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Minor League Report: Time to Assess Your Chances

I hope everyone had a nice long weekend, and maybe you can take a couple extra minutes to relax and read this article. Memorial Day weekend seems to be the arbitrary date people use to determine if they have a chance for playoffs, a championship, or to finish in the money.

With almost a third of the season in the books many will be looking at their standings and deciding it just isn’t going to happen this year. Some will wait too long, and others will take the first offer that comes in their inbox.

From my experience, it doesn’t pay to be the first one or the last one to accept a selling deal. When you are first, buyers think they have other options. Sure you are trying to unload Nelson Cruz, but other teams that haven’t gone into sell mode still have Carlos Gonzalez and Jay Bruce as potential options. There is no need for someone to go all out to buy your player.

That might make it seem that being last would be a benefit, and sometimes it is, but it feels to me like more often it isn’t. So you are the last person with a sellable piece people covet. You have Jay Bruce and the next best thing is Nick Markakis. Everyone is coming to you now. So everything you learned about economics is telling you the supply is low and the demand is high, jack the price up!

But if the trade deadline is right around the corner, and as the last person with a sellable piece this is likely the case, the buyers know you want to sell that piece, and if negotiations come to a halt over one player, it is usually the seller that ends up caving.

Now there are occasions, like I hinted at before, where being last pays off. You get one panicked buyer that didn’t end up with anything, they overpay for the last player left, and you are golden. But you don’t want to be the owner that had to sell someone for $0.50 on the dollar because it was an expiring contract and the deadline was minutes away.

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

All stats are through Sunday May 28 .

Redraft Radar

  • Yoan Moncada 2B/3B – White Sox (AAA) (#1)
  • Amed Rosario SS – Mets (AAA) (#58)
  • Derek Fisher OF – Astros (AAA) (#19)
  • Jacob Faria P – Rays (AAA)

Very little has changed here other than adding Faria and taking out Winker. I wouldn’t really be stashing any in a standard format. Winker gets bumped off the list because the Reds outfield has performed all season and there isn’t room for him unless a trade happens.



Who’s hot

Lucas Giolito P – White Sox (AAA)

  • 2017: 46 1/3 IP, 5.44 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, K: 43 (21.3%), BB: 25 (12.4%)
  • Last three starts: 18 IP, 2.50 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, K: 12 (17.6%), BB: 7 (12.3%)

Giolito threw a seven inning no-hitter in his most recent start with three walks and three strikeouts. His other recent starts haven’t been special, five earned in 11 innings with nine strikeouts, but the no-hitter was enough for him to make the cut this week.

Giolito has not been good this year; this no-hitter brought his ERA down to 5.44. His walk rate is still too high, and the strikeout rate isn’t high enough right now to offset the worrisome walk rate.

I am not jumping off the Giolito bandwagon, and still think this is a good time to buy. Many Giolito owners are likely ready to sell him for anything of value before he hits rock bottom. I typically stay on board one year too long on former high-end guys like Giolito rather than jump off immediately.

Sometimes buying them low works out well and the player turns it around, but a lot of times they do just flame out.

Nick Williams OF – Phillies (AAA)

  • 2017: .282/.315/.518, 10 HR, BB: 6 (3.3%), K: 53 (29.1%), 4 SB
  • May 14-28: .339/.351/.804, 8 HR, BB: 1 (1.8%), K: 13 (22.8%), 1 SB

Fell out of favor with a lot of prospect rankers (it felt like) this offseason after a subpar 2016. You might remember him as the big prize in the deal that netted the Rangers Cole Hamels a couple of years ago.

Williams has the ability and tools to be the high-end prospect he was starting to look like he could be prior to the 2016 season. What derailed his numbers was a 136/19 K/BB ratio. His power and steals, along with his K/BB remind me of Adam Jones.

It used to seem like Williams could really become a 25/10 type player, but the plate discipline numbers aren’t that much better this year. The potential for that is still there, but it is a lot riskier now than it was a year ago.

I dropped off on Williams after having him fairly high in 2015 – he still did crack my top-100, but took a pretty decent fall.

Austin Hays OF – Orioles (A+)

  • 2017: .311/.349/.562, 10 HR, BB: 7 (3.7%), K: 27 (14.3%), 3 SB
  • May 14-28: .344/.364/.781, 7 HR, BB: 2 (3.0%), K: 7 (10.6%), 0 SB

Hays had a three homer game on May 24 and then homered again on the 26th and 27th. He has more than twice as many homers this year (10) as he did last year (4) in roughly as many at bats.

Hays was a third round pick out of Jacksonville last season and didn’t profile as a big time power bat, but 20 homers a year was probably expected. He Might steal a few bases, but it will never be anything to count on.

