Since last we met, CJ Abrams made the club and started at shortstop in the second game of the season. He just missed a home run in one at bat, and he got caught stealing once, but the talent was clear. His playing time outlook might be a little foggy with Ha Seong Kim playing well this spring and carrying that over into the season, but you have to figure he’ll be in the lineup almost every day or he’d be in AAA.
It’s not easy to anticipate who the most interesting prospects in baseball will be, but Abrams is undoubtedly one of them. What happens to him when Tatis comes back? The DH would figure to be blocked by Voit with Hosmer at first, so Tatis will have to play somewhere. Maybe Abrams will just kick out to left field (my guess), and his playing time won’t be impacted at all. Truth is it’s all down to how he plays. If he’s playing up to his potential, he’ll stay in the lineup no matter who’s walking through that door.
Let’s take a quick lap around the league and check in with some rookies and prospects.
I feel compelled to apologize to those of you who drafted San Diego RP Robert Suarez on my recommendation. Not only did he lose his gig to an Opening Day trade, but he also added an ugly blown save that night.
On a similar note, San Francisco RP Camilo Doval got the team’s first save opportunity of the season on Friday. It did not go well. Despite his stated preference for Jake McGee this preseason, Doval was Kapler’s weapon of choice in the playoffs last season and features freaskish stuff on the level of an Emmanuel Clase. I’ll be buying the dip where I can make it happen.
Baltimore OF Yusniel Diaz hit two home runs on Thursday. He played well enough in spring training to make the team, so I suspect there’s some fuckery afoot here. I’m looking to add him soon in any leagues where I’ve got room.
Kansas City 1B Nick Pratto hit a home run on each end of a seven inning double header this week out of the two-spot AAA Omaha. I’m a little confused about the process in Kansas City, but Pratto shouldn’t have to linger long in the minors. Got the club wrapped around his finger if he keeps hitting.
Kansas City RHP Jon Heasley looked good, striking out four over three innings while allowing two hits and one run. He’s in the outside lane and gaining on all the big named pitchers they’ve drafted and developed the past few years.
Detroit RHP Michael Pineda threw three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. He’s no prospect, but he’s closer to joining the rotation than I thought he was.
Minnesota RHP Cole Sands threw five scoreless for the AAA Twins, striking out seven and allowing just one hit. He’s not overpowering but has always generated good results (2.51 career ERA in 37 starts) thanks to plus control of his three-pitch mix. He’s more side-to-side than top-to-bottom, which could keep him from getting some chances he earns on the field along the way, but the Twins are on something of a roll with unique-look starting pitchers, and I’ll be adding Sands whenever he washes ashore.
Angels SS Brendon Davis is hitting .417 after missing Spring Training due to injury. He’s good enough to start for the Angels tomorrow, which I guess isn’t saying much, but he’s one of the organization’s nine best bats, and I think he’ll force his way into some playing time at some point.
San Francisco 3B David Villar has been hitting well for years and started hot in 2022 with two HR and a 1.362 OPS through 10 at bats. He’s kind of fringy as an athlete but fits well with the organizational philosophy in San Francisco. I’m guessing he’ll be the first bat promoted when the club needs reinforcements.
Staying in San Francisco, keep an eye out for RHPs Peter Tago and Sean Hjelle. Tago is one of my relief prospect picks to click this year, and the 6’11” Hjelle struck out five hitters over 3.2 scoreless innings in his season debut for AAA, where he struggled to a 5.74 ERA in 10 starts last season. When he’s firing on all cylinders, he’s extremely tough to pick up, let alone hit.
Thanks for reading!
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