It is another FAABulous Sunday indeed, albeit a little different, because I’m filing in for Kevin Hasting as he ventures across the Pacific. This week we have an exciting top prospect breaking into the big leagues, a former first round pick finally coming into his own, and a potential opening in a contender’s closer role. Let’s get right to it.
Gabriel Moreno (2% ME, 1% OC, 26% Yahoo) – The Blue Jays’ top prospect finally got the call up to the majors after Danny Jansen went down with a broken bone near his pinky finger. It looks like he is the second catcher on the roster right now behind Alejandro Kirk, but while Jansen was healthy the Jays showed their willingness to get both catchers in the starting lineup by regularly playing Kirk at DH. The thing that will likely force Moreno’s bat into the starting lineup consistently will be his spectacular defense. Jason Collette pointed out on the On the Wire pod this morning that Moreno’s pop time is rumored to be around 1.7 seconds, which would be the best mark in MLB. The catching pool right now is shallow per usual, and if you’ve recently fallen victim to the injuries to Tyler Stephenson or Mike Zunino it could be worth it to take out a flier on the prospect.
Jose Miranda (94% ME, 56% OC, 8% Yahoo) – Miranda broke out in a big way in the minors in 2021 and finished the season as one of the top hitting prospects. When he made his MLB debut in early May this season, he garnered a ton of FAAB spent and was added across formats. Much to our dismay, he initially failed to deliver on the hype and his horrendous start caused him to be dropped in lots of shallow leagues. Now, it looks like he’s turned it around. In his first 14 games, he went 5-for-53 (.094) at the plate with 1 HR, 3 RBI, and 2 R. He must have been embarrassed by going o-for-9 in a series against Oakland, because since that series and in his last 15 games, he’s gone 18-for-49 (.367) with 3 HR, 12 RBI, and 8 R. The power has yet to fully develop but it’s obvious Miranda still has the hit tool that earned him his pedigree in the first place.
Jon Berti (100% ME, 64% OC, 10% Yahoo) – Another shoutout goes to Jason Collette for bringing up Berti on this morning’s pod. If you’re in need of some stolen bases, he is by far your best option right now. He’s 7-for-7 in SB attempts in the last 2 weeks, and he’s 11-for-12 on the season. As Adam Howe also pointed out on the pod, Berti attempts a steal 25% of the time when he’s on base with a base open in front of him. On top of the SB prowess, in that 2-week timeframe he’s carried a .353 OBP and scored 7 runs with a 91.7% Zone Contact rate.
Jake Burger (4% ME, 1% OC, 10% Yahoo) – The former 11th overall pick has had a crazy tough path to the big leagues after rupturing his Achilles tendon twice as a prospect. But he’s finally made it and right now he’s making the most of the opportunity. Prior to May 29, Burger’s average spot in the lineup was 7.4. And then on the 29th, he hit in the 3-spot for the first time; since that game, his average spot in the lineup has been 5.1. In that same time frame, Burger has carried a barrel rate of 24.1% which has been the fourth highest in MLB. He’s gone 11-for-35 (.314) with 9 R, 6 RBI, and 2 HR in nine games started (he also threw in a pinch-hit 2-run HR). On the season, he’s recorded a 114.4 mph Max EV, and if you look at his K% rolling chart, you’ll see a rapid decline over the last few weeks. Look for him to continue to take advantage of steady playing time, especially now that Gavin Sheets‘ demotion opened up more DH opportunities.
Luis Garcia (92% ME, 26% OC, 7% Yahoo) – After lighting up Triple-A this season, Luis Garcia (2B/SS, WSH) was called up for another shot at the major leagues on June 1. He appeared in 110 games across the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but a high GB% and lots of soft contact prevented him from making very much of a fantasy impact. So far this year, he’s dropped his GB% to a much more serviceable 48.5% while hitting a lot more flyballs and zero popups. He’s also started to hit the ball very hard. In his small 2022 sample size, he carries an elite 36.6% Hard Contact rate and registered a 113.4 Max EV. He’s slashed .359/.366/.487 with 7 RBI, 4 R, and a HR. He’s not very fast, so you likely can’t count on many SBs, but the improved skills and approach at the plate is something to watch moving forward. He’s started every game since he’s been called up, and this week the Nats have eight games on the schedule.
