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Prospect Roundup – Week 13

Adam Garland highlights the prospect performances you should know about from this past week.

(Photo by 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.

Francisco Mejia (C, Cleveland Indians) Age: 22, Level: AAA

The consensus top catcher on pretty well every prospect list at the start of the baseball season, Mejia uncharacteristically struggled at the plate through the first two months of his 2018 season. On June 1st, Mejia stepped to the plate and saw his average for the season sit at .190, but has since caught fire and hit .457/.480/.713 for the month and has raised his season line to .287/.336/.446 with 7 HRs. He has been especially hot this week, posting multiple hits in every game this week (7 games) and having a standout performance on Thursday in which he went 3 for 3 with a HR. He’s striking out at an 18.7% clip this year and walking at a 5.6% rate. Note that his K rate has continued to fall in each month which shows progress. Mejia’s season to date is a good example of why it’s important to have patience when it comes to prospects.

Dustin May (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers) Age: 20, Level: A+

A former 3rd round pick that is known for high spin-rates, May has quietly put together a strong season to date in the California League which is a notorious hitters league. May had one of his best starts of the season on Wednesday, throwing 7 shutout innings while striking out 7 against 1 walk. That performance pushed May’s season ERA down to 3.47 in 57 innings pitched, and he has added 59 strikeouts against 12 walks along the way. May is supporting those numbers with an above-average 12.1% swinging-strike rate which ranks 12th best in the league, and strong 3.78 FIP and 3.19 xFIP which rank 10th and 3rd best respectively. His combination of swing and miss stuff along with above-average control makes him an intriguing sleeper in deeper dynasty leagues.

Khalil Lee (OF, Kansas City Royals) Age: 20, Level: AA

Lee is considered among the top prospects in the Royals system, and he recently received an aggressive promotion to AA after a strong 1st half in the Carolina League (A+). Lee played his last game in the Carolina League on Tuesday in which he went 2 for 2 plus a walk and that pushed his season line to .270/.402/.406 with 4 HRs and 14 SBs. He has supported that line with a well above-average 15.9% walk rate and a 24.9% strikeout rate. That 15.9% walk rate leads the league among qualified batters. His strikeout rate looks a little high, but it is a consequence of his patience as his swinging-strike rate is 12.8% which is below-average but not terrible. His combination of power and speed makes him an interesting prospect for in all dynasty leagues, especially in OBP leagues due to Lee’s patience.

Eric Pardinho (SP, Toronto Blue Jays) Age: 17, Level: ROK

The Brazilian pitcher was an international amateur signing by the Blue Jays in 2017, and at the time, Pardinho was considered by many scouts to be the top pitching prospect from that J2 class. Pardinho made his North American professional debut recently and has impressed over 2 appearances. His most recent outing came on Tuesday in which he went 4 innings, striking out 5 against 0 walks, and allowing just 2 hits and 1 earned run. He now has a 2.25 ERA with 10 K’s against 2 walks over 8 innings pitched in the Appalachian League. Perhaps most impressive is that Pardinho has been getting a ton of groundball outs with 13:1 groundball to flyball ratio so far in addition to his swing and miss stuff that is highlighted by a 16.4% swinging-strike rate. Scouting reports suggest a good 3 pitch mix with above-average control, and the early results statistically are impressive which could make him a riser on prospect lists going forward. For those in deep dynasty leagues, he may be worth a pick up as a lottery ticket type.

Brandon Lowe (2B, Tampa Bay Rays) Age: 23, Level: AAA

There is a fair bit of internal competition for middle infield spots at the upper levels of the Rays organization, but Brandon Lowe has been doing his best to try and separate himself from the rest with terrific performances at the plate including a recent hot stretch. Lowe has managed 12 hits this week over 7 games, with 4 of those hits being HRs and managing a 5:4 strikeout to walk ratio. Lowe’s season line now sits at .297/.397/.559 with 16 HRs and 8 SBs over 330 PAs split between AA and AAA. Note that 8 of those HRs have come at AAA in just 90 PAs and he has been worth a 201 wRC+ at the level. He walks a lot at a 13.3% rate for the season but also strikes out at a reasonable rate of 23.3% and is supports that with a slightly below-average 12.6% swinging-strike rate. He should be on radars in medium-sized dynasty leagues and up due to his proximity to the majors and power/speed combo.

