Yesterday summer came to New England, after months of teetering between 12 degrees, and 47 and rainy, the sun finally showed and warmed our frozen souls with it’s powerful rays. Perfect timing for me to, as Wednesday’s are by far the busiest days of my week. I have a work related meeting every “Hump Day” at 7 AM in downtown Boston, and that’s no joy to wake up and get to. So my day starts at 5 AM. I perform my usual “triple S”, make my coffee, finish the latest episode of Halp and Grey in the (insert time slot here) on the ride in, while I think about how badly I mis-ranked Alex Wood in my weekly pitching rankings. I mean there’s always one, right? So my day chugs along like a shiny steam engine from morning meeting, to morning workout, to morning meeting, to lunch, to afternoon meeting, to afternoon meeting. By 5 o’clock I’m toast, but there’s no rest for The Prospector, becuase it’s time to pickup my oldest from after-school care. Yesterday was a special one, as my son greeted me with his newest homemade “SpongeBob Squarepants” book, let’s just say he needs to work on his spelling. With all this to do, a man needs some time to his self, just him and his Schrock. I learned as a young man making time for one’s Schrock can make all the difference when it comes to your daily outlook, and just general disposition. Enough about my day, let’s discuss my Schrock. Now my Schrock is a well maintained smooth Schrock, what it lacks in size, it makes up for with heart, technique, and advanced approach. My Schrock might look undersized, but it packs surprising power. In fact this spring my Schrock, let’s call him Max, made quite the impression in the Arizona sun. If by this point you haven’t figured out that I’m talking about Oakland A’s 2nd base prospect Max Schrock, then you my friend have a dirty mind. So who is this little SOB? Well if you’ve been paying attention then you’d know that Schrock’s been discussed in this space before, as well as on the prospect podcast. For my podcast co-host Michael C. Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com loves Schrock! Loves him! So far in 2017 Schrock has struggled a bit to pick up where he left off in spring training. Yesterday, however, Schrock finally broke out his boom stick, and put the wood to two Yohander Mendez pitches. Going double dong on his way to a 3 for 4 day with two solo jobs. Schrock can always get it done by his lonesome, even if the Rockhounds lost to the Roughriders 7-4. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. As for Schrock’s 2017 he’s currently slashing .277/.315/.433 with 5 homers and 3 steals.

The diminutive second baseman is an old school contact hitter, rarely striking out (11.4% K%), but also preferring to put the ball in play over working a count. Throughout his 888 professional at bats he’s maintained a batting average of .316, while flashing developing power, and a little speed. The 2015 13th round pick of the Nationals, was a three year starter at South Carolina, and slashed .302/.392/.460 for the Gamecocks (yes, seriously I can’t make this stuff up), while stealing 27 bases, and hitting 16 homers across 209 games. He’s made some adjustments over the last year to his approach, embracing the flyball revolution, while abandoning his pull happy ways for an all-fields approach. So far the changes have worked, as Schrock cut his groundball rate year over year by 18%, while raising his flyballs by a nearly identical margin. While Schrock may never be a star, he’s on the fringes of Top-100-dom, and could carve out a role as a very nice middle infielder for fantasy. Good trade by Billy Beane, I mean, anytime you can trade Marc Rzepczynski, for a player who’s name you can not only pronounce but also spell without triple-checking you do it….. Here’s who else is making noise the last few days in the MiLB.

