Because there is a lot of news and performances to highlight this week, let’s dive right into the 2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 Prospect Report.
Suffice it to say, that at this point, the big storylines are the watching and waiting for top prospects to get called up, watching Shohei Ohtani against the Red Sox (they are working him as I’m watching right now), and puzzling over Joey Lucchesi’s great start. Let’s dive in.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 Prospect Report
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News & Notes
For all your rookie and prospect news.
Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH, Los Angeles Angels
Ohtani finally pitched again going over nine days since his previous start. It did not go well either as he allowed three runs in two innings pitched. Worst news of all this is he left the game due to a blister. We have seen how this can affect pitchers long-term in the past so it is wait and see with him.
However despite not pitching much, he has had several at-bats. He has gone 4-for-13 including a bases clearing triple and a double. Currently his BB% is 9.1%, K% is 22.2%, ISO is .400, BABIP is .400, HR/FB is 50%, and average is .367. He’s generated over 50% ground balls and also 100% medium or hard contact.
He doesn’t qualify for fangraphs hitters leaders, yet and if he did his wRC+ and wOBA would put him above all qualified hitters. That is the thing with small samples, though, we don’t know who he is yet. We just know there are positive signs.
Joey Lucchesi, SP, San Diego Padres
Joey, Joey, Joey. Another start and another great result. Nine Ks, no walks, six innings pitched. That makes for one earned run in his last 12 innings. He has also only given up one HR with 10.38 K/9 bolstered by his 14% swinging strike rate.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 15, 2018
I’ve written about him every week and belabor the point that he is absolutely worth owning and he won’t maintain this pace. He only has two pitches and relies heavily on deception which is not a recipe for long-term success.
Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals (AAA)
Robles will not need surgery after an awkward and very painful catch attempt he made in the OF. He is Washington’s number one prospect and nationally ranked 6th overall by MLB. He was expected up this year and after the injury, many thought he’d be out for the season. You can’t blame them for watching the catch (this is hard to watch).
Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals (Low A)
Robles’ teammate, Nationals’ No. 2 prospect and 29th overall is bursting like an all-shook-up can of Soto-pop. In 10 games he has four HRs and four extra-base to go along with 10 freaking walks meaning his wOBA is sitting a preposterous .556. If you weren’t paying attention, do so now.
Soto has always shown great batting skills and power was the place scouts hoped he’d grow into. So, if he does he is middle-of-the-order material and regular all-star. Watch this opposite field home run he hits in this video I sware is not from the 80’s despite being whatever the polar opposite of high-definition is.
Ronald Acuña, OF, Atlanta Braves (AAA)
He’s pressing and struggling with only five hits in 33 at-bats. He’s striking out too much, but at least he is doing well with a 12% walk rate. The Braves manager said he will have to establish a routine in AAA. So, that doesn’t scream that he’ll be up soon. Expect Acuña to shake the funk and don’t expect him to be a beast immediately when he get’s called up.
Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers (AAA)
Willie said that starting the year in AAA was a slap in the face. Does this make me love him more? Or less? For now, I’ll let his bat do the talking. Don’t forget about him and keep a close eye on his call-up or stash him now. I believe he can hit right away when he comes up and he showed us that this spring.
Yonny Chirinos, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays had not allowed a run in 14 1/3 innings to start the season. He then struggled in his last outing, allowing six in 5 2/3 innings. Two of his scoreless outing were against the Red Sox, too. His repertoire along with his track record of tweaking, improving, and working hard (read this) have made me very intrigued.
Christian Villaneuva, 3B, San Diego Padres has hit six HRs and is slashing .327/.421/.776. He has four doubles and four walks. I’m half buying in because he has never profiled to be this good, is swinging at a lot of balls outside the zone, is striking out a third of the time, and has a .409 BABIP despite having a closer to a .300 minor league career average BABIP. On the other hand, he’s upped his fly ball%, is hitting the ball hard and has hit for power in the minors.
