Archive for Player Profiles

Who Is The Newest Tiger “Prospect” Victor Alcantara (Acquired for Cameron Maybin)?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Earlier tonight the Tigers acquired the relatively unknown right-handed pitching prospect Victor Alcantara from the Los Angeles Angels (in exchange for Cameron Maybin).  While part of the deal was getting something for a player who the Tigers were unlikely to exercise the option for anyways, it’s fair to wonder if there is any potential value for Alcantara moving forward.

While he throws hard, the results haven’t been there overall with a career 4.60 ERA and 1.45 WHIP.  You’d think that some strikeouts would be there, given the reports of hitting triple digits while pitching in the lower levels of the minors, but he owns just an 8.0 K/9 for his minor league career.

Alcantara has also routinely struggled with his command, with a career 4.5 BB/9 (over 503.1 IP).  The Angels ultimately shifted him to the bullpen late in ’16, but that change did little to harness his control as he issued 12 BB in 13.1 IP over his eight relief appearances. Read more

Why It Appears That Josh Bell Is Finally Living Up To The Hype…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Prior to the season we ranked the Pirates’ Josh Bell as the team’s fifth best prospect saying:

“He was moved from the outfield to 1B, where his bat doesn’t really translate as well unless he figures out how to tap into his power. Sure his 65 K in 489 AB last season was impressive (he also added 65 BB), which should allow him to hit for a strong average, but he mustered just 7 HR (along with 24 doubles and 9 triples). That sounds an awful lot like James Loney, doesn’t it?”

Obviously a James Loney comparison is never something we want to hear. That said, 62 games into the 2016 season there’s some reason to believe that the 23-year old switch hitter is finally starting to figure things out:

.312 (72-231), 8 HR, 39 RBI, 29 R, 1 SB Read more

Promoted To Triple-A, Is JaCoby Jones Now On The Precipice Of The Majors?


Jones, who we ranked as the Tigers third best prospect prior to the season (click here to view), missed the first 50 games of the season due to a suspension.  However he hit the ground running once active, hitting .312 with 4 HR (as well as 6 doubles and 2 triples), 20 RBI, 11 R and 2 SB over 77 AB at Double-A.

Acquired from the Pirates in exchange for Joakim Soria last season, he showed both power (18 HR) and speed (25 SB).  The big question is going to be his ability to make consistent contact, as he struggled this season (25.8% strikeout rate) and in ’15 as well (he had 11 PA with the Pirates’ Double-A team, but it’s too small of a sample size):

  • High-A (Pirates) – 26.7%
  • Double-A (Tigers) – 32.5%

Read more

Quick Hit: Could Matt Reynolds Make An Impact For The Mets?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With David Wright set to hit the DL (missing 4-6 weeks) and Lucas Duda already out, the Mets appear to having gaping holes at both corner infield spots.  James Loney was brought in to fill in at 1B and Wilmer Flores may get the bulk of the work at 3B, but the Mets are also expected to recall Matt Reynolds today.

Reynolds has been seeing time all across the infield at Triple-A this season, so he certainly adds some flexibility:

  • Second Base – 4 games
  • Third Base – 15 games
  • Shortstop – 17 games

He has struggled at the plate, hitting .230 with 2 HR and 4 SB over 139 AB.  He spent last season at Triple-A, hitting .267, so the struggles are a concern.  The biggest issue has been a significant jump in strikeouts, a problem that has never plagued him before: Read more

Now At Triple-A, Is The Phillies’ Ben Lively Primed To Make A ’16 Impact?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After making a splash in 2014, including a 10.2 K/9 between High-A & Double-A, Ben Lively struggled in his first year as a member of the Phillies.  After being dealt for Marlon Byrd, Lively managed a 4.13 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 7.0 K/9 over 143.2 IP at Double-A.  Repeating the level to open ’16, the results have been significantly different.

Over 9 starts (53.0 IP) he posted a 1.87 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 8.3 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, prompting a recent promotion to Triple-A (he allowed 2 ER over 7.0 IP in his debut at the level).  MLB.com said that he had previously been compared to Tony Cingrani and prior to the season they described his arsenal by saying:

“None of Lively’s pitches jump off the page, but he does have four of them that he can throw for strikes. His fastball can touch 93-94 mph, and his slider has the potential to be an above-average pitch, as well. Lively mixes in his curve and changeup well to keep hitters guessing. All of his stuff plays up because of the deception his unusual delivery creates, making it tough for hitters to pick up the ball.” Read more

Closer of the Future Watch: Could The Twins’ J.T. Chargois Emerge As An Option In ’16?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

