Tampa prospect Wander Franco (2-for-3 with a steal) was promoted to High-A this week at the ripe old age of eighteen. If he finishes out the year there, he could start the 2020 season at Double-A and a promotion to the bigs at nineteen wouldn’t be crazy talk. There’s not much to say about Franco that hasn’t already been said. He’s the best prospect in baseball with the chance to contribute in all five (or six) offensive cats. The big news here is that the promotion makes him the youngest player in High-A by a fair amount. The next youngest players are nineteen, there are only four of them in all of High-A, and they all play for the Padres. Fun facts for your next office birthday bash. Tell Karen that no the cake is not gluten free and yes she should stop referring to her cats as her “fur babies”. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…
Kristian Robinson, OF | ARI – 1-for-5 with his first homer, hitting .341 to start the season. Speaking of young studs, Robinson is the name to watch in the lower minors this season. He’s got the build and skill for contributions in all cats, although I think he’ll outgrow center and slide over to right, losing a step or two as he fills out but also making gains in the power department. As a rule I don’t typically invest in prospects this far away unless it’s one of those super deep dynasty leagues, but in Robinson’s case I’d make an exception and take the gamble in pretty much any format that has a minor league roster.
Keston Hiura, 2B | MIL – 3-for-4 with a homer, his 19th in the minors and 24th overall. If you roster Hiura at this point, you own two things; (a) a shrine to one of the best prospects in baseball who shouldn’t be in the minors; and (b) a voodoo doll of Travis Shaw that has been dismembered, stabbed, burned, dipped in boiling oil, and left on the interstate for a week. If the Brewers come up short in the Central division this season because they were too bull-headed and/or tentative about this situation, they get what they deserve. I think a trade is going to rectify this issue though, and that should be just around the corner.
Cole Roederer, OF | CHI – 5-for-5 with a homer (3) and a double (15). First, try saying his name without sounding like you’ve had a stroke. Good, now let’s look at whether he’s worth your time. Here’s what I said about Roederer coming into the season, where he ranked 4th in the Cubs system: “Roederer was a second round selection of the Cubs in this past year’s draft. He has above-average tools across the board and hit .275 with five homers and 13 steals in his first taste of pro ball. He also walked in 11% of his appearances, which is a good sign. Unlike Grey’s pentagram-shaped birthmark, which is of course a terrible sign.” I knew it! He sold his soul for the laughs! Roederer’s walk rate has dipped a hair to 9%, but all his numbers are in line with what he did last year. I’d follow him in just about every format outside of MLA and APA.
Nate Lowe, 1B | TBR – 1-for-4 with a homer (8). Lowe hasn’t had much of a chance with Tampa this year and now finds himself stuck in a Quad-A type situation with a club that is in the mix for the AL East title. An injury or trade could open things up again, and Lowe has certainly done his part – hitting .314 with five homers this month and walking at an 18% clip on the season. He’s still a decent stash in deeper formats and OBP leagues where his high-floor profile and on-base skills are a good fit.