Lane Thomas (96% ME, 22% OC, 10% Yahoo) – Thomas was one of the more popular sleeper picks during draft season. He didn’t quite deliver on the hype he garnered at first, in part because he wasn’t hitting at the top of the lineup. This was a bit surprising considering he hit there for half of last August and all of September. But on May 23 this season, Thomas hit in the leadoff spot for the first time in a month and for the second time all year. He played about 50/50 in the top and bottom of the order for the rest of May, and in June he’s either hit leadoff or in the 2-spot in each game. In the 12 games where he’s batted in the 1 or 2 spot since May 23, he has a .300 AVG and a .364 OBP with 12 R, 7 RBI, and 4 HR.
Jake Meyers (0% ME, 0% OC, 0% Yahoo) – This is a deep league stash right now, but he could work his way into the conversation for 12-team leagues by the All-Star Break. Meyers hurt himself by running into the center field wall during the 2021 Division Series in Chicago and he’s been on the IL ever since. He’s currently 5 games into a AAA rehab assignment, and while the bat has been slow to get going, he has shown pretty solid plate discipline so far. Meyers is still only 25 years old and has plenty of raw talent. In 163 PA in 2021, he won the everyday CF job and had a 10.1% Barrel%, a 111 mph Max EV, and ranked in the 95th percentile in sprint speed. If he can win the starting job back from Chas McCormick (who’s slashing .227/.290/.418), he could prove to be a valuable pickup for the 2nd half.
Andre Pallante (0% ME, 1% OC, 3% Yahoo) – Pallante started out the season in long relief for the Cardinals and he’s been very effective, albeit a little lucky. In 34.2 IP, he’s carried a 1.04 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP, and a FIP of 3.52. He also allows a good amount of hard contact, but his saving grace is his 64.5% groundball rate. So he likely won’t continue to carry a ERA below 2.00 for the rest of the season, but he’s still effective at recording outs on the ground and limiting damage. The fun part is that Pallante has been stretched out as a starter and this week he lines up to face Pittsburgh at home. If you’re looking for a solid outing that won’t hurt ratios while maybe grabbing a win, Pallante is likely your best bet and he’s widely available for a cheap price.
Seranthony Domínguez (81% ME, 21% OC, 7% Yahoo) – While warming up on Saturday, Corey Knebel felt some tightness in his shoulder and right now he’s listed as day-to-day. Dominguez should be the guy to step into the closer role as long as Knebel is out. In 22.1 IP this year, he has a 1.61 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, a 25.6% K-BB%, and 10 holds. This week, the Phillies play 8 games in 7 days so even if Dominguez doesn’t fully take over the closing role, there should be plenty of opportunity to vulture a save or two.
Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by All-Pro Reels Photography
Appreciate the analysis and you filling in this week! Do you see Luis García working his way up to a more prominent spot in the Nats lineup this year?
And I appreciate your comment, Trevor! I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. I definitely do think there’s room for that to happen. I think Thomas will continue to settle into and and stay at the lead off spot, and if Garcia can keep it up for a few more weeks he could slot into the 2 spot for the second half. Cesar is a veteran with the experience hitting at the top, but his on base skills have barely been above league-average and he doesn’t really have any pop in his bat. Garcia would make the top of the lineup more dynamic, and if the Nats are serious about building their team around Soto they need to develop their young, talented players and put them in opportunities to thrive. I’m optimistic we’ll see more and more of Thomas-Garcia-Soto-Cruz-Bell as the season goes on.
Thanks, Jake! I’m looking forward to seeing if Garcia can reach that potential beyond serving as a nice option this week.