League trade deadlines have passed us by, team ratios have ballooned (for some of us), and fantasy football starts to compete for our attention as we power through the dog days of summer. If you’re still reading these articles, best of luck to you down the stretch. Although we have another six weeks of the regular season, mid-August has become one of the most exciting times in baseball and a key point in the MLB/fantasy calendar to pay attention to due to the new MLB rules. One of the most important rules in place is that players are no longer considered rookies after 45 days on a team’s active roster during the 26-player limit during the season. Not coincidentally, we’ve seen the Cardinals promote top prospect Masyn Winn and the Reds call up Noelvi Marte this past week, although injuries to Lars Nootbaar and Kevin Newman certainly have helped play a factor in Winn and Martes’ opportunities towards getting the call.
Masyn Winn projects as a solid hit tool, power/speed combo, and for now, he’ll be relegated towards the bottom of the order as the Cardinals look for Winn to get some big-league seasoning this year as he’s primed to be their shortstop of the future. Noelvi Marte, another shortstop eligible player in Yahoo, looks to play third and possibly some outfield with Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain up the middle. Marte doesn’t seem to be the complete package Winn is, but looks to have more power (60-grade), and solid hit tool (55-grade) while showing good plate discipline. I’d expect Marte to bat between 6th and 9th in the Reds lineup. Winn’s my bet for more consistent playing time down the stretch for now, but both guys are worthy of a solid FAAB bid (keeping in mind Jordan Lawler and Jackson Holliday are looming in the wings).
Minor leaguers Jordan Lawlar (Diamondbacks), Ceddanne Rafaela (Red Sox), and Jackson Holliday (Orioles) look to be among the next wave of middle infielders to get the call. The Diamondbacks find them 13 games behind the NL West leading Dodgers after their slump these past few weeks. Infielder Geraldo Perdomo could find himself on the bench after his rough month (11/1/4/.238/.311/1). Jordan Lawler and Jackson Holliday are the next big things at shortstop, 5-tool talents scouts and fantasy managers dream of. Lawler’s already been comped to having a Corbin Carroll-like impact as early as next year. Jackson Holliday has rocketed through the minors (although not as fast as Matt McLain), but the Orioles have not ruled out the possibility of promoting Holliday. As the Orioles have their sights on the AL East title, they’d do best to make Jorge Mateo and Ramon Urias part-time players, especially as rosters expand and see what the offspring of Matt Holliday can do. Lawler and Holliday are probably the last couple of guys worth putting a huge FAAB bid/#1 waiver priority claim in for.
Speaking of the Orioles and letting their kids play, Gunnar Henderson has made a case for AL ROY (although the injury to Josh Jung has played a factor). Baseball writers like round numbers, and Gunnar’s hit his 20th homer this past week.
Other news and notes around the league:
Ozzie Albies has a strained hammy and hit the IL. Twins rookie sensation Edouard Julien overcame his own hamstring issue and is back in action. He’s an intriguing player to keep on the watch list for next year. Christopher Morel, the streakiest player in our game today, is dealing with an August swoon (12/4/16/.216/.303) this past month but looks to get red-hot as rosters expand as he faces some weaker pitching in September. Trea Turner is showing some signs of life with the Phillies. What a rough first season in Philly. The contract pressure must be tremendous, but Trea’s excelled in big markets before (LA). Maybe in the offseason we’ll find out that Trea’s been hiding an injury (which would rocket him up 2024 draft boards). At least fans haven’t started throwing batteries at him. The A’s actually have had a player with some fantasy relevance outside of Esteury Ruiz. In 116 at-bats, Zack Gelof is batting 21/8/16/.302/.372/6 to start his MLB career. We’re looking for lighting in a bottle down the stretch, but be warned, his K’s are high (26.4%) and the league is due to adjust to him in a few weeks.
Have a great week!
Enjoying the dog days of summer with my fellow avid baseball fan, Chase.