Hey y’all! With the trade deadline in the major leagues and minor league season ending soon, this is a great time to look at some interesting prospects to take a flyer on. This week, I’m bringing you an outfielder that should be manning the outfield for St. Louis this September, another Royal outfield who is stealing bases like crazy and two pitchers in organizations that know how to develop pitchers.
Randy Arozarena – OF (STL AAA) Age: 24 ETA: 2019
The Cardinals signed Randy Arozarena in 2016 after he defected from Cuba in 2014. He was assigned to High A and hit 0.275 with a 0.333 OBP and eight home runs. After 70 games, the Cardinals moved him up to AA, where he struggled a bit with the more difficult competition. He repeated the level in 2018 and after hitting 0.396 in 24 games, he made his way to AAA, where again, he struggled. In a surprising move, the Cardinals again assigned him to AA to start the season but promoted him to AAA at the beginning of June.
However, unlike in previous seasons, Arozarena has absolutely killed it after being promoted. In 48 games in AAA, he has a 0.376 AVG with a 0.446 OBP and six home runs. Another encouraging sign is that his swinging strike percentage has decreased to a career-low 7.2%. He is also not a non-zero in steals as he has stolen double digits every year. Scouts have said he has an above-average hit tool and speed. With all of the offensive struggles in St. Louis, it would be great to see Arozarena get some playing time.
Nick Heath – OF (KCR AAA) Age: 25 ETA: 2020
Do you want speed? Nick Heath has the speed you are looking for! The Royals picked Heath in the sixteenth round of the draft and quickly assigned him to the AZL. In 62 games, Heath swiped 36 bases. He struggled in 2017 at High A, where he only hit 0.250 with a 0.310 OBP. Even while he struggled, scouts raved about his defense. He is an above average defender in center and should be able to stick at the position. In 2018, he split time between High A and AA, where he swiped 39 bases over both levels.
His walk rates increased to 14.8% and 10.4%, over both level respectively. This year, Heath is just running wild. In 84 games in AA, he swiped 50 bags and was only caught nine times. The Royals just promoted him to AAA this month. With Kansas City going through a major rebuild, we should be seeing Heath in Kansas City next year. His elite defense will keep him in the field and those steals will keep him on your fantasy league roster. For some reason, I am getting Jarrod Dyson vibes from Heath.
Cristian Javier – RHP (HOU AA) Age: 22 ETA: 2020
The Astros gave Javier a $10,000 signing bonus when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. After he came stateside in 2016 he had been splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. However, this should not steer you away from Javier as the Astros organization has been known to do this with some of their pitching prospects. Javier has always been able to throw strikes but has struggled with his command. While his swinging strike percentage has hovered around 15-19%, walk rates have sat around 10-13%.
This combo has not hindered him though. In 28.2 innings in High A this year, Javier had a 0.94 ERA with 1.08 WHIP with forty strikeouts. He was promoted to AA and in 65 innings, he has a 2.22 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with 96 strikeouts. Javier has a decent fastball and slider but some scouts have his changeup graded as a 60. If Javier is unable to stick in the rotation, he would make a pretty lights out reliever. The Astros is just one of those organizations I trust with their prospects.
Leo Crawford – LHP (LAD AA) Age: 22 ETA: 2021
Another organization I trust is the Dodgers. The Dodgers signed Crawford out of Nicaragua back in 2015. In his first couple of seasons, the southpaw struggled. In 135 innings in 2017 at A ball, he had a 4.60 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with 97 strikeouts. However, his defense was not giving him any love has his LOB% was only 62.4%. The Dodgers assigned him again to A ball to start the 2018 season and he continued to struggle but the Dodgers decided to promote him to High A.
After the promotion, Crawford has been killing it. In 91.1 innings in High A this year, he has a 2.96 ERA and 1.26 with 106 strikeouts. He was recently promoted to AA and had a perfect game going into the fifth inning in his debut. What is encouraging is Crawford’s swinging strikes have increased at every stop. It might be a bit early to claim him off waivers in your dynasty league, but he needs to be added to your watch list.