Fantasy Outlook: Victor Robles Is Set To Return To The Majors, But Will He Really Make A Difference?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As fantasy owners recover from the news that Eloy Jimenez won’t be summoned to the Majors, we at least are going to get another look at the Nationals’ Victor Robles.  For a team that has clearly turned it’s attention to 2019 and beyond it makes sense for Washington to give him an opportunity, especially given the potential that Bryce Harper walks in the offseason.  We know what Michael Taylor and Adam Eaton and neither should act as a deterrent to Robles.

Of course Robles himself hasn’t thrived in 2018, though injuries/missed time have likely played a significant role in his struggles.  He’s been heating up of late, extending his hitting streak to eight games on Monday as he’s gone 13-34 (.382) with 8 R and 3 SB over the streak.  We’d like to see a bit more power (1 HR) and RBI (3 RBI), and without the power we’d especially like to see a few more walks (1 BB).  He hasn’t struck out much though (3 K), so the streak is sending strong signals all the same. Read more

The Giants Recall Chris Shaw, But He Is Destined To Fail?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

In the wake of the trade that sent Andrew McCutchen to the Yankees the San Francisco Giants have called up Chris Shaw.  Considered one of their top prospect, Shaw was hitting .259 with 24 HR, 65 RBI and 55 R over 394 AB at Triple-A this season.

Over 730 AB at Triple-A across the past two seasons he’s hit 42 HR while adding 46 doubles and 3 triples, so there’s obviously a little bit of power in his bat.  That shouldn’t be a surprise for the 6’4” outfielder, though that’s about where the positive statements end.

There are two significant issues hanging over him:

  1. Platoon potential
  2. Strikeouts

Read more

Grading The Prospect: With September 1 Looming, Will The Astros’ Josh James Make An Impact?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Houston Astros have a hole to fill in their rotation, at least for one turn (with Charlie Morton sidelined), which coincidentally falls on September 1 when rosters expand.  That adds to the potential for dipping into their Triple-A rotation to take the ball, and it’s possible that Josh James gets the nod (he last started on August 25).  If that happens it’s possible that he sticks in the rotation for the rest of the year, with Lance McCullers likely to return to a bullpen role once healthy and the potential for James to outproduce Framber Valdez.

James, for his part, has been dominant in the minor leagues with 171 K over 114.1 IP between Double and Triple-A.  You can argue that strikeouts are the only “skill” he brings to the table, however.  Just look at his control this season:

  • Double-A (21.2 IP) – 4.15 BB/9
  • Triple-A (92.2 IP) – 3.79 BB/9

Read more

Waiver Worthy: Luis Urias Is Here, But That Doesn’t Mean He Matters…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The reports are that the Padres will summon Luis Urias to the Majors, and most will likely think that they need to race to the waiver wire to scoop him up.  However when you look at his Triple-A numbers, which came in the Pacific Coast League, it’s fair to wonder if he brings enough to the table to warrant our attention:

.296 (133-450), 8 HR, 45 RBI, 83 R, 2 SB

You can argue that there’s a little bit more upside in his power, having added 30 doubles and 7 triples, but it’s not like he’s going to suddenly morph into a 25+ HR threat.  The 8 HR represented a career high, as he’s hit 17 HR over 1,756 AB over his minor league career.  Still just 21-years old it’s fair to think he could develop into a 12-15 HR hitter, but expecting anything past that in the short-term (especially playing half his games in San Diego) would appear to be misguided. Read more

Prospect Report: Will Austin Riley Get An Opportunity In 2018? It’s No Guarantee…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With the Braves continuing to give their young pitchers opportunities, as they push towards an October run, their young hitting prospects (outside of Ronald Acuna) haven’t gotten as much attention.  The one we’ve all been waiting for is 3B Austin Riley, as there were obvious questions at the position entering the year.  That said Riley remains at Triple-A and there’s no guarantee that he’s given an opportunity to run with the role in 2018.

A knee injury has likely factored into his inability to reach the Majors, as it took him awhile to rediscover his footing.  After missing a month he failed to hit a home run in July (he hit .265 with 4 doubles in 68 AB), and he didn’t homer again until August 11.  He’s come alive over his past eight games, going 8-27 with 4 HR, 7 RBI and 10 R.

