maitan, but Adams could vault into the top tier pretty quickly after we’ve seen a full season from him. He’s the best lottery ticket in this tier in terms of overall upside. Upside like how I wish I could smack Grey upside his head.” Weird, I must have written that in a blackout. Sorry Grey! And apologies for ranking Maitan anywhere in that preview. Oof. Back to Adams…we’re in the midst of that full season and he’s hit .252 with seven homers and 12 steals for Burlington (A). Importantly, his strikeout and walk rates remained stable at the higher level and longer season. If anything, he’s gotten better as the year has gone on. Not shabby for a 19-year-old. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Angels prospect Michael Hermosillo (3-for-5, 3 HR) has decided to hit for power this August. After hitting four homers in all of June and July, the 24-year-old outfielder has hit ten dingers this month. There should be a glossary term for the minor league version of a hot schmotato. Hot schmotatito? Between Hermosillo’s track record for power, the Juicy Juice brand balls in Triple-A, and the near 30% strikeout rate, I’m convinced there’s nothing to see here. But any time a guy has three multi-homer games in his last ten this close to September callups it’s noticeable. Speaking of callups, now’s the time to start thinking about who to stash for the last month of the season. For many of us, this is also our playoff season, so any help we can get to advance will be well worth the roster slot. Better to be a week early and get the guy you want than a week late and miss out on a huge month. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Mariners prospect Julio Rodriguez (3-for-5, HR, 6 RBI) won’t turn 19 until this winter. The right fielder is hitting .296 with ten homers and a steal through 66 games at Single-A West Virginia. Hanging with the big boys! To put that in perspective, there are only five players in all of Single-A who are 18 years old. One of them is Wander Franco, arguably the best prospect in all of baseball. Franco is hitting .318 with six homers and 14 steals through 62 games. Outside of the steals, Julio is right there with him. This is why Rodriguez made a big jump on my midseason list to 23rd overall and why he’ll probably jump again come fall/winter rankings season. To put that perspective in perspective, Luis Garcia of the Phillies (a “normal” 18-year-old) is hitting .195 at the same level. If it was big brain time and you’ve owned Julio Rodriguez for a while, pat yourself on the back and enjoy. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Baltimore shortstop prospect Gunnar Henderson (2-for-5 with a triple and a homer) is riding a seven-game hit streak in the GCL. Henderson was a second-round pick for the Orioles in this year’s draft (42nd overall). There’s not a lot to get excited about right now in Baltimore, but if you play in dynasty league, I’d scope Henderson as a long-term project with a potentially sweet payoff. At 18, Henderson is 6’3″/180 with a nice left-handed swing that can make contact and hit for some power. Like a lot of shortstops, there’s talk of a slide to third if he doesn’t have the defensive chops, but his bat should play at either position. Henderson’s K-rate is a touch high at 23% but he also has a nice walk rate (11%) through 70+ plate appearances. Check him out if he’s available and you’ve got a roster slot to play with. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
“No one who speaks German could be an evil man.” There may never be another show as perfect as The Simpsons in its heyday. Guten Tag! It’s time to talk about Rays prospect Nick Schnell (3-for-4, 2 HR). The 19-year-old outfielder has four homers and four steals through 33 games in rookie ball albeit with a not-so-gut strikeout rate. That’s about what to expect from the former first-round pick. He’s a power-speed combo with just enough smarts at the dish to make it all click. I see Schnell as a left-handed bat that should be pretty easy to acquire in dynasty formats right now. I’d bet on him becoming a major league regular. Maybe it’s his height/frame (6’3”/180) or his lefty swing, but he reminds me a little of Yelich. You’ll need to be patient though, as Schnell still has several levels to work through – ETA is probably late 2021/early 2022 at best. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Giants prospect Marco Luciano went yard for the tenth time Friday night. He’s now slashing .344/.458/.680 through 33 games in rookie ball. Typically it’s tough to get excited about 17-year-olds (I used to refer to them as Long Shot Lolitas back in the day). But times are a changing, and some 17-year-olds are special. SIT DOWN Billie Eilish! I’m not referring to you. This is about Luciano, who cracked my Midseason Top 50 at number 24. Luciano has everything you want in a prospect – big projectable power, patience, defense up the middle, a bit o’ the old speed, and a hit tool that rounds everything out into one impressive package. Could he be next year’s Wander Franco? I won’t be here to find out so I get to make whatever nutty claims I want over the next four weeks! Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Brewers prospect Trent Grisham hit for the cycle last night, going 5-for-5 with two homers (25, 26). That’s now a six-game hit streak for the slugger and multi-hit games in each of his last four. Grisham is batting a ridiculous .381 with 13 homers and six steals in just 34 games for AAA San Antonio. He was a first-round draft pick back in 2015, but struggled prior to this year – hitting just .229 since he left the rookie leagues. He’s always had some patience and some power potential, but this year the breakout is on. He hit 13 homers in 63 games at Double-A earlier this year with the “no-juice” version of a baseball. To put that in perspective, he hit 17 total homers in 299 games across the previous three seasons. To boot, das boot, he’s joined the select “walking more than I strike out” club in 2019. To give you an idea of how big this breakout has been, Grisham went from a guy not even being considered in my Brewers Top 10, to a guy I strongly considered putting in my Midseason Top 50 overall. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
I’m terrified of jazz. Growing up, there was only one way for me and my brothers to know what kind of mood my dad was in – the radio station he had on in the car. If it was 93.3 WMMR classic rock, we were good to go. Dad was in a great mood. If it was smooth jazz 106.1? God help us. We were one well-placed backhand away from decapitation. You see, my dad only listened to smooth jazz when it was the only thing between him and homicide as he tried desperately to calm down after a shit day at work. 15 years of therapy later, I’m able to listen to Kenny G again. Jazz Chisholm (2-for-4 with a homer, his 18th of the year) is doing just fine without hypnosis or puppets. His average this year is hot garbage, but with 18 homers and 13 steals in Double-A and a much more palatable .260 average in July, he’s doing enough to stay afloat. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Diamondbacks pitching prospect Matt Tabor threw five innings Sunday and gave up four runs while striking out two. Mike, you’ve officially lost it man, that’s a terrible line. Indeed friend, but Sunday was only the – *counts on fingers* – yup, was only the second time all season this kid’s given up more than two runs for Single-A Kane County. On the year, he’s rocking a 2.67 ERA with 80 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 67 innings pitched. I’m starting to see Tabor’s name pop up more and more in prospect circles, so this might be a good time to buy into the 21-year-old righty, who’ll likely hit the upper minors this time next year. A lot of dynasty folks ask “who’s going to be a big riser”. This one fits that bill. Just remember he’s a pitcher, so don’t go too crazy. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Adley Rutschman (1-for-4 with his first homer) made his pro debut on Friday night. He was the number one overall pick in this summer’s draft (Orioles) and debuted at #37 overall on my recent Midseason Top 50 list. That’s pretty high for a fantasy catcher, so obviously we’re expecting big things from his bat. He’s a plus hit/power backstop and along with Vaughn and Bleday is a 60 overall (above average) profile among the recent draftees. On top of the talent, he’s also a college bat that shouldn’t take forever to cook (the way a lot of catching prospects do). Similar to Joey Bart if you’re looking for a recent (albeit lazy) comp. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?