Welcome to another installment of the ottoneu prospect report, where I highlight the top performances in the minor leagues (limited to players in their organization’s top 15 prospects) year to date, and over the past month.
The trade deadline has passed, and with it has come the promotions of top prospects such as Rafael Devers and Amed Rosario, but there are still prospects knocking on the door of a call up. In addition, some of these players are a bit further out (A/A+), but represent some high ceilings prospects that could be the next big marketable prospects going into 2018.
Please note that only players currently in the minors and in the top fifteen prospects of their organization are listed.
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||SD||18||A||SS||0.266||0.364||0.488||0.329||631.6||1.44||21.5%|
As he did on my June report , Ryan McMahon once again tops the leader board. His ottoneu ownership percentage has risen from about 36% to 78%, and still represents a must own prospect given his 2B eligibility and the hitter’s haven that is Coors Field. It’s only a matter of time before McMahon makes his debut.
Bo Bichette isn’t close to playing for the Blue Jays, but the 18 year old is making the case for a dramatic rise up the prospect ranks going into 2018. He’s worth speculating on in ottoneu despite the ETA, as the hype will probably fetch you a quality player either in an offseason trade or early next season.
Dominic Smith should be following former teammate Amed Rosario to Queens any day now, and while the analytics and performance has often lagged behind the scouting reports, Smith has increased his ISO and wOBA each of the past three seasons as he’s moved up the ladder. There is concern that his ’17 performance may represent a Las Vegas mirage, but I also think the improvement is real. He is limited to 1B/Util in ottoneu, and I think he’ll struggle in his first exposure to big league pitching, but he’s worth owning.
A central tenet of Major League Equivalencies (MLEs) is that a prospect’s performance should suffer as he’s promoted each additional level, and given that, performances at AA and AAA are more predictive of MLB success than those occurring in the lower minors. Ronald Acuna spits in the face of such notions. Acuna began the year as a 19 year old with Atlanta’s A+ affiliate (a reasonable assignment for such a young player), and produced a .370 wOBA. That was enough to earn a promotion to AA (aggressive in the minds of many), where he hit even better with a .404 wOBA. Once again the powers that be in Atlanta promoted Acuna to the next level, and the teenage outfielder hasn’t missed a beat with a .423 wOBA in 21 games. One more note on the insanity that is Acuna- at each promotion he has walked more, struck out less, and hit for a higher ISO. Clearly the logical next step is a promotion to MLB and a Hall of Fame career.
The best thing that could have happened to ottoneu owners of Willie Calhoun was his trade to an American League team. Calhoun carries a big stick, but is a squat and stationary defender at second base, so his big league future likely involves a lot of OF and DH. The bat will carry just fine at those positions though, as the new Rangers prospect makes a ton of contact and hits for power despite his 5’8″ frame. The big league roster is crowded in Texas, but I expect Calhoun to stick on the opening day roster heading into 2018.
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||SD||18||A||SS||0.266||0.395||0.585||0.308||215.1||1.89||21.5%|
Many of the same names show up when looking at the leader board for the past month, but I will highlight a couple new names:
Tyler O’Neill is another prospect who was involved in a July trade, in this case moving from the Mariners to the Cardinals. O’Neill really struggled through the first couple months of his AAA season, with a .164 ISO and a .288 wOBA. Since June 1 (and including his time with the Cardinals), O’Neill has improved to a .320 ISO and a .401 wOBA, much more in line with his preseason expectations. The St. Louis outfield is crowded, but O’Neill should be in the mix soon.
Keston Hiura was taken with the ninth overall pick by the Brewers in the most recent MLB draft, and has hit the ground running as a professional. Hiura’s scouting reports suggested he might be the most advanced hitter in the draft, so it’s not terribly surprising that he hit so well at Rookie ball as a 21 year old coming from college. Despite his early success, there are some concerns here as Hiura’s plate discipline has evaporated once he was promoted to single A, and he’s carried an unrealistic .500 BABIP across both levels. That being said, I think Hiura might be the best short term asset of all the players taken in the June draft, and should be owned in more leagues.
Justin is a life long Cubs fan who has been playing fantasy baseball for 20+ years, and an ottoneu addict since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @justinvibber.