Minor League Report: A look back on preseason bold predictions

Out of curiosity I wanted to check on my preseason bold predictions and see how I did. So why not share that with all of you.

Many of these called were bold, but the direction of the calls and showing you who I would or would not invest in should have been obvious.

American League East

Baltimore Orioles

Hunter Harvey finally stays healthy enough to pitch 100 innings with a K/9 of 11 and an ERA under 3.0. This one isn’t off to a good start with his groin injury.

Nope. Harvey continually can’t stay healthy. I still love the upside, but he can’t stay on the field.

Boston Red Sox

Yoan Moncada will have a 20/60 season in the minors on his way to being the minor league player of the year. In 81 games last year Moncada hit eight homers and stole 49 bases, and that came while hitting only .229 in his first 2 months. He is on a path to stardom in the big leagues.

Moncada is going to end up just short of 20/60, but 15/50 is pretty good too.

New York Yankees

Jorge Mateo steals 100 bases in his last full minor league season. His speed is elite and the Yankees still haven’t found a shortstop to replace Jeter. Mateo will shine again this season before getting a call to the big leagues in mid 2017.

Not good here again. Mateo didn’t show off the steals like you would hope out of a true steals threat. While 100 was obviously a reach, he should have stolen more than 45 in the low levels.

Tampa Bay Rays

Blake Snell will strikeout a combined 200 batters between the major and minor leagues. He tore through the minors last season, and I expect him to get a lot of time there again this year, racking up crazy strikeout numbers as the Rays slow play his call to the big leagues.

Snell has a few major league starts left. He might not reach 200 exactly, but he is right on the borderline.

Toronto Blue Jays

Sean Reid-Foley bursts onto the scene with 200 strikeouts and is involved in a deadline deal as the Jays trade for a rotation arm for a 2016 World Series run. He would be a more interesting name already if it wasn’t for his elevated ERA; he had 11.7 K/9 in 2015.

A couple of DL stints and the missed starts are going to make this look further away from being true. With his strikeout rate (10.1 per nine), if he had those handful of starts he is bordering on 200.

American League Central

Chicago White Sox

Tim Anderson will steal 25 bases in the majors this season. I don’t think Jimmy Rollins is horrible, but this isn’t the Jimmy Rollins from Philadelphia anymore, and as a team looking to compete they will do anything they can to improve the roster.

Anderson isn’t stealing in the majors, but he is showing some power that wasn’t expected. Overall I believe more in the speed than the power looking forward.

Cleveland Indians

Bradley Zimmer has 10 homers and 25 steals in the minors at the end of June and gets called up to the big leagues when the Indians realize how bad their outfield is. While he doesn’t have extreme splits, he will form a platoon with Marlon Byrd and play mostly against right-handed pitching. Even in a part-time role, he will steal 15 bases during his time in the majors this season.

At the end of June Zimmer had 12 home runs and 27 steals, but he obviously never got the call to the majors.

Detroit Tigers

Steven Moya’s strikeout rate reaches 33 percent and he begins to fall off the prospect radar. Finally a negative prediction. There are far too many strikeouts and not enough power for me to get excited. At 24 years old the prospect shine is fading.

Moya actually had a 25 percent strikeout rate between the majors and minors in 2016. He is no longer a prospect, and now that he isn’t the shine is really gone.

Kansas City Royals

People will finally understand the difference in Raul Mondesi’s fantasy and real life potential while he has another season hitting under .250. His glove is elite, but unless you’re in a single league move on.

Mondesi is hitting .182/.231/.273 with seven steals. Drop him unless you’re in a super deep dynasty.

Minnesota Twins

Byron Buxton will have the fourth best rookie season for the Twins, while not lasting the entire season in the majors. I love Buxton’s future potential, but let’s remember that in four seasons since becoming a pro he has only played more than 72 games once, averaging only 80 games in those seasons. The 2016 season isn’t Buxton’s time, but it might be the best time to buy him after he struggles.

Buxton may not have finished fourth, but the prediction of him struggling was correct. He is showing flashes now of his potential.

