I know I promised some live videos this week, but things came up. I suppose I could've posted some videos and analysis of The Killers on Monday, but it's not necessary - those guys are 80-grade performers. Hopefully, things slow down for me soon and I can take in some Double-A baseball on top of the collegiate ball I get.
Meanwhile, this week was pretty slow relative to most of April for the prospect report. We can't be blessed every week with guys like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Nick Senzel. We did have some disappointing players get optioned and some sneaky players get the call. Finding those sneaky pickups in deeper leagues can be just as fun, so perhaps this article will bring a new angle in Week 6.
2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 6 Prospect Report
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Kyle Wright, SP, Atlanta Braves
Wright's getting another shot with the Braves after getting sent down a few weeks ago. His Triple-A numbers don't tell a good story and many are suggesting he was working on some mechanical issues. We saw him struggle with fastball command in his brief major league stint, so it's possible that he just focused on fixing that up in the minors. Anyway, the Braves needed a long-relief option and the price was Wright. How many times are you going to get that joke?
I expect him to be sent back down to settle back into a starting role within the next week. There are no openings in the Atlanta rotation at the moment, as we will discuss with someone in the next section.
Mac Williamson, OF, San Francisco Giants
Williamson was all the rage last year as a post-hype guy that was ripping Triple-A and taking over an outfield spot in San Francisco. Then, he got hurt and was never able to seize the opportunity. A year later, he destroys Triple-A again and gets a call to the Giants, who have an obvious hole in multiple outfield spots. He's going to get playing time every day and potentially more. As one of the few righties in the Giants lineup, there could be opportunities for him to hit toward the top of the lineup before Brandon Belt and Buster Posey.
There are a lot of what-if's here, but aren't you curious? He slashed 0.378/0.459/0.756 with nine dingers in 23 games at Triple-A before getting the call. In his 2019 debut with the Giants on Tuesday, he popped a homer and a single in five plate appearances. In your deep dynasty leagues, this is someone who could be floating on waivers that could give you valuable at-bats.
Josh VanMeter, 2B, Cincinnati Reds
In the same mold as Williamson, VanMeter is an unheralded prospect who sprinted out of the gate in Triple-A this season. The 24-year-old blasted 13 homers in just 30 games, leading the way to a 1.167 OPS before receiving the call to Cincy. The sweet-swinging southpaw has also improved his walk rate this year relative to his 2018 season in Triple-A by over five percentage points. His call-up came at the expense of Matt Kemp, who was released by the Reds last weekend.
Unlike Williamson, there is not a direct path to playing time for VanMeter. The biggest problem for him is the productivity of Jose Iglesias at the plate, which is a sentence I never thought I would have to type. As every fantasy player knows though, Iglesias is an empty-average hitter and his 0.337 BABIP should fall off soon enough. Now, does that happen soon enough to get VanMeter some at-bats or not? The Reds expect Scooter Gennett back in June, so there's not a large window here.
Carter Kieboom, 2B/SS, Washington Nationals
Unfortunately, the Kieboom experiment did not work. He could barely hit his weight and didn't do much after that first weekend. Still, I give credit to the Nationals for giving it a shot. With Howie Kendrick playing well and Anthony Rendon returning from the injured list, it gives the Nationals a chance to send Kieboom back down and build some confidence back up.
I'm quite certain that we haven't seen the last of Kieboom in 2019 and he should come back with a vengeance. If this presents a buy-low opportunity in your dynasty league for some reason, pounce!
Nate Lowe, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That is certainly true when you have as many versatile, above-average hitters as Tampa Bay does right now. Lowe was sent down with Austin Meadows returning from the injury list, leaving too many folks in the rotation. This will give Nate a chance to get back to everyday at-bats for Triple-A Durham.
Similarly to Kieboom, this isn't the last we will see of Lowe in 2019 and there should be no knock on his long-term fantasy value.
