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Minor League Report: 2015 draftees off to hot starts

A lot of big name prospects have debuted in the past week. Now that teams are getting past the thresholds they need to for minor league prospects, more and more prospects are going to get the call. Contending teams will be more aggressive while rebuilders, for the most part, will take their time promoting their future stars.

Similar to last week most of these guys aren’t expected to make a big contribution this year unless a lot of things happen. These names are for keeper and dynasty leagues only.

Also when referring to prospects inside or outside the top-100, this is not necessarily my ranking of the player currently, but rather where the majority of prospect people had the player ranked preseason.
All stats taken through May 1.

Top-100 stock up

Andrew Benintendi – Red Sox (A)

  • 2016: .360/.426/.640, 10 2B, 1 HR, 9 BB, 6 K, 6 SB

He is off to a red-hot start to 2016 after a great debut last year. One of my favorite things about him so far is the walk to strikeout ratio; he is one of the few who walk more than they strikeout. Benintendi has a nice bat that should provide a nice average with some decent power numbers. He only has one home run this year but he has 17 total extra base hits. There is some decent speed to provide steals in the sense of 10-15 per season. He should be on track to make a debut in 2017 with, if a few things go his way, an outside chance to debut later this season.

Ian Happ – Cubs (A)

  • 2016: .313/.427/.550, 5 2B, 4 HR, 15 BB, 23 K, 3 SB

I wasn’t as high on Happ coming into the season as some were. His start to the year has him trending up so far for me, but I am not sure if he is on the level that other people have him. He can play multiple positions on the field and doesn’t have any elite tools in my mind, in terms of fantasy. I kind of keep seeing Ben Zobrist when I look at him in terms of future potential. There is nothing wrong with Zobrist, I just don’t see elite potential.

David Dahl – Rockies (AA)

  • 2016: .275/.376/.650, 6 2B, 8 HR, 12 BB, 25 K, 8 SB

On pace to shatter his previous high in home runs, seven, if he can stay healthy. Since his breakout 2012 season there has been a good amount of hype around Dahl. He has a nice blend of power and speed and is most likely going to play half of his games in Coors Field. A crowded outfield is the only thing standing in his way at the moment. If the Rockies trade another outfielder Dahl’s promotion should be coming soon after. Once he is in the bigs I expect to see consistent 20 home run 15 steal seasons with potential for 25/20.

Victor Robles – Nationals (A)

  • 2016: .351/.474/.545, 3 2B, 2 HR, 9 BB, 11 K, 11 SB

The numbers are really exciting. A constant I keep preaching with him though is that he still has yet to play above A-ball. There is some really nice five category potential here, but before I go all in and call him a top-25 prospect I need to see him do something against players who might actually play in the majors at some point. I seem a bit hypocritical because there are some players I am buying the A stats and with him I am second guessing because he wasn’t super highly touted as an international signing. That doesn’t meant he won’t be a star, but it has me holding off buying in until I see it at AA.

Albert Almora – Cubs (AAA)

  • 2016: .351/.390/.527, 4 2B, 3 HR, 6 BB, 9 K, 2 SB

No power has shown up to this point, and that could be scaring people off. There is some really nice double and average potential here. He might never crack 20 homers in the bigs, 15 is probably the high-end. He limits the strikeouts, but that comes at the expense of his walks and good hitter counts where he can show some of the power potential scouts thought he could develop when he was drafted. There isn’t room for him in Chicago, but that shouldn’t be a reason to avoid him.



Outside top-100 stock up

Peter O’Brien – Diamondbacks (AAA)

  • 2016: .372/.371/.733, 5 2B, 8 HR, 21 K, 1 BB, 0 SB

Almost refusing to walk, O’Brien is tearing up the PCL hitting for average and power. He is taking a big hit, expectedly, losing his catcher eligibility. Long term I think I can compare him to another guy who could hit for some nice power and got moved off of the catcher position, Evan Gattis. It might be a lazy comparison, but it fits and I am sticking with it. If he ever ends up returning behind the plate there is 2016 Brian McCann type potential. If not there is still 2016 Brian McCann type potential, except you will have to play him in the outfield or utility.

Cody Reed – Diamondbacks (A)

  • 2016: 11 innings, .82 ERA, .55 WHIP, 22 K, 0 BB

Ah yes the OTHER Cody Reed. I went out of my way a few times this preseason to make sure I targeted/drafted the Reds prospect, Cody Reed, instead of the Diamondbacks. What has the “other” Cody Reed been up to? Picking up where he left off in 2015. The absurd strikeout to walk ratio put together this season won’t last. In his limited time he does have a track record of striking out more than a batter per inning. As with most prospects I expect that to decline, but that doesn’t mean he can’t end up being a strikeout per inning guy by the time he reaches the majors. I don’t think he has any really elite pitch, but at only 19 he has a lot of room to improve.

Stock down

Bradley Zimmer – Indians (AA)

  • 2016: .237/.348/.447, 6 2B, 2 HR, 12 BB, 27 K, 7 SB

This start isn’t what I was hoping for from Zimmer. The strikeouts have always been a concern and so far he is striking out in about a third of his plate appearances. Zimmer has decent speed and power, but it might not matter if he can’t fix his strikeout issues at the plate. Last season he got off to a great start, but struggled after a midseason promotion to AA. If he can manage to get the strikeout rate back into the mid 20s, like he did when he was having success, I think he can right the ship. If he can’t, I really worry that I missed the boat big time on all of my Zimmer ownership. This is the hold point for Zimmer owners or prospective owners. If you can get him for outside top-75 prospect type value I think it is still safe to buy. Just be weary of that strikeout rate.

