In my never ending quest to overturn every stone, and scour every corner of fantasy prospectdom; I’ll be going through all of the MiLB leagues over the next couple of weeks. Each post will touch on a handful or so, of the most interesting prospects in each circuit. For our purposes, these lists are always with a fantasy slant, because intangibles, defensive prowess, and leadership, ain’t winning nobody no fantasy title. Unless you play in a league where the scoring is created by Yadier Molina. Any the who, today we go to Carolina….in my mind. Our minds? James Taylor anyone? Okay no Sweet Baby James fans eh?!?… Okay then, we go to the Carolina League, and finish off the reviews of the High-A circuits for our weekly Sunday Prospect sermon. On Wednesday we’ll then begin our look at the Class A Leagues, with the exciting Midwest League. This may be the first time exciting and Midwest were used in the same sentence. So let’s get into the names of note, and the juicy prospect booty that lurks. I meant Prospect Booty the pirate way….. You don’t believe me do you?
Bobby Bradley, 1B Indians: After a 27 homer season at class A Lake County in 2015, Bradley’s 29 homer campaign this year is hardly a breakout. Regardless, he’s here because in his age 19 season, he dominated the high A leagues in power production. His 29 homers and 102 RBIs were the high water marks for the level. There’s a lot of swing and miss in Bradley’s game, but he’s still young enough to rein it in, and get it within a respectable level.
Greg Allen, OF Indians: A switch hitter with elite speed, contact skills, approach, and athleticism, make Allen a very interesting prospect. He’s 23 so he’s a little old for the level, but it should be noted, Allen was equally effective in AA following a late season promotion. He actually showed more pop at AA Akron, though he was far less successful on the basepaths (7 for 13 in AA, after going 38 for 45 at Lynchburg). His elite approach, and run scoring ability make him a potential future top of the order threat, and one you should target in your fantasy leagues.
Francisco Mejia, C Indians: Fans of the Lynchburg Hillcats were treated to one of the more exciting lineups in all of MiLB for most of this season. Despite excellent seasons from both of the aforementioned Bradley and Allen, our latest subject is the buzziest of the group. A 50 game hit streak showed off his well rounded offensive profile, a profile that will make him my highest ranked catching prospect for 2017.
Rafael Devers, 3B Red Sox: After a ton of buzz coming into the 2016 season, Devers joined the Salem Red Sox alongside fellow top 100 list darlings Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada. Unlike the dynamic duo, Devers did not hit the ground running, struggling in April and May, slashing .195/.273/.310. Devers then settled in and turned it on in June, slashing .331/.371/.522 with 8 of his 11 total homers coming over that stretch. An underrated part of Devers game is his speed, as he swiped 18 bags this term. Hands down the best overall prospect in the Carolina League.
Michael Kopech, RHP Red Sox: If Kopech, can keep his head straight and put some of his early personal struggles that have plagued him in the past. He has the ability to ascend to the tops of prospect lists and rankings. He possess one of the hardest fastballs in history, and returned from a dubious early season hand injury to show off a refined breaking ball, in his low 90’s slider, and a much improved changeup. He still needs to work on his control, though a simple glance at his Bb/9 of 5.02, could have told you that. The swing and miss ability is elite (14.19 K/9), and he’s still young enough to figure the other stuff out. Kopech is one that will make leaps and bounds in terms of ranking in off season prospect lists.
Erick Fedde, RHP Nationals: It’s everyone’s favorite Trap King Fedde Wop, he took two to the bow-bow, but he’s back on the scene, and shooting his way up the prospect charts. I once was a hater, but that haterade is so bitter, and it feels much better to sip from the lips of prospect elation. A sinker ball pitcher, with the ability to miss bats, Fedde has become one of my favorite spec arms. After coming back in 2015 from Tommy John Surgery following his last year at UNLV, Fedde showed well in his first full season.
Max Povse, RHP Braves: An imposing 6’8 righty, Povse rebounded in 2016 following an injury marred 2015 campaign. He showed elite control across both stops of his season, first starting with Carolina, and then Mississippi upon promotion to AA. During his time with the Mudcats, Povse showed swing and miss ability for the first time in his career, missing bats at a rate of 9.38 K/9. He has an easy delivery, particularly for a big guy, with the downhill plane you’d expect from a man his size. He features a fastball, curveball, change mix, with the fastball being the best pitch in his arsenal. Much of his success comes down to the control of his landing leg. When he’s right, he gets late break to both sides of the plate on his fastball, and gets nasty drop on his 11-5 curveball. He only allowed 9 total homers in 158 innings, and carries a top notch GB rate of 53%.
One to Watch in 2017
Jomar Reyes, 3B Orioles: A raw power prospect out of the D.R., Reyes has yet to put it all together stateside, but he’s the type to cyclops for projectable upside. He has the size 6’3 220 lbs, and raw power to develop into a major fantasy star. At the moment his immature eye at the plate cause him to swing and connect with too many bad pitches. Due to this his GB rate is exaggerated at 52%. That needs to change for Reyes to make good on his immense raw potential.