Minor League Report: Week 8

Memorial Day weekend is like the unofficial start of summer for me up in the north. Pools finally open, schools letting out, and the baseball season is no longer in that small sample size phase.

Now 2018 matters more than 2017. Not in a recency-bias way, but in the sense that this is the new player. There was a change in the offseason and this isn’t some small streak.

As always use that to your advantage. Don’t hang on to someone too long. Prospects, more so than MLB players, have the bottom drop out. MLB players are at least obviously still in the majors after bad years. Bad prospect seasons can make it so a prospect loses the ability to play every day at the next level, never makes it to the next level, or takes a lot longer to make it.

Don’t be the guy that held onto Jurickson Profar forever, and don’t be afraid to be the guy that trades away Aaron Judge. There are far more busts than hits.

Matt Thaiss

.301/.369/.546, 12 2B, 9 HR, K% 18.4, BB% 9.7, 2 SB

After getting some hype in the 2016 draft as being a great hitter already, Thaiss hadn’t done a lot to keep that excitement. Thaiss hasn’t cracked double-digit homers yet, but he will this year. The average hasn’t been otherworldly either.

Thaiss was a much more interesting prospect when he had the glimmer of hope of being a catcher, but that glimmer faded quickly as he was never in the Angels’ plans at catcher.

With Pujols entrenched at first and Ohtani playing DH he doesn’t have an easy path without an injury or two.

Thaiss is probably a first baseman that you are fine with being your utility guy if you waited. The 20-homer type hitter that should be able to hit for a solid average. I wouldn’t be shocked if with the new baseballs he hits 25.

Oscar Mercado

.331/.383/.478, 8 2B, 6 HR, K% 13.3, BB% 7.7, 11 SB

Mercado is more of a numbers over tools player. He doesn’t have much power, but he is showing a surge the past two years. His best tool is his speed, but even that is just above average.

Overall Mercado is a guy I don’t want to invest in. He is, at his ceiling, a 12-15 homer type player with speed, 25-30 if he can get a full season of at-bats.

If speed is a huge factor in your leagues keep an eye on him, but between the Cardinals outfield depth and his upside I can’t get too excited.

Oscar Gonzalez

.258/.275/.401, 8 2B, 6 HR, K% 26.9, BB% 2.1, 0 SB

Gonzalez was a deeper name I have been interested in for a year or two now. There is nice power potential but he really hasn’t shown it much in games.

Over the past 11 games Gonzalez has been on fire hitting .405/.405/.738 with three homers. Something should jump out in that slash line. No walks.

Even the season-long line, a 2% walk rate. Combine that with the 26.9% K rate and it might be getting close to the time to dump Gonzalez for another prospect.

His recent hot streak even has a 23.8% K rate and a 0% walk rate.

Evan White

.286/.365/.417, 8 2B, 3 HR, K% 17.5, BB% 10.5, 0 SB

White has above-average power and an above average hit tool. He has a nice walk rate that he has had since his last year at Kentucky.

He might be a slightly better version of Matt Thaiss. A little bit of a better average and pretty confidently more power, although it is only a few homers.

First base only prospects are getting harder and harder to get behind unless they are amazing hitters.

His hitting profile reminds me of Dan Vogelbach, or maybe I should say what I still think Vogelbach is. He is a good hitter, but no crazy power. Points leagues are going to be his better format because of his walk rate and his lack of homers.

Taylor Widener

49 1/3 IP, 2.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, K% 35.5, BB% 8.1

Part of the three-team trade that sent Souza to the Diamondbacks, Widener has performed well with his new team.

Widner has a mid to upper 90s fastball and a nice slider.

He was a reliever in 2016 so this is just his second year being a full-time starter. He has been great at every level.

He could be a back-end of the rotation starter, but he has already shown he can be a pretty dominant reliever so that could be a fallback option because he had has his fair share of injuries.

Logan Allen

59 2/3 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, K% 27.7, BB% 9.6

Allen’s 12 strikeout game last week turned some heads, but it mostly came out of nowhere. Allen’s fastball sits in the low 90s.

His changeup is his best pitch, but other than the changup nothing in his arsenal is too exciting.

I might be missing something with Allen because he does rank relatively high in the Padres’ loaded system. I am willing to let someone else have him because I don’t know if the ceiling is worth it.

Cristian Javier

39 IP, 1.85 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, K% 40.9, BB% 11.9

Finally a pitcher with more than three pitches.

Javier doesn’t have a great offering. His fastball tops out in the low 90s and sits right around 90. His offspeed pitches are fine but not exceptional.

With guys like Javier that doesn’t bother me as much. The extra pitch makes so much of a difference for me. The extra deception aspect of a pitch makes things better for me.

Javier has a rough system to try to break through. He has to hope for a trade. He’s only in A and he has a lot of players ahead of him.

Jonathan Hernandez

46 1/3 IP, 1.94 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, K% 35.2, BB% 9.1

Hernandez was a preseason watch list guy for me in my super deep leagues, so far that has worked out well.

In his last two starts, he has 21 strikeouts over 12 innings and a 1.06 ERA. He has at least nine strikeouts in four of his last five starts.

His fastball is his best pitch as he can reach 97 and sits in the low to mid 90s.

He has a good slider and changeup to help play off the fastball.

Hopefully, he gets moved up to AA soon as it is starting to look like high-A might not be a challenge anymore.

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.