White Sox 2B Lenyn Sosa will try to keep swinging a hot sickle in Tim Anderson’s stead. Sosa was slashing .448/.556/.828 with seven walks, five strikeouts and two home runs in nine games at Triple-A, which got him featured over the weekend in Prospect News: Seeking Treats On Easter Sunday.
Watching Reds SS Jose Barrero take his at bats this season, it’s easy to see he’s going through a process to incorporate his new swing: a quick drop of the hands that makes him dangerous middle-in. His sweet spot used to be away due to longer uncoil with extended levers through the zone, which left him exposed on the inner half. This year, he’s been finding hits up the middle on inside fastballs that he wouldn’t have caught up to last year, and when he smoked a towering home run to left field against Atlanta on Tuesday night, I had one of those glitch-in-the-matrix moments where I saw it happen in my mind just before it happened on the field. It’s too early to say he’ll be a fantasy factor, but he’s cut his strikeout rate from 43.7 percent last year to 18.2 percent this year, which would have to be one of the biggest drops in major league history if he could sustain even a fraction of it.
I had that same matrix-glitch thing with Giants 3B David Villar’s mammoth blast to right-center against Evan Phillips of the Dodgers. Weird Tuesday for me. Villar’s been taking tough pitches off the edges and will be a middle-order threat as long as he’s doing that. The power is an easy grade or two higher than I’ve seen on any scouting report, which typically pegs him in the 50-range. He’s a nice piece in the third base landscape, but he’s also played four games at second base already this year. In his last 37 games, Villar has 11 home runs and a triple slash of .275/.356/.592. If he hits 45 home runs this year, my fantasy teams will be pleased.
Cubs OF Nelson Velazquez announced his return to the majors with a grand slam on Tuesday. He was hot in Triple-A (.364/.432/.697) and could be much better in his second look at major league pitching. His closest visual comp for me is Nelson Cruz, who also struggled early before tapping into his power. The team appears crowded at a glance, and the runway here is short before Seiya Suzuki returns from his oblique injury, but Velazquez has a 509 wRC+ today, and I’ve never seen a guy get sent down for doing that.
Rockies OF Nolan Jones and 1B Michael Toglia are both looking good out the gate, which is better than looking bad out the gate but still has questionable value in a Rockies organization that often seems totally disinterested in its own future. The team took Toglia in the first round and traded Juan Brito to get Jones, so you might think they’d attempt some asset management with them, but we’ll have to wait and see on that.
UPDATE: Jones will reportedly join the team tonight in place of German Marquez.
Angels SS Zach Neto is slashing .500/.611/.786 after a four-hit Tuesday at Double-A. He struggled some in spring training, but before that, Neto felt like a freight train coming for a top five prospect spot and a big league gig. Still does.
Pirates 2B Mark Mathias got the call over Tucupita Marcano when the team needed to fill Oneil Cruz’s spot on the roster. Marcano is slashing .455/.486/.818 with one home run and two stolen bases through eight games. He hasn’t made enough impact on contact in the upper minors or majors, but everything else in his game works. With a ball a bit bouncier and Marcano a bit older, 2023 might be the time to mark a “Yes” on Tucupita.
Athletics 3B Kevin Smith is back for the sequel as discussed in Prospect News: American League West Opportunity Watch. The beauty of a team like Oakland for our purposes is this all comes down to the Mallrat himself. Nobody’s tapping him on the shoulder to ask if they can cut in or tell him he can’t have bottomless refills. If he plays, he stays, just hanging around that empty mall in Oakland forever.
Marlins SS Kahlil Watson has four walks, three strikeouts and a home run through four games in High-A. He’s slashing .300/.500/.600, and I think we should all check our waiver wires for him. Might even send a trade offer or two. Might try to build around someone who’s not Watson to build a two-for-two or three-for-two or whatever. He’s not a real high priority for me, but I like where this is going and feel compelled to check in on his availability.
Twins 2B Edouard Julien was recalled today. He can hit, and Minnesota’s hurting. Won’t take much for him to stick. Their build lacks a leadoff hitter, and Julien is the organization’s best fit for that job.
Thanks for reading!
Can reach me in the comments or at [email protected]