Dynasty Performance Report: Minor League Catchers/Corner Infielders 3.0

Assessing the dynasty value of Minor League corner infielders/catchers

As June comes to a close, it’s once again time to check in on some of the more popular and coveted minor leaguers at the corners and behind the dish. Just because a prospect falls, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be owned. Similarly, risers aren’t automatically top must have players. Check out some of these young players that may have had a slow start and are getting back to top dynasty options.

Be sure to head over to the Pitcher List dynasty page to check out other helpful articles such as the dynasty performance report for outfielders!


Dynasty Risers:


Tyler Locklear, 1B/3B, SEA

Locklear was still playing at Double-A Arkansas at the end of May, and he was absolutely crushing it. He accumulated 84 total bases in just 41 games including 21 XBH, 26 RBI and 30 Runs Scored, resulting in a .933 OPS. He subsequently got the call to Triple-A Tacoma on May 28th and hasn’t really looked back, in 11 games with Tacoma he has an OPS of .866 and has registered a hit in 9 of 11 games played. He even saw time in the majors as a result of Ty France’s injury this month and delivered a big RBI in his very first at bat with the Mariners along with two home runs in 11 games. That’s what I like to call a meteoric rise, it’s really not very often you see a player go from Double-A to the Majors in two weeks… but he’s clearly earned it.

Locklear was a plus-power bat in college and had an OPS above 1.200 with VCU in his final season. So the power is legit. He struggled a bit with strikeouts in May but the last month has seen the K% fall back to a very appealing level, which is a big part of why he’s the first riser on the list. He has a good eye and while there will be some acclimation needed to big-league arms, it’s become apparent that he will eventually be a power bat that you can rely on as a corner infielder. Locklear’s arm is strong but there have been some concerns about his range at third. Nonetheless, this is a player you’re happy to have on your roster. His bat will have the 23 year old in the majors before long and if he can stay at the hot corner he could be a major fantasy asset for years to come.


Coby Mayo, 3B, BAL

How much more can you really rise as the 18th rated prospect by MLB? Coby Mayo says, ‘plenty.’ The future star third baseman is 22 years old, 6-foot-5, 230lbs, and just finished recovering from a fractured rib he sustained in mid May. He started a rehab assignment in Single-A on June 16th and in four games went 6-for-13 with three home runs, which prompted a quick return to Triple-A Norfolk.

If you go to read the latest player blurb on most fantasy sites, you’ll be met with a report that Mayo went 0-for-4 in his return and that he ‘might need time to get back up to speed.’ Let me just clear the air on that; Coby Mayo is always up to speed. In the five games since he is 9-for-20 with two dingers, two doubles, four RBI and a run scored in each of the five contests. All while striking out only three times! For someone who’s been critqued for the swing-and-miss aspect of his game, that’s a great sign.

For the season he is slashing .301/.370/.617 at with Norfolk, and is unfortunately the victim of a massive log-jam otherwise known as the Baltimore Orioles. It will be tough for him to see consistent playing time while Jordan Westburg continues to be as good as he has been. There is lots of speculation about a potential trade for Mayo, as the O’s are poised to make a run for a championship this season and Mayo would command a high price. This is partially the reason, along with just the power and arguably the best arm in the minors, that he’s a riser. There’s real potential that he could be seeing major league at bats this season if moved, or maybe if he takes up first base, which has also been rumored. Mayo is clearly ready, the only downside would be that his potential landing spot in a trade likely wouldn’t have the same roster support, but once he gets comfortable at the big-league level, it will be much harder to obtain him for the price you might be able to today.


Honorable Mention


Samuel Basallo, C, BAL

Basallo has had a phenomenal June, taking the step up that is expected of the number two catching prospect in baseball. Coming into the month, he had just 12 XBH on the season and a strikeout rate of 24% in 45 games. This month, across 19 games, he has 11 XBH and the strikeouts have dropped to a much more appealing 17%. He only recorded two walks in 21 games in April, so to see his eye improve since then is likely the key reason he’s recorded a .930 OPS in June. The 19 year old should continue his quick rise through the ranks, and while there are concerns about his ability to stay behind the plate, that’s usually the case with most backstops. He’s worth investing in before people realize the cold start to the year was just a blip on the radar.


