Minor League Report

If you are a fan of the show How I Met Your Mother you might remember the line from Barney where he says “New is always better.”

This happens in the prospect community almost all the time. The new hot prospect that is doing what another prospect did last year is going to get more hyped and be more highly touted. I love Juan Soto, but after an insane start it’s almost like people have vaulted him to Vlad Jr. status, and that’s with both players doing well. Fernando Tatis Jr. is almost a nobody at this point it seems.

This is just to say don’t forget about the guys that were there first. There will be fatigue, and there is good reason to prop up the new guys, but at the same time don’t forget about the guys who did it a year ago.

Brendan McKay
.254/.484/.333, 2 2B, 1 HR, BB% 30.1, K% 14.3, 0 SB
24 2/3 IP, 1.09 ERA, 0.41 WHIP, K% 47.1, BB% 2.4

I haven’t really been on the McKay bandwagon because I was too worried about him doing two things at once. I couldn’t rank him high as a hitter because there is a very easy path that he gives it up after a year of failure, same goes for pitching.

But combined? There is a chance for success. Then again it is so hard to do one thing at a major league level let alone two.

As a first baseman I don’t think his upside is high enough to warrant fantasy ownership, even if he goes to being a full-time hitter and no doubt if he stays a two-way player. Mainly because I don’t buy the power as being good enough at first.

As a pitcher I think he can be useful in fantasy. He has a nice four-pitch mix with all four of the pitches being potentially above average.

Maybe Ohtani has made me believe this is more possible now than I did a few months ago.

Austin Riley
.345/.387/.690, 1 2B, 3 HR, BB% 6.5, K% 25.8, 1 SB

Unfortunately the Braves decided they wanted Jose Bautista. With how good they have been Riley could have been up pretty soon, he still might be.

His best tool has been his power, and in his brief 2018 has shown off that power.

Riley profiles to be the third baseman of the future in Atlanta with a very exciting group of young talent.

Kolby Allard

42 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, K% 19.0, BB% 7.7

I love me some Kolby Allard. It appears that Gohara is going to be used in relief, at least for now, so Allard owners should get a little excited about the potential that Allard is the next guy.

If a guy isn’t going to have a blow you away fastball, Allard’s sits around 90, I want that guy to have a good change up and Allard does.

The strikeout upside isn’t as high as I had hoped it would be.

Allard feels a little bit out of the ordinary as he has already had 285 innings in the minor leagues at just 20 years old. If the Braves need him he shouldn’t be on much of an innings limit.

He probably profiles more as what he did in the minors in 2017, about eight strikeouts per nine, rather than the just over a strikeout per inning guy I hoped he would be. That still makes him a fantasy starter as I think the ability to limit hard contact continues, he is likely just more of a top-50 pitcher than a top-20 pitcher.

Carter Kieboom
.268/.381/.443, 8 2B, 6 HR, BB% 14.3, K% 17.6, 4 SB

In the past 17 games Kieboom has walked a crazy 16 times and struck out just nine.

Kieboom feels a little more like a better real life player than fantasy. The bat is good, but not great. But at the same time it should be good for an MLB shortstop.

He doesn’t have a ton of power, but should have enough to become a major league regular. If he ends up moving off of short, I don’t think he has the bat to become fantasy relevant in anything other than deep or only leagues.

Christin Stewart
.304/.378/.648, 8 2B, 11 HR, BB% 9.8, K% 16.8, 0 SB

Known mostly as an all or nothing strikeout machine, Stewart has turned things around early on this season and looks as though he could become useful in fantasy leagues this season.

As with many power hitting strikeout guys for Stewart it all comes down to can he keep the strikeouts down. No one is going to deny his power potential when he puts the ball in play, but he needs to keep putting it in play.

It comes down to do you believe in the turnaround? You might still be able to buy him at a reasonable price in leagues where he is already owned. Maybe you have an owner thinking that this is finally their way out of the Stewart sweepstakes and they are getting a deal. If you believe he turned it around and our right, I think you can be the one getting a deal.

Dan Vogelbach
.328/.457/.781, 5 2B, 8 HR, BB% 19.8, K% 8.6, 0 SB

Just putting him here to note that he has been hitting since being demoted.

I don’t think I will ever be able to quit Vogelbach. I think he is just too good of a hitter to fail. He just needs a full-time opportunity.

Cavan Biggio
.291/.397/.689, 7 2B, 10 HR, BB% 14.3, K% 25.4, 4 SB

The third of a group of sons of former MLB players in the Blue Jays system.

Biggio is a lot further off the radar than his teammates Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette, but his hot start isn’t stopping people from getting interested. 

His 10 homers are one shy of his 2017 total. He didn’t hit for much power in college so it is hard to believe in this power outburst unless there has been a significant change somewhere.

Overall I think Biggio is one of the many names that will appear in this space this season that will just fizzle out after a brief hot streak. I don’t really see fantasy viability here.

Andy Germani

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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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