*counting puffs of smoke out of a chimney* “One…two…Mama mia! It’s two puffs-a smoke-a!” An Italian boy rides his bike through The Vatican, swerving around bishops, priests and nuns. Finally, the Italian boy skids to a stop, tosses his bike down and runs into a chapel. Inside, he runs up to the altar, where a priest wears a DraftKings cap. “Father, they held the Cardinals to two hits?” “Holy See……….t!” There’s about 40 top twenty starters. Does that mean there’s 40 top 20 starters? Not exactly. There’s 40 starters who could sneak into the top 20 starter conversation. Then there’s about 20 starters who could sneak into the top 10 starter conversation. Then there’s about ten starters who could be a top five starter. Finally, there’s about five starters who could be the top starter. Aaron Nola is in that last group. Yesterday, Aaron Nola went 9 IP, 0 ER, 2 hits, zero walks, 10 Ks, ERA at 2.19, solidifying himself as a 10+ K/9, 1-something BB/9 ace. Holy See……….t, indeed. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Please see our player page for J.B. Bukauskas to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.
Yermin Mercedes looks like he’ll offer a smooth ride for the lucky few fantasy baseballers (Grey’s mom’s term) who paid up for him on the first faab run. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see him hit yet, I can’t recommend it highly enough. He’s got a high leg kick and a loose bat waggle that settles late and gives off the vibe that he’s going to be behind on every pitch. Instead, he generates good bat speed and pairs that with excellent barrel control to the extent that he’s pulling pretty much everything so far (55%) but has shown an ability to go oppo (just 10% this year) throughout his professional career.
Whether he can keep up against premium velocity when a pitcher is hitting his spots remains to be seen, but the middle of that White Sox order is as cozy a lineup spot as there is in the game. If he can hold his own there, he’ll drive in a ton of runs. His sprint speed puts him in the 26th percentile, which is actually a little faster than I would’ve guessed, and he looks it on the field. It’s pretty fun to watch him scoot, where he appears to have pretty good baserunning instincts. Makes sense considering he’s been on base half the time for about a decade now. If you missed him in a league with trades, I suggest checking in with the team that got him. We’ve all seen this type of player flash and then fade like a Chris Shelton or one of the Duncans, so you’re taking on a good deal of risk in making legitimate offers, but those guys–and most who flame out–are power over hit who get hot for an early stretch before pitchers figure them out. The Yerminator is an amorphous being, at least in terms of barrel control–the T-1000 of the early-season face melters–and Judgment Day is coming for us all.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Two weeks ago the 2019 Astros prospects list published. One of the more difficult players to figure from that group was Forrest Whitley. He’s one of the most talented arms in the minors, but simply didn’t pitch much in 2018 due to suspension and injury. That’s where leagues like the AFL (Arizona Fall League) and LIDOM (Dominican Winter League) come in handy. They give us an extended look at prospects that would otherwise be haunted by question marks heading into spring training. So far, Whitley’s numbers in the AFL should quell any fears. Through two games started with the Scottsdale Scorpions, he’s struck out 14 batters in seven-plus innings while allowing just three free passes and two earned runs. Those are the ace-like numbers his fantasy owners need in their life, and they were enough to earn him Pitcher of the Week honors. Here’s what else is happening around the offseason leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Late in the minor league season is a trip. It constantly has the ability to skew everything you’ve come to know over the course of an entire season. That can be good, and bad. On one hand, you might be guilty of reacting to smaller sample sizes. That’s obviously never great, but to act as if we’re not all going to fall victim to it, is naive. However, on the rare occasion a true breakthrough has taken place, we have to be agile, and prepared enough to adjust to that new information. While there’s numerous examples of the former late this season, there might be no better example of the latter than the Astros 2017 first rounder JB Bukauskas. The right-hander from UNC made his AA debut on Sunday with the Corpus Christi Hooks. Facing a San Antonio lineup featuring Josh Naylor, Austin Allen, Hudson Potts, and Buddy Reed, Bukauskas made quick work of the Missions. Going six scoreless frames, he allowed three base-runners, two via the walk, and a single hit (that came in his final inning of work). While striking out 8, throwing 94 pitches, 60 of them for strikes. I watched the entire game Sunday night, with extra attention on Bukauskas, and the verdict is he looked legit. Mixing the, as advertised, plus slider, with two plane break, and sharp downward movement, with (what looked like) a pair of fastballs, a plus mid-90’s sinking two-seamer with nasty downhill angle, and a four-seamer he wasn’t scared to elevate. He mixed in an inconsistent, but promising changeup, that looked nasty with fade and drop, to lefties, while at other times showed no shape at all. His Two-seamer + slider combo is a serious weapon, tunneling together and making it difficult to differentiate until late in the zone. The downward movement on his sinker is so sharp, he buried it a few times a s a wipeout pitch inside to lefties for ugly hacks. I came away from the start thoroughly impressed. He 100% looked like a starter to me, which has always been one of the biggest knocks on Bukauskas’ profile. I’d say take a flier if you’re looking for a high floor arm with some strikeout upside.