Lazaro Montes, 1B/OF, SEA

Yes, yes, I know this isn’t a Mariners and Orioles showcase, but that’s just how it’s unfolded. Lazaro Montes was just called up to High-A Everett on June 25th after a torrid start with the Modesto Nuts. (Quick shoutout to the Everett AquaSox, who did a baseball workshop with my elementary school when I was in first grade in, like, 1999 – I have my own baseball card wearing a jersey, anyway…) Montes had more RBIs than games played with Modesto, slashing .309/.411/.527 with 13 home runs and 72 RBI over 65 games. He might very well be the best power bat amongst 19-year old players and his hitting has the potential to scare pitchers out of the zone. He’s improved his strikeout rate and if he keeps improving should be on the shortlist to keep rising through the Seattle farm system. Only downside is that he might end up as a designated hitter if his fielding doesn’t improve.




Dynasty Fallers:


Kyle Manzardo, 1B, CLE

Let me say it again before we get into it here: just because Manzardo is a faller, does not mean he’s not worth owning or there should be a high level of panic – more so that you might be able to get him for less than you could have last month and that he’s lost stock in the eyes of some dynasty owners. Why might that be? Well, he was called up in early May when Steven Kwan hit the IL with a hamstring injury, and it went about as badly as it could have. He was a part time player during the stint, but the OPS disparity between what he’s done in the minors and majors this season is almost 400 points. He slashed .207/.241/.329 with a 26.4 percent strikeout rate over 87 plate appearances and only drew three walks with Cleveland. The 23 year old, who was acquired in the Aaron Civale deal, simply was not ready, and when people see those types of stat lines they start to fear the worst; the dreaded ‘Quadruple-A’ player – one who succeeds in the minors but can’t figure out the bigs, especially at 23 years old.

Now, I’m by no means prescribing that fate to Manzardo, it’s just the truth of the matter that such a poor performance means he’s falling down the ranks. I will say that 10 of his 17 hits did go for a double, which is nice to see, but given that all of his value comes from his bat, 30 grade run-tool and below average arm, this is likely one of the lower points for his value in his career thus far. He’s got some work to do and all eyes will be on him the next time he gets a chance with the Guardians, the worries that bubble up include being a platoon hitter as a lefty and struggling to see regular playing time whenever he does stick in the majors.



Sterlin Thompson, 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, COL

Thompson’s positioning is an enigma, he’s listed by MLB as 1B/OF, but he’s played both 2B and 3B, and then his MiLB listing is at SS. That’s not really anything to do with being a faller, but just something to note. Thompson had been having a decent year, nothing special, hovering around a .700 OPS, but in June he has fallen off a cliff. In his last 17 games he is slashing an abysmal .147/.194/.265. That’s going to earn you the fallers spot every time. Thompson has not had a multi-hit game since May 26th, a full calendar month, and has struck out 41 times in 136 PAs since May 12th, good for a 30% rate.

I am not sure what is plaguing the 88th ranked prospect, 5th ranked in the Rockies system, but something clearly is off. He hit .354 with a 1.006 OPS in his sophomore season with Florida and it hasn’t exactly translated at this level. It’s surprising, considering he hit .338 in the Arizona Fall League which got him sent to Double-A. The 23 year old might just be in a bad slump, but he’s wasting his opportunity and certainly could be someone to sell high on if theres a buyer, or maybe acquire for cheap and hope it turns around.



Honorable Mention


Harry Ford, C, SEA

Ford was featured as a riser in last months article, which shows the nature of evaluating prospects and how capitalizing on hot runs or cold streaks can lead to accumulating or selling assets at optimal times. At this time 30 days ago, Ford had an OPS above .830 and was closing out a month of May where he slashed .304/.418/.467. That all came to a bit of a grinding halt in June, his slash line since May is .247/.349/.274. An alarming drop in power. He has not hit a home run since May 21st and has had just one extra base hit since June 1st. The speed remains, and his OBP didn’t fall nearly as hard, but theres clearly some cause for concern. I’d lean towards this being more of a buy-low faller rather than a sell-high. It should be noted that, year over year, Ford is playing in a pitcher-friendly park compared to with the AquaSox which was batter-friendly, which his home/away splits do confirm. I remain confident in Ford, but he still has fallen from where he was with this colder stretch.


Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login