With 120 teams and 5,000+ players spread through four levels (not to mention the Dominican Summer League and the renamed Complex leagues in Arizona and Florida), keeping up with minor league performances can be difficult. If you wait until end-of-season wrap-ups, a breakout prospect may no longer be available. You can scout stat lines all year, but that can be tedious, and it’s difficult to keep an eye on every tweet of a new highlight. But fear not, intrepid dynasty league manager: Welcome to Pitcher List’s MiLB Player and Pitcher of the Week!
This is a weekly column where I’ll select one hitter and one pitcher who performed outstandingly in the prior week. Not only will you get a name, but also we’ll dive into what powered their results and where their future value stands.
Player of the Week: OF Yanquiel Fernandez, COL, A
Stats: (5 games) 9-25, 2 HR, 3 doubles, 10 RBI, 6 runs
I mentioned last week that I’ve become more hesitant with Low-A players, but I think Fernandez (and Edgar Quero below) is an exception. For Fernandez, his production really begs for a promotion to High-A Spokane (which would be unfortunate for those who like to watch him as there’s no MiLB broadcast up there). While Zac Veen and Ezequiel Tovar have (rightly) gotten the lion’s share of the spotlight in the Colorado farm, Fernandez has quietly put up a .274/.339/.491 season as a 19-year-old with 15 homers, 30 doubles (and 5 triples) along with an 8.5% Walk rate and 22% K rate chipped in. You all know I love a good comparison so let’s look at who else has put up similar numbers to Fernandez:
|Name||Age||Level||HR||Doubles||K Rate||BB Rate|
As you may have imagined, it’s a very small group in which Fernandez finds himself: a 27-year-old career minor leaguer (apologies to the Lester family), an underlooked pop up prospect who’s just know getting some due (o hai Justin) and an underlooked pop up from last season who still has yet to break into the majors (#FreeEguy). While the counting stats may be arbitrary, I think it’s illustrative of Fernandez’s youth compared to his production.
Fernandez has adjusted to Low-A, after struggling to make contact consistently, he’s now been able to use his lefty swing to drive offerings. Additionally, he’s improved his approach as the season progressed, reducing his K rate from 25% in his first two months to 22% currently. There are the normal caveats about Rockies prospects (their affiliates tend to have hitter friendly environments and they’ve done a poor job of properly promoting hitters to the right level) but with the helium under Ezequiel Tovar and Fernandez’s teammate Adael Amador, Fernandez could conceivably be the next Rockie on the rise.
Honorable Mention: C Edgar Quero, LAA, A
Stats: (5 games) 7-18, 2 HR, 4 doubles, 5 RBI, 4 runs
Quero has become a favorite among deep dynasty league managers with his unique blend of power, hit tool with some speed mixed in at the catcher position. There are 19 prospect-age (25 years or younger) players that have a combination of 10+ HRs, 10+ SBs, 10%+ BB rate, and ≤20% K rate. Quero is on that list, tied with the aforementioned Amador as the youngest hitter and second only to Eguy Rosario (Padres might want to consider playing this guy) in doubles with 30. Quero isn’t just getting lucky either. His BABIP is on the higher end at .372 but his SwStr sits at 8.3%. He makes hard contact and if he can keep any of that speed while transforming those doubles into home runs, his value could skyrocket in the next year.
Pitcher of the Week: SP Prelander Berroa, SEA, AA
Stats: (1 start) 5 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 hits, 11 Ks
Berroa came to Seattle from the Giants organization, where he had been stretched out as a starter but most scouts saw him slotting in as a reliever at the major league level. Like most reliever-leaning prospects, his stuff plays up well in shorter stints but lacks command. But the Giants kept running him out as a starter before dealing him for Donovan Walton and the Mariners have continued his development in the rotation, recently promoting him to Double-A Arkansas.
Berroa’s fastball and slider are major league caliber based on velo and movement but he’ll need to corral them into consistent offerings to continue to be a relevant starting pitcher. The 11 strikeouts do mark a career high, and coupled with his decent run of starts at the AA level, there are some encouraging signs for deep dynasty managers. I’m still not fully sold personally, but I wouldn’t begrudge someone in a 16-team league or deeper taking a shot at rostering Berroa now and banking on the fastball/slider to carry him to some type of success.
Honorable Mention: P Bobby Miller, LAD, AA
Stats: (1 start) 7.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 Ks
Perhaps the Dodgers’ best pitching prospect, Miller makes his first appearance in this column right as he and the other contender for best in the org, Gavin Stone, get promoted to AAA Oklahoma City. Miller’s current season: 117 strikeouts in 91 IP, 22.5% K-BB with a 1.20 WHIP.
Miller is sort of like a Create-A-Player come to life, and he’s got the prototypical starter body type (6’5, 220 lbs) with a four-pitch mix, all at 50 grade or better. The major questions that remain for Miller are really around his ability to maintain his mechanics at the AAA level and continue to pitch to a stellar SwStr rate.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)