(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)
New to Pitcher List, we are going to be doing a weekly prospect roundup that is designed to keep you informed on what is happening down in the minor leagues that is relevant for your dynasty leagues. I’ll be talking about who is hot, which top prospects are struggling, underrated guys that are producing to keep an eye on, or anything that may have caught my eye in general.
Luis Alexander Basabe (OF, Chicago White Sox) Age: 21, Level: AA
Originally acquired by the White Sox as part of the Chris Sale trade with the Red Sox, Basabe has quietly shown an interesting skill set for fantasy purposes as he possesses both power and speed along with a patient approach. Basabe was one of the standouts in the recent MLB Futures game after he turned around a 102.3 MPH fastball from Hunter Greene of the Cincinnati Reds who is considered one of the better pitching prospects in the minors, and crushed a 404 foot HR that had an exit velocity of 104.8 MPH. A pretty special moment for him that surely raised his prospect stock some. For the season, Basabe is hitting .257/.359/.454 with 11 HRs and 12 SBs in 357 PAs split between A+ and AA. He is walking lots with a 13.4% mark and is striking out at a 27.4% clip, but his swinging-strike rates suggest his K rate is a product of working deep counts (10.7% swinging-strike rate at A+ and 12% swinging-strike rate at AA so far). He should be on radars in deeper dynasty leagues.
Kolby Allard (SP, Atlanta Braves) Age: 20, Level: AAA
Kolby Allard has been aggressively pushed by the Braves organization throughout his minor league career, and with good reason as he’s an advanced pitcher that has consistently found success at each level. Fun fact, Allard has never posted an ERA above 3.73 at any level, and his career worst ERA for an entire season in his minor league career is 3.18 which came last year during a full year at the AA level. Allard recently posted another quality outing on Monday, going 7 innings while striking out 2 against 2 walks, and allowing 7 hits and 1 ER. That performance pushed his season ERA down to 2.85 and along the way he’s racked up 81 strikeouts against 31 walks over 104.1 innings pitched. He may not possess the highest upside fantasy-wise with the lack of swing and miss stuff, but he’ a steady performer with a track record of success. He should be on radars in all dynasty leagues.
Mickey Moniak (OF, Philadelphia Phillies) Age: 20, Level: A+
Moniak who is pictured above has fallen pretty far since being drafted #1 overall in 2016, and that’s because he has now struggled for 2 consecutive years badly. He’s currently hitting just .244/.278/.337 with 4 HRs and 5 SBs in 310 PAs this year and is supporting that with just a 4.2% walk rate and a high 26.5% K rate and overall he’s been worth a very much below average 75 wRC+ at A+. This is after managing just an 80 wRC+ a year ago at A-ball. His 15.9% swinging-strike rate this year suggests that he’s really struggling to make contact (for reference, MLB average this year is 10.7%) and when he is making contact, it’s largely weak contact as he has just a .093 ISO to date. There’s not really a lot to point to that is positive and that is why he has been falling down prospect boards. He did have a strong week, managing at least 1 hit in every game and hitting 2 HRs and adding a SB too, but he’ll need to continue producing to rebuild his stock back up.
Beau Burrows (SP, Detroit Tigers) Age: 21, Level: AA
A 1st round pick back in 2015 (22nd overall), Burrows has been moving steadily up the organizational ladder, and while other more recent Tigers first-round pitchers may have more of the spotlight now, Burrows is a name to watch going forward. He put together one of his better starts of the season last Sunday, throwing 7 innings of 1 run ball, striking out 9 batters along the way against just 2 walks, and allowing only 3 hits. This performance pushed Burrows’ season ERA down to 3.63 over 91.2 innings, and along the way, he’s racked up 81 strikeouts against 36 walks. His 10.4% swinging-strike rate ranks 16th best in the Eastern League and his 51.6% flyball rate paces the league. A heavy flyball pitcher doesn’t sound super appealing in today’s flyball revolution, but he’s never had an issue with HRs in his minor league career. I think he’s a worthwhile pickup in medium to deeper sized dynasty leagues as a higher likelihood #4 type starter with the upside for more.
Jonathan India (3B, Cincinnati Reds) Age: 21, Level: ROK
The 5th overall selection of the recent 2018 MLB Draft, India is fresh into his professional career after a breakout year at the University of Florida in which he hit a very impressive .350/.497/.717 over 226 ABs. 12 games into his minor league career, India is managing a .231/.455/.487 line with 2 HRs and 1 SB. One of those HRs came on Sunday in a big day in which he went 2 for 3 with said HR, adding 3 runs scored and 2 RBI. The rest of his week wasn’t as exciting, but he did manage a 4:7 strikeout to walk ratio which helps further support his plate discipline growth from his Sophmore to Junior year of school. As a more advanced college bat, look for him to find success at the Rookie-ball level and he is likely to be promoted to A- at some point soon.
