Stocking the Scout Team: Midseason Pop-Ups
The All Star Break is almost here. At this point, you know exactly what type of team you have. You know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. You know if you have a shot at the top spot in roto, or the playoffs in H2H. If you reside at the top or bottom, decisions are pretty easy. Let’s forget about all the people at the top of leagues, ’cause hey, screw them right? This is for those whose seasons did not go as planned. Don’t wanna pay inflated prices on a top-100 prospect? You came to the right place. As a disclaimer, none of the players on my list will ever be confused with the top minor league talent in the game. However, with continued development, all could be fixtures on future top-100s.
2B Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays
Brandon Lowe fits the proverbial professional hitter bill. Well, I hate that term, so I don’t know why I just used it. Still, there’s plenty to be optimistic about with this second baseman. Although Lowe didn’t flash top prospect tools last season, we’re willing to give him a pass as he spent much of the season shaking off rust following a brutal broken leg suffered just days before the amateur draft in 2015. Even a world class athlete needs substantial recovery time from such an injury, and now he looks to be fully recovered and has turned in an (FSL) all star season. A healthy Lowe is a productive Lowe, and he’s absolutely dominated High-A with the 9th best OPS, 2nd best wRC+, and 9th best slugging percentage in all of the minor leagues. Throw in a 14.4% walk rate and 15.3% strikeout rate, and I am intrigued. I’d like to see the former college player bumped up a level following his 1st half ownership of the FSL, and the 22-year-old could soon be on the fast track to the big leagues where he can show off his plus bat.
RF Vince Fernandez, Colorado Rockies
An unheralded 2016 10th round pick, Vince Fernandez has been killing the ball this year. Entering the year, Fernandez was nowhere near top-100s and he did not even make my personal top-300. Now the UCR product is opening eyes as he lays waste to the SAL. Check the numbers: .324/.389/.562, .424 wOBA, 170 wRC+, and .237 ISO. Fernandez is using a pull-heavy approach to succeed this year, as 52.9% of his contact has gone to the pull side, way up from a 41.5% figure from last season. While this may not be the most sustainable of adjustments, additional tweaks that have led to a 5.3% bump in flyball rate is an encouraging sign that his improved power output is real. Chip in 11 stolen bases and (possibly) an eventual home in Coors, and the Rockies may have something.
SP Dustin May, Los Angeles Dodgers
I’m thinking Dustin May could be something special. Ol’ Dusty will play the entire season at age 19. In 13 Low-A starts he has not disappointed, shoving to a 3.24 ERA, 9.48 K/9 and 1.84 BB/9. At 6’6″, 180 pounds, May has the size and plenty of room to add good weight. According to multiple outlets, May has solid command over his four-pitch mix. His fastball and slider could grade out as plus at maturity, and hasn’t had trouble inducing groundballs at an excellent rate thus far. Toss in the flowing red locks pictured below and a projectable body which may have room for a few more miles per hour on the fastball, and there’s an intriguing under-the-radar arm to be had here.