  • Speaking of diminutive second baseman bringing the boom, the Phillies Scott Kingery is breaking out. The 2015 2nd rounder blasted his 9th homer of the season for Reading yesterday afternoon. He looks like another disciple of the flyball/launch angle revolution (as Halp put it in his Minor League write up last week), as he’s bumped both his LD% (18.4%) and FB% (54.4%), while dropping his once 40%+ GB% under 30%. If there’s one place where a flyball change could yield immediate results it’s Reading. The former Arizona stand out is now slugging .609, and it wouldn’t shock me if he catapults up the rankings in mid-season Top 100 lists.
  • Speaking of Reading breakouts, last year’s home run duo for the Fighting Phils, Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins, have led the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs of the AAA International League to 12 straight wins. Hoskins, discussed in this space two weeks ago, has been hot all year. While his partner in swat, Cozens, is a different story. After starting the season with a putrid .161/.245/.323 slashline through the first 27 contests, the 2016 MiLB home run leader is slashing .313/.365/.729 with 6 homers, 11 runs, and 13 RBIs over the win-streak. He’s still striking out at a 30% clip, but strikeouts will always be part of the package with Cozens. Now that he’s showing the power outside of Reading I’m warming up a bit to the imposing slugger. That said, this is a player with significant flaws, not unlike recently promoted Bradley Zimmer. Cozens can hit for power, run, and get on base, but the batting average will always sit below .250 without some real luck on balls in play.
  • The performances during this winning streak for Bacon U.S.A have been nothing short of tremendous. As the trio of J.P. Crawford, the aforementioned Hoskins, and Roman Quinn went a combined 11 for 20 last night with 3 homers, 8 RBIs, and 8 runs. Hopefully this is the beginning of a wake up for Crawford, who’s been awful this season. Quinn, much like Cozens, has had his wake up over the 12 game run. Slashing a robust .405/.457/.571. If and when he gets the call to Philly, he should be a nice source of steals, and runs, while giving you enough pop to not be a negative in that category.
  • **Update** Looks like it might be 13 straight for the Iron Pigs. As Dylan Cozens connected for a homer which was followed by a Rhys Hoskins grand slam as the Bacon boys dropped a 7 spot on Rochester in the 2nd inning. No need to fear, the Crab Army got it on tape, as my favorite scout in #Razz30, (yes we have scouts, crab scouts) is in Rochester for today’s game, and he says a strong wind, and bad starting pitching might have helped.
  • Another good start from one of the most exciting arms in the minors yesterday, as Dodgers righty Walker Buehler struck out 9 over 3 2/3rds innings, walking one, and allowing 3 hits, and no runs. They’ve been using the kids gloves with Buehler, keeping his pitch counts low as he returns from TJ. The former Vanderbilt ace, could find himself in the Dodgers pen sometime this summer, but then again a full season in the minors wouldn’t shock me, knowing how the Doyers operate.
  • Reds 2016 draft pick Taylor Trammell jacked his 3rd homer of the season yesterday, and 2nd in a week. He’s not having a great season so far, but he’s holding his own for a 19 year old in his first go at full-season ball. The athleticism is shining through, as he’s stolen 12 bases in 15 attempts, and has flashed some developing power.
  • Speaking of Reds prospects, their top player Nick Senzel has started to turn on the power the last week plus, slugging .600 over the last 9 games, with a couple of homers over that period. He’s been outhit by teammate, and underrated prospect, Shed Long. The converted catcher, now playing second, is slashing .317/.374/.490 with 5 homers, 2 steals, and 21 RBIs. He’s not a flyball hitter per se, but he hits the ball hard, and is adept at going the other way. This coupled with an advanced approach, and above average wheels, should equate to a higher average as he moves up the ladder. Long is definitely one to watch.
  • To far less fanfare than teammates Cal Quantrill, and Joey Lucchesi, Halp favorite, and 2016 first rounder, Eric Lauer has been phenomenal. He’s slated to start tonight vs the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, and is a worthy take. In 2017 his numbers speak for themselves, through 6 starts he’s 0-2 with a 1.89 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 11.07 K/9, 3.2 Bb/9, and a nearly 30% IFFB%. In dynasty leagues where pitching rules, Lauer is a must add.
  • Braves lefty Sean Newcomb is enjoying one of the best stretches of his professional career at the moment, having not allowed more than 2 earned runs in 5 consecutive starts. The southpaw went 5 1/3rd on Wednesday, allowing 1 run, on 3 hits, 2 walks, while striking out 6. The walks are still an issue (4.43 Bb/9), but the K’s are up (10.97 K/9), and his ERA of 2.74 is supported by a 3.01 FIP.
  • Both the Yankees upper minors affiliates, Trenton and Scranton-Wilkes Barre, had early afternoon games today. And both of their top prospects connected for homers, as Gleyber Torres hit his 4th for Trenton, and Clint Frazier slugged his 6th for the RailRiders. Both should see some time in the Bronx this summer, even if it’s more of the cup of coffee variety.
  • Let’s hope this afternoon’s homer for the Pirates prospect Austin Meadows is the beginning of a glorious hot streak. With both Marte and Gregory Polanco on the shelf, an early June promotion just makes too much sense. The Pirates will wait out the Super 2 date, even if it means bringing Andy Van Slyke out of retirement.

