We should’ve taken it as a sign of superhuman abilities, when Bo Bichette’s body digested his burst appendix last season. That’s so insane Chuck Norris is impressed. Matt Wieters facts never made a claim that lofty. That’s some X-Men, mutant baseball machine stuff. The craziest part is he unknowingly played through it for a week, and raked!!! I know, I know, a story this good, it’s really a lot to digest… Thank you, I’ll be here all week, literally. As exciting as it might seem to get a lesson in freaky anatomy happenings from me, that’s not why I bring up Bichette. Though it might be in line with his recent production. Freakish!! As I write this he just finished off a 4 for 5 night, with a double, a triple, and 2 runs scored. The game actually started as a 4 for 4 night, and was a diving grab away from being a 5 for 5 night. This isn’t an isolated incident either, but you knew that if you were paying attention.
After slashing .427/.451/.732 in 91 plate appearances during his stint in the Gulf Coast League in 2016. Bichette has continued that dominance in his first run at full season ball. He currently leads the Midwest League in batting average, OBP, slugging, and has an OCD like 7 homers and 7 steals. He’s riding a 13 game hitting streak, and needs to be owned in all dynasty formats of all types. He’s outperforming teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who by the way, is performing pretty well. Bichette is of course a year older, so any comps should be taken with a grain of salt. All this to say, Bichette, who didn’t make my Top 100 in February might be in my Top 50 now. Things change fast in the minors…… Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB.
- The three outcome beast known as Christin Stewart ripped another homer for AA Erie last night. It was his 14th of the season, and first in 10 games. He’s been able to maintain his elite walk rates from 2016, and has continued to hit for power. So there’s a lot to be excited over. However, he’s got some warts too. The most glaring of which is his split issues vs lefties. That’s important for him to improve on, because he really only fits a DH profile, and a platooned DH is blah. You gotta see the power though! All of the AA tape from this season is grainy, so here’s a homer from the Arizona Fall League.
- Speaking of three outcome players with split issues, Josh Ockimey continues to come out his neck in 2017. Slashing .320/.420/.517 with 7 homers and an 18 game hitting streak, he extended last night. Ockimey looks to be duplicating his first half success from last season, and possibly surpassing it. The most encouraging sign through the first two months, he’s slashing a respectable.284/.366/.463 vs left handed pitching. That’s a big improvement from last season. He continues to strikeout around 25% of the time, but his walk rates are elite, and he makes tons of hard contact to all fields. I’m back on the Ockimey train, Halp save your shaming for the podcast!
- I went back and watched Max Fried’s start from Friday, and my initial impression is there’s still a lot to like. He mixes a nice fastball, and curveball combo, supplementing the change for the curve here and there. His mechanics are clean, but even when he’s locked in he can lose control and walk a batter or two. Not going to sugar coat it, I’m worried, but he’s certainly not moving off my top 100. But he ain’t move up it either, even as many of the top 50 graduate. Friday was a step in the right direction, even if he took the L.
- Braves catching prospect Brett Cumberland is hitting .406 over his last 10. He’s a switch-hitting catcher with an elite walk rate, a .295 ISO, and a 57% FB rate, I like how that could play at SunTrust one day. If you’re looking to stash a catcher with upside give Cumberland an add.
- So I suppose this is where I mention Michael Gettys hit 4 homers in two days for San Diego’s High A affiliate Lake Elsinore. Gettys is still just 21, and is toolsy with some power and speed. So maybe dismissing him is silly, but he strikes out a ton, and can look lost at times. I wouldn’t trade for him, but could see adding him if you’re looking for an upside outfielder in a deeper dynasty.
- Lots of callups this week, as Kyle Tucker was promoted to AA, Ryan McMahon was called up to AAA, Jack Flaherty was called up to AAA, and Gleyber Torres was called up to AAA. Lots of good prospects are getting even closer to the majors. When you’re in AAA you’re just an injury away.
- The last few starts have been a great development in the evolution of Jacob Faria. He’s gotten into the 7th in two of the last three, with the third being the game he was struck with a line drive. He’s currently sporting gaudy numbers with a 6-1 record backed by a 3.07 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, a .201 batting average against, and most impressively a 12.89 K/9. He should be in Tampa’s rotation sometime this summer.
- A.J. Puk aka “Fire Crotch Zeke“, has been on a tear of late, tossing 6.2 innings of 3 run ball yesterday while striking out a career high 12 in the process. He’s now got 81 strikeouts in 51.1 innings. Pardon me while I adjust my sweatpants. The stuff is nasty, and it’s showing up in the form of swings and misses. Look no further than his elite 16.8% SwStr%, and his absurdly low 13.2% LD% against. So he misses bats, and when they do make contact with Puk’s pitches they’re rarely getting barrels. That’s good.
- Kevin Kramer has been getting added almost everywhere in my dynasty leagues, and after his performance in AA I can see why. He’s always flashed a strong hit tool, and looks to be taping into power, and some speed as well. Looks like a guy that could eventually be a fringe MI in 12 team leagues, but a solid performer in deeper formats.
- I said it on Twitter and we discussed it somewhat on this week’s edition of the Prospect Podcast. I love Ronald Acuna, he’s sneaking into the top 5 discussion and is firmly in my top 10. He’s now hitting .389/.438/.611 with 4 homers and 12 steals in 24 games at AA. I watched him in that same Max Fried start, and he’s so quick out of the box it’s nuts. This kid is gifted, and he might even see a September cup of coffee with the big club. Something I would have thought was absurd this winter.
- My weekly Yoan Moncada callup date take is this, I think we’re looking July. Unless Yolmer Sanchez goes down with an injury, I don’t see his promotion as imminent.
- Diamondbacks righty, and personal favorite Jon Duplantier’s scoreless streak came to an end yesterday. It occurred in the 3rd Inning of a 6.1 innings, 2 run effort, allowing 9 baseunners, with 4 strikeouts. Not a bad showing, and better to get that streak behind you, right? Maybe not…. Either way, he out-dueled (not really) highly touted international signing Cionel Perez (Astros: 5.2 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 3 earned, 1 walk, 1 K) on the other side.
- I suppose I should discuss Chance Adams, the Yankees righthander who’s currently owning the minors with a 1.24 ERA and a 9.1 K/9 across 58 innings split between AA and AAA. Here’s what I said about him when I covered the Yank’s farm system in the off-season. “Adams brings a four pitch arsenal, and throws all his pitches for strikes. Led by a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s, a slider that is his best out pitch and secondary offering, as well as a change he throws from the same arm slot as the fastball. There’s a solid skill set.” Still holds true, and so far it’s playing in the the upper minors. The worry with Adams, is the same as all young pitchers in the parks of the AL East. Then again, I suppose baptism by fire is the ultimate test. Would not surprise me if he’s up some time in July if only for a start or two.
- After a rough start to the season Sean Reid-Foley continued his resurgence as he went 6 scoreless innings allowing 5 hits, and no walks, while striking out 8. He’s been locked in for four of his last 5 outings after a couple of stinkers in the first month. He’s gone away from the groundball though, which is a little concerning.
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