It’s taking everything out of me not to dedicate every lede to White Sox Prospect Eloy Jimenez. Last night my new novio debuted in AA with a bang, going 2 for 4 with a homer. At the moment with Victor Robles struggling somewhat in AA, and Devers in the majors, it’s a battle between the Braves Ronald Acuna vs Eloy Jimenez for the number one prospect in the minors. Before you dismiss this as a silly discussion, think about what type of prospects and players you prefer. Are you the type to bet on a middle of the order bat like Rafael Devers or Eloy Jimenez? Or do you prefer the 5 category stud with Mike Trout upside like Yoan Moncada or Ronald Acuna? It’s a tough call, and as my Uncle Manny would say, “I ain’t going to kick either of them out of bed for eating cookies”. Yeah, my uncle is a strange guy when it comes to baseball, and you thought I was bad. All this to say, it’s a battle that will rage well into 2018. In the words of the street poets Black Sheep, you can get with this or you can get with that. The choice is yours. I waffle back and forth, as I typically prefer the mashers, but Acuna’s assault on AAA is hard to ignore. I’m going to hold judgement until I have to… Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB.
- I’m not going to stop talking about the Blue Jays Anthony Alford until the world listens. He’s one of the more underrated players in the minors offering a very exciting skill set for fantasy. The Jays believe in his ability too, best exemplified by his call-up earlier this season, before he went down with an injury. Since returning Alford has continued to hit and get on base. Unfortunately the power hasn’t been there, but he’s fresh off a wrist injury. I’d be willing to give him more than a month to recoup.
- The Orioles Ryan Mountcastle has really struggled in his first taste of AA. Through 21 games with Bowie the shortstop is slashing .171/.188/.268, and the lack of approach looks like it’s really caught up to him. Don’t give up on Mountcastle over 21 games, but know there’s work to be done for the 20 year old at the plate.
- As soon as one Astros outfielder graduates, or approaches graduation, another one takes his place. With Derek Fisher seemingly up for good, Jason Martin is doing his best to emulate the power/speed threat. Through 65 AA games Martin is hitting .276/.321/.496 with 10 homers to 6 steals. Combined with high A numbers from earlier this season Martin has 17 homers and 15 steals. He’s a contact over approach guy, but he has the power and speed to be a valuable dynasty asset.
- Martin’s teammate, and the top prospect in the Astros system, Kyle Tucker has struggled with his approach though his first 55 games in AA. His walk rate has tanked significantly between high A and AA, dropping from 11.7% in the Carolina League to 5.4% with Corpus Christi. Luckily he’s still hitting for power, as shown by his .204 ISO, and stealing bases. I wouldn’t discount Tucker much for his early struggles, because at 20 he’s extremely young for the level.
- One of the most exciting teams to watch at the moment is the Athletics AA affiliate Midland. They feature one of the more underrated trios in the minors spearheaded by newly acquired speedster Jorge Mateo, who’s now 48 for 58 on the bases this season between Tampa and Trenton in the Yankees organization, and now Midland with Oakland. From a pure speed standpoint few are better, it’s the contact consistency that’s dinged his value. The other 2/3rds of the trio are two players acquired from Washington over the last few deadlines. One in second baseman Max Schrock, and the other third baseman Sheldon Neuse. The newly promoted Neuse, acquired last month in the Doolittle/Madson deal slashed .386/.457/.675 with 7 homers in 23 games with High A Stockton before earning promotion ealier this week. He’s already off to a fast start through his first two AA games, going 3/7 with a walk. Schrock is the less exciting from a pure tools stand point but all this kid does is hit and get on base. Over 92 games, all at the AA level, Schrock is hitting .315/.375/.429 with 7 homers. Not a ton of power at this point but potential .300 hitters from the middle infield don’t grow on trees, and that has value particularly in deeper dynasty leagues.
- Over the last 10 games AA Mississippi Braves 3rd baseman Austin Riley has been on fire, hitting .364 and slugging .568 over that stretch. Unfortunately he’s also been striking out 28.3% of the time, and only walking about 2% of the time. Riley isn’t all that different from a Hunter Renfroe, maybe a few more strikeouts, but he’s a contact over approach power hitter. At only 20 he has time to hone his approach, but tigers rarely change their stripes.
- My highest ranked lefty starter Kolby Allard had one of his strongest starts of 2017 last night. The newly minted 20 year old went 6 innings, striking out 9, while allowing 6 hits, no walks, 2 runs. Through 24 AA starts his ERA now sits at 3.48, very impressive for such a young arm.
- This year’s Brandon Woodruff just so happens to share an organization with the recently promoted righty. I’m of course talking about bespectacled starter Corbin Burnes who continued his storybook season going 5.1, allowing 2 runs, striking out 5, without allowing a walk. Through 13 AA starts his ERA sits at 2.20, with a K/9 of 9.3, and a Bb/9 of 1.29. The Brewers might be best served to skip the AAA pitching hell of Colorado Springs altogether, and promote him directly to the majors.
- After rolling his ankle on Sunday, super prospect Bo Bichette has been out of the lineup the past three games. Here’s to hoping he’s back on the field today or tomorrow.
- One of my favorite off the radar prospects coming into the season was the Brewers 21 year old righty Jordan Yamamoto. He’s had a very good year through 19 starts in high A, going 6-4 with a 3.07 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 91 innings. In his start Wednesday Yamamoto went 7 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits, and 1 walk, while striking out 5.
- I was very very wrong on the White Sox Alec Hansen coming out of the draft. Whatever plagued him his last season at Oklahoma is very much in the rear view at this point. He cruised again last night for high A Winston – Salem, tossing 7 innings of 1 run ball, allowing 4 baserunners, while striking out 11. He now has 74 K’s in 53.1 innings, and continues to flash front end of the rotation upside. Big shouts to Matt Thompson of Friends With Fantasy Benefits for beating the Hansen drum since day 1.
- In news guaranteed to make Grey salivate there’s another Arenado making his way through the ranks in Nolan’s younger brother Jonah. The younger Arenado is slashing .381/.400/.714 over his last 10 with 10 extra base hits.
**Going to a minor league game? Get in on our crowdsourced scouting video project! Use your phone to shoot at bats, pitches, etc of some of the top prospects, and email them to me at [email protected]**