This week is going to get ridiculous for Juan Soto (FAAB: 30-40%) bids. However, he often gets overlooked for his lack of experience in the minors. Do not follow this path of thinking because Soto is monstrous. Early scouting reports would always contain glowing reviews of the bat and approach. People were shocked by his ability to barrel the ball, and this was back in 2015 when Statcast was in its infancy. That was also back when Soto was 16-years-old, some scouts even saying the bat was the most polished in a class that included Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Soto consistently dealt with injury over the past couple years, but every single time he hit the field was special. The power has been there, average, walks, everything except speed which was never part of his game to start. All it takes is a few viewings of his swing, and a live barrel or two, for anyone to become an immediate fan of this youngsters bat.
The Pittsburgh Pirates prospect will take a backseat to Juan Soto in bidding this week. However, Austin Meadows has a ton of talent. The gripe with his profile thus far has been the lack of power for such a physical presence. He only has one homer in the minors to this point but crushed a shot today on a low-and-inside curve from Jordan Lyles. The no-doubter gave me a vision of another Pirates prospect who lacked power before his call-up. Josh Bell only had two minor league seasons with double-digit home runs before blasting 26 HR in his first full season in the MLB. Meadows has had one such season, but injuries hindered a lot of his progression. Last season was another one of poor health, although 2016 brought his best power numbers by far. He still has plenty of speed and should be able to post double-digit steals with excellent bat-to-ball skills. Starling Marte may not be out for very long, but Meadows is ready to go and has been for some time. This call-up is still very exciting for people following him for a while wondering what the power would result in at the big-league level.
Another prospect being brought up into a serious position this week is Seranthony Dominguez for the Philadelphia Phillies. He has been in the organization since singing in 2012 as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. This season he has made the transition to full-time bullpen member. The numbers have been superb to start the season, and his strikeout rate has translated to his first several outings in the majors. Dominguez has a huge fastball that can breeze by hitters at the top of the zone. His slider also has fantastic grades and a ton of bend like you would imagine an elite reliever would possess. Tossing a 2-inning save a few games ago gives me confidence that the Phillies will unleash him when necessary to get the job done. If that means getting a save, then he may pile up 10-12 by the end of the season. I believe he will still be useful in a multi-inning role given his incredible two-pitch strikeout combo.
This statement may shock some people, but Ross Stripling is kind of just, a good pitcher. The 28-year-old now has 200+ IP with a 3.57 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 21.7% K%, and only 6.7% BB%. He generates a decent amount of groundballs and soft contact, posses three above-average secondary pitches, is it clear yet? He finds himself back in the rotation with injuries to… everyone in the Dodgers rotation. It seems exaggerated, but Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Rich Hill and Clayton Kershaw are all hurt. Chicken Strip is going to get his run in the rotation. All he has to do now is perform precisely how he has in every big league opportunity. Putting money on Ross Stripling in FAAB this week is just an easy fill for your roster for the next few weeks. He even showed flashes of being beneficial in multiple innings out of the pen so that option is still there as some arms return in Los Angeles.
Jordan Lyles is an interesting option if your roster needs some pitching. Most of his damage has been done in the bullpen this season. His pitches look crisper than they have in the past, including the breaker which has been enhancing the fastball. In fact, his four-seamer has steadily increased in velocity for the past couple seasons. I see some issues with the fastball location so far which is worrisome. However, picking up starters with this kind of swing-and-miss capability is hard to come across. Lyles is throwing the fastball less than he ever has, which is a clear trend around the entire league. This change could be making it harder to hit and elevating a pitch that is average to below-average. I am not super excited about Lyles but also could see him sticking on rosters for the rest of the season.