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: RF Joey Wiemer, MIL, AA
Stats: (6 games) 7-23, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 6 runs, 2 SBs
Joey Wiemer made a name for himself last year by hitting (and throwing) lasers all around the field and generally playing like a man with his hair on fire while in High A. He took that same approach through the Arizona Fall League and although it took him a couple of weeks to adjust to Double A, it’s serving him well in 2022.
This is not a great view to breakdown a swing but in general, you can see Wiemer’s bat speed. Currently he seems to be selling out for more power as indicated by his 46.3% FB rate and 19% SwStr percentage which, combined with an unsustainable .400 BABIP, points to negative regression being inevitable. But Wiemer is capable of working a walk and hits the ball hard enough that many of his hits will still find grass, making him extremely valuable in OBP dynasties. Additionally, he’s 6 for 6 on the basepaths and shows the type of intelligent baserunning that will give him 5-7 stolen bases more than similarly built prospects.
Honorable Mention: OF Vaun Brown, SFG, A-
Stats: (6 games) 10-22, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 10 runs, 3 SBs
Brown had himself an incredible week. Time will still tell us about his overall fantasy value but anyone hitting 5 homers in 6 games along with scoring or driving in 20 runs total is definitely due a mention here. We know the Giants love finding diamonds in the rough. Brown might be a name to circle and return to in the near future.
Pitcher of the Week: SP AJ Smith-Shawver, ATL, Low A
Stats: (1 start) 5IP, 2 ER, 4 hits, 3 BB, 12 Ks
Smith-Shawver had a very productive start albeit against a Low A Columbia team that doesn’t have the most offensive firepower. Regardless, Smith-Shawver was able to generate some ugly swings and misses while limiting any damage from the Firefly hitters.
No real surprise to see a young pitcher featuring a FB/SL/CH mix; above we see him get a strikeout on a really well executed slider that backfoots the lefthanded batter. Smith-Shawver was at his best when he stayed mostly low in the zone and got batters to chase. I don’t know how well his fastball will play as he goes up in level and unfortunately, I didn’t see any readings from this start so I don’t know what his velo is normally.
All in all, while I don’t rate it as highly because of the level of competition, this was still yet another accomplished performance by an Atlanta pitching prospect.
Honorable Mention: P Andrew Abbott, CIN, AA
Stats: (1 start, 1 relief appearance) – 11.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 hits, 17K
Abbott made short work of almost every batter he faced no matter if it was as a starter or in relief. Fastball, change-up and possibly two different breaking balls(?), I would start looking into adding him now because these types of appearances will move him quickly up levels as well as org rankings.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)