San Diego middle infield prospect Luis Urias had another strong night at the dish, going 2-for-4 with a slam (13) and legs (4). He’s now slashing .364/.462/.741 with a ten-game hit streak for Triple-A El Paso and joins a short list of prospects that could force the issue with their performances as the calendar flips to June. Urias is currently prosblocked by Ian Kinsler and – to some extent – Greg Garcia. Kinsler is batting a lusty .185, so I’d imagine the next time Urias is up it’ll be for the remainder of the 2019 campaign. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Please see our player page for Jarred Kelenic 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.
Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette broke his hand and is scheduled to see a specialist. It looked/sounded painful and my guess is it’ll be at least a month before he’s playing again. Bichette was a candidate for a 2019 call at some point, so obviously this sets things back quite a bit. Marcus Stroman tweeted “big prayers for my bro” to which Bichette replied “preciate it bro”. Bo and Stro are bros bro. There is so much bromance happening in that Twitter exchange I might vomit. Nope, yup. I’m definitely vomiting. We’re going to need a new keyboard. Here’s what else is happening in the minor leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Moving right along through our Top 100, we have the back half of the top 50 prospects for 2019 fantasy baseball. I could say that this is where the list gets interesting, but it’s just a list of (potential) baseball players on the internet, so “interesting” might be giving myself too much credit. If you’re just joining us, you may want to check out the top 25 prospects for 2019 fantasy baseball. And for full reports on each team’s prospects, you’ll want to hit the 2019 minor league preview index. Two things you’ll notice about this chunk of the list: 1) it’s where the better 2018 signees reside; and 2) more pitching. I find that this section of the rankings goes nicely with a 12-year-old Highland Single Malt. Or Dewars. Either way. It’s ten in the morning.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The first year player draft is an annual event for dynasty leagues, especially the really deep ones where everybody and their brother is already owned. They consist of players from the previous season’s draft and any international signings. These rankings will sometimes include MLB-ready prospects from abroad, and they’ll be relevant in standard redraft leagues. I’m spending a little extra time with the top ten, and next week the rest of the top 50 will roll out. That should get you through at least the first few rounds of a first year player draft. I’ve played in some really deep dynasty leagues and the approach changes dramatically depending on your competitive window, your draft position, and how many picks you have (some people collect FYPD picks like an 80’s kid collects Pogs). These rankings don’t take any of that into account and instead occur in a vacuum. I tend to value hitters over pitchers, hit tools over every other tool, and up-the-middle defenders over other positions. Also, these rankings consider 2018 performances in addition to the players’ scouting grades (some fared better than others in their first go at pro ball).Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’re in a bit of a lull today with the offseason leagues winding down and the winter meetings set to start tomorrow, but there have been a few interesting transactions involving prospects. Next week’s rundown should be a tad meatier once the teams depart Vegas and have (hopefully) made some trades/moves. One of the teams that is kind of fascinating to watch right now is the Miami Marlins. I would expect them to move J.T. Realmuto this offseason (maybe this week), and I’d also expect the return to be centered around prospects. The team is obviously in rebuild mode, and since they’re not likely to be ready to compete in 2020, it makes no sense for them to hold the backstop. So let’s start with Miami, who signed a bunch of players to minor league contracts last Monday.Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s Tucking K-way!!! The announcers at Fresno Grizzles games should just yell that out every time Kyle Tucker hits the batters box. Seriously, there is no one hotter on the planet right now than Kyle Tucker. Now gentlemen and three ladies, I know what you’re all thinking, “Real nice Ralphie, but where was this in the bigs kid?” BTW all of you have a Southie accent, and at least one Celtic cross tattoo. I just wanted to be clear about that. Oh, what’s that? The sound of a walkoff three run dong off the bat of Tucker? He finished up Saturday night 2-for-4 with 3 RBI, a run, a stolen base, and a walk. Tucker is hitting .478/.510/.1.087 with 9 homers, 18 runs, 20 RBI, and 6 steals over his last ten games. That’s some hero-ball type of stuff. Despite the struggles in his limited MLB looks I still foresee a future all-star, with 25-30 homer power, 15 steal speed, and a .270-.280 batting average. His setup, and swing are somewhat unique/unorthodox, whatever. With his uppercut bat-path, and upper body heavy swing, sometimes it almost looks like Tucker is throwing the bat, but he manages to get a lot of the barrel in the strike-zone, leading to a ton of good contact. All this to say, don’t sell on Tucker. 2018 might not be his year to contribute, but I’d be in on 2019 in all formats. The lingering question is playing time, but Tucker is good enough that he’ll force his way. It’s easy to forget he’s just 21, and will be 22 for the entirety of 2019. So there’s plenty of time to get things to click at the big league level. I do think there will be some swing and miss struggles early, but those should stabilize with experience. Tucker is an obvious candidate for a September promotion, and could provide some spark with the right amount of playing time.
Please, blog, may I have some more?
Down 6-2 in the bottom of the 9th, it looked like clinching the division would have to wait until Sunday. Then we loaded the bases and scored twice to bring up Kyle Tucker, whose life is a movie. And don’t leave the game early!#Growlifornia ?? pic.twitter.com/rlHh1oGqFY
— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) August 26, 2018
I’m just going to milk his Vlad Jr. thing as long as I can. After all, it’s only a matter of time before he’s out of my hands and off to the world of Grey A.M. writeups, and ESPN highlights. Make no mistake the heir to the Canadian baseball throne is the genuine article, and on the cusp of the majors. After destroying AA for two months, he missed the next five plus weeks with a knee injury. Only to return to the Fishercats lineup for a few weeks in July, before heading off to AAA. In his 8 games in Buffalo Vlad is slashing .455/.581/.682, smacking his first International League homer off highly touted Braves righthander Kyle Wright. In fact he abused Wright yesterday evening, going 3-for-3 with the aforementioned homer, a double, and a single. One of our loyal Crab Army members was in attendance and was nice enough to share the below video. At this point it’s just a waiting game, and unfortunately for those of us wishing on an impending callup it might not be in the cards. That’s not to say it won’t happen later in September. The problem is, after saying all this he could be called up tomorrow. Stash away if you have the room to spare, but I’d be prepared to burn that spot for most, if not all of August.