Bonus: Adam Brett Walker hits 35 homers while striking out 200 times.

Walker is at 27 homers and 200 strikeouts; he fell just short on the home run front.

American League West

Houston Astros

While everyone is screaming to get A.J. Reed to the big leagues, J.D. Davis will quietly have another 25 homer season with an average around .290.

He hit .269 with 22 homers. He doesn’t have the excitement a lot of other prospects do, but I am still interested in 2017.

Los Angeles Angels

To be honest I can’t even come up with a bold prediction. The prospects are unexciting and I don’t like any of them enough to attempt a good prediction.

This still holds true.

Oakland Athletics

From the time of his promotion until his final start, Sean Manaea will be the Athletics best fantasy pitcher. Sonny Gray is obviously great; he was an all-star and in the running for the Cy Young, but Manaea has much higher upside in terms of strikeouts.

I really don’t know how to fact check this, but I would bet that this is true. Not so much because Manaea has been great, but the A’s pitching staff has been bad.

Seattle Mariners

No Seattle prospect will be on a top-100 list by midseason. Like the Angels, I really don’t like this system. I am over Alex Jackson and D.J. Peterson at this point.

Tyler O’Neill made the cut so this one is wrong.

Texas Rangers

Joey Gallo has a sub .250 average with 200 strikeouts, and plays less than the 36 major league games he did in 2015. He has power – we all know that, but he strikes out a ton. The future has 40 plus homer upside. A season like this screams buy low in dynasty leagues.

He hit .240 with 25 homers and 146 strikeouts in AAA while only playing in six games in the majors. I think I would still buy low on him in the offseason.

National League East

Atlanta Braves

Kolby Allard will surpass Dansby Swanson as the Braves top fantasy prospect by season’s end. While there is a lot of safety and predictability in Swanson, he lacks true elite fantasy upside. Allard will probably be on an innings limit this season, but I expect to see him put up some eye-popping numbers in the low levels.

This one seems ludicrous now, but I still love Allard long-term.

Bonus: Mallex Smith will lead the Atlanta Braves in stolen bases.

He only played in 58 games and is still leading the team for the season.

Miami Marlins

In his first full season Josh Naylor hits 25 home runs with an average above .290. This is the beginning of a long stretch of power for Naylor.

Naylor struggled to find his power stroke before being traded to the Padres.

New York Mets

Steven Matz wins the NL Rookie of the Year. This might not be super bold, but on an expected innings limit with baseball’s top prospect (Corey Seager) in your league expected to play a full season, it might not be expected. On his way to the award he will strikeout 180 batters while keeping his ERA under 2.75.

Arm injuries doomed this one, as well as an amazing year from Corey Seager.

Philadelphia Phillies

Nick Williams and Jake Thompson will make the majors before JP Crawford. While doing this, Williams will be the Phillies second best fantasy player for 2016 value. During that MLB stint Williams will hit .300 with 10 homers and 10 steals.

Jake Thompson was promoted, but Williams didn’t make the majors. I still think Williams reaches in 2017 before Crawford.

Washington Nationals

Victor Robles hits below .280 with less than 10 homers in his first season playing above low-A. Robles has been tearing apart the minors the past two seasons, but look where it was at. A lot of people do damage in rookie leagues and then flame out once they face advanced pitching. I have Robles as a top-50 prospect, but I am trying to keep expectations realistic.

He has a .276 average with nine home runs, but with 37 steals. My concern with Robles is that he didn’t do a lot above the very low levels of the minors where he put up eye-popping numbers last year. I still like him overall.

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

Dan Vogelbach finally figures out how to use his 6’0” 250 point body to hit for power and hits 25 home runs while keeping the average above .270. Vogelbach will also get off to a hot start and get a cup of coffee this season in a DH role or as a September call up.

Vogelbach never got the call and fell just short of 25 homers, but he did hit .292. He looked to be on his way to 25 homers prior to being dealt during the summer.

Cincinnati Reds

Reds fans will be saying Johnny who by midseason when Cody Reed gets called up and strikes out 100 batters in his first stint in the majors.

