I’ll pick up on the prospect theme that Justin and Tom touched on in this week’s podcast: helium watch. In other words, here are a four somewhat under the radar prospects that have caught my eye this year that could have increasing value over the second half of the season and turn into real assets in the near future in Ottoneu (and other deep leagues).
Joe Musgrove, SP (HOU) AAA
YTD: 44 1/3 IP, 49 K, 5 BB, 0.90 WHIP, Age 23, 35% Ottoneu ownership
Chris Mitchell’s KATOH summary highlights Musgrove’s 2015 breakout well, so I’ll just jump in to tell you it’s time to really pay attention to the 6’5″ righty because his 2016 season has started off even better. More importantly, Musgrove is likely the closest on this list to making an impact at the major league level (recently promoted to AAA). It’s hard to evaluate Musgrove without mentioning his stinginess with the free pass (just 8 BB’s last year in 100 IP; 5 this year), but it’s also important to point out that he’s maintained a K/9 above 9.0 at two levels this year, including the PCL. Anyone who can succeed in the PCL is a guy to keep an eye on, but a big guy with excellent control, solid K rates, and decent stuff (91-93 mph FB) should play in just about any league format. How Musgrove’s tidy skills actually translate to the AL West are yet to be seen, but it’s realistic to think he could be called up in the 2nd half, and his long term ceiling could fall somewhat close to what we’re seeing from Kyle Hendricks (7.3 K/9; 2 BB/9).
Willy Adames, SS (TB) AA
YTD: .285/.396/.515/.911, 6 HR, 15.2% BB%, 20.3 K%, .417 wOBA, Age 20, 25% Ottoneu ownership
Willy was the only minor leaguer included in the David Price trade to DET, and happens to be my favorite prospect in the minors. He’s also one of the youngest players in AA, which is why his rapid progress at the plate this season has to be considered one of the better minor league breakout performances of 2016. He’s walking more, striking out less (0.75 BB/K), and hitting for more power (.230 ISO), which is really the trifecta of development when it comes to prospects in Ottoneu, especially when talking about a player most scouts now see as a decent bet to stick at SS. Adames isn’t yet being lumped into the same category as other top SS prospects like Crawford, Bregman, Swanson, Turner, Arcia, Rodgers, Barreto, Torres, and Mateo, but he’s making a loud case to be moved up that list this year, will come at a relative discount before he does, and might have a higher offensive upside than any shortstop in that list other than Rodgers. A .270/.350/.450 MLB ceiling isn’t unreasonable. Buy now.
Christin Stewart, OF (DET) A+
YTD: .232/.363/.537/.900, 15 HR, 14.9% BB%, 24.2 K%, .415 wOBA, Age 22, 4% Ottoneu ownership
Stewart was the Tigers’ first round pick out of Tennessee in 2015, but considering the 4% ownership rate above it’s likely he’s not on your radar. He’s got a big left hand swing and if his .900 OPS is any indication, he’s starting to figure things out in the Florida State League (A+) a bit faster than most expected. By no means is he a speed guy (just 2 SB), but if you’re looking for a future power bat that could potentially pay off with a $1 speculative buy, Stewart might just be a guy you take a chance on. He’s got a long way to go as his hit tool may never be special, but his current trajectory suggests 20+ HR are possible, which will play easily as a 4th or 5th OF, and maybe a bit more if his OBP skills continue to develop.
Josh Ockimey, 1B (BOS) A
YTD: .297/.441/.561/1.002, 9 HR, 20.5% BB%, 24.1 K%, .450 wOBA, Age 20, 0% Ottoneu ownership
It’s always hard to get excited about 1B prospects (especially when they are buried behind a handful of more excellent and noteworthy prospects in one of the best systems in the minors), but Ockimey is a guy you should at least add to your watchlist if you’re playing in a dynasty league or Ottoneu. He’s still a few years off, but the start to his Southern League season is turning heads, and not just because his Philadelphia pedigree is reminding scouts of another LH 1B slugger in PHI. Ockimey is pretty much limited to 1B so that has to be factored into any prospect value going forward, but it’s at least relevant that Boston’s possible future 1B is now out for the season, so Ockimey may get a little more attention if he can keep up anything close to these stats as he moves along in the organization. Again, Ockimey isn’t a guy you have to speculate on right now, but you should at least be aware of his existence in deep leagues.
Trey is a 20 year fantasy veteran and a five time Ottoneu champion, including the 2015 winner of the Ottoneu Champions League. He currently administers the Ottoneu community, a network of ~1,000 fantasy baseball and football fans. More resources here: http://community.ottoneu.com