Please, blog, may I have some more?
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 3, 2018
Doesn’t it feel as though every year, a college hitter is taken near the top of the draft and immediately takes to the lower levels like a fish to water? In the grand tradition of recency bias, Nick Madrigal has emerged as our early favorite for the superlative “first to the majors”. Despite going 0-for-5 Saturday night, he’s hitting .389/.390/.472 with 2 steals through 10 games at Low-A Kannapolis. Here’s the remarkable thing, across 51 plate appearances between the AZL and Sally League he’s yet to strikeout. Zero. He hasn’t walked a ton, drawing a free pass just twice, and he hasn’t shown a ton of power either, he’s yet to homer in the 15 games he played. Instead knocking just two doubles. Hopefully due to the quality of contact he can fall into a dozen plus homers in his prime years. So I suppose that begs the question, is it a “better in real life” profile? There’s a good chance that’s the case, he could be a .285 hitter with 10-14 homers and a dozen steals. That’s a solid player, but it’s not what you’re looking for at the top of your first year player draft. That however is worst case scenario in my opinion. The ceiling looks like this; the power develops into a 17-20 homer number, with a .300+ batting average, and 15 or so steals. He scores a ton of runs, your team loves it, and everybody gets ice cream. That’s not a pipe dream to wish on either, this kid’s hit tool is a legit 70. That alone should give him a pretty good shot at being a top of the order, run producing type of player. I’m a big fan of Madrigal, and believe in the upside, but I’d be remiss to not mention the downside. Here’s some other players of note in MiLB.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’re moving slower than expected, so instead of the next 100 prospects, I’m cutting it into two posts of 50 prospects. Disappointing? Possibly, but you still got 6500 words to read, ponder, debate. It’s all there for the taking. What am I talking about? Honestly I’m not sure, I’m writing this at 3 AM, delirious from the research, coffee, and myrcene rich leaves. It’s the next bunch of blokes with big dreams and lots of upside for your fantasy roster. I’ve tried to get a little more “groupie”. Wait, what? I tried to group similar types together here. There’s an insane amount of upside guys in this post. So if that’s your jammy jam, you’re going to be pleased. Or maybe not, possibly you’re always grumpy, but that’s not my problem. Editing these posts is my problem! AHHHHHHH PROSPECTS. For the Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospects. Here’s the Top 150 Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The champ is here! The champ is here! Step aside, step aside y’all, we’re dancing into the winner’s circle to profile the top prospects of the World Series Champion Houston Astros. To say the Astros have built a winner through their astute drafting and international prowess is an understatement. Players like Dallas Keuchel, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Lance McCullers all were developed in house, and plenty of additional homegrown talent was shipped out to reinforce the MLB club for the stretch run. So this is definitely a different system than the one profiled by yours truly over the last couple of offseasons. With a slew of graduations and trades, there’s a collection of high end talents from 1-4, followed by some above average high minors types, a handful of talented international lottery tickets, and a plethora of hard-throwing pen types. Houston seems to tread between a bunch of labels when it comes to pinpointing the best way to describe the system, but the most apt description is a good player development organization that needs to restock in the 2018 draft and international signing period. Without further ado it’s the Houston Astros Top Prospects.Please, blog, may I have some more?
That’s right, we’re pushing well beyond the 100 threshold this year, and pushing it all the way to 200. I for one am excited, but that might just be the speedball of cocaine, redbull, meth, and the behind the counter cough syrup. I’m seeing the words and their auras, man. No jokes, this is all from a vision, an immaculate epiphany I was led to by a culturally appropriated wise character of some sort. Really, I just wanted to get into a whole bunch more prospects I didn’t get a chance to talk about. If you didn’t catch it, last week I dropped my Top 100, this is a continuation of that going from 101 – 200 with full writeups and statlines for each. Hopefully you get caught up on few off the radar names, brush up on some old ones, and get your prospecty fill for the All-Star Break. It’s the Top 200 Fantasy Baseball Prospects!Please, blog, may I have some more?