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 that 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 recommendation 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 might want to target, or players on the decline you might want to cut bait on or trade before their value bottoms out.
Welcome to the Majors
I failed to mention the promotion of Padres starter Dinelson Lamet last week. Despite last night’s blowout against the Cubs, I still think his park and strikeout ability make him a worthy addition.
The Phillies activated Ben Lively, who has a career Triple-A ERA of 2.84 and WHIP of 0.94. His first major league start went great despite the zero strikeouts. He should be up for good and is considered a high-end streaming option for your bench.
Eric Skoglund received an unlikely promotion from the Royals. He put up above average numbers through Double-A, but his numbers in Triple-A would be considered replacement level for fantasy purposes. There is upside and potential here, but temper your expectations.
Austin Slater will get a chance at regular at bats with the Giants. He has very little power and speed, but he hit .292 or higher at every minor league stop. There is value here for deeper leagues provided he shows the same steady average in the majors.
Milwaukee is giving Brett Phillips a brief audition while Travis Shaw is on paternity leave. Phillips still has work to do, but his numbers this year could earn him a longer look later in the season (assuming he is sent back once Shaw returns).
Oakland teased Matt Olson with a one-day promotion – that’s cruel. Meanwhile, Colorado’s Raimel Tapia continues to yo-yo back and forth between Triple-A and the majors.
Tyler Smith (Mariners), Johan Camargo (Braves) and Max Moroff (Pirates) were brought up to supply bench depth for their respective teams. They offer no fantasy value.
Redraft Watch List
Jacob Faria: Rays (ETA Today) – This may just be a spot start, but if the Rays are sellers this summer, this is more of an audition.
This year over 11 starts (58.2 innings) at Triple-A Durham, Faria has a 3.07 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, and a 12.89 K/9. That is basically in line with his 3.41 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over 285 innings at Double-A and Triple-A. The K/9 average for those two levels is 10.64 so even if this year’s numbers are high, they will not regress much.
The only issue that Faria (and almost every other pitcher prospect) has is walks. They are a little high, but manageable. The low home run totals combined with Tropicana Field should neutralize some of that damage.
Faria gets to face the White Sox at home today. If for some reason Matt Andriese isn’t ready, Faria might get one more game. Stream him now, and add him to your watch list once he is sent back to Triple-A. This could be a solid back-end arm to own later this year.
Derek Fisher: Astros (ETA July) – I recommended Fisher back in April as a keeper league target. I knew he could get the call this year, but he has exceeded my expectations.
Over the past two months at Triple-A Fresno, Fisher is slashing .338/.403/.604. He has 17 doubles, 14 home runs, 11 stolen bases and, most important, a strikeout rate below 25 percent. The strikeouts are still high, but it is encouraging that they are trending in the right direction.
Jake Marisnick and Nori Aoki are blocking Fisher’s path to the majors. I can’t see either preventing a promotion so expect to see Fisher sometime this summer. Reserve your ticket this month and avoid the rush.
- Yoan Moncada returned from the minor league DL and stole two bases giving him 12 for the season. I still expect a June callup, or July at the latest.
- Rafael Devers saw his average climb back over .300 after a down week. He has 11 doubles and 10 home runs. One more Pablo Sandoval slump or injury is all it will take.
- Franklin Barreto finally had an off week, which saw his average drop below .300. Adam Rosales has already worn out his welcome, being replaced by Chad Pinder. With Marcus Semien out for at least another month we could see Barreto any day now.
- Amed Rosario finally had a bad week (insert sarcasm); the average went from .354 to .345. He just needs a place to play and an opportunity to display his talent.
- Luke Weaver had another stellar game, lowering his ERA and WHIP to 1.84 and 0.93 through eight starts (44 innings). Meanwhile Michael Wacha threw his third clunker in a row.
- Clint Frazier ended May strong, but as I said last week he will need to continue hitting through June to earn a summer promotion.
- Lewis Brinson can be dropped in redraft leagues. The recent promotion of Brett Phillips, albeit a brief one, establishes a pecking order. He might get a taste of the majors in August/September, but that is not worthy of a roster spot.
- I still expect promotions for Brandon Woodruff, Tyler Beede and Yohander Mendez at some point this summer. They are not worth rostering now, but merit a dart throw like recently promoted (and previously recommended) Dinelson Lamet.
- Josh Hader has regressed since I recommended him. Let someone else grab him if he receives a promotion.
Keeper League Target or Trade
Chris Shaw (Giants) is not a top-100 player, but is a top-10 for first base prospects (in most circles). He doesn’t have typical corner infield power – think 20 or so homers. Shaw does have very good discipline and a line drive stroke which means a steady .285 plus batting average with plentiful counting stats. He was recently promoted to Triple-A which puts him at less than a year away from the majors.
Bobby Bradley (Cleveland) is a top-100 player and a top-five first base prospect. He will not hit for a higher batting average like Shaw, but his power potential is far superior. The issue with Bradley, as it was last year, is strikeouts. The organization moved him to Double-A, and that 30 percent (plus) strikeout rate followed him. The power is there, and is still accompanied by a .230 batting average.
Dominic Smith (Mets) is currently the top first base prospect in the minors. Like Shaw he has solid plate skills so we should expect a solid to strong average and OBP. The power is the big wild card here. Currently Smith resembles Shaw with a 20-home-run range. However, many see this as a floor and envision a future 30-plus home run hitter.
In keeper leagues I would target Shaw. He has the lowest power ceiling of the three men above, but the overall future potential is solid and predictable. Bradley is a sell-high option. He has the name brand and ranking to fetch you a better player that doesn’t have a strikeout rate capable of sinking a career. Smith can be both a buy and sell – he is a safe buy, but given his ranking he could also fetch you a small fortune should you deal him.
The Blue Jays have a pair of second generation players in Class A that could eventually replace the aging duo of Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki.
Vladimir Guerrero (3B) and Bo Bichette (SS) are a year apart in age, but in talent they are fairly equal. Both have power, speed, and strong plate discipline. They just need to work a little more on defense, but both are solid. Even if that aspect does not improve, the offensive output will be enough to overcome any slight defensive liabilities.
Looking at the 2017 numbers at Class-A Lansing, both players have (almost) exactly the same number of games played and at-bats. Guerrero, 18, is batting .332 with 14 doubles, four home runs and four stolen bases. Bichette, 19, is batting .382 with 20 doubles, six home runs and seven steals.
Guerrero has the patience with a 12.4 percent walk rate and just an 11 percent strikeout rate. Bichette is just as patient with a 10 percent walk rate, but he will need his 18 percent strikeout rate to stabilize and not increase as he advances levels.
I don’t see the organization rushing things so expect both players to finish the year in Class A. These are long-term fantasy investments. Guerrero is the bigger name brand and will cost you more in trade. Bichette is further down the rankings; that should change by the end of this season, but right now he will cost you less.
Dynasty league owners looking to rebuild down the road might want to invest in one or both players. It is rare you find 20/20 potential at third base and shortstop, let alone a pair of teammates with the same upside. And who know, maybe the Jays will replace that brick turf field by the time Guerrero and Bichette debut.
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