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 who 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 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
Previously recommended stashes Jose Berrios and Ian Happ were recalled over the weekend. Berrios did not disappoint, firing 7 2/3 innings of four-hit, one-run ball for the Minnesota Twins. Happ had two home runs in three starts through Tuesday for the Chicago Cubs. Both are still available on waivers, although Berrios’ ownership is closing in on the 50 percent mark.
Bradley Zimmer was also recommended here and made his debut with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday. Greg Jewett discussed him the other day, although I think that he is more of a must-own than a speculative add. His ownership is just under 20 percent on Yahoo and ESPN, and that should quickly rise given the hype of his power/speed combination.
Mark Canha (Oakland), Scott Van Slyke (Los Angeles Dodgers), and Rey Fuentes (Arizona) are no stranger to the majors. All three are just depth for their respective club and hold no fantasy value right now.
Mac Williamson is the latest patch to be added to the San Francisco Giants ‘ brittle outfield. He has a little pop, but the bat is average and he has had strikeout issues. The playing time is there, making him a name of interest in deeper leagues.
Starting pitcher Zack Godley is off to a nice start in Arizona. There is strikeout potential here, but walks remain an issue. Consider him streaming material and monitor his progress. I don’t have the same confidence in Cubs starter Eddie Butler. There are similar control issues with a lower strikeout potential. His time in the majors will be short with Brett Anderson expected to miss minimal time.
Finally, Colorado Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia was called up again. I still love the talent, but without an injury or trade there is no chance at regular at-bats.
Redraft Watch List
Josh Hader: Milwaukee Brewers (ETA June/July) – To be honest I don’t know if Hader deserves a promotion based on 2017. Then I looked at the numbers for Zach Davies and Wily Peralta – those are some ugly lines. All of a sudden a Hader promotion seemed realistic.
For the season Hader has a 4.20 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. That is higher than we expected based on previous production, but when you figure in the park factors in the Pacific Coast League they are not so bad. From Class A through Double A (394 innings) Hader posted an ERA in the 2.70 range, which is closer to what we should expect.
Dinelson Lamet: San Diego Padres (ETA June/July) – You know change is on the horizon when the pitching staff is currently being anchored by Trevor Cahill and Luis Perdomo. Lamet has been on the fast-track to the majors, going from High-A to Triple A in 2016.
This year he has a 3.55 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through seven starts. Again, like Hader, not overly impressive until you consider this is the PCL. Lamet will have a much more forgiving home park and division upon his arrival. The strikeout rate has been sick with a K/9 in the double digits for his career.
Both pitchers should arrive to little fanfare provided their future numbers resemble their current lines. The high walk totals will raise red flags, but try to look past them. Hader limits hits and Lamet suppresses home runs, and both have big strikeout pitches.
I can see each pitcher being a stable arm at the back end of your fantasy rotation. There is no need to stash either player now – just monitor them closely and roll the dice upon their promotion.
- Yoan Moncada added two steals last week. He now has 10 steals, six homers, and is batting .331. Strikeouts continue to be an issue (27.4 percent).
- Lewis Brinson continues to hit, batting .327 with four home runs and another steal to raise that total to five.
- Rafael Devers improved his batting average again (.324) and added another home run (seven). Pablo Sandoval will return soon, but even he can’t delay the arrival of Devers.
- Franklin Barreto saw his average drop from .353 to a more human .317 (everyone has a bad week). He still hit a double and homer, giving him 12 extra-base hits and three steals over 142 at-bats.
- Amed Rosario remains the popular conversation piece with Asdrubal Cabrera almost assured of a DL trip. He’s batting .361 with 15 extra-base hits and eight steals over 147 at-bats. As always, we still need to see if Terry Collins will embrace the youngster.
- Bradley Zimmer, Jose Berrios and Ian Happ have all been promoted to the majors.
Keeper League Target or Trade
Ozzie Albies (Atlanta Braves) was once, and still is by many, considered one of the premier middle infield prospects in the minors. He was a .300 hitter through Double A with solid speed and a patient approach at the plate. The future was looking bright, and at 20 years old it still may be. However, since arriving at Triple A that shine is beginning to tarnish.
In 2016 he totaled 222 at bats in Triple A. The batting average dropped from the customary .300-plus down to .248. He stole nine bases in 13 attempts after going 21-for-30 in steals earlier that year in Double A. This year the average is up slightly (.253), and the steals and success rate is back up (12-for-13), but there are other troubling signs to consider.
The first red flag is the walk rate, which has gone from 8.9 percent in Double A to 7.7 last year in Triple A and currently sits at 5.7 percent. The strikeout rate is also trending in the wrong direction. It was 12.8 percent in Class A, went up to 15.4 in Double A, made a slight increase last year in Triple A to 15.8, and this year it is up yet again to 22.2 percent. The same thing holds true with the OBP, which was once elite but fell to .307 last year and is currently .293
With no power, you are banking on Albies to hit for a high average, draw walks and steal bases. He may come around with the walks and batting average. Right now he is looking like an Elvis Andrus clone. There are plenty of speed-only infielders in the minors. My advice would be to trade Albies while he still has the name value to fetch you a top-20 prospect in return.
Triston McKenzie (Indians) will not come cheap in a dynasty league trade. He will be cheaper than some of the bigger name brand prospects, though, and the price you pay now will be half of what it will be next year.
McKenzie was drafted in 2014 and was quick to impress. He was absolutely dominant in the low minors last year with an ERA and WHIP under 1.00 through 49 innings, prompting a promotion to Class A. He did give up a few more runs there, but the BB/9 dropped to 1.59 and the K/9 increased from 10.03 to 12.97.
The organization decided to challenge the 19-year-old this year by starting him in High-A. So far he has not made them regret the decision. Over 38 2/3 innings (seven starts), McKenzie has a 2.56 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. The K/9 is still over 12.00, and while the walk rate has come up, he has been absolutely unhittable (5.35 H/9).
McKenzie has a fastball that sits in the low 90s, which is about average. It is the consistency in motion which he delivers the pitch that makes it so effective. He also has an improving curveball, which should help keep lefties at bay. The changeup is a work in progress, but once it is refined, the arsenal will become that much more dangerous.
Currently there is no specific tilt to his game; ground and fly ball are split evenly. However, McKenzie does generate a high infield fly ball rate signifying softer contact and limited home runs. All the tools are here, and despite his lanky frame I don’t see any reason McKenzie cannot be an ace in the major leagues.
Every start adds an extra dollar to the asking price. Trade for McKenzie today.