His big week might have gotten him noticed in formats where he should get noticed, around 200 or deeper prospects owned.

The upside is probably .280 with 20 homers at best. It is enough to be interesting, but not enough for me to invest in anything under 200 prospects with how far away he is for the majors.

Bryan Reynolds OF – Giants (A+)

  • 2017: .292/.342/.416, 2 HR, BB: 13 (6.7%), K: 39 (20.2%), 0 SB
  • May 14-28: .400/.414/.618, 1 HR, BB: 2 (3.4%), K: 7 (12.1%), 0 SB

Since his minor league debut last season, Reynolds is slashing .304/.353/.453 with eight homers in just under 400 at bats. He has shown an improved strikeout rate this season along with an improved walk rate. Coming out of college he profiled as an above average power bat with swing and miss issues.

Reynolds is the kind of guy you want to sit on in deep dynasty leagues. He is a college bat coming from a good school and going into a good system. The Giants seem to always produce solid players that don’t come with a ton of hype. I think he has a good chance of being a regular major leaguer for a few years, and in deep leagues that has value.

The power will play down a little bit playing in San Francisco. That means his 22-25 homer power might play closer to 20.

I would be looking to add him in NL only leagues or leagues where 100 outfielders are owned.

Blake Snell P – Rays (AAA)

  • 2017 (MLB and AAA): 53 2/3 IP, 4.53 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, K: 55 (11.6%), BB: 31 (12.8%)
  • Last two starts (AAA): 11 2/3 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, K: 21 (39%), BB 6 (11.1%)

Technically not prospect eligible, but don’t forget about him.

The issue with Snell has always been his ability to pitch deep into games and avoid walking batters. That really hasn’t gone away in his two minor league starts as he has an 11 percent walk rate and his deepest of the two outings was only 6.2 innings.

The good news in these outings is he is showing the dominant strikeout rates. He has gotten 35 swinging strikes in his two starts, most notably 23 in his first outing. He has been throwing more strikes since being demoted, but it is hard to tell if that is bad hitters swinging at balls that most major league hitters wouldn’t think of swinging at or if his control is actually improving.

Like Giolito, I think this is a hood time to buy Snell. If an owner is going to do a quick check in as to why you are trying to trade for Snell they might see the shorter outings and just want to be done with him.

The prospects that come up and fail in small samples tend to get valued less than prospects that haven’t come up yet just because they haven’t failed. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could get Pint for a middle of the top-100 prospect like Luke Weaver or Matt Manning.

Yordan Alvarez 1B – Astros (A)

  • 2017 (12 games): .357/.440/.595, 2 HR, BB: 7 (14%), K: 12 (24%), 2 SB

I don’t think I mentioned Alvarez as a preseason sleeper, and I am already regretting it.

Alvarez is 6’5″ 225 and has hit well despite not tapping into that power potential yet in his limited sample. At 19 years old he could add even more size and power. He has both a plus hit tool and plus power potential from the left side of the plate.

Alvarez is a former Cuban signee. His last season in Cuba in the Cuban National Series he hit .351 with an eight percent strikeout rate, as a 17-year-old. The offensive upside is pretty high for someone so under the radar.

In leagues where 250 or so prospects are owned, or a league where you have already made some buy moves and need to restock your system with some upside players, I would give Alvarez a look.

Checking in

Week 7

  • Brendan Rodgers needs a promotion soon as it seems like high-A pitching is no match for him as his .389/.414/.687 line with seven homers shows.
  • Raimel Tapia is 4-17 since being sent back to AAA.
  • Triston McKenzie hasn’t allowed more than four hits in a start since April 13, seven starts.
  • Ronald Acuna is still striking out too much, 13 in his last 10 games, but he is 10 for his last 24.
  • Dylan Cozens appears to have finally fallen back to what he should be as he has four homers with a .250 average and a lot of strikeouts in his last 10 games.
  • Rhys Hoskins is still slumping a bit, he is 9 for 33 in his last 10 games with just one homer in his last nine.
  • Jacob Faria struck out seven over four innings in his last start and is now up to 16 strikeouts in his last 10.1 innings – the best news is it has only come with three walks.
  • Austin Riley is keeping the strikeout rate down, it is under 20 percent in his last 10.

Week 8

  • Scott Kingery is still on fire, and I don’t expect it to end as long as he is playing in Reading.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. has as many hits (8) as strikeouts in his last 10 games.
  • Willie Calhoun has hits in eight of his last 10 games and is still barely striking out.
  • Colton Welker is hitting .341 in his last 10 games, and that dropped his average to .352.
  • Walker Buehler had his longest outing of the season in his last start as he went five innings and struck out six and walked one.

 

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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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