Is The Breakout For Real? Why We Wouldn’t Be Excited With The Cardinals Daniel Poncedeleon

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Cardinals’ Daniel Poncedeleon is making a lot of noise at Triple-A, with 20.0 straight shutout innings over his past three starts (including a complete game one-hitter his last time out).  While the scoreless streak is impressive, he’s allowed just 5 H with 20 K over this span.  That should have us drooling, right?  When you look at the overall numbers over 18 appearances (17 starts) you almost can’t help yourself:

92.0 IP, 2.15 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 103 K

He made 6 starts at Triple-A last season, pitching to a 2.17 ERA.  So when you put together his 121.0 IP at the level he owns a 2.16 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.  His success is a tremendous story, as MLB.com says, “The fact that he’s back and received his first big league callup in June after taking a line drive off of his head in May 2017 that required emergency brain surgery is miraculous.”  Obviously we are not going to take anything away from his success this season, but that doesn’t mean we are buying into what we are seeing either. Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (July 19, 2018)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Which prospects are on the verge of making an impact in the Major Leagues? This weekly column will rank the ten who are closest (as well as other names that are being closely considered). Keep in mind that while talent is factored in opportunity plays a major role, so there may be some “lesser” prospects who rank fairly highly on the list (please note all stats are through Monday):

 

1) Willie Calhoun – Texas Rangers – Outfielder (1)
Everyone has been waiting for the Rangers to summon Calhoun to the Majors, and while they’ve resisted citing defensive concerns (though it likely was more tied to his lack of performance at the plate) there’s no chance it lasts much longer.  While he had an 18-game hitting streak snapped on July 15, he’s followed that up with back-to-back multi-hit games (4-8 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R).  The power isn’t quite where we’d want it, he’s hitting .307 with 8 HR, 42 RBI, 56 R and 4 SB overall.  Just consider he was slashing .229/.308/.365 at the end of April…  Now look at the slashes for the subsequent three months: Read more

Grading The Orioles Return For Manny Machado: There’s Value Beyond Yusniel Diaz

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were questions and rumors up until the very end, but ultimately the Los Angeles Dodgers landed Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for a five prospect package.  Let’s take a look at what Baltimore is receiving in exchange for what may amount to a few month rental, albeit the best bat likely to be on the market:

 

Yusniel Diaz – Outfielder
Double-A – .314 (69-220), 6 HR, 30 RBI, 36 R, 8 SB

Signed out of Cuba, Diaz is now 21-years old and has continued to underwhelm over his three seasons as part of the Dodgers organization (.288 with 26 HR and 24 SB over 989 AB).  Obviously he’s still young, has plenty of time to develop and has shown a solid approach (39 K vs. 41 BB) this season.

The last point may be the biggest key, as often time players with a strong approach discover their power upon reaching the Majors (while he’s struggled this season, look at Josh Bell as an example).  Here’s what Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 had to say prior to the season: Read more

Top 10 Shortstop Prospects (Mid-Season 2018 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The All-Star game is upon us…  It feels like the season just got underway, but we are already more than 50% through the 2018 season.  obviously a lot has changed from when we originally did our prospect rankings and now is the perfect time to update things.  Who is on the rise?  Who has fallen off?  Let’s take a look (the number in parenthesis is our preseason ranking):

 

1) Fernando Tatis Jr. – San Diego Padres (1)
Grade – A
ETA – 2019

While he has struggled a bit with strikeouts (107 K over 342 AB), he’s a 19-year old who has spent the entire season at Double-A so that has to be taken into account.  Of course he’s also hit 15 HR with 15 SB, while adding 22 doubles and 4 triples, and has proven capable of hitting the ball extremely hard (25.3% line drive rate).  He’s among the elite and will be a difference maker as soon as 2019. Read more

Top 10 Second Base Prospects (Mid-Season 2018 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The All-Star game is upon us…  It feels like the season just got underway, but we are already more than 50% through the 2018 season.  obviously a lot has changed from when we originally did our prospect rankings and now is the perfect time to update things.  Who is on the rise?  Who has fallen off?  Let’s take a look (the number in parenthesis is our preseason ranking):

Graduated – Scott Kingery (1)

1) Keston Hiura – Milwaukee Brewers (2)
ETA – 2018
Grade – B+

There were questions regarding Hiura entering the season, mostly revolving around his defensive fit after undergoing Tommy John surgery.  He has continued to be limited defensively, but he has played 2B 42 times (out of 81 appearances) and he continues to prove capable with the bat (.300 with 9 HR and 10 SB).  With Milwaukee contending and in need of help at second base, it’s not impossible to imagine Hiura arriving before the season is over. Read more