Nick Senzel, 3B, Cincinnati Reds (AAA), is the Reds’ number one prospect and he was not called up despite an injury to their third baseman Eugenio Suarez. Senzel is not hitting great and learning SS. So, I can see the argument to keep him down.
Shane Bieber, RHP, Cleveland Indians (AA) has not given up a run in two starts/13 IPs, has struck out 17 and walked zero people He just doesn’t walk anyone ever, really. He is Cleveland’s number eight prospect and is worth keeping an eye on.
Miguel Andujar, 3B, New York Yankees may be breaking out as we speak. He started off very slowly after getting called early April. In his last three games, he has three doubles and a home run. Drury is still suffering from blurred vision and migraines.
The Next Big Thing
Guys you really need to know about.
Christian Pache, OF, Atlanta Braves (A+)
??Future so bright.
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) March 29, 2018
Pache is already a flashing potential for perennial gold glove candidate as a 19-year-old but you don’t come here for defense. You come here for the promise of something special offensively and getting ahead of your competition. That is exactly why I want to highlight Pache. Now, I think, is the time to start looking closely at his development.
So, Pache profiles with 80-grade running, which is really fast. He got 32 stolen bases in 119 games last year in the minors with a .281 average. He also registered zero home runs, 13 doubles, and 8 triples. So, he’s speedy but not known for power. But at just 19, what if he started to tweak his swing a little to generate power?
Here’s where I speculate. The Braves love his athleticism and coachability which makes me think there is loads of room for power improvement. He hit two HRs off Sean Newcomb in a March Atlanta Futures game and is 44 at-bats in the minors his fly ball rate is at 41.2%. Up from 28.2% last year. To me, the what ifs here are just so freakin’ exciting. So, to start seeing some evidence of potential and growth means that I am getting more and more exciting.
Waiver Pick Ups
Players worth your team's consideration.
Franchy Cordero, OF, San Diego Padres
I’m a huge Franchy Cordero fan and you should be, too after reading this article by Jeff Sullivan. He already has two home runs and a stolen base since being called up/coming off an injury. Last year in AAA he hit 17 home runs and stole 15 bags. He will never be mistaken for a patient hitter. That said, he is fast and can hit the ball hard.
He has not been hitting a ton of fly balls (100% HR/FB, haha) but has been able to do so in the minors. His hard-hit % right now is 60%. 40% is considered excellent according to fangraphs. I’m not saying that he will keep up this pace or his strikeouts won’t hurt you. He is a bit of a SABR darling because of that Sullivan article looking at his speed and hard hit ability. Check this out:
Franchy into the forest over 415 feet away!#Padres No. 10 prospect Franchy Cordero rips a solo shot in his 2018 @MLB debut. @Padres' Top 30 Prospects stats: https://t.co/ZrMhuPUXlE pic.twitter.com/cbMuutgwlV
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 11, 2018
I am saying if you need an OF because of an injury, I like Cordero. The problem with him maybe playing time. Manny Margot and Wil Myers will come back and could instantly make Franchy less fancy.
Risers and Sinkers
Highlighting players whose stock is rising and falling.
Risers – Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Tampa Bay Rays (A)
McKay is 7-for-16 with 11 stinkin walks. Eleven. He has struck out twice. He also has eight Ks in five innings as a pitcher. Exciting guy and plate discipline like this makes me so much more confident in a guy when he does get to the majors.
Risers – Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals (Low A)
See news and notes above. In brief, crush-ing.
Sinkers – Franklin Barretto, 2B/SS, Oakland Athletics (AAA)
He got called up, wasn’t even given his chance to swing the bat watching from the dugout for seven games, and on Monday got sent down. Kind of a bummer of a 2018 debut. Some speed and power ability here. He just needs a little bit more of an opportunity to show it. He’ll be up later but his stock went down on Monday.
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