Welcome to the 2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Prospect Report! It is a time for fresh starts. Spring finally feels like it is starting. You can tell because the players look slightly less miserable with the conditions. I started an awesome new job Monday and nothing makes you appreciate a new job after being at a crappy one.
Tonight, I am continuing my cocktail exploration with my girlfriend and enjoying a refreshing spring cocktail with just two ingredients: mezcal tequila and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.
Some prospects are taking advantage of their fresh starts as well. Ronald Acuña Jr., the number two overall prospect, has been called up for the Braves and the buzz is everywhere. Walker Buehler had another start in the bigs. Juan Soto gets promoted to High-A as his torrid 2018 continues. Alex Verdugo also got called up for the Dodgers and went 2-for-3. And who the heck is Nick Kingham?
Let’s dive in on all the updates while we appreciate the Spring delivering like we know it can… better weather, exciting baseball with incredible stories taking shape, and your favorite fantasy baseball journalist/artist getting his mezcal buzz on while basking in new beginnings.
I’m feeling good. About as good as the guy who caught Acuña’s first home run:
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) April 26, 2018
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Prospect Report
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News & Notes
For all your rookie and prospect news.
Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves
Well, this is the moment the real and fantasy baseball world has been waiting for. He has been called everything from a future perennial all-star, to the next big thing since Mike Trout, to a potential Hall of Famer. This is also apparently the moment Acuña has been waiting for, too. After hitting just .232 with 3 XBH in the minors, he raking in bigs with two doubles, a home run, and a .375 average. He is owned in pretty much all the leagues. So, I won’t go on but be excited. He is a big 2018 storyline. Enjoy:
Walker Buehler, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Buehler, the No. 12 overall prospect got his second start on Saturday and has since been optioned back down to AAA with Rich Hill coming off the DL. In two starts he has pitched ten innings, with two ER, 11 Ks, four walks, and only 5.5% swinging strikes. I watched some of these starts and the talent is just massive and he is, naturally, not comfortable, yet.
His Saturday start was rocky in the first inning where he gave three hits, a walk, and a wild pitch before setting into four scoreless. His fastball was gas, registering in the high 90s and his curveball and slider show signs of immense upside. With Buehler, though, it is all about if he can gain command. I’m not a big Buehler guy because I don’t think gas and not great command should have him rated so highly. If you like him, though, you gotta get him and stash him. He’ll be up again soon and for good. Just look at why he has a 70-grade fastball.
Walker Buehler with the 99mph tailing fastball for the strikeout. Brutal. pic.twitter.com/fo2syvWwGe
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) April 24, 2018
Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Like Buehler, Flaherty was called up and sent back down in short order with Adam Wainwright hurt but not seriously hurt. Flaherty, the No. 36 prospect, who relies on great fastball command to go along with a slider and curveball that can generate whiffs was not excellent Saturday though better than it looks.
He only struck out two, walked four while, gave up a HR, and needed multiple double plays to get out of jams. That said, he flashed his command, generated ground balls, and two of his runs were given up after he came out of the game. This doesn’t shade him at all for me. I’m all the way in and think you should keep him stashed.
Luiz Gohara, LHP, Atlanta Braves (AAA)
Gohara is recovering from his ankle injury and likely to have a couple more starts at AAA before getting called up. He has not been super sharp but I’ll keep a close eye on the next couple weeks. He is very likely to be called up for the Braves after a couple starts assuming he does not suffer a setback.
Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Nick Kingham was not on many people’s radar as an unranked prospect. He pitched a gem in his MLB debut on Sunday against the Cardinals. Seven IP, nine Ks, and he was perfect through six. In AAA this year, he has bumped his K/9 from 7.39 to 10.72 while generating more swinging strikes. He is definitely doing something different this year and will undoubtedly get owned in a lot of leagues. I’m pretty excited and would say if you have a starter that is not performing and you can stash Kingham to see what this turns out to be, do it.
