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: C Sam Huff, TEX, AAA
Stats: (4 games) 5-15, 4 HR, 8 RBI
This week was a weird one to give out the Golden Bat (I’m sticking with this) but I decided to go with Huff. Catchers are suddenly the prospect du jour and it feels like we’ve been waiting on Huff to break through for a decade. This year may be the one that finally pushes him to the majors even if it’s not with the Rangers. He’s currently batting .260/.349/.575 and yes, I know it’s a hitter friendly environment in the PCL but the fact remains. Even shaving 30 points or so off of that triple slash while keeping a pace for at least 10 HRs as a 24 year old catcher is still a very fantasy relevant profile.
This is the first of two homers from May 4th, this one off of Diamondbacks stud SP Ryne Nelson. Huff is actually pulling the ball a ton this season (58.7% thus far) so it’s nice to see him go opposite field. Here’s hoping he gets a chance to at least platoon with some major league team this season. Doesn’t seem like it will be Texas though, between preseason acquisition Mitch Garver and a possible breakthrough performance by Jonah Heim.
Honorable Mention: INF Spencer Steer, MIN, AA
Stats: (4 games) 5-for-16, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 4 runs
Steer isn’t going to be on any top 100 lists but his versatility around the infield and his bat seem to have him tagged for a productive utility guy (a la early Tommy La Stella). Similar to La Stella, Steer may be a bit older than expected when he does get to the majors, it looks like he typically needs a couple of seasons before really figuring out a level. But he does show the ability to learn and improve from one year to the other and he has low double digit power. He’s a name to know if/when he gets his shot at the bigs in the next couple of years.
Pitcher of the Week: SP Mason Montgomery, TBR, High A
Stats: (1 start) 5IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, 1 BB, 10 Ks
I wondered how long it would be before a Tampa Bay pitcher would appear in this column. Montgomery has been putting up a quietly good year thus far at Bowling Green. He’s still quite young so there’s still some kinks to work out but he’s generating swings and misses at a high rate while suppressing runs.
His May 5th start wasn’t able to be broadcast via MiLB.TV so we look at his April 29th start in which he struck out six.
This is an AB against Mets prospect Jaylen Palmer. Montgomery’s already gotten himself into some trouble in this inning (the broadcast scoreboard didn’t update with the 2 ER already scored) and he’s looking to stop the bleeding quickly. You can see in his sort of slingshot delivery from the stretch along with his fastball/slider combo, how Montgomery may develop as the next relief ace for Tampa. He still walks way too many batters and doesn’t currently have the velocity or movement to remain a starter as he moves up levels. But with a funky delivery and the ability to command the slider, there’s the makings of a valuable reliever.
Honorable Mention: P Gordon Graceffo, STL, A+
Stats: (1 start) – 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 hit, 1 HBP, 8 K
I think it says something about Graceffo’s 2022 so far that this is his ugliest line of the season as of now. The command wasn’t nearly as sharp as it’s been previously and he still puts in a quality start level performance with 8 Ks while continuing to not allow a home run. Graceffo is making High A look way too easy. I’m eager to see him face some more talented and experienced hitters in Double A soon.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)