Rest of the Season Projection: Taylor Ward Is Set To Arrive, But Can He Be A Difference Maker In 2018?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Yesterday the news broke that Taylor Ward was being recalled by the Los Angeles Angels, likely taking over the full-time third base job.  There had been speculation of a callup over the past few days, but now that he’s officially set to join the team we need to determine what type of impact he could make over the rest of the season.

Considering the numbers he posted at Double and Triple-A, it’s easy to get excited:

  • Double-A – .345 (51-148), 6 HR, 25 RBI, 26 R, 8 SB
  • Triple-A – .352 (80-227), 8 HR, 35 RBI, 42 R, 10 SB

A catcher prior to 2018, Ward has seen an offensive explosion after being transitioned to third base this season.  While the pure numbers are impressive, his approach and underlying metrics only add to the appeal.  Just look at his SwStr% // LD% at each level as proof: Read more

Waiver Wire Guidelines: Touki Toussaint Will Debut Today, So What Should We Expect?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Reports have the Braves’ Touki Toussaint being the team’s next young pitcher getting an opportunity to make his MLB debut.  Set to pitch Game 1 of Atlanta’s double header against the Marlins, he has made a strong case for the promotion considering his numbers pitching at both Double and Triple-A this season:

  • Double-A (86.0 IP) – 2.93 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 11.20 K/9, 3.77 BB/9
  • Triple-A (31.1 IP) – 2.01 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.19 K/9, 3.73 BB/9

There’s no questioning the pure stuff or the ability to generate swings and misses, with an overall 12.6% SwStr% on the year.  He’s developed an impressive three pitch mix that gives him the stuff to thrive when he’s on, as MLB.com describes his arsenal by saying:

“He has a plus fastball that can touch the upper 90s at times and one of the best curveballs in the system, a true hammer that misses a ton of bats when he lands it for strikes. His changeup has gotten better and should be a solid third weapon for him.”

That’s where the “definitive” positives end, as the stuff and upside are there if he can show even decent control and enough groundballs.  The question is can he develop in both areas? Read more

Rest of Season Projection: With Eloy Jimenez’ Debut Imminent, What Can We Expect In 2018?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While Eloy Jimenez has not been promoted yet, the White So are on record saying that is time is growing close.  As soon as he’s healthy (he’s been sidelined the past few days due to an illness) it’s not going to be long before he’s roaming the Chicago outfield.  With that in mind let’s take a look at what he’s done in ’18 and what type of production we can expect for his first taste of the Majors.

First, his numbers split between Double and Triple-A:

314 At Bats
.338 Batting Average (106 Hits)
18 Home Runs
60 RBI
52 Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.388 On Base Percentage
.599 Slugging Percentage
.355 Batting Average on Balls in Play Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (August 9, 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)
Quite a stir was created recently when Jimenez was held out of the lineup at Triple-A, but it turned out that he was suffering from flu-like symptoms and not being promoted to the Majors.  That said a promotion appears to be imminent as he’s hitting .376 with 8 HR (and 9 doubles) over 109 AB while also making consistent contact (14 K).  Further flaming the fire is this quote from the White Sox player development director Chris Getz, courtesy of Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune: Read more

After Struggling In The Majors, What Should We Expect From Kyle Tucker Moving Forward?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After struggling in the Majors (.156 with 0 HR and 1 SB over 45 AB) it would’ve been easy for the Astros’ Kyle Tucker to slump upon being demoted to Triple-A.  He understandably could’ve been disappointed, having hoped that he’d never be returning back in the minor leagues.  However he’s done just the opposite, posting three multi-hit games in his first five (7-22 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R and 2 SB) since his demotion.  It gives a sense of hope that he can recover and return with a vengeance, though that’s not to say that the production hasn’t come without it’s questions.

He’s already struck out 7 times, compared to just 2 walks.  That has always been a risk, as he owns a 12.4% SwStr% at Triple-A this season though just a 19.4% strikeout rate.  It’s something to watch, because entering the season that was the biggest concern hanging over him after posting a 13.2% SwStr% between High-A and Double-A a year ago. Read more

Fantasy Waiver Worthy: Will The Rays’ Brandon Lowe Be Able to Make An Impact In The Majors?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After thriving at both Double and Triple-A the Rays’ recalled Brandon Lowe.  The question is, will he be able to make an impact?  Before we answer that let’s look at the numbers he’s posted thus far in the minors:

  • Double-A (199 AB) – .291, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 37 R, 8 SB
  • Triple-A (181 AB) – .304, 14 HR, 35 RBI, 36 R, 0 SB

He only hit 11 HR over 410 AB last season, so it would be easy to say that the power isn’t sustainable.  However he added 39 doubles and 4 triples last year and already had 31 doubles and 1 triple this season.  With that type of extra base power it’s hard to argue against the pace he set at Double-A (which would be in the 23-27 HR range).