Roansy Contreras (SP, New York Yankees) Age: 18, Level: A-

Contreras was a $300,000 international amateur signing back in 2016 by the Yankees, and he’s been generating some buzz recently with a mid-90’s fastball and two quality secondary weapons. He has backed up the scouting reports recently with a couple of impressive starts including a dominant outing last Sunday in which he threw 6 shutout innings with 10 strikeouts against just 1 walk and allowing just 2 hits. He now has 1.64 ERA with an impressive 17 strikeouts against 3 walks in 11 innings pitched for the season. Watch for him as a potential sleeper in deeper dynasty leagues!

Austin Hays (OF, Baltimore Orioles) Age: 22, Level: AA

Hays was one of the biggest risers among prospects in 2017 after hitting .329 with 32 HRs, but unfortunately, Hays hasn’t been able to come close to replicating his success from a year ago. Hays is slashing just .224/.259/.374 with 6 HRs and 5 SBs which has been worth a below-average 70 wRC+. His swinging-strike rate is notably up from 10.4% last year at AA to 15.4% this year, and his K rate has followed suit going from 15.9% to 23.2%. He also continues to be a very aggressive hitter walking at just a 4.9% rate which may be contributing to his contact issues as he is swinging at pitches that he can’t do much with. He currently is on the DL while dealing with an ankle injury, but hopefully he returns healthy and gets his prospect stock back on track.

Michael Kopech (SP, Chicago White Sox) Age: 22, Level: AAA

At the beginning of the baseball season, Kopech was considered among the best pitching prospects in the minors, and many anticipated an MLB debut at some point in 2018. He has played the entire year to date at the AAA level and has shown flashes of brilliance but also flashed inconsistent command that has gotten him into trouble. Kopech put together one of his best starts of the year this week with a 6 innings performance in which he struck out 9 batters against 2 walks, and allowed just 4 hits and 0 earned runs. This performance lowered Kopech’s ERA down to 4.66 for the year, and he’s added 97 strikeouts against 48 walks in 73.1 innings pitched. Walks have been a killer for him as it’s tough to be successful with a 5.89 BB/9. Notably, he is getting fewer swings and misses this year as his swinging-strike rate is at a slightly above-average 11.6% which is a career low for him in his minor league career. He’s still a premium prospect with a very high ceiling for fantasy baseball, but he’s clearly more of a project at this point than a finished product.

Andres Gimenez (SS, New York Mets) Age: 19, Level: A+

Gimenez received a $1.2 Million bonus as an international amateur signing back in 2015, and he’s proven to be an advanced hitter with some power and speed elements throughout his short minor league career to date. Gimenez is one of the youngest players in the Florida State League this year and has managed a .261/.339/.412 line with 5 HRs and 23 SBs which has been worth a solid 115 wRC+. He notably had a HR on Friday night has as many walks as he does strikeouts this week. His contact skills are highlighted by a 20% K rate and a slightly below-average 11.3% swinging-strike rate, and he’s walking at a 7.3% clip. These numbers may not jump off the page, but remember that he’s holding his own while being 3.5 years younger than league average. He may not have elite upside for fantasy, but he has a higher floor than most thanks to quality contact and approach skills and some power/speed upside. He should be on radars in medium-sized dynasty leagues.

Adam Garland

Adam is a marketing professional 9-5, but a fan and nerd of the beautiful game of baseball 24/7. He's known for his "Going Deep" articles on both MLB and MiLB players and has a strong reputation of identifying valuable players before the consensus. His passion though is MLB prospects, and he loves digging into scouting reports and dissecting the stats of prospects trying to understand what they mean. He plays in multiple dynasty leagues of varying sizes, and he hopes he can help with yours! He's also always up to talk baseball/prospects with anyone, so please don't hesitate to strike up a conversation here or @AdamGarlando on Twitter!

3 responses to “Prospect Roundup – Week 13”

  1. Jack Apple says:

    Love this idea, good writeup!

  2. Travis says:

    Any love for Ronaldo Hernandez, C, TB? Through 63 games in Single A he’s hit .312 13 HR, 4 SB, 43 R, 57 RBI

    • Adam Garland says:

      Yes I am a fan of Ronaldo Hernandez, and he’s definitely one of the more promising young catchers in the lower minors due to his quality contact skills that are highlighted by a current 14.8% K rate and reasonable 11.8% swinging-strike rate. He also has above-average raw power which he should be able to get to well thanks to a 40.3% flyball rate this year that has led to 13 HRs on the season to date. Overall, he’s been worth a very impressive 151 wRC+ this season in the Midwest League (A-ball) and when you add in that he has the defensive skills to stick behind the plate long-term, he’s likely one of the better catching prospects in the minors. He recently ranked 12th among catchers in our mid-season fantasy prospect rankings:

      http://pitcherlist.com/mid-season-fantasy-baseball-prospect-rankings-catchers/

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