Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report: Is newcomer Sean Newcomb worth a pickup? What about Jacob Faria?
The Braves are finally dipping into their stable of minor-league pitchers, but is Sean Newcomb one to get excited about? Scott White gives his top five prospects to stash.
Slowly but surely, they're beginning to trickle in.
It's prospect o'clock in the land of baseball, with the reported arrival of Sean Newcomb Saturday continuing a string of recent promotions. He follows Jacob Faria, who hopes to maintain an elite strikeout rate in the majors despite just so-so velocity, and Dinelson Lamet, whose first two starts were lights out even if the third left us wanting more.
None are the caliber of prospect whose arrival is a celebration unto itself, but all have a chance to matter in Fantasy. And Newcomb is the highest-profile of the bunch, being the headliner of the Andrelton Simmons deal and a former mid first-round pick.
So how motivated should we be to add him in advance of his debut? Well, for starters, he's now among my ...
Five on the verge
(These are the prospects most worth stashing in redraft leagues.)
Yoan Moncada, 3B, White Sox
2016 minors: .294 BA (405 AB), 15 HR, 45 SB, .918 OPS, 72 BB, 124 K
2017 minors: .295 BA (183 AB), 6 HR, 12 SB, .821 OPS, 24 BB, 57 K
Particularly after a thumb injury that sidelined him for nearly two weeks, Moncada needs to get hot to re-enter the promotion conversation, and so far, he has gone the other way, batting .182 (8 for 44) with 14 strikeouts in 12 games since his return. But Tuesday's 3-for-4 performance was of course a step in the right direction, and unless he's still feeling the effects of the injury, it's only a matter of time before he's back to crushing Triple-A pitching. We're nearing the point in the season when teams begin to relax their Super 2 concerns, so I'm still betting Moncada is up before the end of the month.
Amed Rosario, SS, Mets
2016 minors: .324 BA (479 AB), 5 HR, 19 SB, .833 OPS, 40 BB, 87 K
2017 minors: .340 BA (235 AB), 5 HR, 11 SB, .876 OPS, 15 BB, 43 K
General manager Sandy Alderson paid a visit to the Mets' Triple-A affiliate Monday, presumably to see Rosario live in person, and this came just a day after he acknowledged to season ticket holders that the 21-year-old could indeed reach the majors this year. No, you think? Front offices are typically tight-lipped about these kinds of moves, so you can't help but read into even the subtlest of cues. Of course, Rosario's performance is probably telling enough -- that and the Mets' obvious need for shortstop. As little as Asdrubal Cabrera is providing at the plate, his defense is even worse.
Gleyber Torres, SS, Yankees
2016 minors: .270 BA (478 AB), 11 HR, 21 SB, .775 OPS, 58 BB, 110 K
2017 minors: .264 BA (163 AB), 6 HR, 7 SB, .829 OPS, 27 BB, 36 K
Judging purely by the numbers, you wouldn't think Torres is as close to the majors as either Moncada or Rosario, but unnamed sources within the Yankees organization have at least given us some semblance of a timetable. The long and short of it is this: As soon as he convinces them he has mastered Triple-A, he'll replace Chase Headley at third base. What exactly mastering Triple-A looks like remains to be seen. Gary Sanchez's and Aaron Judge's numbers there weren't out of this world, but their promotions we now know came at exactly the right time. Given that Torres is even more highly regarded than they were, I'll trust in that track record.
Sean Newcomb, SP, Braves
2016 minors: 8-7, 3.86 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 140 IP, 71 BB, 152 K
2017 minors: 3-3, 2.97 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 57 2/3 IP, 33 BB, 74 K
Ah, here we are: fourth on my list of most stashable minor-leaguers. And seeing as Rosario and Torres are both less than 50 percent owned, that makes Newcomb decidedly less than must-own. Don't get me wrong: The left-hander's promotion is a big deal for the Braves. He has been a fixture on top-100 lists, earning comparisons to Jon Lester, but like Lester, he has had major control issues throughout his minor-league career, issuing 5.2 walks per nine innings this year. Whether he goes the way of Lester or Blake Snell is a big question mark, as is what happens to him after Sunday's doubleheader, so I don't know that Newcomb is more rosterable than, say, Mike Foltynewicz at this point.