Seven Streaking Prospects Who Belong On All Radars (Luzardo Becoming Elite, An Unknown Emerging Astros Arm & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Which prospects are tearing it up down on the farm?  Obviously we can’t name them all, but here are seven names that are currently streaking and need to be on all

 

Bobby Dalbec – Third Baseman – Boston Red Sox
On July 10 Dalbec exploded by going 4-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, which alone would grab your attention.  However it was just the cherry on top for what had already been a career month.  Over the first 10 days he was hitting .486 with 6 HR and 19 RBI over 37 AB, also adding 5 doubles.  The biggest number is the power, as he already has tied his career high for home runs in a month (he had 6 HR in August of ’16 and August of ’17 previously).  His 110 K over 296 AB overall at High-A is a red flag, and he’s taken a step backwards over the past two games (5 K over 8 AB) after the HR binge.  That’s a concern, but you can’t ignore the breakout.

 

Bryse Wilson – Pitcher – Atlanta Braves
Upon his promotion to Double-A he had struggled, with a 6.25 ERA over his first 10 starts.  According to reports he was asked to ditch his two-seam fastball at that point, and in the three starts since he’s thrived: Read more

Top 10 First Base Prospects (Mid-Season 2018 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The All-Star game is upon us…  It feels like the season just got underway, but we are already more than 50% through the 2018 season.  obviously a lot has changed from when we originally did our prospect rankings and now is the perfect time to update things.  Who is on the rise?  Who has fallen off?  Let’s take a look (the number in parenthesis is our preseason ranking):

1) Yordan Alvarez – Houston Astros (1)
ETA – 2019
Current Grade – B+

He’s missed time due to injury, but when he’s been on the field he’s simply been awesome (.311 with 12 HR over 180 AB).  He’s done a good job making consistent contact (8.7% SwStr%), using all fields (35.3% Opp%), and has seen his power grow.  Maybe he can’t maintain quite this power pace, but now at Triple-A what he’s done has been impressive. Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (July 13, 2018)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Which prospects are on the verge of making an impact in the Major Leagues? This weekly column will rank the ten who are closest (as well as other names that are being closely considered). Keep in mind that while talent is factored in opportunity plays a major role, so there may be some “lesser” prospects who rank fairly highly on the list (please note all stats are through Monday):

 

1) Willie Calhoun – Texas Rangers – Outfielder (4)
While his power remains down, Calhoun just keeps on hitting.  Overall he’s hitting .296 with 7 HR, 34 RBI and 51 R over 345 AB and after hitting .229 in April he put up a .303 in May, .306 in June and through Tuesday was hitting .438 in July (32 AB).  He’s currently on a 15-game hitting streak and, even better, hasn’t shown a platoon split:

  • RHP – .297/.347/.421
  • LHP – .292/.320/.458

Read more

Top 10 Catcher Prospects (Mid-Season 2018 Edition)

Graduated From The List – Carson Kelly (3), Jorge Alfaro (4), Victor Carratini (7), Chance Sisco (10)

1) Francisco Mejia – Cleveland Indians (1)
ETA – Already Arrived
Current Grade – A-

After he got off to a horrific start it would’ve been easy to send him spiraling down the rankings.  However he responded with a breakout June, hitting .455 with 4 HR and 23 RBI, allowing him to remain atop the rankings (where he belongs). Read more

Getting to Know: Enyel De Los Santos: Will The Impressive Triple-A Numbers Translate To The Majors?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Vincent Velasquez on the DL the Phillies will turn to Enyel De Los Santos to take the ball against the Mets today.  That’s an ideal situation for anyone to make their debut, especially for a pitcher who has been dominating at Triple-A.  He may not be the team’s top pitching prospect (that designation belongs to Sixto Sanchez), but there’s upside…  Or is there?  Sometimes numbers can be deceiving, so get a better understanding of De Los Santos and see what we can expect:

Rotoprofessor Rankings:
Phillies’ #9 Prospect

Throws – Right-Handed

Age – 22

2017 Statistics:
Triple-A – 95.1 IP, 1.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 8.21 K/9, 2.93 BB/9

What Others Said:
The right-hander is capable of using his plus fastball that sits around 94-95 mph and can touch as high as 97-98 mph to both miss bats and get weak contact on the ground, and improved command of the pitch has made it an even better weapon. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, one that flashes plus with good fade to it, but he doesn’t throw his curve as effectively. Read more