Good news! Peripheral Prospects is back on a regular schedule. As a reminder, Alex Chamberlain and I share this column which is designed to identify un/under-hyped prospects. It is not unlike the former Fringe Five series. I have a mission statement. Behold.
Mission Statement: Peripheral Prospects seeks to identify obscure future fantasy contributors.
Alex likes to weave word-things before naming names. I’m impatient. Let’s jump straight into the action.
Jake Fraley | 24 | SEA | OF (AAA)
Fraley occupies a weird space on the hyped-unhyped continuum. He’s a former 77th overall pick. Scouting reports generally credit him with an above average bat and just enough speed to maybe work as a center fielder. This all adds up to somebody who should be on the fantasy radar, but a wide range of injuries have prevented him from building much of a statistical resume. His 72 games this season already represent a career-high.
Jerry Dipoto acquired the 24-year-old as an apparent throw-in to the Mike Zunino–Mallex Smith trade. To date, he’s hit 13 home runs and stolen 19 bases across 311 plate appearances in Double- and Triple-A. The bulk of the action came at the lower level. Fraley has a line drive and hard contact oriented approach which has yielded gaudy BABIPs. High BABIP prospects often turn into normal BABIP major leaguers. If that happens, his future is as a fourth or fifth outfielder who you don’t hate starting in a pinch.
The door may open for Fraley as soon as Dipoto inevitably trades Domingo Santana. Mac Williamson and (I guess) Tim Beckham are next on the depth chart. While a normal development curve would have him competing for a job next spring, the Mariners appear likely to need him this season. Assuming he can shake the injury prone label, he should have decent fantasy relevance as a contributor to home runs and stolen bases. In terms of roto-stats expectations, think Brian Anderson with more steals.
Yonathan Daza | 25 | COL | OF (AAA)
Coors Field is a helluva drug. Despite a lack of prospect pedigree, Daza has consistently posted an over-.300 batting average at times fueled by high BABIPs. Since 2013, he has succeeded in every trial. This year, he’s learned to work a few walks in Triple-A. The result is a .378/.424/.581 batting line with nine home runs and nine stolen bases in 323 plate appearances (.414 BABIP). The Rockies currently have him on the 40-man roster. He went 1-for-18 in a brief stint in the majors.
Daza is likely a better fourth outfielder than Raimel Tapia. Alas, Tapia is (I believe) out of options while Daza isn’t an obvious-enough upgrade to bother discarding a formerly well-regarded prospect. The Rockies roster is crowded so long as Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, and Ian Desmond are healthy. Daza’s path to regular playing time requires a bevy of injuries. Only then will he be gifted an opportunity to continue his implacable march up the organizational ladder. The 25-year-old probably wouldn’t be fantasy relevant on another club.
Bobby Dalbec | 24 | BOS | 3B (AA)
Dalbec is perhaps on the edge of too high profile to appear in this column, but I believe that to be a function of his media market (Boston) rather than his actual prospect status. He’s considered to have a fatal flaw – a Pedro Cerano-like inability to hit breaking balls. Given that major league pitchers are throwing more bendy balls than any time in recent memory, Dalbec must improve to have a major league future.
He’s well-regarded because of his carrying traits – light tower power and a flashy glove. At Double-A this season, he’s popped 19 home runs in 329 plate appearances to go with a .234/.371/.494 batting line. Per McDongenhagen: “his combination of power and defensive ability give him significant upside if he grows into even a 40 bat.” Their report pegs him as a future platoon guy due who could also be called upon as an emergency reliever – he featured a 91-93 mph fastball in college with an average slider.
More recently, Dalbec has supplied five home runs in his last six games, a span of 25 plate appearances.
Alec Bettinger | 23 | MIL | SP (AA)
My hunt for pitchers to include on this list ran into a snag.
How's this for nuts?
Of all Triple-A pitchers with over 50 innings pitched, only four have a sub-4.00 xFIP. Two of them have an over-5.00 ERA, one has a career 8.15 ERA in the majors, and the other is Zac Gallen.
— Brad Johnson (@BaseballATeam) July 5, 2019
And so we reach to Double-A where we find Alec Bettinger, a pitcher about whom no words have been written on FanGraphs.com. Alas, google does nothing to improve the record on Bettinger. What I can say is he has a solid 3.77 ERA (2.87 FIP) with 9.98 K/9 and 2.14 BB/9. He’s featured similar numbers in the past, albeit without the low ERA. He’s pitched particularly well over his last 10 starts, compiling a 1.78 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 60.2 innings.