Historic @MLB debut for @Pirates No. 12 prospect Nick Kingham today. No pitcher has ever matched these numbers in his first #MLB game (going back to 1908 via @baseball_ref):
≥ 7 IP
= 0 R
≤ 1 H
= 0 BB
≥ 9 K
More: https://t.co/ibw9ARo1UF pic.twitter.com/DCORJr4VRy
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 29, 2018
Nick Kingham, Filthy 85mph Slider (release/spin). 🤮 pic.twitter.com/VRIbWCvdaj
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 29, 2018
Gleyber Torres is racking up hits, batting .296 but has yet to hit a HR. He has two XBH and just seems to be not lifting the ball enough or generating hard contact. That should change, though. He really should be owned in all leagues.
Franchy Cordero seems like he is going to keep regular playing time despite Wil Myers and Manny Margot being back for the Padres. Andy Green said he will find a way to keep him out there and that is good news because despite a 35% K rate and .237 average he has six HRs and a 50% hard-hit rate. He has been caught stealing twice which is not a good sign even though he has blazing fast speed.
Joey Lucchesi rewarded those who didn’t drop him after one bad start with a win, six Ks, and a respectable ERA. He gave up two over 5-and-two-thirds, walked two and coughed up one HR. Great to see his BBs down after a tough start in ARI. I still say sell high here but can’t fault you for riding the wave.
Shohei Ohtani sprained his ankle on Friday hustling out a grounder and is having his next start skipped. It doesn’t look serious and one could point to this being exactly what makes one cautious about Ohtani. Hitting and pitching can make him more susceptible to injury. It can also make him susceptible to 4 HRs, 12 RBIs, and a 0.341 AVG.
A. J. Minter and Josh Hader are both relief pitchers, completely filthy, and in the mix for saves. Go get them.
Tyler O’Neil was sent down after only getting 7 ABs since being called up on April 19th. He did not record a hit and is still a huge power threat with little to prove in AAA.
Brendan McKay racked up a career-high nine strikeouts on Saturday, bringing him to 24 in 14 innings and an impressive 1.93 ERA and 0.57 WHIP.
Peter Alonso has homered in four straight games for the Mets AA-affiliate.
The Next Big Thing
Guys you really need to know about.
Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) April 29, 2018
It is time. Soto has got a lot of buzz with how he is hitting and that has gotten him promoted to high Class-A. When you hit .348 with six HRs and a couple steals that is what happens. This 19-year-old is climbing prospect rankings and creating some much-earned hype. He is a way out from the majors but in dynasty and keeper formats where it makes sense and he is available, grab him because this is all very encouraging.
Soto profiles with a polished hit tool, especially at his age. He has a great effortless looking swing and above average pitch recognition. His bat speed and control is great for barreling the ball and hitting it all over. Whereas his power was a bit of a question mark, it seems like he may be developing it right in front of our eyes and in short order. At 16 years old he was drafted in the international market for $1.5 million, which was an MLB record at the time.
Waiver Pick Ups
Players worth your team’s consideration.
Alex Verdugo, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Verdugo is the number 32 prospect and the number two LAD prospect was recalled from AAA on Saturday. What you need to know about Verdugo is that he is a talented hitter who can control the K-zone, hit the ball to every field, and barrel the ball well. Some reports say he can grow into power and some say average at best. He has hit four homers in the minors already this year. So, if you need some help in the OF he is a great pick up.
Risers and Sinkers
Highlighting players whose stock is rising and falling.
Risers (and Sinker) – Miguel Andujar, 3B, New York Yankees
Andujar continues to amass XBH like nobody’s business. He has a .610 slugging and .393 wOBA with a .299 ISO and 40% hard-hit rate. If this what he can do and future is bright and some scouting reports did not get him totally right. Andujar is also a Sinker because Drury coming back could have him sent back down:
— New York Post (@nypost) April 29, 2018
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