Minor League Report: Never Give Up

A lot of trade deadlines have passed or are quickly approaching, but in dynasty leagues some will still have trading opportunity. 

This is also a time to find the potential deep prospects to make a rise in 2018. In shallower keeper and dynasty formats, players that have had big success in high-A are typically guys I like to target. They will likely be in AA the next season and success there will have them flying up lists.

Even if you don’t like investing in prospects, others in your league probably love it. So “steal” prospects from them; you will likely be able to get a big return for them. A random add in a shallow league of Kolby Allard might help you turn someone like Edwin Encarnacion into maybe Freddie Freeman.

This time of the year reminds me of an old Galaxy Quest movie clip where they say “never give up… never surrender“. Just because you are down and out doesn’t mean you should start checking out fantasy football rankings and ignore baseball. You can still better yourself for 2018 and beyond in the final months of 2017.

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 August 6. Players are listed with the level they last played with their previous team.

Redraft Radar

  • Willie Calhoun 2B – Rangers
  • Brent Honeywell P – Rays
  • Ronald Acuna – OF Braves

Calhoun and Honeywell are the only two I might spend a roster spot on. If you are hoping for a true difference maker right now I would lean more towards Honeywell. I don’t think Acuna comes up, but as a difference maker from the hitting side I think he is the best of what is left.

Who’s hot

Billy McKinney OF – Yankees (AAA)

  • July 23 – August 6: .400/.436/.860, 5 HR, BB: 3 (5.4%), K: 10 (17.9%), 0 SB
  • 2017: .285/.356/.521, 15 HR, BB: 36 (8.9%), K: 68 (16.8%), 2 SB

It feels like a long time ago that McKinney was on the prospect radar, but he was in the back half of some real life lists before last season.

He came out of the draft as one of the top high school bats and was a first round pick because of it. He was expected to have a plus hit tool and average power and it looked like that was the case early on.

His power decline, a bad average last season, and prospect fatigue pushed him off the prospect radar.

At still just 23 McKinney is having his best power season with 15 homers through 100 games, nine in his 31 games at AAA.

He isn’t the shiny new toy like the recent draftees or the guys that haven’t failed at a level yet so McKinney can probably be had pretty cheap.

Sheldon Neuse

  • July 23 – August 6: .392/.483/.667, 4 HR, BB: 8 (13.3%), K: 12 (20.0%), 1 SB
  • 2017: .306/.370/.494,13 HR, BB: 34 (8.6%), K: 85 (21.5%), 14 SB

He was involved in the trade for Doolittle and Madson, but wasn’t part of last weeks trade deadline guys because he was dealt earlier in July.

Neuse has plus power and possibly a plus hit tool. He struggled in his first brief stint last year with just one homer and a .230 average.

The power has played up this year as he has 13 homers. His 14 steals are a mirage, he won’t be any help in steals if he makes it.

He is a little old, 22, to be getting his first taste of high-A still.

His upside is likely limited to deep mixed and AL only leagues. Neuse is worth a shot in leagues with over 500 prospects.

Saying this without research, but it feels like the prospects the A’s trade for almost always get a chance in the majors.

Gavin Lux SS – Dodgers (A)

  • July 23 – August 6: .313/.431/.625, 3 HR, BB: 9 (15.5%), K: 8 (13.8%), 5 SB
  • 2017: .218/.322/.348, 7 HR, BB: 50 (12.8%), K: 66 (16.9%), 16 SB

Lux is part of a pretty deep and interesting Dodgers minor league system.

He is supposed to have offensive tools and as a middle infielder is should play more.

From what I remember reading and hearing around the draft last year and what he has shown out of the gate I don’t know where the offensive upside will come from. I don’t see enough power to be interesting.

I would try to trade Lux this offseason if he is the type that is already owned in your leagues. Maybe he pops up on decently high on positional or team lists.

Nick Senzel 3B – Reds (AA)

  • July 23 – August 6: .352/.397/.556, 2 HR, BB: 4 (6.9%), K: 10 (17.2%), 1 SB
  • 2017: .313/.376/.488, 9 HR, BB: 37 (8.4%), K: 89 (20.1%), 11 SB

If the Reds were contending I wouldn’t be surprised if Senzel was up now, similarly to what the Red Sox did with Devers.

Senzel has the ability to provide a nice average with solid power production. If he hits in the middle of the Reds order behind Billy Hamilton, who might not get on base a lot but when he does he is almost already in scoring position, and behind OBP machine Joey Votto he could be a big RBI producer.

Senzel is the kind of prospect I would want to invest in if I was close. Basically if a couple bad bounces went against you this year and you don’t need a full rebuild Senzel is a guy I would target. He should be up at some point next season.

Franklin Barreto 2B/SS – Athletics (AAA)

  • July 23 – August 6: .357/.379/.571, 2 HR, BB: 1 (1.7%), K: 9 (15.5%), 2 SB.
  • 2017 minors: .282/.329/.449, 13 HR, BB: 22 (10.6%), K: 115 (27.7%), 8 SB

I was really high on Barreto a few years ago and tried to get him in a lot of leagues and I was only able to in one and I remember being upset.

As time went on I have dropped my opinions on him and now see him as a JAG.

He won’t be a steals producer despite stealing 29 and 30 earlier in the minors. He probably has low 20s homer power but that isn’t a difference making asset anymore, even for a middle infielder. It is above average power, but I think the overall perception is greater than the reality.

This will ultimately be his best power season, but it will come in the hitter friendly PCL.

Ronald Acuna OF – Braves (AAA)

July 23 – August 6: .434/.500/.660, 2 HR, BB: 7 (11.7%), K: 9 (15%), 2 SB
2017: .320/.378/.521, 16 HR, BB: 39 (8.2%), K: 116 (24.4%), 36 SB

I keep thinking he will hit a snag at some point after he gets a promotion to create a buying opportunity, but it doesn’t happen.

Acuna has true five tool superstar potential and the ability to be in the top few round of the draft for years to come.

He should be easily a 20/20 player with potential for more in both sides to go with an average around .300. If you can somehow sneak Acuna into a deadline deal, if you can still trade, I would do whatever I could to get it done. Overpay for the elites instead of getting a good and a great.

Checking in


  • Pavin Smith: the average is there, but still no homers.
  • Keston Hiura is continuing to rake and is up to .403 now.
  • Heliot Ramos has 14 strikeouts in his last 10 games.
  • Jordon Adell is showing off his power/speed potential while hitting for a decent average early on.
  • Royce Lewis has two three-walk games in his last four.



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Andy Germani

Written by 

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.