In Double-A in eighteen after twenty, Nick Solak put up a 19/21/.282 season in 126 games like en bee dee, and would’ve likely been called up to start the year in Tampa last year, or at worst a May/June call-up, but the Rays eat prospects for breakfast and poop out (around lunchtime) guys like Joey Wendle and Daniel Robertson and Yandy Diaz and Willy Adames and Brandon Lowe and their entire lineup, so Solak (almost stutterer!) was shipped off to the Rangers, who have literally no one, for a middle reliever. This is Solak’s third team in three years, so the shine — thine? — might’ve worn off if he wasn’t a bat-first prospect to begin with — an at-first, bat-first prospect? Sure, defense is nice if, ya know, you’re trying to put together a real baseball team, but, luckily for us, we’re not billionaires (yeah, baby!) and we don’t have to put together a team that can field as well as hit, unless you’re in a Benjamin Netanyahu league, in which case be wary of Solak.  So, what can we expect from Nick Solak in 2020 fantasy baseball?

In 2019 through two teams’ Triple-A affiliates and a brief call-up with the Rangers, Nick Solak’s numbers were 32 homers — take the R out of boring, because that is boing! — seven steals — you’re my daddy now! — and a .280-ish average (I say “ish” because I only do straight addition, and didn’t feel like figuring out his batting average). If this was merely a one-time breakout season from Solak, I’d still pay attention, but this is who he’s been now for his career. He also carries a 11+% walk rate and a manageable 20% K-rate. With 12 steals (seems impossible but who knows), and 25+ homers (might be more impossible, but, again, who knows) and those batted ball profile rates, Solak could squirm his way into a 27/14/.285 season and become the Rangers two-hole hitter. That’s de facto value! Narrator: Grey thought the best kind of value was de facto value. What I’m slightly surprised about, and which, honestly, has me a little troubled is why no one is talking about him? I don’t mind being on an island all by myself, but I had to go back to 2016 to find even a mention of Solak on Razzball. He didn’t make it into Prospect Mike or Prospect Ralph’s lists. He made Prospect Itch’s top 50 prospect list, but that was after Solak hit with the Rangers, so I think even he (She? It? Itch? They? Them?) would admit that Solak’s solid 2019 in the majors helped him get noticed. I’m doubting Solak simply because he was buried in the Yankees’ and then Rays’ systems, which was no fault of his, and he’s out of there now, and on the Rangers, who have, how do I say this politely, less. Would Solak be better known and coveted if he started his career in the Rangers’ system and stayed there the whole time, put up the numbers he did put up, then came to the majors and hit like he did? I’m guessing yes, but I don’t know because it’s an effin’ hypothetical! Why don’t you understand that?! For 2020, I’ll give Nick Solak projections of 77/22/64/.268/9 in 523 ABs with a chance for more. Actually, Nick Solak might not just be a rookie outlook, but might be my 1st fantasy baseball sleeper.

  1. c says:
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    I don’t think Solak still has 2B eligibility. Does he? My league rules (ESPN position eligibility) says he doesn’t. Even though I love him.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Depends on your league, he started 5 games at 2B which gives him 2nd base in Yahoo

  2. bigbear says:
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    He’s got a fairly low LA (6.3 vs 11.2 MLB). Seems to spray the ball around pretty good through the minors and majors with better than average EV. Solid BABIP and ISO throughout as well. In today’s game, it’s tough to poo poo a 20 HR projection. Especially with half his ABs in . My guess is you’re a smidge low on BA. Either way, seems like a good sleeper. But could see him make some adjustments, join the LAR and blow by 25 HR as well (taking a slight BA dip). Because chicks (and paychecks) dig the long ball. So you know, there’s motivation to change. And maybe that’s what you’re thinking. I know ST stats are meaningless, but for this guy, it could show if his approach has changed.

    An under-hyped Yankee prospect? Fairytale!

    • CMUTIMMAH says:
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      true bigbear… it is a fairytale…

      But this guy was behind Gleybar, Andujar, Judge… Florial There is only so much rosterbating a fan base and media can do when they already spend so much time on these guys….

      I’m sure he was all the rage in the Tampa Bay media, lol

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Haha

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha, yeah, those are good points on the LA, he might’ve been a product of the juiced balls… His fly ball rate was low last year in the minors, but it’s been higher and he also has a solid HR/FB which leads me to believe he’s got more power than people are ascribing him… Maybe he’s a 15-17 HR guy vs. the 22-25 HR guy I’m pegging him as

  3. CMUTIMMAH says:
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    Solak interests me, but he needs a glove to get playing time still.

    At 2B, Odor always lingers. (see what I did there)
    At the corner OF spots, Mazara and Gallo are cemented. Willie Calhoun still needs a home…

    So where does he play? 1B? Choo makes 20+ mil to DH, so I doubt they move him. Who wants to pay a 27 year old 20 millions dollars to DH and not hit bombs?

