It’s Father’s Day, and as a father of three, there’s nothing I’d rather do than ignore my children for a few hours in order to write glowing prose about an overweight guy named Dan. Could this exercise of self indulgence ultimately lead to my demise when my daughter seeks employment at the local gentlemen’s club? Or when my two sons decide to pursue careers in baseball well into their mid-30’s on the independent ball circuit? Then again, what could make a father prouder than watching his boys player/coach the Massapequa I-Roc Z’s? I know what you’re all thinking “Ralph we care not about this tired exercise of projecting a future of unmet expectations. The Simpsons beat that theme into the ground years ago. So tell us more about this overweight Dan fellow.” Absolutely!! Verbose and demanding reader, I’d love to. Portly Cubs prospect Dan Vogelbach is at it again, reminding us that the Northsiders have an embarrassment of riches and not nearly enough positions on the major league level.
Over the past week he’s hitting .357 with 3 homers and 7 rbis, raising his season slash-line to .306/.431/.544. The biggest area of growth this season for Vogey has been the power, having previously topped out at 19. So far this season he has 12 homers over 253 plate appearances at AAA Iowa. He’s also walking 17% of the time, which is downright ludicrous. So when’s he coming up right? Well unfortunately best case scenario for Vogelbach is he gets traded to an American League team before the trade deadline, because the chances are slim (pun intended) that he sees any extended time with the Cubs. Either way he’s worth keeping an eye on, and if he does end up in Tampa Bay or another AL destination he’s worth adding immediately.
Mark Zagunis, OF Cubs: Another Cubs prospect on the rise, Zagunis is a converted catcher with an excellent OBP profile. After slashing .302/.408/.453 at AA Tennessee, Zagunis was promoted to AAA Iowa back on June 8th. In the 9 games since the promotion he’s hit .405/.488/.595 with 10 runs. Much like the aforementioned Vogelbach, Zagunis is a player that needs trade or injury to make an impact this year. Regardless, he’s very much worth owning in any dynasty that includes OBP as a category.
Chris Paddack, RHP Marlins: JB blew up my spot on last week’s Podcast, when he let the Paddack cat out of the bag. I keep my Paddack cat in a very plush, very posh bag, in case you wondered. As for Paddack the pitcher, he’s fresh off an 11 k performance in his last start. He’s an interesting prospect that floated under the radar during the pre-season in many dynasty leagues. He was drafted by the Marlins in the 8th round, having dropped in draft due to sign-ability concerns. He then scorned Texas A&M, and signed well above slot for Miami. He’s got huge potential, but is years away. Worth a look though.
Socrates Brito, OF ARI: Remember this preseason darling? Well he’s caught fire in AAA and could be back in the desert before you know it. After snapping a 15 game hitting streak on Tuesday with three consecutive 0-fers, Brito had his second 4 hit game in 9 days Friday. In fact over the last month he’s hitting .339 with 10 multi-hit games, 5 of which were three or more hits. The speed has been less than expected though, and Brito at best posses 12 homer power. He’ll make his bones as a batting average boost with counting stats upside.
Austin Meadows, OF PIT: The Pirates top positional prospect has been promoted from AA Altoona to AAA Indianapolis, where he’ll team with Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow. After a slow start this season Meadows really turned it on, embarking on a 24 game hitting streak that now stands at 25 following a 3/4 performance in his first AAA appearance. Over the last month Meadows is hitting .404 with 6 homers and 6 steals. It might not be shocking to see Meadows touch the bigs this year should injuries strike the Pirates outfield in abundance.
Jake Thompson, RHP Phillies: Looks like Thompson could be the next Phillies pitching prospect to grace the rotation. After a rough April, Thompson has settled down in his last 9 starts, going 4-2 with 2.20 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. The K rate leaves much to be desired at a puny 6.12, but he could help with the ratios. After being passed over for Zach Eflin “A”, my guess is Thompson gets the next call.
Ryon Healy, 1B/3B Oakland: The corner infielder has had a monster year across two levels, slashing .340/.398/.607 with 13 homers, 52 runs and 57 RBI’s between AA and AAA. He’s knocking on the door in Oakland and looks like a player worth inquiring on in Dynasty leagues. Worth an add in any league where 125+ minors are owned.
Chad Pinder, 2B/SS Oakland: Helay’s AAA teammates has also taken well to the PCL this season flashing power (8 homers), average (.284), and counting stats (44 runs, 35 RBIs). He’s knocking on the door in Oakland as well, but he’s blocked presently by Marcus Seimen and Jed Lowrie. He’s handled the position of SS pretty well since being moved there last season following the Daniel Robertson and Addison Russell trades. He belted homers in three consecutive games this week, and has been hot overall following a tough April.
Dillon Overton, LHP Oakland: Apparently this is the Minor League Update: Oaktown Steve Edition Vol.1. Overton a former college star whose pro career got off to a slow start following TJ, has been on a roll of late. In his last 6 starts Overton is 6-0 with an ERA of 1.67. He’s not a big strikeout guy, but fits the profile of a safe minor league option in deeper dynasty leagues.
Andrew Benintendi, OF Red Sox: Since hitting his first homer at the AA level last week, mi amor has been slashing .393/.433/.714 with 2 homers over his last 7 games. Perhaps he’s figured it out, or just breaking out of the first slump of his pro career. I envision his floor as Nick Markakis in his first 5-6 seasons. Through his first 115 games, about 500 plate appearances, Benintendi’s numbers are excellent slashing .308/.389/.519, with 14 homers, 22 steals, 77 runs, and 78 RBIs.
Amed Rosario, SS Mets: Following a decent season at high A St. Lucie in 2015, many were shocked to see the Mets top prospect return there to start 2016. So far it looks like a smart decision. Rosario has shown growth in several areas hitting .306/.357/.444 with 3 homers, 38 RBIs, and 13 steals. That’s improvement across the board in half the at bats. The call to AA Binghamton is eminent, I wouldn’t expect him to see AAA this year, unless he really rakes upon promotion. Up until recently I’ve been pretty underwhelmed by Rosario, but he looks like he’s justifying the projection hype.
Touki Toussaint, RHP Braves: The young righty the Braves stole from Dave Stewart last season has put up consecutive strong starts in A Rome. On Monday he went 8 strong allowing one run (HR) on three hits with no walks. The previous start Toussaint punched out 9 over 6 innings.
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