We all have certain prospects we’re partial to. Players that for whatever reason strike your fancy, and you’ll forever view them through rose colored glasses. For example I think Peter Gammons is still hyping up Matt Murton. Grey wrote like 7 sleeper posts about Jedd Gyorko. Former prospector Mike legally changed his name to Maikel Franco. I on the other hand trekked down to Pawtucket, RI on consecutive days in April to watch Nick Williams first hand. Did I like what I saw? Was I impressed? Click that button, find out.
No…. He looked like he was pressing, and really seemed to have no idea what pitch selection was. When he did make contact, he hit the ball hard. From then on I soured on Williams quite a bit. I wondered if maybe his aggressive approach at the plate was crossing into overly-aggressive territory, and therefore becoming a major deterrent. He sort of toiled along from there until mid-late May. Then almost as if a switch went off, Williams honed in, and started raking. Now two weeks into the Nick Williams Renaissance, and he’s slashing .362/.423/.638 with 3 homers and 2 steals. The sample size is small, so take of it what you will, but his walks are up to a respectable level (7%+). On the other hand his K% over that time is around 30%. I can deal with increased strikeouts if it means more walks and an improved OBP.
With the current Philadelphia outfield ranking dead last in runs, RBI’s, and wOBA, I don’t see why Williams should spend anymore than another few days/weeks in AAA. Is Cody Asche really a better option? Long and the short, I wouldn’t start stashing him in 12 team re-drafts yet, but if I was in a 16+ with A) A lot of bench spots B) Minors/NA spots. I’d stash him and see what happens. Obviously he should already be owned in any dynasty league with 10+ minors spots and 10+ teams. I wouldn’t expect the second coming of Nomar Mazara, but you can expect maybe a .270 average, with double digit homers and a handful of steals.
David Paulino, RHP AA Corpus Christi (Astros): The giant righty has been baffling AA with big numbers (1.80 era, 1.00 whip, 10.2 k/9, 1.8 Bb/9) and the peripherals to back it up (2.12 FIP, .298 Babip, .40 HR/9, 79% LOB). No reason he can’t see AAA or the majors this season. (Check the Rime) Definitely a pitcher to keep an eye on.
Andrew Stevenson, OF A+ Potomac (Nationals): College teammate of super prospect Alex Bregman, and 2015 second round pick is proving to be a force on the basepaths this season swiping 21 bags. He’s never going to be a power threat, but could be a solid base stealing leadoff type.
Austin Meadows, OF AA Altoona (Pirates): After getting hurt in spring training, and then starting the season like a pile of donkey feces. Meadows has been en fuego for a few weeks now and has raised his average to .298. He only has a single homer, but does have 8 steals, and is in the midst of a 12 game hitting streak. Any concerns about his early strugglers should be old news.
Austin Pruitt, RHP AAA Durham (Rays): Maybe it’s time I start giving Pruitt his due. He’s not the most exciting prospect, but he’s consistent. The numbers are good 2.48 ERA, 8.76 k/9, 1.46 Bb/9, and he’s allowed less than 2 earned runs in 9 of his 11 starts. The control has always been there, the strikeouts are new. He’s worth an add in a deeper league. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s called up for some spot starts.
Manuel Margot, OF AAA El Paso (Padres): The centerpiece of the Friars return for Craig Kimbrel this offseason, is another highly touted prospect on a hot streak after struggling to start the season. It’s easy to forget just how young Margot is, he’s actually the youngest player in the PCL. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see Margot at some point in the next two months.
Willson Contreras, AAA Iowa (Cubs): With neither Miguel Montero nor David Ross setting the world on fire, I could see Contreras up sooner, rather than later, if only to see what he can do for a handful of games before sending him back down. Contreras has been scorching this season ranking among the leaders in the minors in batting average, OBP, RBI’s, and OPS. He’s also added the power stroke (9 homers, had 12 all of 2015).
Franklin Barreto, SS AA Midland (Athletics): Yet another top prospect starting to overcome a rocky start. Though Barreto’s might be a little rockier than the rest. Hit an inside the park homer on Friday night, and showed some of the off the charts tools that make him a fantasy prospect favorite. He’s still only 20 at AA, so unless he really heats up, I’d expect him to stick at this level for a majority of the season.
Yandy Diaz, 3B AAA Toledo (Indians): Diaz is sort of an unexciting player overall, and certainly shouldn’t be on any 12 team radars at the moment. On the other hand if you’re a deeper leaguer he should be someone you look to add as the type of player you can shuttle between the minors and majors once he gets the call. Has good approach and on base skills, looks like a potential .280ish hitter with a little pop and a little speed.
Tyler Beede, RHP AA Richmond (Giants): After having a rough go of it during his first run at AA last year, Beede is writing a different story this season. It features a talking dragon, and improved walk rates. His k rate is still garbage, but he could be a nice ratio boost once he makes his way into the Giants rotation.
Chance Sisco, C AA Bowie (Orioles): One of the top catching prospects in the minors, Sisco has been putting up a .300 average and a .400 OBP, but he still lacks power. I’d temper my expectations as a fantasy owner.
Willie Calhoun, 2B AA Tulsa (Dodgers): A quick update on everyone’s favorite sleeper prospect from last June’s draft. He’s started to heat up the last two weeks, as he’s more than doubled his home run total. Over the last 14 games Calhoun has slashed .340/.431/.660 with 4 homers, 10 runs, and 12 RBI’s. Most impressive is Calhoun’s Bb% (13.8%) is a full point higher than his K% (12.1%), and he’s a power hitter! Calhoun’s stock should continue to climb as a power hitting second baseman who has the ceiling of OPS league superstar.
Paul DeJong, 3B AA Springfield (Cardinals): The other hitter not named Harrison Bader to keep an eye on in the Springfield lineup. He’s your classic power hitting corner infielder, big power, contact issues, and a solid amount of walks. Another 2015 draft pick from what could be an excellent class for the redbirds.
Beau Burrows, RHP A West Michigan (Tigers): The Tigers decision to take a Prep arm in the first round of the 2015 draft is proving a sage move so far. Burrows has been rock solid at Class A West Michigan, providing sterling ratios and displaying elite control. He’s a ways a way from the show, but worth a stash or trade inquiry in leagues where 200+ specs are owned.
Bush League Non-sequiturs
- There’s an interesting situation brewing in the Astros 1st base soap opera. First we had the emergence of Tyler White, then he started to suck. Then we had the early struggles of A.J. Reed, a DL stint, and now the emergence of A.J. All the while, forgotten man Jon Singleton has been slugging homers in AAA. The average is still awful, but he can take a walk, and the power is very real. The Astros also have that pesky contract they gave him to account for. I wonder if he surfaces before Reed.
- One of the biggest risers leading up to the 2016 MLB draft is Boston College’s Justin Dunn. The righty’s stock has jumped significantly in recent weeks, and the hot rumor is he’s not making it past the Mariners at 11.
- Can Peter O’brien and Dan Vogelbach be traded to AL teams without DH’s? I’m sick of these two potentially useable fantasy players rotting on the vine.
- Detroit prospect Christin Stewart is leading the minors in homers right now with 16. It will be interesting to see what Stewart does once promoted to AA. His batting average is low (.254), but his OBP is high, thanks to a 16% Bb rate. He’s been a bit unlucky too, as his ISO (.296) is higher than his Babip (.273)
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