Chance Adams, SP, Yankees
2016 minors: 13-1, 2.33 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 127 1/3 IP, 39 BB, 144 K
2017 minors: 7-2, 1.55 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 64 IP, 26 BB, 66 K
Remember what I said about reading into the subtlest of cues? Manager Joe Girardi didn't shoot down the idea of temporarily removing Masahiro Tanaka from the starting rotation after the right-hander's latest disaster Tuesday, which has all the beat writers speculating that Adams would be the one to replace him. One obstacle is that Adams isn't yet on the 40-man roster, but if the Yankees make a change, it's so they might win occasionally when Tanaka's turn comes up. And though he's only in his second year as a starter, which has kept the hype to a minimum, Adams seems the most capable of meeting that demand.
Five on the periphery
(These are some other prospects doing something of note.)
Luke Weaver, SP, Cardinals
2016 majors: 1-4, 5.70 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 36 1/3 IP, 12 BB, 45 K
2017 minors: 6-1, 1.84 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 44 IP, 7 BB, 49 K
If only Michael Wacha wasn't so good to begin the year, we might be on the verge of getting another look at Weaver, who continues to make the minor leagues his playground, most recently striking out 11 over five two-hit innings Monday. His first taste of the majors last year featured high highs and low lows, but it's clear the 23-year-old has nothing more to gain from the minor leagues. You think this year's numbers are impressive? He had a 1.30 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings in 13 starts between two levels last year.
Lucas Giolito, SP, White Sox
2016 minors: 6-5, 2.97 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 115 1/3 IP, 44 BB, 116 K
2017 minors: 2-5, 4.95 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 56 1/3 IP, 27 BB, 57 K
Giolito, once thought to be the top pitching prospect in baseball, has certainly lost some of his shine this year, but he's following the same pattern he did last year, piling up walks over the first couple months before finding his form midseason. It started with seven no-hit innings May 25 and continued with a season-high 11 strikeouts Monday. He ended up putting together a 2.17 ERA in his final seven starts at Triple-A last year, and if the turnaround is as complete this year, he's still a candidate for a midseason call-up.
Stephen Gonsalves, SP, Twins
2016 minors: 13-5, 2.06 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 140 IP, 57 BB, 155 K
2017 minors: 1-2, 2.45 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 22 IP, 5 BB, 26 K
The scouting reports have long undermined the numbers for Gonsalves, and then when the 6-foot-5 lefty began the year on the DL with shoulder discomfort, changing hearts and minds seemed like a near Herculean task. But Gonsalves has been as dominant as ever since returning, having now compiled a 1.96 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings in his 17 career starts at Double-A. If not even that level is tripping him up, it's time to give credit where credit is due.
A.J. Puk, SP, Athletics
2016 minors: 0-4, 3.03 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 32 2/3 IP, 12 BB, 40 K
2017 minors: 4-4, 3.51 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 51 1/3 IP, 22 BB, 81 K
Though the sixth overall pick in this year's draft, Puk was thought to need more development than most collegiate arms -- and truth be told, his command still leaves much to be desired. But with his stuff, it may not matter. He's overpowering the California League, the most hitter-friendly in all the minors, which is something most pitching prospects struggle to do even when they're hitting their spots. He's at 14.2 strikeouts per nine innings after picking up a dozen in his latest start Saturday, his long levers giving him a fastball that appears even faster than its 99-mph peak.
Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays
2016 minors: .427 BA (82 AB), 4 HR, 9 2B, 1.182 OPS, 6 BB, 17 K
2017 minors: .382 BA (186 AB), 6 HR, 20 2B, 1.073 OPS, 21 BB, 38 K
Dante Bichette Jr. has never gotten much traction in the Yankees organization, but the younger son of the Rockies legend is beginning to make a name for himself, zooming up prospect lists as he proves his Rookie league performance of a year ago wasn't a fluke. His advanced approach and blistering bat speed have led to monster production so far, and though his unconventional mechanics have yet to be tested at the higher levels, you dynasty league owners can't afford to dilly-dally with middle infield prospects.
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