Fantasy Baseball | Minor-league report Week 6

KANSAS CITY, MO. - MAY 07: Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger (52) pitches in the first inning during a MLB game between the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals, May 07, 2017, at Kaufmann Stadium, Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)
(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)

Each week I will run down the players recently promoted to the majors along with their potential fantasy relevance.

Next I will highlight a number of players who could be promoted in the near future that those in redraft leagues should stash on their bench. As the season progresses, I will check in on past stash recommendations to see if they are still worth holding.

Finally, I will cover prospects for keeper and dynasty leagues whose value is on the rise that you may want to target, or players on the decline you may want to cut bait on or trade before their value bottoms out.

Welcome to the Majors

Mike Clevinger gets a chance to impress the Indians while Corey Kluber is on the shelf. He turned the corner in 2015 at Double A and has posted an ERA under 3.00 over 280 innings since then. There is at least streaming potential here.

Jake Thompson (Phillies) and Chad Green (Yankees) were both called up to added bullpen depth. Neither pitcher was off to a good start in the minors but could see time in the rotation later this season.

Magneuris Sierra and Tommy Pham were called up by the Cardinals to replace Stephen Piscotty (DL) and Dexter Fowler (day-to-day). Sierra was pulled straight from High-A and is a glove first speedster, and we already know what Pham can do given his numerous auditions. I would not expect much of either.

Alex Meyer replaced Tyler Skaggs in the Angles’ rotation. He saw some success early on in his minor-league career with Minnesota and Washington. However, outside of a nice strikeout total he hasn’t done much since 2014.

Catcher Mike Ohlman is a name of interest in deeper two-catcher formats. He will split time with Luke Maile filling in for the injured Russell Martin for the Blue Jays. Prior to his promotion he was batting .246 with seven home runs in 69 Triple-A at-bats. He does have strikeout issues, though.

The Pirates added some depth, promoting Chris Bostick and Max Moroff. Both have a little pop and some speed; Bostick has the better bat of the two. I doubt either player sticks around long, and it’s really a coin flip on which one actually could at this point.

Brian Goodwin is this week’s backup to Michael Taylor, replacing Rafael Bautista. He does have a power speed mix, but the batting average is a work in progress.

25 SEP 2016: Washington Nationals Outfield Brian Goodwin (48) during the MLB baseball game between the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire)

Redraft Watch List

The previously recommended players listed below represent the best possible stashes for redraft leagues. Most, if not all, of them should be up in June. I cannot really say that about many other players. There are a few pitchers that I will be monitoring closely, though. If things break right, any one of them could make their major-league debut this summer and have mixed league relevance.

Tyler Beede (Giants) has had a few struggles, but overall his numbers both this year and last year at Double A have been solid. The Giants are in desperate need of an arm, which may lead to Beede being promoted out of necessity. The former first-round pick is easily a streamer option and someone to have on your radar.

Yohander Mendez (Rangers) pitched across three levels last year and capped it off with a taste of the majors. He has a ground-ball tilt to his game and a nice four-pitch arsenal which makes up for the lack of high-heat. Mendez doesn’t have star power, but there is back-end fantasy rotation potential here for 2017.

With Cole Hamels out for eight weeks and Nick Martinez and Martin Perez struggling in the final two starting spots, I can see Texas giving the kid a longer look this summer.

Brandon Woodruff (Brewers) is a name overshadowed by those waiting for Josh Hader. Woodruff posted a 3.01 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in Double A last year. He has very good control (2.48 BB/9), and his ground-ball ways have kept the ball in the yard (0.32 HR/9). You’ll even get better than average strikeout numbers.

Woodruff is off to a hot start in Triple A, and the Brewers could use a boost to a staff anchored by Matt Garza and Chase Anderson.

