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Minor League Report: Spring Standouts

The season is finally here. It feels like forever since we have had real baseball to watch, although the Word Baseball Classic was a blast.

If you remember from last year this series is devoted to prospects; it might have been hard to guess based on this post’s title.

Throughout the season this series will go searching for prospects in the minor leagues to possibly watch, add, and trade for depending on league size. There will also be occasions where a prospect trending in the wrong direction might be featured, and I might note it as a time to trade the player before the stock plummets.

One aspect I am going to add to the series this year is “Redraft Radar” which you can probably guess would feature a player or two that redraft owners should put on their radar if they haven’t already. Those players will have both a redraft and dynasty focus while the rest of the players on the list will be primarily dynasty focused.

As time goes on in this series you will see more names you aren’t immediately familiar with. The goal here is to get one article to help redraft, shallow, medium, and deep keeper/dynasty. The deep dynasty picks will miss a lot more often than they will hit, but there will be some hits, and some hits is all that we are looking for in the leagues where upwards of 500 prospects are owned.

More often than not the super deep names will be watch list guys, and if things keep going the right way you can pick them up. In most cases I just keep an eye on the deep names, and if it continues for another week or two then I add them. Someone has to have a scorching hot month plus to go from off the radar to popping up in mainstream fantasy articles. I will be checking in on the players from previous posts for another week or two after the original post if it is something worth monitoring.

If I can list 30-40 guys here throughout the season that are outside the top-200 on just about every prospect list and can find 3-5 guys that turn into values, that is what we are shooting for in these super deep leagues.

Some of my deep preseason favorites this year.

  • Carlos Rincón – 19-year old that hit .328 with 13 homers and eight steals between foreign rookie and US rookie leagues
  • Jasrado Chisholm – Hit .281 with nine homers as an 18-year-old in rookie ball
  • Anderson Alexander Tejeda – Tore it up once he went to A-ball. Hit eight homers in just 23 games and he was only 18.
  • DJ Peters – Destroyed the rookie league last year after getting drafted, 13 homers while hitting .351.
  • Tyler Mahle – Threw a no-hitter and broke out a bit last season. The stuff is better than the K rate might make you think.

As usual if you have any questions on anything fantasy baseball, feel free to ask about them in the comment section below or on Twitter

Here is the first Minor League Report of the 2017 season.

Redraft Radar

I am going to keep this section a little light this week, mainly because for the most part my redraft radar hasn’t changed from when I did my top prospects for redraft leagues a few weeks ago.

Yoan Moncada 2B/3B White Sox (AAA)

  • 2016 (A+ – AA): .294/.407/.511, 15 HR, 45 SB, 72 BB, 124 K
  • 2016 (majors): .211/.250/.263, 0 HR, 0 SB, 1 BB, 12 K
  • Spring stats: .317/.391/.683, 3 HR, 0 SB, 5 BB, 14 K

This one should be pretty obvious for anyone and outside of an eight-team league Moncada should be owned. He has that elite upside, and in any format you should have the depth to be without him for a month if you have to wait that long. Don’t be surprised if he is Trea Turner this year with a lower average.

Bradley Zimmer OF – Indians (AAA)

  • 2016 (AA – AAA): .250/.365/.425, 15 HR, 38 SB, 77 BB, 171 K
  • Spring stats: .358/.424/.660, 3 HR, 4 SB, 5 BB, 13 K

I have been on, except for one moment of worry, the Zimmer bandwagon for a few years now. The power speed combination is enticing in roto or categories while the strikeouts scare me off in points. With the very unexciting Indians outfield and Zimmer having a really great spring he could be up soon, just don’t expect a quick transition to the majors. Long term in roto or categories I think he has top-15 outfielder upside with how valuable his steals can be.

