Hello Prospect Report faithful, newbies and everything in between. Welcome to the Week 15 Prospect Report. Ohtani is back in (injured) style, Kyle Tucker is in The Bigs and another big name AL prospect may be coming up soon. This has been a fun week in Prospect Park and I’m going to let you cut the line to sit in the front car of this wacky roller coaster, my friend. Expert amateur fantasy writing is in your immediate future.
This part of the summer and baseball for me is all about circling back to guys that haven’t been major feature attractions at Prospect Park and I try to make sure I’m not losing tabs. Sometimes stable growth does not make the headlines like, say Seuly Matias, who has a million home runs and is hitting just over the Mendoza line.
So, I will be getting rid of risers and sinkers for a few weeks and featuring the “Circle Change,” where I will circle back to some of my favorite prospects and see how they are doing so far this year.
Oaxacan (wə-HAH-kən) Old Fashion. Say it a few times and now take a walk with me. Oaxaca, or the Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca, is one of the States of Mexico. Largely populated by indigenous people, this is where Mezcal shines/smokes the brightest. This smoky tequila used in place of bourbon in an old-fashioned makes for an amazing, classy, and sophisticated cocktail. You can use less agave and go 100% mezcal to do it like I do it or follow this guy (just get your hands on Oaxacan mezcal first):
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 15 Prospect Report
News & Notes
For all your rookie and prospect news.
Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
He’s up!!! After hitting .306/.371/.520 over 371 PAs and a scorching hot June (1.018 OPS) Kyle Tucker has hit his way up to the majors. Reports are that he’ll be playing every day at either corner of the OF. Listed as the number eight overall prospect in baseball, his bat, pitch recognition, and contact are where his talent and ability have shined. That said we are still trying to figure out how much power he’ll find. Last year across A and AA he hit 25 HRs in 450+ ABs and he has 14 in AAA this year.
Granted, he is just 21. Be that as it may, he still has to do well on a Houston team that needs wins and he could very well struggle. But he is a must own at this point especially if you need any OF help because his talent is very real. Here is on being called up.
Kyle Tucker is here pic.twitter.com/NdniqYfI4d
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 7, 2018
Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Ohtani came back on July 4th cleared to hit and there are still questions if he will be able to pitch again this year. He then quickly fowls a ball off his knee getting the day-to-day designation. Then he pinch-hits in the seventh on Sunday night, goes yard, and gives the Halos a go-ahead run. I love that swing.
Ohtani ... FOR THE LEAD. pic.twitter.com/DofcMl3iXA
— MLB (@MLB) July 9, 2018
Remember that Ohtani had a partial strain of his UCL going into this year and it is his elbow that has kept him out. He is getting re-evaluated soon. I’m worried and have written about this fear since day one with him.
Shane Bieber, RHP, Cleveland Indians
Bieber has taken his first loss as a big leaguer on Sunday and has now given up four earned runs in each of his last two starts (@KC and home against OAK). He did manage to strike out seven As, though and has a handsome 36:6 K:BB. His peripherals and style are showing us that he gets hit (45 hits and a 1.40 WHIP) with his fastball but has not gotten punished too badly because of his ability to generate Ks and not give up too many HRs. I’m hoping he will take his FB% down from 57% and bring up that slider and curve which have way higher pitch values, even with small MLB sample.
Luiz Gohara, LHF, Atlanta Braves
The big lefty man is back and I love it. He’ll be in the bullpen for ATL featuring that great fastball and slider. I think he’ll be amassing a ton of Ks while going through some growing pains up and down from AAA and the show this year. Just watch these highlights. Watch for his great fastball life and a sweeping slider.
Acuña is pinch hitting and dealing with a groin strain.
The up-and-down year for Tyler O’Neil continues as he got promoted on Monday for what was sure to be a short stint. The strike-out prone power hitting prospect now finds himself on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Victor Robles is back doing a rehab assignment after that brutal looking elbow injury earlier this year.
Freddy Peralta turned in a strong outing against ATL getting six Ks over six innings and only giving up one ER. Peralta makes me nervous because he’s walking plenty and has only given up one HR in 33 IPs with a 33% GB rate. That tells me his HR rate may be lucky.
Max Fried went from a dominate 11 K outing at STL to a tough three IP, four ER, and one K outing on Thursday before landing on the DL with a blister.
Nick Kingham, I’m a fan. Not because you’re an ace, but because you do what you do well and I think there is a recipe for success here. Get him, spot start him, and see if he can work is breaking stuff into consistent Ks and strong performances.
Jonathan Loaisiga is out three weeks with a shoulder injury.
The Next Big Thing
Guys you really need to know about.
Mackenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego Padres (A)
A mere 19 years old, it is hard to put his ability to generate whiffs into perspective. Right now he has an 11 K/9 and a 16.9 swinging-strike rate. This is elite. In the bigs, this would put him between number one Max Scherzer and number two Chris Sale. Okay, so he’s 19 and in A, not in the majors, and it is a relatively small sample but it impossible not to get hyped.
Gore went on the DL with a finger injury this year and has not pitched more than four innings until July 4th where he went six IPs with six Ks and no earned. Gore really does it all. From his build to his delivery, to his three-plus pitch arsenal there is a lot to like here. With the finger behind him, look for him to start getting a lot of buzz. Look up his high-school stats for funzies and watch these highlights (this is long, so skip around, but look at that delivery/leg kick!)
Waiver Pick Ups
Players worth your team's consideration.
Willie Calhoun, OF, Texan Rangers (AAA)
My love for Willie is well known for those who read this and he could get called up soon. So, this is more of a stash because nothing is guaranteed here. But he is earning it. His June was combustible with a .361 AVG and .945 OPS. He now sits at a .296 AVG and .340 wOBA in AAA. He, like Tucker, has not shown a big power stroke, just seven in 345 ABs, but it is there (60 FV power). His ability to hit for contact which limits pitchers’ ability to strike him out (just 10.6% K-rate) make him a guy I think will hit well as soon as he gets called up. A trade or injury would all but guarantee it.
— Jeff Barker (@JeffBarker_) April 6, 2018
Mid-Season circling back to some of my favorite minor league players who have not gotten enough love and attention from me (or the industry).
Taylor Trammell, OF, Cincinnati Reds (A+)
20-year-old Taylor Trammell is a favorite of mine his talent and athleticism made him a multi-sport badass. He has a 70 FV in speed and a developing hit tool. What has me excited is his 12.8% BB rate and .307 AVG. He has stoles 12 bases and also been caught eight times. He was named to the futures game and I just think with his raw ability he could end up going from the 34th overall prospect to top 20 by the end of the year.
Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota Twins (A)
It’s hard not to put Lewis on here. He’s ranked 11 overall on MLB.com’s prospect list but doesn’t get as much writing in fantasy because he could be years away. The number one pick in the 2017 draft also has a 70 FV in the speed category. He has a few similarities to Trammell though is not taking as many walks. He is stealing bases with more success, though and batting .316 with a .384 wOBA, which is ridiculous. Both Lewis and Trammell are guys I am happy I am looking in on because they are finding success and showing their raw talent.