Dynastic Direction: Three Mid-Minors Middle Infielders: Pereza, Crawford & Quinn

by Ivar G. Anderson

This week we move from the outfield to the infield, although technically one of our players being profiled has transitioned in the opposite direction, heading back to the outfield to make room for his new teammate (but we’ll get to that).  Let’s take a look:

 

Jose Pereza 2B/SS ATL (Double-A Mississippi Braves/Southern League)
Pereza was moved to second base and has continued in that role upon his recent promotion to Double-A. Not really a huge surprise, with Andrelton Simmons manning the shortstop position in Atlanta and having been signed to a long term contract. Of course, Pereza also has Tommy La Stella in front of him in the Majors, so he poses a bit of a problem for the Braves once he becomes Major League ready.

He profiles as a leadoff/top of the order hitter, with his plus speed a major component to his skill set that designates him as such. He stole 64 bases in 79 attempts in 2013, and between High-A and Double-A this season has swiped 55 bases and has been nabbed only 10 times. He handles the bat competently, making consistent contact but lacks any real power (he could hit close to double digit homers if he can secure an everyday position).

An above-average defender, he has the range to play short as well as possessing a strong arm. His walk rate isn’t great, hovering around 4%, but his contact rate is at 90% and, with his prowess as a base stealer, he is an exciting middle infielder to watch.

If he continues to hit and run well at Double-A this season, the Braves will have a predicament that most teams would like, with too many skilled youngsters for two few positions in 2015.

 

J.P. Crawford SS PHI (High-A Clearwater Threshers/Florida State League)
As the 16th pick overall in the 2013 draft, Crawford has quickly become the top prospect in the Philadelphia system overtaking Maikel Franco, who has been struggling at Triple-A this season (until recently). A cousin of Carl Crawford of the Dodgers, he is the shortstop of the future for the Phillies and projects as a top third of the batting order type of player. He displays good range at short and has a plus arm.

His swing is compact and he sprays the ball to all fields, although as his body develops (he is just 19 and 6’2″ and 180 pounds), his power should develop. He exhibits excellent discipline at the plate, posting a 54:58 BB/K ratio over 95 games/361 AB in Low-A and High-A this season. He also has some speed, although his success rate is not stellar (sitting at 31 for 47 over two seasons of pro ball).

With his path to the majors being mapped out, he is a fine prospect to stash for the day when he takes over as the starting shortstop in Philadelphia, perhaps as early as 2016 but my money is on 2017.

 

Roman Quinn SS/OF PHI (High-A Clearwater Threshers/Florida State League)
With J.P. Crawford’s promotion to the Thresher roster, the club moved Quinn back to the position he played in high school, center field. He had shown blazing speed, ala Dee Gordon, but a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered during offseason workouts has brought that aspect of his game into question. He is reporting that his recovery is close to 100% as of late July, however, although his numbers aren’t reflective of that…yet. He was stealing like a bandit in 2013 before a broken wrist sidelined him for the second half of the season, having stolen 32 bases in 41 attempts, over just 298 plate appearances.

He has some pop in his bat, although at 5’10” and 170 pounds, he doesn’t profile as a big time home run hitter. He walks a fair amount, but his strikeout rate is elevated, resulting in a 0.42 BB/K ratio over the past two seasons. He has an average contact rate as well, so it is mainly his speed that will propel him to the big leagues, and he will have to continue to show an ability to get on base for that to become a possibility. The move to center may be a blessing, given that his defense is average at best.

With his health issues the past year, he is a risky bet in dynasty leagues. Better to see how he has recovered the balance of 2014, and if he grades out well, then think about snagging him for the far end of your prospect roster.

 

As with all prospects position changes are always a risk, throwing our plans into disarray. Then again, having the ability to shift position can be a valuable tool in a young players arsenal: think about Emilio Bonifacio, Ben Zobrist or Martin Prado. You need to keep abreast of what players are in a team’s minor league stream to plan accordingly. Or just roll the dice and accept what turns out. That is part of what makes playing dynasty fantasy baseball so intriguing.

I am always available to talk fantasy baseball, especially starting pitching and prospects. Feel free to drop me a note with any questions or comments at ia@fantasyalarm.com and inquire about your team. Just remember the advice is free and you get what you pay for in this day and age.

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