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: SS Brayan Rocchio, CLE, Double A
Stats: (5 games) 10-25, 4 HR, 4 doubles, 10 RBI, 5 runs
It’s been a rough 2022 for Rocchio as he continues where he finished last season — with an assignment in Double-A. He’s found the pitching to be that much better and the adjustments have been slow to occur. Not helping was a concussion he suffered that kept him out for several games. However it’s important to note that Rocchio is only 21, 4 years younger than the average pitcher he’s facing in the Eastern League.
Luckily for the Guardians, Rocchio, and his dynasty managers, the adjustments seem to be happening over the past couple of weeks. The power he flashes in the clip below points to why he’s been such a tantalizing prospect since 2018.
The Guardians notoriously have had a glut of infielders of various skill and potential in development since the departure of Francisco Lindor. Rocchio seems to have the highest ceiling of them all (not including Jhonkensy Noel) but he’s not without his flaws. So far the aforementioned power remains pull-side, which will limit his overall HR projections. Additionally for a player with his size and athleticism, it’s a bit disappointing that he’s not more of a stolen base threat.
There’s an outcome where Rocchio’s career stalls as a great glove who can ambush a few fastballs but doesn’t run and hits too many ground balls to be a top of the order threat. There’s also an outcome where he becomes the next great Cleveland shortstop; not Lindor-level, but with enough offensive firepower and elite defensive prowess to be a repeat All Star.
Honorable Mention(s): SS/3B Colson Montgomery, CHW, High-A
Stats: (5 games) 6-18, 1 HR, 1 double, 3 RBI, 6 runs
I know, to the untrained eye these are pretty tame numbers for a player receiving honorable mention as Player of the Week. But in a vacuum, they’re not indicative of the scorching 2022 Montgomery is having. Somehow in the midst of a 41-game on base streak, he hasn’t garnered even a thought from me when I go to write this column.
And yet. Montgomery has shown a near elite level of patience and bat control at the plate. Even at 6’4, he’s been able to get short to the ball to shoot it up the middle or to the left of the second base bag. These aren’t bloop hits, but barrels that come off the bat hot. The power seems likely to grow as he matures, although I think 22 homers may be his ceiling more than his range because of his approach. It’s still early but Montgomery shows the promise of being a very special player in BA and OBP leagues.
Pitcher of the Week: SP Griff McGarry, PHI, High-A
Stats: (1 start) 6 IP, 0 ER, 1 hits, 4 BB, 11 Ks
McGarry seems to be the most overlooked of the Philadelphia trio of young arms but while Andrew Painter and Mick Abel receive most of the hype, McGarry has slowly been putting up very good results, including 34Ks over his last 3 starts (17.2IP).
Honorable Mention: SP Brandon Pfaadt, ARI, Double A
Stats: (1 start) 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 hits, 2 BB, 8 Ks
No, this isn’t deja vù. This is the exact same start line Pfaadt had the last time he was an honorable mention for PotW. It’s pretty much par for the course now with Pfaadt as he’s only been able to work past the 6th inning twice this season but he’s only been limited to less than 5 innings three times, the last of which was back in mid-May.
Pfaadt is giving up too many home runs (15) which doesn’t portend well for going to Triple-A Reno. But he does have strikeout material and average command. The Diamondbacks might be better served by just allowing him to make the jump either later this season or early ’23 and seeing how he fits into their major league pitching staff. There’s some fantasy value here but I wouldn’t be surprised if, after the dust settled, Pfaadt came to rest as multi-inning bullpen ace instead of a league average SP4.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)