Previous Recommendations

  • Jose Berrios threw six innings of three-hit shutout ball on Monday. He now has a 1.13 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 39 strikeouts in 39.2 innings. Still available in over 90 percent of Yahoo and ESPN leagues
  • Yoan Moncada upped his slash line to .345/.419/.549 and brought his strikeout rate down to 26.4 percent. He has six home runs and eight steals over 113 at-bats. Available in 54 percent of Yahoo and 78 percent of ESPN leagues.
  • Lewis Brinson had an off week but still added a home runs and steal, giving him four in each. He is batting .326 with a 23.5 percent strikeout rate.
  • Bradley Zimmer will never have a stable batting average (currently .257) due to his strikeout rate (29.3 percent). He does offer power (10 doubles, three home runs), speed (six steals) and on-base skills (9.5 percent walk rate). He will be up this summer.
  • Rafael Devers made up for the lost batting average points from the previous week. He’s now hitting .315 with six home runs
  • Franklin Barreto continues to rake in Triple A with a .353 batting average. Add on three doubles, three triples, four home runs and three stolen bases and you have a June promotion.
  • Ian Happ now has nine home runs and upped his batting average to .264. Ben Zobrist and Javy Baez are starting to come around, but the Cubs’ outfield could still use a boost.
  • Amed Rosario remains a stash even if he doesn’t get the call when Asdrubal Cabrera hits the DL. His average is down to .373 with 12 extra-base hits and seven steals. The same Terry “rookie hater” Collins warning from last week still applies.
World Team's Amed Rosario runs out a base hit against the U.S. Team during the ninth inning of the All-Star Futures baseball game, Sunday, July 10, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

World Team’s Amed Rosario runs out a base hit against the U.S. Team during the ninth inning of the All-Star Futures baseball game, Sunday, July 10, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Keeper League Trade Target

Chance Adams (Yankees) is a name that has not garnered a lot of attention outside of New York. He had a fairly successful college career, both as a starter and reliever, showing solid control and a high strikeout potential. This year he has snuck onto a few top-100 lists, and by the end of 2017 he could be a highly sought after commodity.

In 2015 he successfully navigated all three lower levels, finishing the season in High-A. He threw only 35.1 innings, but finished with an ERA and BB/9 just a shade over 2.00 and a K/9 over 11.00. He started 2016 in High-A, and after 57 innings (12 starts) of basically the same number the organization promoted him to Double A. Thirteen starts and 69 innings later, Adams was still displaying the same skills that had fast-tracked him through the minors.

Fast forward to 2017 and Adams has not slowed down. Through six starts (35 innings) he has an ERA of 1.03 and 1.09 WHIP. He has lost a few strikeouts (8.23 K/9) and has walked a few additional batters (3.86 BB/9). However, the hits are few and far between and he has surrendered just two home runs (11 total over 198 minor-league innings).

Adams’ game is shifting to a ground-ball tilt, which will aid him nicely in Yankee Stadium. He owns a mid-90s fastball, an improving slider that sits in the mid-80s, an average changeup that plays well to lefties, and mid-70s curveball which isn’t great but could improve and offers at least another weapon.

There is easily back-end potential here for a starter. I don’t see Adams being a star like his numbers suggest, but he will be solid at the very least. Sometimes solid with the potential for more makes for a profitable target.

Stock Down

Austin Meadows (Pirates) was a top-20 prospect coming into the 2017 season. So far he looks far from that, batting .215 in just over 100 at-bats. This is in line with the .214 he posted last year when promoted to Triple A. On top of the batting average struggles, the power has disappeared. In addition, the stolen bases and walks are half of what they were last season over almost the same number of at-bats.

Meadows is only 22 so maybe he just needs more time. However, if the power takes a step backward he is just a speed option that you hope will rebound in the batting average department. 

Lucas Giolito (White Sox) is also a universal top-20 player. He built his reputation on being a high strikeout ground ball pitcher that limited home runs. He showed improvements at every stop in the minors, and in 2016 the Nationals gave him the opportunity to showcase his goods.

That is where the feel-good story ends, and we all know what he did with his cup of coffee. This year things have continued in a downward spiral, with a 7.31 ERA and 1.76 WHIP over 28 innings. The walks (5.72 BB/9), hits (10.18 H/9) and home runs (1.91 HR/9) are all up and in line with his 2016 major-league numbers. Strikeouts are the only thing he has going for him right now.

Both players still have name brand trade value and can fetch you a top-20 prospect in return. The struggles also create a prime buy-low opportunity for those that believe. I would probably test the market and see what you can get. But I’m also not against acquiring either player at the right price.

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