A second round pick back in 2012, the career of J.T. Chargois was delayed two season due to Tommy John surgery.  He returned in 2015 and showed strikeout stuff (9.9 K/9), but his control clearly eluded him (4.7 BB/9) over his 48.0 innings of work.  Thus far in 2016 that has changed dramatically, as he’s shown the skills of a lights out closer at both Double and Triple-A:

  • Double-A (11.2 IP) – 10.8 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 1.10 GO/AO
  • Triple-A (8.1 IP) – 18.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 2.33 GO/AO

All told he’s compiled 30 K, 8 BB and a 1.38 GO/AO over 20.0 innings this season, going a perfect 10-for-10 in save chances.  There’s no questioning the upside and the potential to be the closer of the future in Minnesota… Read more

Top 25 Starting Pitcher Review: Despite Slow Starts, Don’t Sell Erik Fedde or Jack Flaherty Short

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were some surprising names among our Top 25 starting pitcher prospects prior to the season (click here for #11-25).  Among them were the Nationals’ Erik Fedde (#18) and the Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty (#17), both of which got off to slow starts making us look foolish for the aggressive ranking.  Of course it’s still early and both have started to show signs of a turnaround, so let’s not write them off so quickly.  Let’s check in on both:

 

Erik Fedde – Washington Nationals
The Nationals have pitching, whether it’s at the Majors or in the minors (like Lucas Giolito and Austin Voth).  That makes it easy to overlook someone like Fedde, a 2014 first round draft pick who returned from Tommy John surgery last season (64.0 IP).  He got off to a slow start in ’16 at High-A, but he’s turned things around over his past two starts (11.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 11 K).  Fedde’s actually shown the skills all season (45.0 IP) that had us excited: Read more

Under-the-Radar Prospect: Recently Recalled, Just Who Is The Royals’ Whit Merrifield?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With multiple injuries (including Alex Gordon hitting the DL and Mike Moustakas being banged up) Whit Merrifield was recently summoned to the Majors.  Clearly the team is prepared to use him all across the diamond, as he’s already played 2B, 3B and LF (he’s played everywhere in the minors, aside from catching) and he’s gotten off to a decent enough start (4-13).

The question is, who exactly is he?

At 27-years old he’s hardly a prospect (drafted in the ninth round in 2010), though the youngster has been producing at Triple-A for the past few seasons:

  • 2014 (345 PA) – .340, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 57 R, 11 SB
  • 2015 (594 PA) – .265, 5 HR, 38 RBI, 83 R, 32 SB
  • 2016 (163 PA) – .278, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 25 R, 16 SB

Read more

Just How Good Can Alex Reyes Be (Now That He’s Made His ’16 Debut)?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was easy to forget about Alex Reyes, as he waited for his 50 game suspension to wrap up.  That finally has come, as he made his season debut yesterday at Triple-A with the type of results we would’ve expected:

4.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 BB, 8 K

It took him 85 pitches as he struggled with his command, but having missed nearly two months of action that was to be expected.  In fact all 3 walks came within the first seven batters (though he did also hit a batter to lead off the third inning).  That’s going to come around, at least we hope.  One of the premier pitching prospects in the league, his control has always been the biggest question facing him (4.6 career BB/9 entering the year).

After the start Reyes was quoted by MILB.com (click here for the article) as saying:

“It was tough to get in a rhythm today,” Reyes told MLB.com. “I felt like I didn’t throw enough strikes, but my fastball was explosive and I threw some pretty good changeups. I couldn’t really find a good rhythm with my breaking ball, but I’ll work on it during my next start and it should come back.” Read more

Sleeper Prospects: Could Matt Strahm or Alex Mills Emerge As A Viable SP For Kansas City?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Fantasy owners are always looking for the big named prospects, which often causes the middle tier (who may have upside) to fall under-the-radar.  Such is the story for a pair of Kansas City Royals’ pitching prospects, both of whom are already on the 40-man roster and could conceivably give the back of the rotation a boost.  Let’s take a look:

Matt Strahm – Left-Handed Pitcher
Double-A: 40.1 IP, 2.68 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 40 K, 7 BB, 1.106 GO/AO

Prior to being promoted to High-A last year Strahm had been operating as a reliever, albeit it in limited innings.  A 21st round selection in 2012, he missed the entire ’13 season due to Tommy John surgery but things have certainly clicked for the southpaw.  Control had always been an issue, but he appeared to have solved that last season (2.51 BB/9 at High-A in ’15) and has taken it to another level this season. Read more