Written by: Ray Butler
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- Jesús Luzardo struck out nine and allowed one run on four hits in four innings of work on Sunday for High-A Stockton. The left-hander is currently rehabbing from a shoulder injury suffered during Spring Training, but a big league debut seems to be on the horizon.
I’m told Jesús Luzardo will move up to Triple-A Las Vegas for his next start on June 22. He impressed today in Stockton over four innings, allowing just one run with nine strikeouts and no walks.
— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) June 17, 2019
Luzardo’s velocity from Sunday is also of note…
Jesus Luzardo has completed his four innings for the @stocktonports. Allowed one run on four hits, including a solo HR. No walks, 9 K’s. Struck out the side in his first and last inning. Fastball topped at 99 mph, sat 95-96. 52 pitches, 38 strikes.
— Zack Bayrouty (@ZackBayrouty) June 16, 2019
From the left side, that’s absolutely lovely. First and foremost, we should hope for sustained good health for Luzardo; shoulder injuries are tricky and can reappear seemingly out of nowhere. Assuming the worst is behind him, the question surrounding Luzardo becomes just how much of an impact he can make on your fantasy team from ~July 15th to the end of the regular season. If he’s been promoted to Oakland by that date, the 21-year-old should be able to compile 10-12 starts before the end of the regular season. It’s critically important to note that Luzardo only surpassed 5 IP in an outing once last season, though it’s possible (maybe even probable) that he’s asked to do more later this summer once the shoulder ailment is even further in the rearview mirror. With all things considered, the left-hander should be capable of throwing anywhere from 50-60 innings down the stretch of the regular season. A 50 IP, 55 K, 3.60 ERA line feels about right as long as the Athletics don’t play games with his timeline. Let’s hope the building hype isn’t stymied once again, because Luzardo can be incredibly valuable for your team as the fantasy playoffs draw closer. In summation:
- Esteury Ruiz over the last month: .295/.419/.430 with 9 XBH and a 12.5 BB% in 96 plate appearances. The swing-and-miss is still there (28.1 K% in the same timeframe), but I’m hopeful we’re seeing some baby-steps being taken by a flawed yet toolsy player who’s 2.5 years younger than his average competition in the California League. For the season, the 20-year-old is now slashing .266/.338/.416 with 5 home runs and 26 stolen bases. Ruiz is the epitome of a risky prospect: he’s a high-K% player with below-average defensive skills who’s without a long-term position. In real-life lists, there’s really no reason for his inclusion within a top-100. But in the fantasy universe—a world that prioritizes upside and offensive skills over anything else—Ruiz is as intriguing as it comes. He’s on pace to finish the season with 10 home runs, 53 stolen bases and an OPS higher than .750. The volatility is incredibly immense and he’s far from an elite prospect, but I remain the conductor of the Ruiz hype train.
- If you haven’t done so already, you should really grab a Prospects 365 t-shirt. A small portion of proceeds will be donated to 4MOM, a charity founded by Braden and Hunter Bishop to fight Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also and it’s a fantastic way to support a site that works tirelessly to enhance your baseball and fantasy baseball experience. All purchases come with free shipping. Snag yours today!
- It’s time for Bobby Bradley to rejuvenate the Indians’ offense at the big league level. The 23-year-old has been unconscious lately (5 home runs in his last 5 games) but underratedly good all season, slashing .287/.348/.627 with 22 home runs in 262 plate appearances (62 games). The strikeout rate is still inadequate (33.2%), but you know, and I know, the Indians are not going to win the AL Central if their offense remains as porous as it’s been so far this season. A world in which Bradley, Carlos Santana, Jake Bauers and Oscar Mercado see everyday at-bats probably means the playing time of Leonys Martin and a sneaky-good Jordan Luplow gets pinched, but the alternative would be the organization trading one of their best prospects for starting lineup help. So instead of trading Luis Oviedo or Raynel Delgado for someone like Marcell Ozuna, how about exhausting your internal options and give Bradley (40.1 Hard% this season) an opportunity? If the decrease in Pull% is here to stay (meaning the BABIP will be rosier than the .226 mark he posted in 421 Double-A plate appearances last season), the big league outlook is something like .260/.320/.480 with 25-30 home runs and a 30.0 K%. Bradley is a streaky hitter, so a hot start would make him appear like a hotter long-term commodity than he really is.