Please, blog, may I have some more?
— Ralph Lifshitz (@ProspectJesus) August 9, 2018
This is for all the people that have come up to me over the last few weeks and asked “Yo, Ralph when’s that Top 100 droppin’ son?” And I said, “When it’s finished”. This is for y’all, one love! Oh but wait, there’s more to come too. This is simply a sweet, sweet 20% of the overall ranks. The full 500 will drop on Sunday. I want to thank all of my readers over the years for supporting me in all that I do here. These rankings posts are a lot of questioning your evaluations, and even more sleepless nights. So, I hope you enjoy. As for the Top 100, I’ve gone a little heavier in discounting pitching than in previous years, instead favoring upside bats. Why? Because pitching prospects are like reflections in side view mirrors, all much closer than they appear. Think about Shane Bieber vs. Tyler Glasnow, one guy was hyped to the max, the other was a boring strike-thrower that likely would never crack a top 250 for fantasy. Who would you rather own now? Speaking of upside, you’ll see the second half of this list is a little more upside heavy with some breakouts mixed in for good measure. What can I say? I like the young upside hitters. This exercise was a process,I began by listing nearly 700 players, then went player by player ranking each on a “would I trade this guy for this guy” trip, then I stared at the list changing ranks over and over again while I smoked like a German. That’s not a joke, this actually happened. All to whittle it down to the list below, the Top 100.Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s a busy time in the world of prospecting, as I and many others that cover the Minor Leagues crunch on mid-season lists, we’re also inundated with new prospects to research, project, and rank. The hardest part is trying to balance the handful of categories, or types, these players fall into. First we have the college hitters; usually the highest floor options in terms of fantasy, we’ve seen quite a few of these types return nearly immediate value over the last 5-7 seasons in dynasty leagues. Next we have the high upside prep hitters; another category that has done well of late, notables like Royce Lewis, Jo Adell, and Brendan Rodgers fall into this bucket. Prep bats offer some of the highest upside, but the floor can be pretty low. The next variety is July 2nd hitters; a group with a long and exciting track record, but due to the age of these prospects, there’s a high rate of failure, and a good chance many of them fall off expectations quickly. While there are major red flags, you still think to yourself “that upside tho”. The next three flavors are all pitchers, and each of them offers their own set of unique benefits and challenges. College pitchers, are the closest to the finished product, but you get a lot of “strike-throwing-so-so-stuff” types, and those types of players are available on every wavier wire from here to Beijing. Then we have Prep Arms, the most deceptive of investments. If you read enough prospect ranks, scouting reports, and particularly draft coverage you’ll find yourself enamored with some of these arms. Think MacKenzie Gore, Riley Pint, Jason Groome, or Forrest Whitley, that’s a very up and down record of success. The final bucket is one that I don’t bother paying too much mind to in most dynasty formats, July 2nd pitchers. Really, there have been some great arms to emerge from this bucket, but it often takes two years until we even know which arms really have any MLB projection. All this to say, my ranks are heavily influenced by this simple mantra. Draft hitters, add pitchers from the wavier wire. That’s the process, and it’s not to say it’s perfect, but more often than not I find myself filled with regret after drafting a pitching prospect. I am not saying that Casey Mize isn’t awesome, he is, and if this were a “real-life” list I would have ranked him first or second, but if I’m entering a draft today, there’s for sure 3 hitters I take in front of him. It’s fine if you disagree, but process is process. Below is the early version of my first year player draft ranks. I reserve the right to change my mind over the coming months, and plan to update these in early to mid-October.Please, blog, may I have some more?
There’s times where you just need to trust your gut. About 14 months ago I added a UCLA righthander with impressive stats in one “open universe” league I’m in. His name was Griffin Canning, and while there were some mechanical knocks, injury history, and a lack of premium stuff. I saw something in early March of 2017. He mowed down the Michigan lineup going 8 strong, allowing 6 baserunners on 3 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 12. He showed a curveball with depth, a fastball in the low 90’s that he commanded well, a slider, and an off-speed pitch. Despite a very good 2017 season in the PAC-12, Canning dropped down boards due to his size, injury history, and the aforementioned mechanical issues. He dropped all the way to the Angels in the second round, and in what is becoming an increasingly reality based narrative, Billy Eppler stole another one. Coming off consecutive seasons at UCLA where he exceeded 100 innings, the Angels were prudent to delay his professional debut until 2018. The righty was assigned to High-A Upland out of camp, and such begins Canning’s second act. His first two professional starts produced 8.1 scoreless frames, with 14 punchouts, and 7 baserunners. He saw promotion immediately to AA Mobile and while his next few starts were struggles, Canning clicked in his next six allowing a single earned run over 32.1 frames. A few starts later Canning was promoted to AAA Salt Lake where he made his debut this Thursday, going four, allowing five baserunners on 2 hits, and 3 walks. Over his time in the Southern League he made 10 starts, going 1-0 with a 1.97 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, and 3.7 Bb/9.
Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Griffin Canning curveball is fun. pic.twitter.com/fIOrBrkBXH
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) June 12, 2018