Despite the minor league season coming to an end for the most part, there’s still quite a bit taking place. Playoff games, instructional ball, Arizona Fall League, and callups to discuss. There’s so much baseball taking place year round, and you don’t necessarily realize it. For example, the Dominican Winter League otherwise known as LIDOM just held their draft. You can read more about that here. So despite a lack of games there is plenty to write, talk, and discuss. Maybe I’m just telling myself that to reassure myself that the next however many words won’t be in vain. Below we’ll talk about Myles Straw, and Justus Sheffield’s callups, while briefly touching on a handful of games that took place last night. Mainly the PCL championship. Congratulations Redbirds on back-to-back titles. As for everything else you’ll have to look below.
- Though they fell short, Fresno’s Kyle Tucker did all he could in the PCL championship, connecting for a pair of homers in the series. I’d expect Tucker to be called up to the Astros now that the playoffs are over. Whether he performs to his potential in limited playing time, following a long season, is another thing. His teammate Myles Straw was promoted earlier on Saturday afternoon. More on Straw below.
- The Yankees have done us all a big favor and called upon lefty Justus Sheffield to the join the MLB staff. Looks like he’ll likely pitch out of the pen, but depending how things setup a spot start isn’t out of the question. I caught Justus earlier in August, and he was impressive. The fastball has life, touched 96 the time I saw him, and he has the ability to spot it when he’s on. The control of his breaking stuff can come and go, but all three of his offerings are consistently nasty. His slider is a plus pitch that he effectively plants at the backfoot of righties, giving him two weapons in opposite side matchups. It’s not often a pitcher with three above average or better pitches from the leftside gets the call. Due to the rugged nature of Yankee Stadium, and the AL East in general, coupled with his murky usage, I can’t advocate an add in 12 team mixed for now. Next season and beyond is a very different story. Sheffield has the stuff, makeup, and competitive drive to make it in New York. The biggest issue remains, iffy control that comes and goes.
- The Cardinals Randy Arozarena went 2-for-4, with two homers in the deciding game of the PCL championship on Saturday evening. The 23 year old Cuban import had a bit of a disjointed season, splitting time between Memphis and AA Springfield. He dominated the Southern League in his 24 games in AA slashing .396/.455/.681 with 5 homers and 9 steals. He struggled to find the same consistency in the PCL, slashing .232/.328/.348, though 12 homers and 17 steals across 89 games is certainly a bright spot. Despite a nice combination of 50 game power and 60 speed, a 45 hit tool really betrays some of Arozarena’s other assets. He has the ability to get the bat on the ball, even outside the zone, but he really gets out on his front foot, and his swing is pretty long. While his strikeouts aren’t out of control, he makes a lot of bad outs on poor contact. I think with some work and adjustments Arozarena’s issues are fixable, but for now he’s an intriguing set of tools with warts.
- I wrote up Myles Straw for my new site Prospectslive.com on Saturday, Here’s what I had to say following the callup, “On Saturday the Houston Astros called up speedster Myles Straw. The left fielder isn’t what you would call must-add in 12-team mixed leagues, but he falls into another spot that’s interesting down the stretch as we chase titles in our respective leagues. Straw is must-stream for any managers looking to make up ground in stolen bases. There’s no guarantees of playing time in a crowded Houston lineup, but if you see the green check next to Straw’s name, I’d take a flier and see if you can rack up a steal or two. Having watched a lot of Fresno this year I’m familiar with Straw. His first half was tremendous from an average/OBP stand point, but dropped off as the season wore on, hitting just .227 after July 1st. As far as game power,30-grade seems aggressive. Catch my drift? His swing is linear at its best, while at other times he’ll get out on his front foot and beat balls into the ground. A majority of his contact is to the opposite field, going to right field nearly 50% of the time. I’d put the hit at a 50, but the approach at a 55. He works counts, spits on breaking stuff on the outer-half, and waits for pitches he can hit. This part of his game really boosts the overall value for a player that stole 70 bases on 79 attempts in the upper-minors this season. The skill set adds up to a perfect fourth outfielder in the bigs, and a speed streamer in all formats of fantasy. ” You can read the post here, as well as lots of in depth prospect coverage from Jason Woodell, Lance Brozdowski, Jason Pennini, and Matt Thompson.
- I’m likely going to do a dynasty sleeper post on the Blue Jays Eric Pardinho pretty soon. He’s the smallest of righties with the biggest of stuff. AKA, this is Ralph’s wheelhouse. Why do I like small righthanded pitchers? Because I have a thing for misfit toys. Pardinho is just 17 years old, but flashes prodigious stuff, despite having a less than ideal body at 5’10 and a soft 170 lbs. Don’t let the body fool you as he mixes four pitches, three of which flash above average to plus. His arsenal is led by an 11-5 curveball that when it’s on can be a serious swing-and-miss pitch. He pairs his hook with a high-80’s-to-low-90’s fastball that plays up due to his 3/4 delivery and good extension. His third pitch is his changeup, a low-to-mid-80’s offering with some vertical movement, and projection to get better. The feel for a changeup is a big differentiator between Pardinho, and other teenage talents. He’s added a slider this season, that’s very much a work in progress, knowing Pardinho’s feel for pitching, I doubt it’s too long before the slider too is a weapon. If you’re in a league deep enough to hold a pitching prospect for three plus seasons, add Pardinho if he’s available.
- I’m really interested to see what the Rockies do with Garrett Hampson come 2018. If they actually make the commitment to play him, which is a Rocky Mountain size if, there’s absolutely a player that could return massive value in 2019 fantasy drafts. I’m in a bit of a 2019 Draft mode, as I make picks and sketch out rankings for Justin Mason’s 2 Early Mock Drafts. So far I’ve gone Alex Bregman at 1.9, Manny Machado at 2.16, Juan Soto at 3.33, and Ozzie Albies at 4.40. Very happy with my haul thus far.