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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. So here is the first of many Prospect Rundowns that will be appearing every Saturday afternoon.
Jo Adell (OF, Los Angeles Angels) Age: 19, Level: A
A 2017 first-round pick (10th overall), Adell returned on Tuesday from the 7 day DL (thumb injury) with a 4 hit performance including 2 runs scored. Adell has brought his season line up to .295/.371/.426 and is showing some of the power and speed that he was lauded for as an amateur prospect with 1 HR and 3 SBs in just 70 PAs. The contact concerns from his HS scouting reports still linger somewhat as he’s currently got a 28.6% strikeout rate and a 14.3% swinging-strike rate which are both below average, but the raw tools are very obvious and he’s among the higher upside fantasy prospects in the minors.
Bryse Wilson (SP, Atlanta Braves) Age: 20, Level: AA
Wilson is a former 4th round pick from 2016 out of HS that has moved quickly up the organizational ladder in a deep Braves system. Wilson was promoted from the Florida State League (A+) and made his AA debut on Tuesday for the Mississippi Braves in the Southern League where he went 5 innings, giving up 3 ERs and a walk against 4 strikeouts. Wilson left the Florida State League as one of the top pitchers in the circuit, with a 0.34 ERA, 8.78 K/9, 2.36 BB/9, with no HRs allowed. He supported that line with a .167 batting average against which was the 2nd best in the league, as well as an above-average 12.1% swinging strike rate which was a top 15 mark in the league.
Carter Kieboom (SS, Washington Nationals) Age: 20, Level: A+
Kieboom had a slow start to the 2018 season, hitting as low as .187 on April 22nd, but has since caught fire including a 3 hit, 5 RBI day that included a HR on Thursday that has helped raise his overall batting line to .250/.367/.414 in 166 PAs. For the season, Kieboom now has 6 HRs and 3 SB, and he has done so while posting a fairly low 31.6% flyball rate which shows that there may be more power upside left to reach for Kieboom. Note that he’s showing quality contact skills too in 2018 with an 18.0% K rate and that’s supported by a 10.8% swinging strike rate. He’s showing a nice mix of power, patience, and contact skills while playing a premium position and that makes him a very intriguing fantasy prospect.
Nate Pearson (SP, Toronto Blue Jays) Age: 21, Level: A+
Pearson was one of the more buzz-worthy pitchers in the minors over the offseason after a dominant professional debut that included a 0.90 ERA with 26 strikeouts against 5 walks in 20 innings split between the Gulf Coast League and the Northwest League while displaying high-end stuff. His season, unfortunately, is being disrupted before it really gets a chance to take off as Pearson took a line-drive off of his pitching elbow on Monday during his season debut and is set to miss the next 4-6 weeks as he recovers. Hopefully, he’s able to return quickly and not lose too much of an important development year.
DJ Peters (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) Age: 22, Level: AA
A hulking 6 foot 6 225-pound power hitter that was a 4th round pick back in 2016, Peters had a big day on Tuesday going 2 for 4 plus a walk, hitting 2 HRs, and adding 3 RBI. For the season, Peters is up to a .276/.361/.488 line with 7 HRs, and he’s supporting that line with a 10.2% walk rate and a 29.9% strikeout rate. The strikeouts may always be a problem for Peters as his long levers and long swing plus a patient approach all contribute to the high strikeout total. He has legit 70-grade raw power though and he can hit the ball out of any park. He’s been among the better hitters at every stop in his minor league career, and 2018 season at AA is no different as his 134 wRC+ ranks 15th best in the league.
Jay Groome (SP, Boston Red Sox) Age: 19, Level: A
The former 12th overall pick in 2016, unfortunately, has been no stranger to injuries during his brief minor league career. He was dealt another blow on Wednesday with the news that Groome needs Tommy John Surgery and will have it on this coming Tuesday (May 15th) to repair his ulnar collateral ligament in his left arm. Groome will miss the rest of the season as a result, costing him more key development time, and likely pushing him down upcoming mid-season prospect lists.
Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, San Diego Padres) Age: 19, Level: AA
Tatis Jr. got off to a very slow start in 2018 after a breakout 2017 season, and on April 30th of this year, he was hitting just .177/.231/.333. Since then, he has started to find his rhythm and has raised his season line to .223/.297/.446 including a 2 for 4 day on Thursday with an RBI double, a walk, and a stolen base. Remember that Tatis Jr is one of just four 19-year olds in AA at the moment (Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Keibert Ruiz, and now Juan Soto are the others) and Tatis Jr. is the youngest player in the Texas League and that context is important to remember when evaluating Tatis Jr’s season to date. Also, note that Tatis Jr. had a slow start in 2017 before breaking out in the 2nd half, could we see a similar story this year?
Tony Santillan (SP, Cincinnati Reds) Age: 21, Level: A+
Santillan has been one of the bigger positives coming out of the Reds prospect pool to start 2018 as he currently has a 1.28 ERA, 38 strikeouts against 10 walks, and just 34 hits allowed in 42.1 innings pitched. That line includes his Wednesday performance of 8 shutout innings where he only gave up 4 hits, walked 1, and struck out 2. The most encouraging part of Santillan’s season to date has been his improved walk rate which has been a bit of a problem for him throughout previous stops in the minors. If he can continue to throw lots of strikes and limit free passes, he could be riser on mid-season prospect lists.