Follow me on Twitter @Ralphlifshitzbb, and check out my weekly Live Baseball Show on Fantrax YouTube channel Tuesday’s at 9 PM EST

Going to a minor league game? Lend a hand to our crowd sourced scouting project. Simply take a quick 30 second video of an at bat and email it to me at [email protected]

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Oppo Taco
Oppo Taco
5 years ago

Did I rank the following arms correctly in a keeper league? : Cole, McCullers and Berrios

Would you trade Cole, Moncada, Mazara and Bregman for Arenado and Greinke? It’s a keeper league. Thanks !

Steve Stevenson
Steve Stevenson
5 years ago

NL-only keeper, 3 minors slots that stay locked up unless they’re called up, DL’d or traded across leagues. I have 2 slots occupied by Senzel and Buehler. Add Allard knowing that my minors slots would be locked up until someone gets the call, or maintain flexibility because he’s too far away?

Kip Mungjup
Kip Mungjup
5 years ago

What’s your reason for thinking hoskins gets called up? ToJo has been playing well lately. Can hoskins play any other positions?

Also, any chance this Allard guy is coming up this year?

If you were going to stash a SP who could be legit this year who would it be?

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  Kip Mungjup
5 years ago

@Kip Mungjup: Woodruff

Swayzee
Swayzee
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Thanks Ralph! great posts and advice as always!

thorbs
thorbs
5 years ago

Any chance Magneuris sticks in STL? He doesn’t look out of place at the dish (small sample size, granted).

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  thorbs
5 years ago

@thorbs: I’d say close to 0% chance

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
5 years ago

Man just got a tempting offer in my keeper, though don’t think I can do it now.

Give: Berrios (yeah that’s why), Glasnow and Paxton for Alford, Moniak and Gsellman.

Berrios, Glasnow, Alford, Moniak all on prospect rosters and won’t be promoted until next season. I’m rebuilding, usually love swapping pitching prospects with hitting ones, but after Berrios gem this is crazy now right? Gsellman has been garbage too, and isn’t really worth anything now in our league. Do love Moniak and what Alford’s showing this year though.

Take Berry boy off the table, and see what I get offered for Glasnow and Paxton?

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Swfcdan
5 years ago

@Swfcdan: Oh and Paxton is worthless after this year, as he’s signed to a 1 year contract for me. Damn I need to watch some of that Berrios start back…wow.

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  Swfcdan
5 years ago

@Swfcdan: I’d do it

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: That’s exactly my thinking too, and what I’ve told him. You prefer Alford over Moniak (OBP league)? Alford seems to have more tools, but Moniak the safer guy.

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: He seems keen, offered me Alford, Martes and Gsellman (throw in) for Paxton and Glasnow.

I think I’ll take it. Thanks for the help, now get back to insurance selling before your boss notices you razzballing!

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Jesus called up to the Majors! I thought you meant AAA. Glad I got it done in time!

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Yea that’s probably more logical. Gsellman looked so bad when I watched him pitch vs the Brewers.