For a player who posted HR/FB of 9.2% and 8.0% at High-A and Double-A, respectively, last season he’s seen the mark balloon to 14.3% at Double-A and 25.0% at Triple-A.  He is 24-years old and clearly has extra base power, so seeing him grow/mature into an improved mark is believable.  The Triple-A mark seems extreme, but we’re buying all the same. Read more

In Michael Kopech & Dylan Cease, Do The White Sox Have A Potentially Elite 1-2 Rotation Punch?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Chicago White Sox are a team deep in prospects, that’s an obvious statement.  They desperately need help in their starting rotation, and lucky for them a few of their premier prospects appear to be emerging as potential top of the rotation starters.  Which one has the highest upside, though?  Let’s take a look:

 

Michael Kopech – Right-Handed Pitcher
Note – Unless noted, these stats exclude yesterday’s start (7.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 9 K)

We’ve long heard about the upside of Kopech, with the caveat of “if he can limit the walks”.  He’s generally continued to struggle in that regard at Triple-A this season, with an overall 5.08 BB/9 over 106.1 IP.  However things have changed as of late, with just 4 BB over his past 31.0 IP (five starts) including 0 BB in 7.0 IP yesterday.  If he can come reasonably close to maintaining it, it’s possible he’ll be on the verge of a recall. Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (August 3, 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 Wednesday):

 

1) Eloy Jimenez – Chicago White Sox – Outfielder (4)
Even after going hitless on July 31, Jimenez was hitting .514 with 5 HR and 10 RBI over his previous 10 games.  That should tell you how hot he’s been at the dish, and he’s hitting .376 with 8 HR (as well as 8 doubles) over 101 AB at Triple-A.  No one has ever questioned his power, but his 12 K at Triple-A is a tremendous sign that he’s developing into an overall monster.  While an 11.3% SwStr% tells us the strikeout rate could rise, it’s a solid enough mark (albeit in a small sample size) and an improvement over what he did at Double-A (12.4%).  The White Sox are building for the future so it’s possible he doesn’t arrive until September, but with the way he’s hitting they could look to bring him up and let him get a little bit more experience to put him in line to open 2019 as a starter in the outfield. Read more

Orioles Top 10 Prospects: Post ’18 Trade Deadline: Which Of Their New Prospects Make The Cut?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Baltimore Orioles were the most aggressive deadline dealer, trading away player after player in an effort to rebuild their farm system and look towards the future.  Gone are Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop and Brad Brach, bringing in a total of 13 new prospects (and 15 players).  Now the question is how do these players fit into their Top 10 prospects?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Yusniel Diaz – Outfielder
Current Grade – B+

The centerpiece of the Manny Machado deal, Diaz was among the better prospects moved at the deadline.  Over 250 AB at Double-A this season he’s shown a good approach, with 46 K vs. 46 BB, though he has just 21 extra base hits (10 doubles, 4 triples and 7 HR) and 8 SB.  Of course even that would profile him as a potential 20/20 player, but he’s made significant improvements and have the skills to get even better. Read more

Five Streaking Prospects Who Belong On All Radars (Eloy Jimenez, Adolis Garcia & 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 five names that are currently streaking and need to be on all radars:

 

Eloy Jimenez – Chicago White Sox – Outfielder
He had his 10 game hitting streak snapped yesterday, going 21-36 with 5 HR, 11 RBI and 8 R.  Even more important, perhaps, is that he’s struck out just 4 times during this stretch and he now has 12 K over 101 AB to open his Triple-A career.  Can he maintain that type of mark?  That remains to be seen, but he entered Sunday with an 11.9% SwStr% at the level, so it’s hard to imagine.

Even with a slight regression there, he’s continuing to prove that his power is for real (8 doubles and 8 HR over his first 27 Triple-A games).  Maybe we have to wait for September for him to arrive, but if he keeps hitting like this he’s going to force the White Sox hand sooner rather than later. Read more