Please see our player page for Lewin Diaz 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.

Smart rebuilds tend to come together a year early. They do not tend to intersect with a pandemic that runs roughshod through the organization. Miami’s 2020 season would’ve been impressive in any context—the culmination of an aggressive realignment of resources—but in a world where they signed street free agents to play crucial roles in their decimated lineup, their success borders on the miraculous. 

17 new players joined the club to take on Baltimore for four games in three days after the active roster spent a week in quarantine. Naturally, the Miami replacements won all four games, prompting manager Don Mattingly to say he’d “have to write a book after this.” Fast forward two months: the Marlins just swept the Cubs out of the playoffs; Mattingly is working on a nine-book, coming-of-age saga because as fresh as these fish have been this year, the best is yet to come. 

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Jairo Diaz was told the Rockies will no longer have a designated closer. Bud Black is crazy, right? I mean, he is legit nuts or no? I know the Woke Police say you shouldn’t call people crazy, but if we don’t, then they might not get help and Bud Black needs help. I thought maybe Black was just slow on the uptake as witnessed by Garrett Hampson’s playing time. It’s not normal to go from not playing to suddenly being an everyday leadoff man, like Black just discovered Hampson this year. Garrett was good last year, you absolute loon! But this is about Jairo Diaz. He didn’t have the best of games (2/3 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 3 walks, ERA at 3.12), but Carlos Estevez (1/3 IP, 0 ER, ERA at 3.38), who saved the game, took a comeback off his hand, and was in severe pain, heading for x-rays. So, one guy’s been decent (Diaz), one guy is obviously injured, and the third guy, Daniel Bard (1 IP, 1 ER, ERA at 4.09) has been okay, but serious emphasis on “okay” and nothing more. That’s when you announce the guy with zero blown saves is no longer the closer? Bud Black is twenty-six screws short of an Ikea dresser. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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NOTE: This ranking is focused on redraft impact of players who’ve yet to debut in 2020. It’s a snapshot of all the information I can synthesize as of publication day. 

Here’s Volume 1.

Graduates from Vol. 1 = Jo Adell, Monte Harrison

Here’s Volume 2.

Graduates from Vol. 2 = Spencer Howard*, Alex Reyes, Jordan Yamamoto, Joely Rodriguez

Busy weeks like these are alright alright by me. Let’s get to the list. 

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I’m guessing you’ve noticed it’s time to light this place up.

!!Fireworks!!

!!Baseball!!

Rookies??

I think so, at least for a lot of the players we’ll discuss today. They’re all wearing wings in the player pool, and most are on the 40-man, which I think is more relevant in 2020 than ever before. 

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Craig Mish (@CraigMish), host of the Swings and Mishes podcast joins the show to breakdown the Miami Marlins. We discuss the veteran loaded lineup. Can guys like Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar bounce back and have a monster season? Will Jonathan Villar carry over his success from Baltimore? We also dive into the young, but promising rotation. Can Sandy Alcantara be the work horse of the rotation? Can Pablo Lopez and Caleb Smith take the next steps to stardom? Their farm system is loaded with talented guys like Sixto Sanchez and J.J. Bleday leading the way. We discuss all these questions and more.

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Hello, again. Time to wrap this baby on up with the NL East. I don’t know what else to write here that I haven’t in the other two pieces. Check out the NL West Edition and the NL Central Edition if you haven’t already.

Just made myself another old fashioned, the wife is reading, and the kiddo is asleep. Let’s do it to it.

Atlanta Braves

Probably not gonna surprise anyone with this pick: Austin Riley. Riley was having himself a very nice spring, but so was Johan Camargo, his competition at third. Now the DH solves all that – let the slugging prospect, well, slug. Camargo is the better glove, so there you go.

Riley showed glimpses of serious power last season, bashing 18 homers in only 80 games. My lazy and mathematically-challenged brain would double that to 36 HR in 160 games just to give a very rough idea of what we’re looking at. Of course, that’s not sound fantasy advice nor very accurate given those were his first 80 games ever in the majors. We gotta look deeper. Deep dives are king! I’m no expert delver, but let’s give this a shot anyway. He slashed .226/.279/.471 with Atlanta, but hit for a much better average all through the minors. I know that’s not very telling, but I like to at least see if someone has shown ability to hit for average somewhere, sometime. The power last season was nuts – 127 games total and 33 homers. Looking at just his AAA numbers, in 2018 he hit 12 HR in 324 PAs, but launched 15 HR in just 194 PAs last year. Then came up to the bigs and hit 18 more. That’s quite the progression in just a year’s time. His isolated power was .182 in AAA in 2018, which is pretty solid (.200 is the baseline for “great” according to FanGraphs, though it fluctuates a little relative to league averages in a given year). Anyway, his ISO spiked to .333 in 2019, which is off-the-charts good. Yes, we’re judging these numbers off fewer PAs than FanGraphs recommends, but whatever. You can see the power is there. Riley did his best Aristides Aquino when getting the call last season, slashing .324/.368/.732 with nine homers and 25 RBI in his first 18 games. Buuut in his final 62 games, he had almost the exact same production (nine HR, 24 RBI) and a yucky, yucky slash (.192/.249/.379).