Just based on the performance, a promotion feels imminent. I’ve requested more information from McDongenhagen, but I don’t expect to hear back soon.
Alex Faedo | 23 | DET | SP (AA)
Even more than Dalbec, Faedo’s inclusion in this column is somewhat controversial. A former 18th overall pick in 2017, he’s not far removed from his draft status. That said, McDongenhagen rated him 15th in the Tigers mediocre farm system – part of the 40 FV group. Their description, which I’ll quote in a moment, sounds an awful lot like a LOOGY. Perhaps the kind who could survive under a new three-batter minimum rule.
Faedo is such a short strider. He only gets about five feet worth of extension on all his pitches, impacting his fastball’s perceived velocity quite significantly. There’s a chance it plays like a 40 fastball, even though its velo has rebounded some. Faedo’s funky low slot may flummox hitters enough to counterbalance his lack of extension somewhat, and it no doubt helps him create bat-missing action on his slider, which is excellent. He had several years of success against SEC hitting, and is a crafty sequencer. There are things to like, and some teams think Faedo is a high probability No. 4 or 5 starter, but we consider the velo fluctuation, lack of extension, and Faedo’s multiple knee surgeries, to be long term concerns.
Again, funk often finds its way to the bullpen. Reservations aside, he’s formed a potent 1-2 punch with Matt Manning in the Double-A rotation. Faedo has recorded a 3.44 ERA with 9.91 K/9 and 1.72 BB/9. On three occasions, he posted double-digit strikeout totals. He’s a fly ball pitcher which isn’t a great match for the current league environment. His success at the top level could rely upon Major League Baseball taking steps to unjuice the baseball.
In case you want to get a sense for how he looks, I heartily recommend this college highlight reel, complete with way-too-loud GNR. You’ll immediately see what our resident prospect guys are referring too. For half an instant, he looks like he’s going to mimic Roy Halladay/Charlie Morton and then it turns wonky(er).
|Zac Gallen||23||MIA||SP||MLB||W4, W6, W8||3||Promoted 6/20|
|Jacob Wilson||28||WAS||2B||AAA||W6, W7, W8||3|
|Jake Cronenworth||25||TBR||SS||AAA||W4, W5, W12||3|
|Cavan Biggio||23||TOR||2B||MLB||W3, W4||2||Recalled 5/24|
|Frank Schwindel||27||DET||1B||AAA||W2, W5||2||Released by KCR, signed 5/28|
|Ljay Newsome||22||SEA||SP||A+||W9, W11||2|
|Mike Tauchman||28||NYY||OF||MLB||W1||1||Recalled 6/26|
|Zack Granite||26||TEX||OF||AAA||W1||1||Optioned 5/31|
|Myles Straw||24||HOU||OF||MLB||W1||1||Recalled 5/29|
|Drew Anderson||25||PHI||SP||AAA||W2||1||Optioned 5/24|
|Luis Rengifo||22||LAA||2B/SS||MLB||W3||1||Recalled 5/21|
|Enyel De Los Santos||23||PHI||SP||AAA||W4||1|
|Erik Swanson||25||SEA||SP||AAA||W5||1||Optioned 5/17|
|Tyler Beede||25||SFG||SP||MLB||W6||1||Recalled 5/30|
|Josh Naylor||22||SDP||1B/OF||MLB||W7||1||Recalled 5/24|
|Matt Beaty||25||LAD||1B||MLB||W7||1||Recalled 4/30|
|Josh Rojas||25||HOU||1B/2B||AAA||W7||1||Promoted to AAA 5/29|
|Eli Morgan||22||CLE||SP||AA||W7||1||Promoted to AA 5/10|
|Zach Plesac||24||CLE||SP||MLB||W8||1||Recalled 5/28|
|Devin Smeltzer||23||MIN||SP||AAA||W9||1||Optioned 6/7|
|Kevin Cron||26||ARI||1B||AAA||W10||1||Optioned 6/22|
|Austin Allen||25||SDP||C||MLB||W11||1||Recalled 5/12|
|Luis Arraez||22||MIN||2B||MLB||W11||1||Recalled 5/17|
|Jack Mayfield||28||HOU||2B/SS||MLB||W11||1||Recalled 5/26|
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