Ramon Urias (2B, St. Louis Cardinals) Age: 23, Level: AA
He’s the older brother of San Diego Padres high-end prospect Luis Urias, and he’s been dominating AA recently to the tune of a .404/.451/.660 line with 3 HRs including 2 this week, one of them coming on Thursday in a 3 for 4 performance. Urias was signed this past offseason by the Cardinals out of the Mexican League where Urias did what many other batters have done recently, bought into the flyball revolution and raised their launch angle. The result was a breakout year for him last year in which he hit .340/.433/.577 with 19 HRs and 12 SBs with very solid 8.9% BB and 16.3 K% rates and that was worth an impressive 164 wRC+. He’s now playing in the US and performing well, and he could be an underrated pickup for those in deeper leagues dynasty leagues.
Erik Swanson (SP, New York Yankees) Age: 24, Level: AA
Swanson has very quietly been one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the entire minors, and he’s currently sporting a 0.52 ERA along with 44 strikeouts against 11 walks, and 18 hits allowed with none of them being HRs in 34.2 innings pitched. He had another great performance on Thursday, throwing 7 shutout innings with just 3 hits allowed, punching out 9. He has been pretty much unhittable all year, posting a .153 batting average against which is 2nd best in the Eastern League, and a very impressive 14.4% swinging strike rate which is also 2nd best in the league. He is known for throwing hard, reaching 99 MPH in the past, and I’ve heard his secondary weapons have ticked up slightly this year.
Heliot Ramos (OF, San Francisco Giants) Age: 18, Level: A
Another 1st round selection from the past year (19th overall), Ramos has started 2018 in the South Atlantic League after an impressive professional debut in the Arizona League (R) last year. Ramos is currently hitting just .220/.298/.347, but he has started to see more success recently as he put together a 6 hit week including a HR on Thursday and a 2 hit performance on Friday. He has struggled with contact again this year with a 30.5% strikeout rate along with a 15.2% swinging strike rate which are both below average. The raw tools are still evident though, and his power and speed upside make him a potentially high reward type of fantasy prospect despite a wide range of potential outcomes.
Genesis Cabrera (SP, Tampa Bay Rays) Age: 21, Level: AA
The left-handed starter is off to a great 2018 season as one of the younger pitchers in the Texas League and he continued that success this week with a 5 inning gem that included 8 strikeouts and no runs allowed. His overall line for the year includes a 2.08 ERA with 42 strikeouts against 23 walks, and just 1 HR allowed over 39 innings pitched. The walks are a concern, but he’s been getting by effectively because he’s been virtually unhittable so far. His .136 batting average against is the best in the circuit and his 13% swinging-strike rate is top 5 in the league. He could be a riser on prospect lists by mid-season, especially if he can get his walks more under control.
Garrett Hampson (SS/2B, Colorado Rockies) Age: 24, Level: AA
Hampson had a breakout 2017 season that included a .326 batting average and 51 SBs which sounds great as a fantasy prospect. He’s followed that up with another impressive campaign so far as he’s currently got a .296/.393/.472 line with more walks than strikeouts along with 4 HRs and 15 SBs in just 148 PAs. He has been raking this week particularly with 4 multi-hit games including a HR on both Tuesday and Wednesday. He’s showing an impressive combination of contact (9.4% strikeout rate along with a 4.7% swinging-strike rate), patience (13.5% walk rate), and speed with a touch of power. The thought of these skills playing up at Coors Field while playing a middle infield position makes him one of the more intriguing fantasy prospects in the minors right now.
Edgar Arredondo (SP, Texas Rangers) Age: 20, Level: A+
Arredondo is a guy that caught my attention while looking at some minor league stat leaderboards recently, and he had another solid outing this week with a 5.2 inning start on Tuesday where he gave up 0 earned runs and struck out 4 batters against 2 walks. For the season, Arredondo has a 3.26 ERA with 33 strikeouts against 5 walks in 30.1 innings pitched which shows strikeout stuff and good control. Add in a very strong 15.4% swinging strike rate which is the 7th best mark in the league plus a strong 3.17 FIP and 3.02 xFIP, and you have the look of an interesting breakout pitcher! Should also be noted that Arredondo is the 2nd youngest pitcher in the Carolina League.
Thoughts on Cal Quantrill? Worth a stash right now or wait?
I wrote about Cal Quantrill a couple weeks ago in this column and the conclusion at the time was that scouts are down on him slightly and his performance to date has been solid but not great. He’s currently got a 3.52 ERA with an 8.22 K/9, 3.52 BB/9, and 0.23 HR/9 with an above-average 12.2% swinging strike rate. The Fastball still is above-average in velocity, sitting in the low-mid 90’s but it lacks movement, particularly when it’s not located at the bottom of the zone making it more hittable at times than ideal. The curveball and slider are still very much a work in progress as they lack depth and most scouting reports have 40’s on them with the hope he can make at least one average. The only plus pitch is his changeup which routinely receives 60-65 grades and generates both weak contact as well as swings and misses. Most evaluators think he’ll be a fine starter in the majors, but with only one plus pitch and fringy command that he needs to improve upon, his ceiling is limited somewhat. I probably wouldn’t stash Quantrill in most leagues, I don’t think he’s likely to see much if any time in the majors in 2018. His ETA is more likely mid-late 2019 IMO.
Great article and information! Where do you find the swinging strike rate for minor leaguers?
You can find swinging-strike rates for minors on Fangraphs if you create a custom dashboard. You have to register with Fangraphs first (its free!), and then go to this page: https://www.fangraphs.com/profile.aspx
From here, you’ve got total freedom in which stats you want to appear for both batters and pitchers and in what order. Once you submit which your custom dashboard, you can see it on player pages.