PD
PD
Reply to  MPGA
5 years ago

@MPGA: we would’ve said the same last season about Berrios no?

apox
apox
5 years ago

Hoskins is a freakin’ beast. There are some very interesting similarities to Goldy in his profile. RH 1B who was thought to have a bad body and swing and miss issues but continually hit at every level. Not saying he will be Goldy, but there are some parallels.

Matt
Matt
5 years ago

Any idea when the Phills might call up Hoskins? In one dynasty, i need to make a decision on when to grab him off the WW (unowned in our milb system).
Thanks for your work!
Matt

J-FOH
J-FOH
5 years ago

Schrock looks like Altuve in that gif

SR
SR
5 years ago

Some other names off to nice starts:

Jorge Alcala – Looks like he just got bumped to A+, maybe in the top 150-200 discussion now?

Tyler Stephenson – Great BB%, K% way down, finally healthy. Is he a top 100 prospect again?

Alex Jackson – Now a catcher, no idea how well he’s coping there, but the bat is showing up big time. Top 100 again, maybe better?

Luis Castillo – Prospect rankings all the place on him during the offseason, not sure where he falls with the strong start in AA.

Javier Betancourt – Glove first guy who looks like he might be figuring it out at the plate…if he can keep this pace up for a 15ish homer year, that would be a big step forward.

Ricardo Sanchez – Seems like he’s starting to pitch with a lot more consistency, he’s historically been pretty young from his level I believe, but his performance tends to get buried under all of the other Braves arms.

Jorge Ona – Seems to be knocking the rust off very quickly after returning from injury, a lot of potential value here if he can next start hitting for power.

Any thoughts on any of these guys?

Fred McGriff
Fred McGriff
5 years ago

Altherr vs Schwarber in a dynasty league?

TTRA1N
TTRA1N
5 years ago

Was just offered B.Zimmer/Meadows for Severino. Thoughts? Idk if I have the room or can afford a loss of pitching. Thoughts?

10TM Keep 5 forever Roto 6×6 QS/OPS League Underline for current keepers.
C Grandal
1B Myers
2B Baez
3B Sano
SS Vilar
CI H.Perez
MI Owings
4OF Harper, Springer, Benintendi, Conforto
2UTiL D.Gordon/Buxton BN
Happ, Bregman
DL Thor/Polanco  NA Rosario
SP McCuller, Bundy, Severino, Wood, Berrios, Karns
RP Neris, Holland, Brach, J.Wilson, Knebel

TTRA1N
TTRA1N
Reply to  TTRA1N
5 years ago

@TTRA1N: Also have Mana ea at SP

Friar Luck
Friar Luck
5 years ago

Us Padres fans are salivating for the day to come when Espinoza, Quantrill, Lauer, Lucchesi, and hopefully Paddack are all vying for the big league rotation.

For now, I’m happy with Perdomo’s improvements. Do you see him having staying power?

Thanks for the great info as always.

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: and Henry Henry, Andres Munoz, Enyel De Los Santos, Mason Thompson

Hugman
Hugman
5 years ago

Lost Freeman today. I’m hurting. Who are the next big 1B prospects that might get called up soon, if any?

Hugman
Hugman
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Haha, I figured. Damned if I’m stashing right now tho seeing as I’m stashing Moncada and currently own no less than THREE Mariners relievers per my saves shituation!

Screwballs
Screwballs
5 years ago

Thanks for the continued great info!

What are you thoughts on Jacob Faria being a useful pickup for this year in a 20 team league?

Screwballs
Screwballs
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Thanks; doesn’t sound like I need to rush to get him.

PD
PD
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

Ralph Lifshitz: trouble escaping the 6th in AAA sounds like trouble in the AL east. I was wondering about him in the daily notes & grey sent me here. Missed this comment the first time.

8 team AL only keeper – getting good SP callups is a game in itself.