    There is still time for moves and there is still time for injuries, especially with this team, and Solak is a nice luxury to have. But until a path is made for him, I am not sure if he is draft worthy. You could have a clock delay like all prospects have now, and who knows if that delay is June or if he gets the full Kyle Tucker treatment.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Do the Rangers have a 3B? That’s where he played a majority of the time last year

  4. Dave D says:
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    Well, we’re a week away from drafts starting. Looks like results are in from the one slow they host early. Acuna went 1. Yelich 2. Trout 3.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Really? Wow, I’d love to get Trout at 3 overall…

      BTW, Donkey and I are in a prize money slot for the NFBC postseason contest… Just need to hold or move up now…

      • Dave D says:
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        Nice! I hope you win!!!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          That would be sweet, I’m hoping to at least place in the money…Right now, we’re barely in the $

          • Dave D says:
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            How many pay and what is top prize?

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Top 15 pay, top prize is $20,000 — We chose Nats/Astros predominantly bc we figured that would be the series… A few people above us seemed to be going Yankees or Dodgers so they’re not gaining as many points as us… We prolly need the series to go at least six games to sniff top 5, but we’re in good shape

              • Dave D says:
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                Yeah, good call. I knew it’d be Houston for AL and I figured a toss up between Wash/LA for NL. I hope you have Kendrick. Ive always been a big fan of his game in real life.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  We’ve had Kendrick, he helped us a lot in the 2nd round… We’ve had Soto since 1st round… We even have Suzuki, who homered last game

                  • Dave D says:
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                    Nice.

  5. Dave D says:
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    Here’s the 1st six picks of all15 teams. Which six would you most like as your roster?

    1- Acuna, Clevinger, Snell, Merrifield, Robles, Chapman

    2- Yelich, Martinez, Rendon, Moncada, Paddack, Correa

    3- Trout, Corbin, Bogaerts, Giolito, Machado, Garver

    4- Turner, Bieber, Harper, Rizzo, Glasnow, Contreras

    5- Bellinger, Strasburg, Kershaw, Soler, Suarez, Andrus

    6- Betts, Flaherty, Baez, Mondesi, Greinke, Abreu

    7- Bregman, Gurriel, Altuve, Morton, Semien, Lynn

    8- Lindor, Buehler, Springer, Goldschmidt, Jimenez, Yates

    9- Cole, Alonso, Villar, Guerrero, Castillo, Sanchez

    10- Story, Freeman, SMarte, Nola, Syndergaard, Rosario

    11- deGrom, Devers, Alvarez, Bryant, Kluber, Ohtani

    12- Verlander, Ramirez, KMarte, Muncy, Darvish, Gallo

    13- Soto, Torres, Meadows, Albies, McNeil, Paxton

    14- Arenado, Judge, Stanton, Blackmon, Realmuto, Ryu

    15- Tatis. Scherzer, Hiura, Sale, Severino, Pham

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Wow, is Paddack going high! Hmm…3 is kinda sexy, but hate Garver there… I don’t love all six picks for any of the top ones… I like Bellinger’s 1st four, but meh… I like Bregman, but Gurriel? Meh… I guess 3 or 9

  6. Dave D says:
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    Yeah, 3 is solid other than the Garver pick. Im with you on 9 as well. I do also like 6 quite a bit but would much rather have another SP besides Greinke. But, yeah, some crappy combos in there. Glasnow over Castillo seems quite odd to me.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, didn’t love that Greinke pick either you’re right tho, 6 is very solid too… Nice on Mondesi and Baez

      • Dave D says:
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        That seems awfully high on Ohtani too, but he will be eligible at both P, Util for same “player”. So, whoever drafts him can decide for that week if they want one 5 IP start or 10 ABs. I’m out but somebody will bite. Top 80 seems about 100 picks too high for me on the SP and about 250 picks too high on a part time DH.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, I’m out too, especially in weekly leagues… There’s gonna be a lot of weeks where he gets one bad start and maybe 4 random at-bats — he really needs to choose hitting or pitching for me to be excited in fantasy

  7. Harley Earl says:
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    Great post on Solak, totally agree with your assessment.

    I had Solak on my dynasty team minor league roster for about 18 months. I eventually cut him once I had Hiura and Brujan to cover 2B. While I had Solak he provided solid numbers in the minors. I, just like you, wondered why nobody was getting behind him as a prospect. I mean nobody was writing about the guy. With the hype on Hiura and Brujan, I decided Solak was expendable and used the roster spot on either Jordan Groshans or Julio Rodriguez.

    Still, I like Solak. I’m impressed with what he’s done both in the minors and majors. I don’t see superstar material but I do see a solid contributor that can be an everyday bat for the Rangers for a few years and then who knows after that. I think you’re right on target with this guy.

    I sure wouldn’t bet against him, and I sure would bet he’s got a chance for more!!!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! Yeah, I still never fully got to the bottom of why Solak wasn’t liked at all prior to this year, but I guess it’s just he was buried in deeper systems

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