If you’re a fan of a baseball team, chances are good at least one of your team’s coaches got fired this week. Maybe even the manager. Eleven Major League clubs don’t have one today.
And if you’re a fan of HBO’s Succession, you’ve been promised a “blood sacrifice” tonight.
This landscape littered with scapegoats is, ironically enough, a land of opportunity. Management wants to get young players on the field for extra cap-feathers on evaluation day. Look no further than San Diego, where Fernando Tatis and Chris Paddack may have saved A.J. Preller from a moment on the chopping block even though everyone else got canned.
All that is to say, even with service-time suppression suffocating our game, kids like these in the Top 150 can still come quick.
We might need a rancher to cover the range of outcomes for Davis in 2020 and beyond. He could play 140 big league games and pop 35 homers. He could slump early and spend most of the season in AAA. I’d rather buy early than be too late.
Ray Searage is no longer employed by Pittsburgh, so that’s one reason for optimism on Keller despite his 7.13 ERA in 48 MLB innings.
Keller’s opponents enjoyed a .475 BABIP. I would’ve thought that number an impossibility if it hadn’t just been reality. He also posted a near-elite Shove Score and a 3.19 FIP. Baseball’s a funny game, and Mitch Keller will be free in 2020 fantasy baseball. You can probably even stream him early.
Ryan produced a scary statistical season, logging huge K-BB percentages across three levels while playing with his pitch mix and developing a devastating cutter. He’ll be an interesting challenge for pitch-tracking mechanisms because he can really manipulate his fastball.
Equaling Ryan’s numbers but in a smaller stretch, Nick Lodolo gets two arrows pointing straight up—one for his talent, one for his organization’s recent approach.
Speaking of stats, few have started their careers as well as Miguel Vargas, who’s run similarly impressive K and BB rates on the hitting side while always being much younger than his competitors.
Noelvi Marte got a ton of hype as prospectors panned for the next nuggets of WanderVlad, but I think that’s most of what his hype amounts to—dream-casting onto a bonus baby. Not that there’s anything wrong with that—just saying he’s not among the hyper-elite talents at present.
Same goes for Orelvis Martinez. I like the player, but lede time and probability work against him, and he’s not so loud tools-wise that he’s top group while we wait.
Coming off a nice debut, Bryson Stott carries momentum and eyeballs into 2020. He’ll be 22 in A ball, so he’s at a crossroads of sorts. He’ll either fit right in and get promoted ahead of the age-curve or struggle and fall a little behind. The perception of his value hangs in the balance.
134. Luis Frias | RHP | Diamondbacks
135. Luis Medina | RHP | Yankees
136. Daniel Johnson | OF | Cleveland
137. Bryan Mata | RHP | Red Sox
138. Pavin Smith | OF | Diamondbacks
139. Sam Huff | C | Rangers
140. Heriberto Hernandez | 1B | Rangers
Frias looks truly dominant—a bully on the mound and one of the few arms I’d put in a potential-ace bucket. He’s a long way away, but the talent is extreme.
That same bucket is where we find Medina, whose three-pitch mix of fastball curve change can be as impressive as any minor leaguer’s repertoire.
Daniel Johnson took some big steps forward in 2019 and figures to be looking at an everyday gig sometime in 2020. He’d ideally give us a little bit of everything—something like Avisail Garcia’s 2019–but his topside is limited.
It really doesn’t Mata much that Bryan got hit around in AA. He was 20 and shows the sort of feel for spin that opens infinite doors for pitchers these days.
If you’d told me last year that I’d be ranking Pavin Smith in this year’s top 150, I’d have laughed because I’ve always been out on him. He was too stiff in his lower half, and his shoulder-turn trigger cost him timing. But he’s been getting more sudden in his base and better at accessing his power, and the juiced ball awaits (maybe) in AAA and the majors.
You might know Sam Huff from his MVP turn in the 2019 Futures Game. If not, just know he’s not Aubrey who hates baseball but is a plus power catcher who can handle the defensive demands of the position despite his 6’4” frame.
You might not know Heriberto Hernandez, but he can rake. If you’ve got leaf issues this fall, Heriberto is your guy. He also smashes baseballs and has preternatural feel for the barrel.
Hankins and Bubic are solid upside arms with vastly different repertoires. Hankins is a power rightly with a crazy curve while Bubic thrives on command and a disappearing change up.
Young Pedro is a well-rounded flier with great feel for the game.
Guys like Jeferson Espinal are what makes lists like this fun. His ceiling? Could be anything. 20/20? Sure! 10/40? Why not! It’s all sunshine and rainbows when you’re as young and gifted as this kid.
Rocchio was a hot property this time last year but struggled enough with the jump to full-season ball that his stock has slid just a bit.
Ranking a guy 146 hardly equates to a clarion call, I think everyone should check on Gutierrez. He was good down the stretch last year thanks to improved command of his plus-plus curveball. He’s a half-tick away from a plus fastball, and Kyle Boddy of Driveline fame could certainly help him find that. One outcome of Driveline is typically more streamlined mechanics, which enhances not only velocity but also command. Combine Boddy with Derek Johnson and you have perhaps the most exciting pitching philosophy outside Houston or Tampa. I’m buying, and Vlad’s a low-cost, high-talent way to invest.
Andres Gimenez will be higher on other fantasy lists. I think you should try to sell if you’ve got shares. He’s blocked across the diamond and a little more physically limited than most hyped middle infielders.
Jason Pennini is among the best scouts writing public content, and he sent Martinez’s stock soaring with a single tweet this summer. We’re still pretty close to ground-floor pricing, but one hot month would end that in a hurry.
Espino is kind of a pitching version of Espinal. He’s got so much talent he could be anything. I still can’t believe he fell all the way to Cleveland at pick 24 in this June’s draft.
One the front-end of this process, I thought I’d be pretty high on Jung, but it’s just so easy to keep bumping a 21-year-old corner bat in A-ball. I like the player, but the profile demands he become an excellent hitter soon to be a fantasy asset.