The dog days of summer are almost upon us (July 3-Aug 11 I checked) and that means teams that are falling out of contention will look to make moves in order to try and improve for the future (At least the smart ones do). We have already seen one so far with Carlos Santana moving from the Royals to the Mariners in order to make room for (Come on Down Vinny!) More to come on him later but it’s going to be hard not to like this kid. There will be more for sure in the next few weeks so keep an eye out and do some homework if you need to fill a spot in your lineup to help you down the stretch. Today I highlighted some young corner infielders who you should consider picking up if still available and players that could be coming up soon that could have an impact on your team.
Vinnie Pasquantino 1B Royals I was planning on writing about him and telling you a call-up was soon coming but Monday the Royals decided that they could wait no longer for the “Italian Nightmare” to make his ML debut. Comparisons to George Brett who gave Vinny the Nightmare nickname are obvious as the plate discipline and ability to take walks is apparent. Brett hated to strike out and was embarrassed and felt he let the team down every time he did and Vinny has that same mentality bringing energy and playing his butt off every game. Let’s take a look under the hood at some numbers. After a slow minor league first month in April, Vinny turned it up a notch and in May he hit 12 HR’s with a .320 AVG and .804 SLG and received the player of the month for the league. He projects to be an above major league hitter with plus power and the added elite plate discipline with more walks than K’s so far this season. (12.2 K%/12.5 BB%). The Royals K rate so far this season is 20.4% so it will be a much-added bonus to the lineup once he gets some PA’s under his belt. Don’t expect magic right away from Vinny as there will be an adjustment period for him like almost all kids that initially come up but as you see with other youngsters that have made the leap before him it’s only a matter of time before they settle in and start producing. I like the kid and think he’s going to be a very good major league hitter soon.
Juan Yepez 1B/OF Cardinals Yepez made his debut earlier in the season on May 4 and could have been initially picked up after his hot start but a month into his season Yepez was slumping and his average dropped to .259 on June 9. Maybe he was dropped around this time and if he’s available snatch him up. He’s back to hitting the ball well and has brought his average up to .277 and has hit 3 HR in his last 3 games 2 of which were hit over 100 mph. Yepez has similar traits to Pasquantino but I do give the edge to Pasquantino as a preference because of the elite plate discipline. Added bonus for Yepez due to the position flexibility at OF.
Jose Miranda 3B Twins Miranda is finally hitting his stride after a brutal first month in the big leagues where he hit 5 out of 53 and was wilting under the pressure of being a big-time prospect when he arrived. He seems to have some level of comfortability now and just goes about his business playing baseball and not thinking so much. I think being the Twins Minor League player of the year brought some expectation that Miranda was just going to continue his success right away in the big leagues and that’s a tough ask. I’m glad Miranda seems to have settled down somewhat as he is hitting .313 in June with a .531 SLG and .884 OPS in June. As in most all young players who require a bit of patience Miranda’s talent will eventually shine through and be a nice CI for you.
Nick Pratto 1B Royals The Royals have an interesting dilemma on their hands with two big-time 1B prospects in Pasquantino and Pratto and we will see if Pratto will make his ML debut soon as well. Pratto is an interesting power hitter who is very selective as the plate on balls he wants to hit BB rate at 14.5% however he still has a very high K rate hovering around 31%. As far as when he will make his appearance in the ML who knows but it does seem to me they will try and give him a little more time to bring that K rate down although he will prob endure his share of K’s regardless of when he makes his appearance. Keep an eye on him but I wouldn’t expect him up until august and if he does end up on your team you are likely going to deal with some growing pains.
Triston Casas 1B Red Sox The Red Sox top prospect has just started to pick up a bat and resume baseball activities after an ankle injury that was suffered on May 17th. Casas’s numbers in 36 games before the injury were .248/.359/.457 (115 wRC+) with 6 HR and 22 RBI’s and a good BB/K rate of 23/35. It’s too bad about the injury as you might have seen Casas be ready to make his ML debut soon but he’s going to definitely be somebody to keep an eye on this summer as he works his way back from injury.
Miguel Vargas 3B Dodgers Sounds like this youngster’s callup is imminent as he has played LF lately for the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers and is looking good in the outfield. Vargas can play all over the infield and now OF so that’s only going to add intrigue to him when he makes his debut. The Dodgers seem reluctant to move on from Muncy and Turner so playing the OF will give the team a boost over the likes of Trayce Thompson. Vargas is heating up once again and has a 10 game hitting streak at AAA batting .385 (15 for 39) with 2 HR’s and more BB’s than K’s (6/5). Vargas leads the Pacific Coast League in runs scored, 2nd in Hits, 3rd in RBI’s and Walks. The bat will definitely play and I think once the Dodgers call him up they will find a way to get him in the lineup most days. Definitely worth a flier and grab him sooner than later if you can.
Thanks for reading and hope you have a great week and stay hydrated out there as it’s heating up everywhere it seems like.