Trey Mancini 1B/DH – Baltimore Orioles (MLB)

  • 2016 (AA-AAA): .282/.357/.458, 20 HR, 2 SB, 58 BB, 140 K
  • 2016 (majors): .357/.400/1.071, 3 HR, 0 SB, 0 BB, 4 K
  • Spring stats: .333/.379/.600, 3 HR, 0 SB, 4 BB, 17 K

I always seem to be the high guy on Mancini as well. Maybe it is because of the pedigree and people don’t like what they have seen skill set wise – well, I like what I have seen stat wise. I don’t know how much he will play. They have a lot of options to play first or DH. Mancini can hit for a decent average and has some pop as well.



Spring Stars

Willie Calhoun 2B/? – Los Angeles Dodgers (AAA)

  • 2016 (AA): .254/.318/.469, 27 HR, 0 SB, 45 BB, 65 K
  • Spring stats: .321/.345/.500, 1 HR, 0 SB, 1 BB, 2 K

I would ignore the slash line for Calhoun from 2016. He had a terrible BABIP last year and is better than a .254 hitter. Calhoun could have an elite bat and a good average with 25 homer type power.

The worst part about him doesn’t matter for fantasy, but it kind of does. Calhoun doesn’t have a position. Right now he is at second, but very few people believe he will stay there. He could end up in a corner outfield spot.

The downside is the Dodgers have so many options that even if Calhoun comes out an rakes like I think he can, he probably won’t get the call. Cody Bellinger will get a chance for an outfield spot before Calhoun, and the team just traded one of their top prospects for their current second baseman.

Ian Happ 2B/OF – Chicago Cubs (AA)

  • 2016 (A+ – AA): .279/.365/.445, 15 HR, 16 SB, 68 BB, 129 K
  • Spring stats: .383/.441/.750, 5 HR, 2 SB, 6 BB, 17 K

Like Calhoun it might not matter how well Happ does this year because the Cubs have such a deep roster. Ideally he could come up and play over Heyward or the Almora/Jay platoon, but the Cubs aren’t going to give up on that Heyward contract, and that Almora/Jay platoon isn’t even in the lineup on a daily basis. You can cross your fingers and hope this hot spring at least made the Cubs think about bringing him up, but don’t count on it.

Long term I don’t think Happ will be a star. There isn’t great power or great speed. What he does have is solid skills across the board. He could hit 20 homers in his best year with 10-15 steals and an average near .300. Realistically he could be just like one of the players that is currently blocking him, Ben Zobrist.

Derek Fisher OF – Houston Astros (AAA)

  • 2016 (AA-AAA): .255/.367/.448, 21 HR, 28 SB, 83 BB, 154 K
  • Spring stats: .310/.434/.524, 2 HR, 11 SB, 9 BB, 15 K

Fisher reminds me a lot of Bradley Zimmer from a production standpoint, although I do think Fisher has the ability to hit for a better average. Fisher has the same upside and downside as Zimmer. The 20 home run 30 steal potential with a lot of strikeouts.

Like the two names prior he needs something to happen to have any chance in 2017. The rumors (and hope) is that he or Kyle Tucker will get moved in a Jose Quintana trade that can clear up their path to the majors.

I haven’t looked at everyone’s rankings but I believe I am the highest out there on Fisher. If he hits his ceiling, like Zimmer, he could be a top-15 outfielder in roto and categories leagues. In points he will be useful, but probably carries more prospect trade hype than MLB value.

JD Davis 3B – Houston Astros (AA)

  • 2016 (AA): .268/.334/.485, 23 HR, 1 SB, 45 BB, 143 K
  • Spring stats: .365/.414/.462, 1 HR, 0 SB, 5 BB 13 K

I can only assume Davis knows I traded him away in a deep league this offseason because he came out hitting. Davis is a deeper name than everyone else here. Once we get into the season I will bring up deeper names more often but when this first report is based on spring training you just don’t get many deep names that have success that I can actually believe in as an MLB player.

Davis is the classic power bat with strikeout issues. He isn’t a 35-40 home run guy such as Matt Chapman, but he will have a better average. Davis could be 25-30 homers with a .260-270 average.

 

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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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