Trade Review: Is There Any Upside In The Prospects Included In The Mike Zunino/Mallex Smith Trade?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While the first “significant” offseason trade centered around the swap of Mike Zunino and Mallex Smith, there was also a prospect component to the deal.  Let’s take a look at the players switching teams and if there’s any potential long-term appeal:

 

OF Jake Fraley to Seattle
Selected 77th overall in 2016, Fraley is now 23-years old (he’ll turn 24 in May) and has yet to advance past High-A.  He was productive when on the field last season, hitting .347 with 4 HR, 41 RBI, 39 R and 11 SB over 260 PA, though the competition level and a bloated BABIP (.407) have to be taken into account.  That’s not to say that there weren’t positives:

  • Approach – 7.9% SwStr% (leading to a 16.9% strikeout rate)
  • Walks – 10.0%
  • Oppo% – 30.5%

Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Houston Astros: Intriguing Pitching Prospects On The Verge Of Arriving

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Houston Astros have long been considered to have one of the elite farm systems in the game, and right now they desperately need it.  Whether they simply promote from within or use them as trading chips, with Lance McCullers undergoing Tommy John surgery and Dallas Keuhel & Charlie Morton potentially leaving via free agency the team is in desperate need of rotation help.  Luckily a lot of their top prospects are pitchers, but who can make an impact?  Let’s take a look at how things currently shake out:

 

1) Kyle Tucker – Outfielder
Grade – A
ETA – Already Arrived

No one is going to question the potential of Tucker, who continued to thrive at Triple-A though he stumbled in his first taste of the Majors:

  • Triple-A – .332 (135-407) with 24 HR and 20 SB
  • Majors – .141 (9-64) with 0 HR and 1 SB

Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): St. Louis Cardinals: Lots Of Intrigue/Upside Fills The Top 10 (Gorman, Arozarena & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There’s no question who the Cardinals’ top prospect is, even as he’s battled a slew of injuries, but there are questions as to what comes in behind Alex Reyes (and Nolan Gorman).  St. Louis is loaded with a slew of intriguing prospects, though none of them are “can’t miss” or “locks” to take the next step.  Who does appear to have the highest upside?  Who is worth the investment?  Let’s break it down:

 

1) Alex Reyes – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A-
ETA – Already Arrived

We all know the potential of Reyes, who has shown flashes in the past.  The problem and concern is strictly about his health, as he’s virtually lost the past two seasons due to significant injuries:

  1. Tommy John surgery
  2. Torn lat muscle

Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Chicago Cubs: An Uninspiring System Today, There’s Intriguing Talent To Watch

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Chicago Cubs are generally not viewed as owning the most impressive farm system, though a lot of that has to do with the push towards a World Series ring (while also graduating a lot of players who have contributed to their success).  While they do lack that true impact prospect, there have been a few intriguing names that have been emerging, especially when it comes to their pitching prospects.  Are there any names that belong on our radar?  Who has the highest upside?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Miguel Amaya – Catcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2021

Generally ignored a year ago, Amaya emerged as not only the Cubs’ top prospect but one of the top catching prospects in the game.  Playing at Single-A he hit .256 with 12 HR and 52 RBI over 414 AB, though a dramatic split does bring at least a few questions:

  • First Half – .288/.365/.500
  • Second Half – .223/.332/.302

Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Cincinnati Reds: A Clear #1, Though Where Does He Fit In The Future?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While we all know Nick Senzel is the team’s clear top prospect, though the success in the Majors has helped to bring questions as to where his future lies.  It made the decision to draft another infielder with their #1 pick in 2018 just further complicates it, but if he’s healthy and hitting the Reds will find a spot for Senzel.  Injuries also plagued him, and with questions about Hunter Greene also loom the health of the Reds’ top prospects may be the biggest story line.  Who is worth our attention?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Nick Senzel – Third Baseman
Grade – A
ETA –  2019

Last year was supposed to be the season that he rose to the Majors, but injuries helped to limit him (171 AB) and there are questions as to where he’ll fit in the Majors.  The latter is a good problem for the organization, and one that should ultimately sort itself out. Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Breakout Stars Fill The Top 10

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Pirates are a team that has to consistently churn out young talent in order to stay competitive, though their trade to acquire Chris Archer put a dent in their farm system.  That’s not to say that there isn’t some intriguing talent on the horizon, highlighted by a potential top of the rotation stud and complimented by a slew of intriguing middle infielders (and a few others who are a few years away).  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Mitch Keller – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

If the Pirates were a bit more aggressive with the promotion of their prospects it’s highly likely that Keller would’ve already arrived, though he did struggle after being bumped to Triple-A last season (4.82 ERA over 52.1 IP).  While at least part of it was poor luck (61.7% strand rate at Triple-A), there are a few trends that we have to be concerned about: Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Milwaukee Brewers: Questions Cloud The Future, Even At The Top (Hiura & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Brewers are clearly a team heading in the right direction, falling on game short of reaching the World Series and having a slew of intriguing names coming up through the minors.  That said they are lacking a true upside pitching prospect, there are questions about many of their top hitting prospects and some of the most intriguing names are a long ways away.  Who are the team’s top prospects?  Who has the highest upside?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Keston Hiura – Second Baseman
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

The Brewers have a need at second base and it seems like a foregone conclusion that the team will give Hiura an opportunity to fill it in 2019.  The question when he was drafted wasn’t about his bat, and he’s shown why since stepping onto a professional diamond.  Just look at last year’s numbers: Read more

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