Short-season ball kicked off on Friday, allowing us to dig even deeper into the prospect player pool for some performance data. Short-season is a melting pot of players. You’ll get your injury recovery guys, your recent draftees, and your teenagers getting their first taste of pro ball. It’s also a great season to follow if you happen to live close to one of these parks. Small, intimate stadiums, cheap prices, good food, and good baseball. That’s what it’s all about, especially if you’re a dad teaching your son or daughter about the Game for the first time. By and by, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads reading this today. Here’s what’s happening around the minor leagues…
Bobby Bradley, 1B | CLE – 2-for-5 with two homers. This is getting a bit ridiculous. I guess the Indians are doing just enough to not warrant a call to the majors, but I’m honestly puzzled why Bradley isn’t playing for Cleveland instead of Columbus at this point. Once he’s up, he’ll be a cheap source of power, albeit with high strikeout rates and a poor average.
Yusniel Diaz, OF | BAL – 2-for-4 with homer, and a homer in three straight. Here’s my take on Diaz from the preseason, where I ranked him the top prospect in the Orioles system: “Diaz was arguably the best piece in the return for Manny Machado last year. He’s close to the majors which means he could have some redraft value. His floor is also relatively high after playing pro ball in Cuba and demonstrating average or better tools across the board. He’s not elite, but a guy who can hit .280 with 15/15 potential is useful in fantasy. He posted an outstanding 14% walk rate and 16% strikeout rate in 2018.” This year, he’s back from a hamstring injury and posting the same solid walk and strikeout rates as a year ago.
Drew Waters, OF | ATL – 4-for-5 with a homer, hitting .335 on the year. The 20-year-old Waters now has four homers and ten steals on the season for the Double-A Mississippi Braves. Waters checked in at number six in the Braves preseason top ten. He looks like a 10/20 type if everything works out and I’d invest in most dynasty formats if you haven’t already.
Rogelio Armenteros, RHP | HOU – Three innings pitched with three strikeouts, no walks, and the save in his major league debut. Here’s what I said about Armenteros in the offseason, where I ranked him fourth in a deep Astros system: “Spending the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Fresno, Armenteros logged 118 innings and struck out 134 batters (10.2 K/9). His best pitch is his change-up, and between his big build (6’1?/220), his experience (over 400 MiLB innings), and his reported feel for his entire arsenal, he looks like an easy bet to carve out a role in the rotation as early as this year.” Ok, so he’s not in the rotation. One news outlet said he could be safely ignored in all formats. I’m not so sure about that. I’d definitely keep an eye on him in AL-only leagues and deeper dynasties.
Andrew Vaughn, 1B | CWS – If you’re wondering where my 2019 draft content is, it’s sitting in the bushes waiting for the July 2 international signings so that I can put everything into one comprehensive post. But as a tease, I’ll say that Vaughn is going to be my pick for the best fantasy bat in first-year player drafts. I know that Adley Rutschman went first overall, but that seems like the Orioles are looking for a field general/leader and not the guy that’s going to impact your fantasy offense.