The 2019 AAA Riley struck out 20.1% of the time (his best anywhere) and walked 10.3% of the time; but alas, 2019 MLB Riley struck out 36.4% of the time and walked only 5.4% of the time. He still managed a .245 ISO in the majors, which is very damn good, but the rest of his offensive metrics definitely took a nose dive as the year went on. The batted ball metrics are great: 13.7% barrel rate, 44.6% hard-hit rate, and a 20.6-degree launch angle. Riley had 7.7% barrels per plate appearance, which would be top 50 in the league if he qualified. Better than Ketel Marte, Rafael Devers, Gleyber Torres, Max Muncy, and like a ton others, of course. Those are just some big fantasy studs that stood out.

I think you all get the picture. Riley has the chops to be a fantasy force as is, but he’s got improvements he needs to make. If a pitch is in the zone, dude swings like every time (okay, 80.5%) but also chased almost 38% of the time. If he can keep barreling balls and show some more patience, then whoa nelly. They’ve got Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, and now this guy?!

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The Miami Marlins are a baseball team. I mean the sport they play is recognizably baseball. 

Other than that, there isn’t a lot of certainty in Miami. Even 2019 Whit-alike contest winner Jon Berti seems as likely to fall back as spring forward in 2020. 

Is it really darkest before the dawn?

Anyway, hope floats just off the coast. Er, inland, where Marlins affiliates are loaded with the fruits of an organizational tear-down that would’ve been vetoed in my home league. 

“Fruits” feels kind of extreme. Maybe we should call it the “eggplants” of an organizational tear-down. 

The eggplants for all-world Christian Yelich were players who do everything but hit, which seems to be something of a type for the Front Office helmed by Derek Jeter and Gary Denbo. They whiffed on Lewis Brinson who whiffs at everything, and they face a similar fate for everything in those Yelich and Stanton deals from two winters past unless someone (looking at you, Monte Harrison) changes their trajectory. 

Either way, even with those brutal trades, the Marlins are trending up thanks to a deep farm with rich soil for arms. 

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Angels prospect Michael Hermosillo (3-for-5, 3 HR) has decided to hit for power this August. After hitting four homers in all of June and July, the 24-year-old outfielder has hit ten dingers this month. There should be a glossary term for the minor league version of a hot schmotato. Hot schmotatito? Between Hermosillo’s track record for power, the Juicy Juice brand balls in Triple-A, and the near 30% strikeout rate, I’m convinced there’s nothing to see here. But any time a guy has three multi-homer games in his last ten this close to September callups it’s noticeable. Speaking of callups, now’s the time to start thinking about who to stash for the last month of the season. For many of us, this is also our playoff season, so any help we can get to advance will be well worth the roster slot. Better to be a week early and get the guy you want than a week late and miss out on a huge month. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

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It’s not often a team makes the playoffs and picks at the top of the draft in the same year, but the Twins have done a good job of syncing up their rebuild. With a core of some nice homegrown talent, the Twinkies have plenty more on the way. An exciting mix of five tool athletes, power hitters, power pitchers, and hit tool middle infielders, make this system one of the top to follow for fantasy purposes. With players like Royce Lewis, Wander Javier, Brent Rooker, Akil Baddoo, and Brusdar Graterol there’s some potential stars in the mix. Maybe it’s just my perception, but this feels like one of the more underappreciated systems. There’s a few diamonds in the rough to uncover, so let’s get this shindig started! It’s the 2018 Minnesota Twins Top Prospects for Fantasy Baseball.

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I’m the one man army Ason, I’ve never been tooken out, I keep Prospectors looking out, I drop knowledge like Lancy dropping babies, enough to make an Albright go craaaaaazy! Sorry, always wanted to start a post like that, and I decided it shall be done over my morning coffee. In case you missed it I released the top 50 Prospects for 2018 on Sunday. Funny enough this is the perfect segue to today’s post, the second part of my top 100, this time with even more words! We’re going through 51-100, and I have to say this is by far the most difficult section of all my prospect rankings. It’s in intersection where up and comers full of helium, mix with droppers, solid-close-to-the-majors types, and super-young pure upside plays. I try to balance them all, and at times tiers dovetail, and weave together more than they stay in any sort of specific order. It’s an inexact science this prospecting. There’s so many unknown variables within each player and each player’s opportunities in a given organization at a given time. Constantly changing and evolving. All this to say that there’s a lot of educated guessing, and there’s bound to be some serious misses. Hello Tyler Glasnow!

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