Luis Oviedo (SP, Cleveland Indians) Age: 19, Level: A-
One of the biggest short season breakout stories to date, Oviedo has been straight dominating the New York-Penn League which is a league largely made up of recent college draft picks. Oviedo didn’t have his best start this week, but he still managed 5 innings in which he struck out 7 batters against just 1 walk, and allowed 5 hits and 2 earned runs. This performance actually raised Oveido’s ERA to date from 0.53 to 0.92 over 39 innings pitched for the season. In those 39 innings, Oviedo has racked up a crazy 50 strikeouts and walked only 8 batters. He obviously ranks among the league leaders across the board, ranking 3rd in swinging-strike rate with a 15% mark, ranking 2nd in K% with a 33.8% mark, ranking 1st in K-BB% with a 28.4% mark, and ranking 1st in both FIP and xFIP with 1.96 and 2.13 marks respectively. He’s a breakout prospect that should be on radars now in deeper dynasty leagues.
Wander Franco (SS, Tampa Bay Rays) Age: 17, Level: ROK
Speaking of breakouts, Wander Franco has been simply unbelievable to start his career after being one of the top international free agents from last year’s class, and he may already need to be picked up in medium-sized dynasty leagues and above. 27 games into Franco’s professional career, he has a hit in all but one game and is currently on a crazy 23 game hitting streak. He is currently slashing .384/.418/.652 with 6 HRs and 3 SBs in 122 PAs, and is supporting it with a super impressive 6.6% strikeout rate and is walking at a 5.7% rate. All told, his season to date has been worth a ridiculous 169 wRC+ which ranks 5th best in the Appalachian League, all while being the 2nd youngest player in the league. If you’re looking to grab the next Juan Soto type international prospect, Franco is as good a bet as any!
Deivi Garcia (SP, New York Yankees) Age: 19, Level: A
In a Yankees minor league system that is loaded with pitching, talents like Deivi Garcia can get lost in the shuffle and I think that presents an opportunity in your dynasty leagues to scoop him up on the cheap. Very quietly, he’s been one of the better pitchers in the South Atlantic League and that continued this week in a 4 inning performance in which he struck out 7 against 2 walks, and allowed just 2 hits and 0 earned runs. That performance pushed Garcia’s season ERA down to 3.51 over 33.1 innings pitched, and he has racked up a super impressive 51:11 strikeout to walk ratio along the way. His 16% swinging-strike rate in the South Atlantic League is elite and would rank among the league leaders if he had enough innings to qualify. Note that his FIP and xFIP are both below his actual ERA and suggest that he’s been unlucky to date. His combination of swing and miss stuff along with solid control has him in a position to rise up prospect rankings going forward.
Bobby Dalbec (3B, Boston Red Sox) Age: 23, Level: A+
In a year in which the Red Sox farm system hasn’t had a lot go right between Michael Chavis’ PED suspension and Jason Groome’s Tommy John Surgery among other things, Bobby Dalbec has been a ray of light with his prodigious power in the Carolina League. He managed to add to his league-best HR total in a perfect day at the plate last Sunday in which he went 2 for 2 with a HR plus 2 walks. For the season, Dalbec is hitting .263/.379/.575 with 23 HRs and 3 SBs. Those 23 HRs pace the Carolina league and are 4 more than the next highest hitter in the circuit. His 23 HRs rank in a tie for 3rd best in the entire minor leagues with Peter Alonso of the New York Mets organization and Ibandel Isabel of the Cincinnati Reds organization. His 30.8% K rate looks concerning, and it’s supported by a below-average but not horrible 14.4% swinging-strike rate. If he can hit enough to get to his 70 grade-raw power, he’s a potential star but the floor is a lot lower.
Logan Allen (SP, San Diego Padres) Age: 21, Level: AA
An 8th round pick from 2015 by the Red Sox, Allen came to the Padres organization by way of the Craig Kimbrel deal. Since the trade, Allen has progressed from lower level project to an upper level higher floor type of prospect. The lefty has put together a strong season to date in the Texas League including a 2.66 ERA over 105 innings pitched and has picked up 113 strikeouts against 34 walks along the way. His .194 batting average against leads the league, and his 12.6% swinging-strike rate ranks 3rd among qualified pitchers. His 3.23 FIP and 3.58 xFIP suggest that he has been a little lucky to date. Regardless, he’s proving difficult to square up at the AA level for opposing hitters and that makes him an interesting deeper dynasty league target.
Adam. Good stuff. So, Willie Calhoun or Kyle Tucker for next season and beyond? Who has most upside. Thanks
For next season and beyond, I’m taking Kyle Tucker due to the extra speed that gives him a more well-rounded profile than Calhoun. Calhoun is thought of as a poor defender and likely DH for a reason, he’s not a great athlete and even with the slightly better batting average and power projections, the speed upside of Tucker and the offense around him in Houston will push the value equation towards Tucker. I like both a lot though!