We find ourselves at the beginning of summer: More and more prospects are receiving the call, balls are flying out of the park, and it remains a great time to be an MLB middle infielder. Speedster David Hamilton is up with the Red Sox, and highly touted second base prospect Nick Gonzales has his contract purchased by the Pirates. Given that the Red Sox and Pirates middle infields are essentially black holes in dire need of some good production, Hamilton and Gonzales may not have to set the world on fire to stay in the bigs. David Hamilton is off to a 1/9 start but has a couple steals on his ledger already. It’s been noted already in the halls of Razzball, but Hamilton is a speed demon (70 stolen bases in 2022) with an average hit tool (better than say, Xavier Edwards). The easy comp is Esteury Ruiz, and it’s easy to dream on Hamilton and Jarren Duran wreaking havoc setting the table of future Red Sox lineups. The Itch has a nice read on Nick Gonzales, if you missed it yesterday: READ IT HERE. Here’s what else I saw around the league with regards to middle infielders:
Maikel Garcia: Royals: Up to 35% owned in Yahoo, after a 7/1/3/.407/.448/4 line this past week. The Royals have featured him at the top of their lineup at times, and he possesses easy 40 steal speed (hey, teams need more stolen bases to compete in the category). Right now he’s a runs, batting average, stolen base guy, but if I were a betting man, I think Grey has a “2024 Maikel Garcia Sleeper Post” in the chamber. Maikel Garcia is a spry 23-year-old and is a launch angle tweak and some lean muscle away from unlocking 20 homer power to go along with his premium speed. If you’re in a keeper league, hang onto this guy if you can.
Wander Franco: Rays: Benched recently for “the way he handles his frustrations and not being a better teammate” per Kevin Cash. Quick reminder: he’s 22 and remains a dark horse MVP candidate. I’m sure he’s learned his lesson.
Gunnar Henderson: Orioles: Has found his stroke, slashing 11/6/16/.307/.342/2 over the past month. So the rookies don’t all hit the ground running like Corbin Carroll, but the patient fantasy managers will be rewarded.
Carlos Correa: Twins: More name value than anything, as Boras’ luckiest client is off to a slow start in 2023 aside from the occasional homer. The .220 average and .298 OBP is ugly and his xBA doesn’t show much reason for optimism (.236) and he’s K’ing at his highest career rate (23.9%).
Tommy Edman: Cardinals: Having a weird season: The HardHit% is a career-high, along with a career-high walk rate and career-low strikeout rate. There’s a silver lining above the clouds of St. Louis, at least in Edman’s case, as Edman has a .263 xBA, but he’s been relegated to the bottom of the lineup and it simply is not the Cardinals year, barring some 2006 late-season magic.
Christopher Morel: Cubs: Both the weekly MVP and LVP in head-to-head leagues. If you have him in roto, he’s a little more bearable, but Morel is definitely MLB’s streakiest hitter, and this is who he is.
Eduardo Escobar: Angels: Traded midgame to the Angels for a couple lower-tier prospects, as there is unrest in Queens. The change of scenery could be good for Escobar, as he fills in for the chronically-injured Anthony Rendon. The Mets are apparently letting the kids play, good news for Brett Baty. Not much to see here for fantasy purposes, as Escobar’s best days are firmly behind him.
Brandon Drury: Angels: I wrote him off in the preseason, but he’s apparently found favor with the BABIP gods, batting 34/13/41/.273/.318, while qualifying at first, second, and third. He’s playing a little over his head still, and an xBA of .253 coupled with a 26.6 K% and a 4.9% BB rate doesn’t sound like a recipe for sustained success to me.
Have a great week!