Each week I will run down the players recently promoted to the majors along with their potential fantasy baseball 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 may want to target, or players on the decline you may want to cut bait on or trade before their value bottoms out.
Just like last week, there is very little to go on this early with limited sample sizes. This week (and next) will be mostly speculative – at least until prospects get some more games under their belt. That doesn’t make the players below any less interesting, though.
Welcome to the Majors
The Detroit Tigers shook up their bullpen, demoting Bruce Rondon and promoting Joe Jimenez., Jimenez has 53 saves along with a 13.03 minor league K/9. He also does a solid job limiting free passes (2.64 BB/9), missing bats (5.16 H/9), and limiting home runs (four over 143 innings). Given the inconsistencies with the entire Detroit pen he should have no problem stepping into the setup role.
Current closer Francisco Rodriguez is in his final year, and $6 million dollars is easily tradable in today’s market. That could open the door this summer for Jimenez. For now he is someone to target in leagues that count holds, but he should be universally watched.
A Gary Sanchez injury opened the door for Kyle Higashioka in New York. He will tandem with Austin Romine for the next four weeks. Offensively there is little difference between Higashioka and Romine. Neither has shown any batting average promise and there is limited pop. Single catcher leagues can hit the ignore button.
There were a half-dozen pitchers called up, all of whom have little to no fantasy value. Padres starter Zach Lee headlines the group, recalled to take the place of injured starter Luis Perdomo. The former first-round pick showed some promise in 2015 but has largely been a disappointment. He does line up for two home starts next week against the Diamondbacks and Marlins. This is a desperation streaming option.
J.T. Riddle (Marlins), Marco Hernandez (Red Sox), Johan Camargo (Braves) and Mike Freeman (Mariners) were also recalled. All four will provide infield depth for their respective teams. Freeman has the best chance at playing time with Jean Segura on the DL. Realistically he only has value in leagues with more than 20 teams that use a middle infield slot.
Redraft Watch List
Ian Happ: Cubs (ETA May/June) – All that is needed here is a little seasoning and an opportunity. Last year across two levels, Happ had 15 home runs and 16 stolen bases. There are some batting average concerns, but the walks are solid and the strikeout rate continues to drop. Drafted in 2015, Happ is already in Triple-A putting him on the fast track to the majors.
His primary position is second base, currently occupied by slumping Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist. Happ can also play the outfield. Kyle Schwarber is struggling early and the Jon Jay/Albert Almora platoon is only temporary. A 15/15 power-speed floor can play anywhere so don’t worry that he is currently blocked. If Happ is hitting, the Cubs will make room for him.
Harrison Bader: Cardinals (ETA June) – Who? I know, stashes in redraft leagues are supposed to be shiny blue-chip players ranked in the top-25. Occasionally we need to look past the top-25, or in this case the top-100. Bader shows a nice mix of power and speed. He had 11 homers and 17 steals over 258 at bats in 2015 and 18 home runs and 15 stolen bases last year over 442 at bats.
This spring Bader went 18 for 52 (.346) at the plate with two doubles, two home runs and a stolen base. He also had the third highest at-bat total, so obviously, the team wanted to get a long look at him.
Currently, the entire Cardinals outfield is struggling. If this continues it is only a matter of time before their top outfield prospect is given an opportunity. Bader is not someone to stash, but he needs to be on your radar. Monitor the Cardinals outfield situation closely over the next 30 days.
Last Week’s Recommendations
Yoan Moncada is batting .370 with two home runs and two stolen bases. Outside of the 10 strikeouts, there is little to complain about. Continue to hold.
Bradley Zimmer is only hitting .273 with two stolen bases. The positive takeaway is he has just four strikeouts; that was the number one issue holding him back. Continue to hold.
Jose Berrios spun six shutout innings in his first minor league start, striking out seven. A few more gems like that and Berrios will be up in no time. He is readily available on waivers.
Dan Vogelbach is showing the same mediocre line that we saw this spring. While there is future potential here, maybe he is not the best hold candidate right now. Drop him.
Keeper League Target or Trade
Willie Calhoun: Dodgers – Much like Happ above, Calhoun can play all over the diamond. The batting average was somewhat of a disappointment in 2016 despite making solid contact and owning an elite strikeout rate. You can’t help but love the 25 doubles and 27 home runs; that power is what you are after. Calhoun was also part of that 2015 draft class with Happ, and he is also being fast tracked – currently in Triple-A.
The Dodgers have Logan Forsythe, Corey Seager and Justin Turner effectively locking up the infield. Without an injury (or trade) the obvious avenue to playing time is the outfield. Unfortunately, the Dodgers have a plethora of options to exhaust before this becomes a viable scenario. Calhoun moved into the top-100 prospect this year; by season’s end, he should be in the top-50. Don’t worry about where he will play, just buy him now before that price tag goes up.
Matt Chapman: Athletics – Just like Peter O’Brien last week, Chapman is someone fantasy owners need to walk away from. I understand the fascination here. The guy had 21 doubles and 23 home runs over 304 at bats in 2015. He followed that up with a 27 double, 36 home run performance last season, and this spring he hit three more over 51 at bats.
Nobody will deny he has power. His one major flaw, like so many other power-hungry prospects, is strikeouts. For every Chris Davis success story, there is a Chris Carter and Joey Gallo. If Chapman can find a way to hit for average there might be something here, but it’s a long-shot. My advice would be to cut your losses while he still has some trade value.
Continue to target Jesse Winker and Derek Fisher, both recommended last week.