Riley was recently quoted by Baseball America as saying:

“Everything is coming back in sync,” Riley said. “Knee feels good, that’s the biggest thing. Coming back was slow, just seeing that pitching everyday, but things are going good right now and I’m just trying to finish strong.” Read more

2018 Breakout Prospect: Is The Rays’ Vidal Brujan On The Precipice Of Greatness?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Tampa Bay Rays have long been a team that builds through savvy trades and a strong farm system.  Despite selling off pieces they’ve continued to produce strong results in ’18, and they continue to find and develop new intriguing prospects.  The latest is a 20-year old switch-hitting second baseman, Vidal Brujan, who is quickly opening eyes.

Just look at the numbers, as he’s split time between Single-A and High-A:

  • Single-A – .313 with 5 HR, 41 RBI, 86 R and 43 SB
  • High-A – .436 with 3 HR, 10 RBI, 17 R and 10 SB

Obviously the average isn’t a realistic mark, but there’s little reason to think that he can’t maintain a strong average moving forward.  The key is his speed and an elite plate discipline as he’s walked (61) more than he’s struck out (58) over 432 AB across both levels he’s played. Read more

Prospect Report: Will 2018 Be A Lost Season For Austin Hays, Or Does A September Impact Loom?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s been a miserable season for the Orioles’ Austin Hays, as he’s missed time with an ankle injury and struggled miserably when he’s been on the field.  On August 10 he was hitting just .224 with 6 HR over 192 AB at Double-A, but since then he’s potentially found his footing.  It’s not that he’s suddenly put together a big hitting streak, but he’s had two of his biggest games of the season:

  • August 14 – 3-3, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R
  • August 17 – 4-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R

Those two games have helped to raise his average to .246 (through August 17), though he’s been hitting better in August since returning from the DL (.364/.364/.667 over 8 games and 33 AB).  It’s not a very large sample size , but at least it gives us something the hang our hats on for a player who hit .329 with 32 HR just a year ago. Read more

Prospect Report: Can The Pirates’ Kevin Newman Deliver In ’18 Or Should He Be Ignored?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With shortstop Jordy Mercer hitting the DL with a calf strain the Pirates have decided to give 2015 first round pick Kevin Newman his first taste of the Majors.  Newman has shown a lot of promise at Triple-A this season hitting .302 with 4 HR, 35 RBI, 74 R and 28 SB, though there are also some concerns.  Let’s take a minute to get him to know him a little bit better and try to see if he could make an impact in ’18, or if he’s simply there to be a depth option and little else:


Newman has never hit more than 5 HR in a season, though he’s added 30 doubles and 2 triples this season.  That shows that there could be a little bit of room for growth, though it’s not like he puts many balls in the air (32.9%) and that alone would limit his potential. As notes:

The high contact rate has come with almost no power and it doesn’t appear likely that it will ever be a big part of his game. Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (August 16, 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 Tuesday):


1) Eloy Jimenez – Chicago White Sox – Outfielder (1)
How much more does he have left to prove at Triple-A?  In 36 games he’s hit .348 with 11 HR and 26 RBI, showing an ability to make consistent contact (19 strikeouts).  The White Sox have said his promotion was coming close, and while they could keep him down until September it’s going to start to be harder and harder to justify.

We took a look recently at what we should expect from Jimenez upon his promotion to the Majors, which you can read by clicking hereRead more

In A “Lost” Year, Can Victor Robles Still Make An Impact?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It must pain Victor Robles to be sitting at Triple-A, staring at a virtually lost season, while Juan Soto is entrenching himself as a star in the Majors.  That was supposed to be Robles’ opportunity but injuries took it from him (a hyperextended elbow sidelined him for around three months), and now back on the field you would think that the Nationals could look toward him to inject a little more life into a team that’s quickly falling out of relevance.

The problem, of course, is that the surface numbers at Triple-A have been ugly for Robles:

.231 (18-78), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 11 R, 10 SB

Obviously we like to see that the speed is there, but how disappointed should we really be?  Is there hope in the underlying numbers that he can turn it around and still hit his way into a role in the Majors? Read more