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MiLB Player & Pitcher of the Week: May 29 – June 4

Looking at the best performances in the month of June 2022

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 Colin Barber, HOU, A+

Stats: (5 games) 8-17, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 runs

Here’s somebody having a great week (obviously) and a great season thus far in his second go round at High A. As a very young (20 years old) High A participant last year, Barber only played in 16 games putting up a triple slash of .214/.365/.452 before his season was shut down after undergoing shoulder surgery. In 2022, he’s still 2 years younger than the average pitcher he’s facing and has been able to show off the above average bat to ball skills that evaluators highlighted in his scouting report as a prep baller.

Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of MiLB.TV archiving, there’s little recorded video of Barber’s performance at all this year, let alone his recent HR binge. All I could dig up was this base knock from back in April 2022 but it does show off Barber’s very compact and simple left-handed stroke. Additionally, the ability to drive a pitch right over the shortstop’s head is illustrative of his ability manipulate the barrel well. Another month of getting into his power and Barber could very easily find himself at the next level in Corpus Christi by the MLB All Star Break.

Honorable Mention: OF Emmanuel Rodriguez, Minnesota, A

Stats: (4 games) 6-10, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 runs, 1 SB

Rodriguez is quickly becoming the new darling of dynasty leagues as his season wRC+ has been exceptionally high while his power/speed production pushes him up several different leaderboards I’ve seen online. Obviously there’s some pause with all of these highlights coming at Low A but as a 19 year old, there’s really no better way for a hitting prospect to have a second pro season. The Twins aren’t overly aggressive with prospects but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rodriguez began 2023 at High A Cedar Rapids, which would mean he had played at each pro level without repeating since his debut as an 18 year old. That’s outrageous! Rodriguez is definitely worth a speculative add if you have the roster space if for no other reason than the helium he’s continuing to receive on almost weekly basis.

 

Pitcher of the Week: SP Tommy Henry, ARI, AAA

Stats: (1 start) 6IP, 0 ER, 1 hits, 1 BB, 11 Ks

There’s a strong cohort of talented arms being developed in the desert and Henry is often the odd man out when evaluators run through Arizona’s top pitchers. He did a great job of ensure people remember his name, posting a career high 11 Ks on the final day of May.

 

 

You wouldn’t know it from the gif, but Henry is showing some composure with this strikeout. He’s just been penalized by the pitch clock expiring, which could potentially halt his momentum and even turn around the entire AB if he let it. He doesn’t. Cool as a cucumber, he just deals a beautiful slider at the bottom of the zone for strike 3 and keeps it moving. It might seem arbitrary but all sorts of distractions and miscues occur in a ballgame and seeing a young pitcher able to shake off a self-inflicted wound (whether you like the pitch clock or not) to lock in for the strikeout is heartening.

Part of the reason Henry often finds himself on the outside of discussion surrounding Arizona’s rotation of the future is because of command/control. His K-BB% is actually decreasing rapidly as he climbs level to level BUT I think he has the arm talent to remain valuable and be deployed as a MIRP/6th man in rotation at the MLB level.

Honorable Mention(s): P Brandon Pfaadt, ARI, AA

Stats: (1 start) – 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 hits, 2 BB, 8 Ks

We’re doubling up on Diamondbacks this week! Pfaadt has had a bit of a rollercoaster 2022. After surprising some with his rise through multiple levels in ’21, expectations were recalibrated with Pfaadt showing Major League starter ability. This year, Pfaadt has put together several impressive starts but always seems to have one blow up every 3-4 starts. Hopefully this is more development based rather than pattern behavior because otherwise, Pfaadt has shown a pitch mix and strike-throwing ability that should be in the majors by 2023.

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

LaMar Gibson

A lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan that still hasn't forgiven Jeffrey Maier, Tony Fernandez, the 2014 Royals, or Edwin Encarnacion...and has no interest in doing so in the foreseeable future. You can read more of LaMar's thoughts by subscribing to his free monthly newsletter, Inside Fastball, for all things prospects.

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