He was terrible this season, but if there is anything to take away from the bad year is he has a decent strikeout rate.

Milwaukee Brewers

Brett Phillips will hit above .300 for the third straight season while going 20/20. I don’t think the speed is fantastic, but he has stolen a combined 40 in the last two seasons. All Phillips needs to do is hit a couple more home runs to reach that glorious 20/20 plateau. Don’t get me wrong, I love Phillips, but that might be the perfect time to sell him if he reaches 20/20. Everyone loves a 20/20 player, but his value will probably not go up a lot more over a couple of homers just to reach that 20 homer mark.

An early season injury might have derailed his season, or at least his owners hope that is what it was. He finished with a respectable 15 homers and 12 steals while missing some time.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Josh Bell won’t make the roster until September. After originally buying the Bell getting called up hype I am starting to think it doesn’t happen until rosters expand. The Pirates used John Jaso in the leadoff spot and David Freese in the 3-hole to start the season. Freese is expected to move into a first base platoon once Kang returns squeezing Bell out of the picture for the penny-pinching Pirates.

He didn’t make a full-time role until recently so this is wrong, but the basic idea of it was correct. The Pirates were fine playing journeymen David Freese and John Jaso most of the season.

St. Louis Cardinals

The 100 MPH pitchers Junior Fernandez and Sandy Alcantara will both strikeout at least 10 batters per nine. Their fastballs will help jump their K rates and increase their values. It never hurts to invest in Cardinals pitching, especially when they can hit triple digits on the radar gun.

Fernandez struggled to strike batters out despite the electric fastball, while Alcantara struck out more than 11 per nine.

National League West

Arizona Diamondbacks

One of my favorite relief pitching prospects, Silvino Bracho, has more than 90 strikeouts with an ERA under 2.00 and WHIP under 1.00 in his first full MLB season. He will be everyone’s Hunter Strickland in 2017, the shiny prospect everyone expects to close when the closer struggles.

This one could not have been more wrong.

Colorado Rockies

Brendan Rodgers shows off his power potential and leads all minor league shortstops in home runs with at least 25. The power is great in general — for a shortstop, the potential is elite.

He wasn’t first and didn’t reach 25, but that doesn’t limit my excitement for him. If you can somehow get him this offseason do it.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Jose De Leon leads the minor leagues in strikeouts. He struck out 163 in 114 1/3 last season, good for a K/9 of 12.8. I don’t think he gets promoted this season unless it is late as a September call up. The “open” spots at the back-end of the rotation won’t be there for long.

He might have if he wasn’t on and off the DL this year. He struck out more than 11 batters per nine in the minors, and nine more so far in six major league innings.

Bonus: Cody Bellinger has another 30 home run season and becomes the top first base prospect by the start of next season.

Bellinger hit 25. Still a great total, and it came without striking out too much and in just 116 games.

San Diego Padres

Michael Gettys (sort of) reaches his potential and has a 20 homer 25 steal season while striking out 175 times. There are a ton of holes in his swing, but the power and speed potential from him are so enticing. He was a big add in dynasty prior to the 2015 season and fell off the radar a bit last season after a dreadful first full season.

This might be my best bold call. Even though Gettys didn’t hit 20 homers (he hit 12), he did steal 33 bases all while lowering his strikeout rate and hitting .305.

San Francisco Giants

Clayton Blackburn will make some surprisingly helpful contributions for fantasy. Can you say vague prediction? Blackburn is far from an elite prospect; the strikeouts are non-existent and he is kind of blocked in the Giants rotation. With injuries and or ineffectiveness, Blackburn will eventually get in the big league rotation and provide a sub 3.50 ERA filling in.

He spent no time in the majors at all this season and had some uninspiring minor league numbers.

*****

This is my last baseball article of the 2016 season. I hope you all enjoyed the Minor League Report and will be back next season.

I do write two weekly articles for football, a Buy Low/Sell High article published on Mondays and a Start Sit for Saturdays. For those of you who are heading into football season, be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheSportsGuy40 where I will be tweeting and retweeting football news each and every NFL game day.

 

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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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