Touki Toussaint, SP, Atlanta Braves
The merry-go-round of Atlanta pitching prospects continues. With Mike Soroka and Mike Foltynewicz returning from injury and Max Fried doing his thing, the Braves had a decision to make. That ended up as a call-up for Sean Newcomb in a relief role and an option for Touki. With Wright's call-up as well, things aren't looking bright for Toussaint at the big league level. He should still be first in line for big league innings should someone get injured, but his chances of starting are slim.
Top Angels prospect Jo Adell is doing “really well” in his rehab from hamstring and ankle injuries and is “completely symptom-free," GM Billy Eppler said. He starts a sprint and agility progression next week, but the Angels will continue to take it slow.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) May 7, 2019
- Well, the tweet says it all! Jo Adell is well on his way to returning healthy. He will return to Double-A after the 20-year-old had a short stint there last year. He's a name to monitor in AL-only leagues as he has ripped through each level thrown at him very quickly. It's not like the Angels have any talent blocking him either. A September cup of coffee could easily be in the cards for the youngster.
Welcome sight to see for sure. #Indians RHP Triston McKenzie resuming a throwing off flat ground. McKenzie is currently rehabbing an upper back injury he suffered early in spring training. pic.twitter.com/U8GxBTjYCH
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) May 7, 2019
- Great news came up this past week for Triston McKenzie and the Indians. Originally, it was thought that T-Mac might not throw for a while, but pictures are worth a thousand words and videos are worth a thousand pictures. The 21-year-old righty is expected to start the year at Double-A to polish up what was a decent season at that level last year. Once he builds up the innings, he should be moved up to Triple-A fairly quickly, putting him in a position to break into the majors in September.
Brendan McKay, SP/1B, Tampa Bay Rays
I really should just put the 'SP' as his position, but I will honor his two-way ability. It's almost unfair for McKay the pitcher to be so good that McKay the hitter can't get enough time at each level to develop. His 27 wRC+ at the Double-A level will not get a chance to improve because his pitching is going to carry him to Triple-A very soon.
McKay boasts a 2.19 ERA, which is backed by a laughable 1.32 xFIP, in five starts at Double-A. Now, they've also been sheltering him a bit as far as the length of his starts goes. The length per start has been building up since Week 1 though and they appear to be turning him loose. His most recent start went six innings with seven strikeouts against just 21 batters. They may give McKay an ultimatum on his hitting project if he wants to be promoted to Triple-A and the majors, which has to be an awkward conversation that I would hate to have.
The Rays have not been shy about promoting players quickly and McKay hasn't had problems pitching in any league they've thrown him in. While I would love to continue the trend of two-way players, it would be cooler for McKay to find his way on the big league roster at the end of this year and provide a spark for what should be a playoff-contending Rays squad.
Pitch to Gavin Lux at your own peril.
The #Dodgers No. 3 prospect has gone deep five times in his last four games after homering again for Double-A Tulsa last night.
💪: https://t.co/VHOEekexhW pic.twitter.com/HVXYBakYbO
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) May 8, 2019
Gavin Lux, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
I was reading a couple of weeks ago that Lux was making all of these offseason adjustments. At first, I was like why? Dude was killing it at Double-A last year. However, seeing this year's stats and relating them to last year, there are interesting discoveries.
The major difference is his performance against southpaws. In 2018 at Double-A Tulsa, he hit for a 0.467 OPS against lefties. This year, he's almost doubled his OPS against lefties to 0.807. What was the major change? Well, paraphrasing from this nice article from DodgerNation, Lux has opened his stance because he found out that he was left-eye dominant. It's tough to see the ball with your left eye if you've got a closed stance as a lefty. It be like that sometimes. Can you imagine the sort of personal revelation that gave him? Like, 'no crap, Sherlock' but with curse words.
Anyway, if Lux starts hitting lefties at an average clip and continues to pummel righties, look out. The ISO is up a hundred points from last year and he looks well on his way to a summer promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Here's a prospect that you may want to gauge value on in your dynasty league before he skyrockets up fantasy prospect rankings.
Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.