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: 1B Vinnie Pasquantino, KCR, AAA
Stats: (6 games) 12-23, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 7 runs
I’m assuming you’ve become familiar with this Kansas City 1B by now as he’s risen from folk hero-esque figure to a legit top-100 prospect to looking like Kansas City’s best bet at 1B in a little over a calendar year.
Honorable Mention: 1B Kyle Manzardo, Tampa Bay, A+
Stats: (5 games) 7-15, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 7 runs
I’m keeping my eye on Manzardo, who poses the dynasty manager with an interesting conundrum: Do you invest early in a 1B-only prospect with a possible 60 FV hit tool but hardly any power? Or do you pass and miss on a possible Olerud-esque hitter in the future? I still haven’t landed on an answer myself but in the meantime, Manzardo took it upon himself to press the issue this past week.
Pitcher of the Week: SP Hunter Brown, HOU, AAA
Stats: (1 start) 7IP, 0 ER, 5 hits, 0 BB, 10 Ks
I knew Hunter Brown was good but if I’m honest, I never had taken a moment to actually watch one of his starts until this past week.
Here is Brown mowing down former MLB player Shogo Akiyama with two men on early in the game. I’ve pointed out before but the Golden Rosin Bag is often not just about a guy being perfect but also showing their “pitchability,” i.e. the ability to pitch out of trouble or without their best stuff. Brown limits potential damage early in the game with this strikeout and puts himself in a position to go seven strong innings of shutout ball. The question with Brown over the past couple of seasons has been his command of all of his pitches but his last three games (two starts, one relief appearance) have resulted in 16.1 IP with 2 ER, 9 hits, and 3 walks against 21 strikeouts. This also includes a 31% K-BB rate after his first 24 IP delivered a 19.8% rate.
If Brown’s unlocked his strike-throwing capability along with his current velocity and pitch mix, he’s as close to a complete starting pitcher as you can get in the minors. Obviously, dynasty managers await his promotion but given Houston’s offense, redraft managers might also want to pay attention to when Hunter Brown gets the call.
Honorable Mention(s): P Antoine Kelly, MIL, A+
Stats: (2 starts) – 10.1 IP, 8 ER, 7 hit, 5 BB, 20 Ks
Mr. Kelly was all set to receive this week’s Golden Rosin Bag after a 13 K performance to kick off the week that saw him strike out the first six batters to start the game. But unfortunately, he had a bit of a clunker to finish things as his next start delivered seven Ks but a significant amount of self-inflicted damage with four walks and a hit batter along with a three-run homer.
Honorable Mention(s): P Royber Salinas, ATL, A+
Stats: (2 starts) – 8.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 hit, 8 BB, 17 Ks
Yet another appearance by Royber the Ridiculous. He actually had the inverse of Kelly’s week, choosing to begin with a bad start (2.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 BB) before finishing with something more in line with expectations (6 IP, 1 ER, 13 K). It’s important to note that this start also had four walks so everything wasn’t perfect. The control is what has kept me from grabbing Salinas everywhere I could. Even with the swing and miss stuff, he’s going to face too many patient hitters who will drive up pitch counts and create traffic on the basepaths for him to manage.
Honorable Mention(s): P Mason Montgomery, TBR, A+
Stats: (2 starts) – 9 IP, 3 ER, 6 hits, 1 BB, 16 Ks
Another previous POTW honorable mention, Montgomery put together two short but impressive starts in the past week. His Saturday start tied a season high in batters faced (20) while setting a new high in pitches thrown (82). Tampa seems set on stretching him out so it will be important to watch how he responds in his upcoming start after full rest.
Honorable Mention(s): P Blake Beers, OAK, A+
Stats: (2 starts) – 11 IP, 5 ER, 12 hits, 1 BB, 19 Ks
Beers is a pitcher who’s started to creep onto my radar as every week when I’m rounding up best performances, he always seems to be on the shortlist. There’s really no track record to indicate his current performance but he features a FB/SL/CH mix that’s been effective in generating swings and misses (33% CSW) while showing control (only eight walks total).
Honorable Mention(s): P Grayson Rodriguez, BAL, AAA
Stats: (2 starts) – 13 IP, 2 ER, 4 hits, 1 BB, 19 Ks
The last mention really could’ve been our first back-to-back Pitcher of the Week but at this point, it kind of feels like a cop-out. I could probably call GrayRod our PoTW every week until he gets called up but where’s the fun in that? So I’ll penalize him for being so dang good but honestly it’s really just another compliment to the impressive numbers he’s put up this year.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)