This series will look at prospects and show whether they are worth an investment on your fantasy team. Every owner knows that the secret to a strong minors system is knowing who to throw away and knowing who to keep. Each player featured in this series will be given one of the following recommendations:
- Hold ’em : If you own this prospect, hang tight. While times may seem rough, the talent is worth holding onto and/or monitoring.
- Fold ’em : If you own this prospect, now is the time to sell while they may still have some name value.
- Walk Away: This prospect is not worth paying attention to in your league.
- Run: Get to the waiver wire immediately and put a claim in for this prospect.
Alex Reyes is the 39th most-owned minor league pitcher in Fantrax leagues, and the 70th most owned minor league pitcher in CBS. With little time remaining in the 2014 fantasy season, I will attempt to put him in his proper ranking to see if this might be the opportunity to acquire him. For leagues that have minor league free agency deadlines, your time may be gone for this year, but it is still worth checking out this just-turned 20-year-old pitcher.
Alex Reyes was born in New Jersey, but in 2011 moved to the Dominican Republic and lived with his grandmother, to focus on baseball and increase his chances to get noticed. Circumventing the amateur draft also didn’t hurt as he was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in December of 2012 for $950,000. Reyes spent all of 2013 in rookie ball pitching or the Johnson City Cardinals. He struck out 27% of the batters he faced while walking 11%.
From 2013, Baseball America has this video of Alex Reyes:
In his past four starts, Reyes has thrown 25 innings, allowing 16 hits and 6 walks, while striking out 38 batters. He finishes 2014 with a 29.5% K rate to go with a 13% walk rate. While the walk rate remains high, Reyes was able to cut his walks by a third over the second half of the season (while increasing his K rate). Reyes spent the entire season as a 19-year-old in Peoria, displaying a fastball that touched 100 mph.
With an electric fastball, a sharp curve and a developing change-up, Reyes has all the tools to become one of baseball’s top pitching prospects. The improvements that Reyes made in the second half with his walk rate (4 BB/9 IP) are an encouraging sign as his command appears to be the biggest obstacle to his future success. Reyes turned 20 years old on the 29th of August and could reach the big leagues before his 22nd birthday. I would rank Reyes now as a top 15 SP prospect, meaning that he is currently under-owned in dynasty leagues. With prospects often over-valued in deep leagues, Reyes might still be a bargain if you act quickly. Pitching prospects I would not own before Reyes include: Butler, Appel, Stephenson, Crick, Edwards, Wisler, Cole, Stewart, and Fried among other more popular pitchers. If Reyes continues to progress in 2015, we’re looking at potentially a top 20 overall prospect pre-2016.
Owned in 13.3 % of Fantrax Leagues and 2% of CBS, Recommendation: Run.
Other Prospect Notes
Sean Manaea, SP, Kansas City Royals. Friday’s line for Manaea was 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 12 K. I listed him as one of my projected Second Half Surgers. It’s safe to say that I called this one correctly. In the past 10 weeks, Manaea has pitched 76 innings, with 83 strikeouts and a 1.89 ERA. If he’s still available in any of your keeper leagues he needs to be rostered.
Owned in 15.2% of Fantrax Leagues and 4% of CBS, Prospect Ranking in 2014 #96. Recommendation: Run
Aaron Nola, SP, Philadelphia Phillies 6’1″ right-hander was drafted 7th overall in 2014 by the Phillies. Nola breezed through A ball and finished up with 5 shutout innings in AA last week; impressive for a guy who just won the National College Pitcher of the Year Award in June. With a low 90’s fastball to go with his plus curve, Nola’s ceiling may not be as high as other top pitching prospects, but he’s looking like he could be near-ready by the end of 2015 to at least settle as a mid-rotation arm.
Owned in 5.9% of Fantrax leagues and 2% of CBS, Prospect Ranking in 2014 N/A. Recommendation: Hold ‘Em.
Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates. With Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen entrenched in the Pirates’ outfield for at least the next four years, the Pirates announced that Bell will play exclusively at first base in the Arizona Fall League. Bell enjoyed a breakout season in 2014 with a .325/.375/.459 line between A and AA ball. His strikeout rate for both leagues was an excellent 11.8%. The move to first will definitely accelerate his timetable to get to the major leagues.
Owned in 18.9% of Fantrax leagues and 6% of CBS, Prospect Ranking in 2014 #44. Recommendation: Run
Sean Newcomb, SP, Los Angeles Angels. At 6’5″ and 240 lbs, Newcomb is a huge left-handed pitcher who can tough high 90’s with his fastball. Arms like this are special, and Newcomb also features a change, slider and curve; all with potential to be average to plus offerings. Easily the top prospect of the Angels finished his season with a 4 inning 10 strikeout performance to put on exclamation point on his high ceiling.
Owned in 2.8% of Fantrax Leagues, Unlisted in CBS, Prospect Ranking in 2014 N/A. Recommendation: Run.
Mark Appel, SP, Houston Astros. Left for dead on most midseason prospect reports, (#46 on mine) Appel has bounced back in a big way after his promotion to AA. Over his 7 games since moving up, Appel has struck out 38 in 39 innings with 35 hits allowed. This is a far cry from his time in A ball where he allowed 74 hits in 44 innings.
Owned in 31.2% of Fantrax leagues and 14% of CBS, Prospect Ranking in 2014 #46. Recommendation: Hold ‘Em.
Raul Adalberto Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals. A look at Mondesi’s slash line in 2014 of .211/.256/.354 doesn’t scream PICK ME UP. As the youngest player in A ball for most of 2014, Mondesi has flashed enough star potential to get your attention though, including hitting a home run in 4 straight games in August. It will require a lot of patience, but this is someone who could really break out in 2015.
Owned in 20.6% of Fantrax leagues and 7% of CBS, Prospect Ranking in 2014 #30. Recommendation: Hold ‘Em.
Julio Urias, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers. Ranked aggressively in my midseason list, Urias has more than lived up to the top 20 billing in 2014. In 87.2 innings, this left hander who just turned 18, struck out 109 batters while walking 39. He throws a plus fastball, curveball and change already and could be in the majors as soon as 2015.
Owned in 27.3% of Fantrax leagues and 11% of CBS, Prospect Ranking in 2014 #19. Recommendation: Run
If you’re gonna play the game boy, you gotta learn to play it right.