Mo Money
Mo Money
5 years ago

Asides from Moncada, any idea who are the next top 2 impact fantasy minor leaguers out there? I have Moncada waiting and I struck the lottery with Bellinger earlier. I have Marte and Polanco and my OF needs some help.

Mo Money
Mo Money
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: what about Rosario?

Sing Us a Vogelsong You're the Pineda Man
Sing Us a Vogelsong You're the Pineda Man
5 years ago

Sorry, I haven’t been too plugged in to the prospect side of things this season. With MI being so thin, In looking to get Moncada from a frustrated owner. Two questions: when will he be up (June?) and what position will he play (2B, presumably)?

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: It’s a real buzzkill.

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: I don’t think it’s determined until the end of the season?

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: So basically the author expects the White Sox to be super conservative.

NicCage
NicCage
5 years ago

Thanks Ralph!

Meadows or Brinson in a long term keeper league? Looking for someone who can also help out this year.

NicCage
NicCage
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Thanks Ralph. Long term, Meadows have an edge? I get to keep 8, and while I have Goldy, Just Dongs, Sanchez, Blackmon, Cueto, and Syndergaard slotted for now, I have Kinsler, Rendon, Alonso, Hererra, Kemp, and Dee Gordon to consider. I could potentially drop Samardijza or however da f you spell his name and roster both.

Ryan
Ryan
5 years ago

Is Allard a future #2?

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Ralph likes the way Allard works it, no diggity.

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: I’m just over here playing with my aggressively ranked Schrock.

El Famous Burrito
El Famous Burrito
5 years ago

Is Nick Williams still alive?

El Famous Burrito
El Famous Burrito
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: .261?!?! That’s it?!?

Tyler Flowers is hitting .347. You telling me you aren’t as good as Tyler Flowers? You better get used to wearing a paper hat and a name tag, Nicky. You’re riding the Jamaican bobsled to Losertown!

Tim
Tim
5 years ago

Any concern over Frances Martes and his rough start? Can he still be a top of the rotation arm?

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

Who are your top 3 highest ceiling pitchers in the minors?

Kevin
Kevin
5 years ago

Is Albies the starting 2nd in Atlanta next season? Can he be a top 5 second baseman at peak?

Tony Montana
Tony Montana
5 years ago

How would rank Buehler in comparison to some of the other highly rated pitching prospects like Honeywell, Kopech, Keller, Allard or McKenzie?

Tony Montana
Tony Montana
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Greatly appreciate the input! Allard and Honeywell are owned, but Kopech, Buehler, McKenzie and Keller are available in my upcoming draft. I figure not all 4 will be on the table when I’m up, but it sounds like this is a case where any of the bunch would be very solid options (barring injuries, suspensions, etc).

P.S. Love the Ralph/Halp team; discovered imaginarybrickwall a few weeks before you guys started really working together, and you guys are two of my main go-to resources!

MPGA
MPGA
Reply to  Tony Montana
5 years ago

@Tony Montana: The Dream Team

Chud
Chud
5 years ago

As a Philllies fan I am ready for these guys to explode at Citizen’s Bank Park!

Speaking of Phillies who would u rather have in a full keeper? Maikel Franco or Trevor Story?

Great stuff as always!

Bryce Krispie Treats
Bryce Krispie Treats
5 years ago

Man, I’m getting frustrated with the Rockies not using Tapia! Call him up for an interleague matchup, but he doesnt even DH? Get rid of Parra!!!

On a lighter note… updates on Brinson?

What does your gut say on Gleyber? Call up in 2017?

Halp
Halp
5 years ago

Great write-up and thanks for the shoutouts! Im not seeing many pitchers out there i would prefer to buehler right now.

Halp
Halp
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: I wouldn’t know, but after watching your Youtube show last night, I’ll hit up Bonnie-Jill Laflin to ask what she thinks about it :)

Halp
Reply to  Halp
5 years ago

@Halp: *Tuesday night