Minor league report: Giolito is back on track

With the draft hype dying down and a handful of them signing, we can get back to focusing on the guys who have been around for a while. There are a lot of the people I was, at least slightly, concerned about earlier this season that have turned things around. One of them being Tim Anderson who is now in the major leagues and doing very well. But for every Tim Anderson there is an Aaron Judge who still hasn’t righted the ship in the minors. 

Remember I will almost never recommend just completely giving up and dropping a player unless the league is shallow. Most of the prospects I have concern about still have trade value. 

Top-100 stock up

Lucas Giolito – AA Harrisburg (Nationals)

  • Last three starts: 18 innings, 1.50 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 27 K, 3 BB
  • 2016: 66 1/3 innings, 2.71 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 69 K, 30 BB

He was tossed in with the cause for concern guys a few weeks ago, but I feel like it is worth bringing up that he has bounced back. Giolito has found his control recently, noted by the three walks in the last 18 innings. He is striking out 36 percent of the batters he is facing during that stretch. Giolito is back in form. Does this mean he gets the call soon? I don’t think so. The Nationals rotation has been great this year. He is back to being the first guy, I think, to be called up if they need anyone for the rotation.

Josh Bell – AAA Indianapolis (Pirates)

  • June 5-June 19: .373/.456/.695, 4 2B, 5 HR, 5 K, 8 BB, 0 SB
  • 2016: .319/.408/.520, 16 2B, 10 HR, 48 K, 34 BB, 1 SB

Bell is showing some power that I wasn’t sure he had; his career high for home runs was 13 in 119 games as a 20-year-old in A-ball. Bell is going to be expected to be a solid average hitter with a high ground ball rate and a slightly below average line drive rate. His hot streak might be influencing his season long home run numbers right now. I see him as more of a mid teens home run guy year in and year out with a chance to reach 20 in his good years. The home run to flyball ratio just isn’t sustainable. It is above 18 percent right now, and coming into this season it was only eight percent. He still has John Jaso ahead of him in the majors, but June has been rough on Jaso and that could open a door for Bell in the majors.

Jake Thompson – AAA Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

  • Last three starts: 21 innings, 0.43 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 12 K, 5 BB
  • 2016: 76 1/3 innings, 3.18 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 57 K, 24 BB

I don’t really know what to think about Thompson. The strikeout rate isn’t great and the walk rate is nothing to write home about either, especially for the average strikeout rate. After 2014 I thought he could be a high end pitching prospect at some point, but after 2015 and at the start to this season he might be more of a low end fantasy starter. Someone who can provide a solid ERA with a below average to average WHIP and not a ton of strikeouts. Maybe you can sell him as a high end pitching prospect. In shallower formats, 100 or less owned, his upside probably isn’t worth keeping him. However in deeper formats I think the safety of him reaching the majors and providing a handful of good seasons are worth it.

Outside the top-100

Tyler Mahle – A+ Daytona (Reds)

  • Last three starts: 21 innings, 0.86 ERA, 0.52 WHIP, 20 K, 0 BB
  • 2016: 79 1/3 innings, 2.50 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 76 K, 17 BB

Coming off of a complete game no hitter, three team errors kept it from being a perfect game, Mahle is on a roll. The walk rates are borderline elite, just 4.7 percent for his career, and the strikeouts are at nearly a strikeout per inning. Mahle is far away from the majors right now. The numbers he is putting up this season are in high-A and he is pitching at that level at 21. Keep an eye on him in formats deeper than 200 prospects. Leagues with 100 or more you might just want to remember the name for next season as I would expect he starts the season in AA.

Chris Paddack – A Greensboro (Marlins)

  • Last three starts: 14 1/3 innings, 1.26 ERA, 0.35 WHIP, 23 K, 1 BB
  • 2016: 23 1/3 innings, 1.16 ERA, 0.47 WHIP, 39 K, 2 BB

Are those stats eye popping enough for you? Paddack is one of those high school pitchers that was probably drafted later than they should have been because of signability concerns. He has been dominant in his start this season. I know it is a small sample, but he is striking out 47.6 percent of the batters he faces. Batters have only put one more ball in play this year than batters he has struck out. His best pitch is his changeup that pairs nicely with a low to mid 90s fastball. A great changeup can be one of the best pitches in baseball, and Paddack might already have one as barely a 20-year-old in A-ball. He is going to be off of a lot of radars right now because he just hasn’t pitches enough this season. In deep formats grab him now, even in shallowed formats you might want to grab him before the end of the season and his hype train builds up in the offseason.

Willie Calhoun – AA Tulsa (Dodgers)

  • June 5-June 19: .305/.358/.678, 4 2B, 6 HR, 9 K, 5 BB, 0 SB
  • 2016: .275/.342/.514, 16 2B, 14 HR, 36 K, 24 BB, 0 SB

He is on pace to hit more than 30 home runs this year, and it comes with middle infield eligibility – what more can you ask for? Calhoun showed some promising power last season; he hit 11 home runs in 73 games and is doing it again this year. The Dodgers don’t have much of a need for him now; that and he has only played 67 games above A-ball, so there is no imminent promotion here. However, there isn’t a whole lot standing in his way on the major league roster to be their second baseman of the future. It is probably too early to call him a 25 home run hitting second baseman, but he could hit 20 year in and year out with a pretty good average. Just know there are no steals to speak of here.

Bobby Boyd – A+ Lancaster (Astros)

  • June 5-June 19: .370/.463/.543, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 K, 6 BB, 2 SB
  • 2016: .328/.379/.488, 11 2B, 5 HR, 38 K, 15 BB, 27 SB

Boyd might be just the opposite of Calhoun. Here there are plenty of steals and no power. He is still a long way from even being on a major league roster, let alone a valuable contributor, but the 20 steal season last year followed up with a 27 steal campaign so far this year is hard to ignore. Boyd is already 23 and still in high-A. This probably isn’t worth a huge investment, maybe not even in leagues with 400 prospects or fewer owned. Keep an eye on him as a potential future steals provider in deep leagues.

Anfernee Seymour – A Greensboro (Marlins)

  • June 5-June 19: .422/.456/.531, 4 2B, 1 HR, 14 K, 4 BB, 10 SB
  • 2016: .283/.327/.332, 6 2B, 1 HR, 58 K, 16 BB, 27 SB

Like Boyd Seymour won’t provide any power. He has 80-grade speed and has been playing primarily short the past two seasons. Seymour, if everything goes right, could be a mini Dee Gordon. The steals potential is about the same, but the average wont be as high. Unlike Boyd above, I think Seymour has a real chance of being a major league contributor at some point in the future, even though his defense at short is sub par.

Cause for concern?

Tyler Glasnow – AAA Indianapolis (Pirates)

  • June 5-June 19: 16 innings, 0.56 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 20 K, 13 BB
  • 2016: 77 innings, 1.75 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 92 K, 42 BB

No, I am not really concerned about Glasnow long term. This is probably my biggest stretch for this section so far. I don’t know when he will come up this season. The Pirates are going to take their time with him and his last outing with six walks is not going to help his cause for getting to the majors faster. Chad Kuhl might make his debut before Glasnow if the walks stay up. Long-term I still think he is a fantasy ace, but for 2016 you might not get much.


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Andy Germani

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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.

One thought on “Minor league report: Giolito is back on track”

  1. Even more impressive for Calhoun is his strikeout to walk rate. Very impressive plate discipline for a power hitter…not a common thing!

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