The Prospect Watchlist: Week 10 (June 10 – June 17)

4 Hidden Gems to Know Before the Rest of Your League

With 120 teams and 5,000+ players spread through four levels (not to mention the Dominican Summer League and the Rookie Complex leagues in Arizona and Florida), identifying the next prospect breakout can be difficult. If you wait until end-of-season wrap-ups, a prospect may get too much coverage and no longer be available. You can scout stat lines all year, but that can be tedious, and it’s difficult to keep an eye on every tweet and post. We may have renamed this column but fear not, intrepid dynasty league manager, this is still THE place to find your potential prospect diamonds in the rough.

For those unfamiliar, this is a weekly column where I’ll select four prospects (typically 2 hitters and 2 pitchers) who performed outstandingly in the prior week. Not only will you get a name, but also we’ll dive into what powered their results and where their future value stands. “But,” you may think to yourself, “what makes this column so different than any of the countless other blurbs, rundowns, and general prospect lists that are published?” Glad you asked!

First and foremost, this column is dedicated to the deep dynasty manager. If you’re in a 18 team league, or rostering 30+ minor leaguers, then this is your spot.

Secondly, and I don’t want to honk my horn (toot toot) but in year 1, we had a pretty solid track record of recognizing some names that have risen in value entering this season including: Kyle Manzardo, Yainer Diaz, Evan Carter, Justin Dirden, and Will Benson.

With that said, let’s get to this week’s prospects…

Player of the Week: 1B/OF Victor Bericoto, SFG, Low A

Stats: (6 games) 10-26, 3 HR, 2 doubles, 11 RBI, 7 runs, 0 SBs

Maybe our first completely out of nowhere PoTW on this season’s watchlist, Bericoto is rising swifly up deep dynasty ranks thanks to a perfect combination of factors and skills that make him appealing on the prospect market.

First, let’s start with that simple but effective swing of Bericoto’s. It’s mostly a flat bat path but he’s showing ability to manipulate the barrel some on pitches down, driving them with power. Next, while he is little older than the norm for High A, at 21 years old, he’s still a very young prospect overall. Third, and this is the most exciting factor to me, he’s R5 eligible this offseason.

I love finding R5 eligible prospects who are performing well because it means either their current team will be incentivized to accelerate them through the farm and place them on the 40-man to protect them OR they’re essentially debuting for a new team to select them in the draft in which case they have almost guaranteed MLB playing time carved out for them to show us something. All the typical 1B/OF requisites still apply here, Bericoto is making a great case to all 30 MLB teams: he’s cut down an already healthy K rate into the 17% range, is getting into his power more often (.239 ISO) and transferring groundballs into flyballs at an ideal rate (48.5% GB -> 41.8%, 33.6% ->40.8%). Add him now, I think there will be some real benefits in value by the end of the season.

Honorable Mention: SS Thomas Saggese, TEX, AA

Stats: (6 games) 10-26, 3 HR, 1 double, 7 RBI, 4 runs, 0 SBs

Overshadowed in his promotion from High A to AA Frisco to start the season by eminent OF teammate Evan Carter, Saggese has taken the opportunity during Carter’s recent injury battles to show off his skills. While he’s been rated as hit over power, there’s been enough juice to warrant considering Saggese as a capable MLB middle infielder. Obviously, there’s a bit of a log-jam at short and second, causing players like Ezequiel Duran to have to find a spot in the outfield in order to stick. Saggese could be part of a package if Texas looks to buy pitching to shore up their rotation while looking to seal the AL West and more. In any event, he’s playing his way into being a prospect worth keeping stashed in mid-sized to deep dynasties.


Pitcher of the Week: SP Connor Phillips, CIN, AA

Stats: (2 starts) 12 IP, 2 ER, 10 hits, 1 BB, 20 Ks

Similar to fellow CIN farmhand Andrew Abbott, entering this season Phillips’ biggest question mark was around his consistency to throw strikes. Thus far, he seems to be answering that question definitively, posting a 30.6% K-BB rate.

This includes bringing his walk rate under 10% for the first time in his career. Yes, I hear you right now asking about the tacky ball in the Southern League. While I’m sure it’s had some positive effect the movement of his pitches, his SwStr remains in balance with his career history (currently, a 15.1%). Additionally, given the unpredictability that the pre-tacked baseball has input into a pitcher’s start, the fact that Phillips has been able to control his walks, tentatively points toward actual skill to me. There’s four pitches on hand for Phillips, although the fastball, slider, and curve far outpace his changeup. It will be informative to see if he can stabilize at AAA like Abbott did. If so, the Reds could have internally developed yet another pitcher for them .


Honorable Mention: SP Drew Thorpe, High A

Stats: (2 starts) 12 IP, 0 ER, 8 hits, 2 BB, 20 Ks

Thorpe is currently the highest ranked pitcher in the Yankees system and this past week has been a great illustration of Thorpe’s whiff inducing arsenal. While the arm action isn’t the smoothest, mechanically he doesn’t have any red flags to make him avoidable in all but the most shallow of dynasty leagues. As a starter, he shows good to above average command/control of his three pitch mix (FB, SL, CU) with the 4S still having some room to add ticks (it currently sits around 94MPH). The slider is the true swing & miss pitch, getting traditional horizontal movement to lefties and righties.  

Thorpe’s FanGraph summary mentions that Thorpe is highly polished already and has a floor as a back-end starter. I think a promotion to AA isn’t far away and I foresee Thorpe’s continued rise in end of year rankings. This is the type of profile that’s easy to invest time rostering, health aside, the question doesn’t seem to  seems to be how good Thorpe will be in the majors, not if he’ll be good enough.

LaMar Gibson

A lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan that still hasn't forgiven Jeffrey Maier, Tony Fernandez, the 2014 Royals, or Edwin Encarnacion...and has no interest in doing so in the foreseeable future. You can read more of LaMar's thoughts by subscribing to his free monthly newsletter, Inside Fastball, for all things prospects.

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