Ryan McMahon – Rockies (AA)

  • 2016: .192/.271/.274, 6 2B, 0 HR, 8 BB, 28 K, 2 SB

Rafael Devers – Red Sox (A)

  • 2016: .138/.242/.263, 4 2B, 2 HR, 11 BB, 16 K, 3 SB

Two top third base prospects struggling out of the gate. In the long run I think both will be fine. If I was going to worry about one it would be McMahon mainly because of his history of striking out. When it comes to upside and risk these two really are on two different levels, Devers having a much higher floor and ceiling. Devers might be one of the best buy low prospects out there. If you can manage to steal him away now, do it.

 

Checking in

  • Josh Hader is quickly becoming my man crush prospect for 2016.
  • Ozhanio Albies earned a promotion to AAA, but still only has two steals in five attempts.
  • Travis Demeritte has had two or more strikeouts in 12 of his 21 games. Power is power, but there are too many strikeouts. Cash out on the current 2016 state line if you still can.
  • Brent Honeywell has had five starts and allowed only three earned runs while striking out 31.
  • Willson Contreras now spells his name with two L’s. Also Miguel Montero is on the DL. They said he isn’t getting the call, but if Montero’s injury lingers he has to. A team like the Cubs can only roll David Ross out there so many times.
  • Tim Anderson has raised his average significantly and shows you why small samples shouldn’t worry you.
  • Ryan O’Hearn is still looking good, but is striking out a bit too much to make him feel like anything more than a flier.
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes is still lacking extra base hit power.
  • Colin Moran is really heating up as Tyler White cools down.
  • Lucas Sims is up to 12 innings with a 2.25 ERA in AAA with 16 strikeouts.

 

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Andy Germani
I am a lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan and a graduate from Penn State. Baseball was my first love and I still play to this day in an adult baseball league. I always love helping people with their questions on Twitter so feel free to follow me and ask questions.
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7 comments on “Minor League Report: 2015 draftees off to hot starts

  1. Pardon the weird question, but our league doesn’t allow for drafting minor league players. Once called up, priority is given to: a.) the owner of the player sent to DL or Minors in a corresponding move, then b.) reverse order of standings. Being that I’m not near last – in order to get Trea Turner, I’d need to invest in the player being sent down once he’s called up. In your experience and knowledge, how likely is that to be current SS (Danny Espinosa)? Or, do teams usually send down the guy at the end of the bench, instead?

    If fairly sure it would be Danny E (whether injured or continues to struggle), could be worth suffering through his stats in the meantime. Tougher decision as we have limited moves, and no bench. All rostered players play.

    Thanks, as always, fellas – for the great & thoughtful advice!

    • I see your conundrum. It is tough to say exactly.

      I might lean towards it being Stephen Drew as the name to get the boot or someone else on the bench. If I had to pick one player it would be Drew but I don’t have a ton of confidence in that.

      I don’t know if that player would get sent to the minors or if they would DFA that player and end up releasing him. Drew would be my bet because he is a free agent after the season anyway and at the end of his career. Espinosa is still on the young side of 30 and has 1 year left on his deal after this one.

      Both of them could stay on the roster though and they dump a random guy off the end of the bench.

      • Appreciate the thoughts, and I agree. The guy I’d be dropping for this gambling chip is probably too valuable (NL only league) for the risk involved. I’ll stand pat. Thanks again!

  2. What are your thoughts on Harrison bader cracking the top 100 by midseason? Are you higher on him or Dejong?

    • He would have to have a good amount of success again to crack the top-100. He is off to a hot start so there is a chance he makes a move up lists.

      Not sure if you mean Paul or Chris Dejong, assume you mean Paul, but I would take him over either one of them.

      Bader isn’t really exciting to me but few Cardinals hitters are then just go through the minors and hit, hit and hit some more. Peak upside might be a .300 hitter with 15-18 homers.

      In terms of back end of the top-100 I like to save it for someone I think can be a star, or at least has one tool that I really really like like power or speed.

      As of right now I think he could be a major league regular if things workout, in deeper leagues that helps its just not something I love to invest in.

  3. Love to get thoughts on Orlando Arcia vs JP Crawford for this season only? I’m currently stashing Arcia, but word on JP is he’ll be up soon. I can drop Howie Kendrick, is that something I should do?

    Thanks guys. Keep up the great work!

    • For 2016 I think it is Arcia. Crawford might be getting the promotion to AAA soon but I dont think he goes to the MLB soon. He has been slumping a little bit this season.

      I don’t think either are amazing options in terms of fantasy for 2016, but I think Arcia is more likely to get more playing time this season. That gives him the nod for me. I don’t see Crawford coming up until the all star break or later, unless by some miracle the Phillies are in a race for a playoff spot at the beginning of June.

      In redraft leagues I think they are the type that playing the call up hype into a trade offer might be a better option than actually keeping them.

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