Bradley. Keeps. Bashing. 💪
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 16, 2019
- Speaking of prospects who are just about ready to make the jump, Isan Diaz has made some significantly positive strides this season. Thru 277 plate appearances in 66 Triple-A games this season, Diaz is slashing .289/.373/.533 with 14 home runs. Even more impressive? The 23-year-old has cut his strikeout rate by 5.7-percent this season (27.4% in 2018, 21.7% this season). THAT increases a player’s viability drastically. And when you consider Diaz has increased his ISO from .167 last season to .249 in 2019, you begin to see the genuine gains the infielder has made in a short period of time. Diaz ranked 193rd in my preseason top-200 prospect list, but he’s a sure-bet to climb quite a bit in the midseason edition. The Marlins have to move Starlin Castro and his .573 OPS before Diaz will have the opportunity to take a stronghold of the cornerstone in Miami, but I’d like to think that will happen sometime this summer (via trade or DFA). If you’re a long-time rosterer of Diaz in a deep keeper or dynasty league, the growth we’ve seen from him so far this season must be a dream come true. Unless the strikeout rate and on base skills bottom out, it’s really beginning to look like Diaz is a future starting second baseman in 12-team fantasy leagues. If that becomes reality and Jordan Yamamoto eventually settles in as a back-end rotation piece (as he should), the Marlins are a ‘Lewis Brinson and/or Monte Harrison becoming viable at the big league level’ away from truly salvaging the Christian Yelich trade.
— R. J Diaz (@Raul47Diaz) June 2, 2019
- NECESSARY MISSISSIPPI STATE ALUM REACTION AFTER THE MIRACLE COMEBACK WIN VERSUS AUBURN IN THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES:
- Post-hype Scott Kingery is going to play a large role in many fantasy league championships this season. In 39 games and 130 plate appearances, Kingery is slashing .344/.385/.664 with 8 home runs and 2 stolen bases (170 wRC+). In most leagues, the 25-year-old is eligible at third base, shortstop and outfield. With Andrew McCutchen out for the remainder of the season, Odubel Herrera suspended indefinitely and Adam Haseley on the injured list, Kingery has suddenly become an invaluable piece of the Phillies’ everyday starting lineup. The .418 BABIP won’t last, but a Kingery who slashes something like .300/.340/.550 is a valuable commodity not only in Philadelphia, but on your fantasy team as well. The moon and stars was the ceiling for the utility player last season after he inked a 6 year, $24 million contract last preseason (at the time, he became only the second player to ever sign a multi-year contract before ever playing in an MLB game). The immediate aftermath was disappointing; Kingery only slashed .226/.267/.338 with 8 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 484 plate appearances last season. That led to an ADP of 385 this preseason, which the 25-year-old will surely top handily. The stolen base output should tick-up sooner rather than later (Kingery’s sprint speed is in the 94th-percentile of all MLB players this season), and there’s a real chance Kingery finishes the 2019 season as a 20 HR/15 SB player who also hits close to .300. With three positions of eligibility. As a 25-year-old. Make sure he’s rostered in your league, regardless of format.
Only 5 players in ⚾️ are hitting at least .320, 360 0BP, 600 slugging % 🔥🔥
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) June 11, 2019
- Notice a trend here for Ian Desmond?
Turns out, hitting the ball on the ground is actually bad. Granted, Desmond’s FB% is still not where it should be, but he’s been an above average offensive player this season with a 10.7-percent increase in fly ball frequency. The stolen base output appears to be vanishing this season (the 33-year-old has stolen only 1 base so far this season after swiping 20 last season), but Desmond is still relevant in fantasy circles, especially since he possesses 1B/OF eligibility. For the season, he’s slashing .274/.336/.509 with 9 home runs. He’s been especially great in June, slashing .326/.348/.605 with 3 home runs in only 46 plate appearances. I’ve grabbed a pair of shares in my P365 leagues and plan on riding the hot streak then reevaluating as the performance plateaus. With the Hard% and FB% trending in the correct direction for each of the past three seasons, I really wonder where we’ll be next season if the trend continues.
— Strand Sport Stats (@StrandStats) June 16, 2019
- If you haven’t gotten around to it yet, make sure you’ve read last week’s Ramblings. It includes thoughts and notes on Cristian Pache, Kristian Robinson, Julio Rodriguez, Jake Fraley, Alek Thomas, Edward Cabrera, Howie Kendrick and Todd Frazier. Check it out here.
- Zack Collins will never be an everyday catcher at the big league level. He just won’t be. It’s probably a 40 defensive profile, which is poor enough to really hinder the White Sox’s pitching staff if he’s back there too often. The offensive struggles against left-handed pitching (.189/.283/.378) is another issue (that’s smaller, yet still important) that hinders Collins’ prospects as a future everyday player at a position in which he struggles defensively. The 24-year-old is a 1B/DH player in my eyes, with strikeout issues prevalent enough to exclude him altogether from my top-250 prospect list this preseason. In 49 games and 203 plate appearances this season, Collins is slashing .250/.374/.482 with 9 home runs, a 32.5 K% and 18.2 BB%. Distributed to the 531 plate appearances he accumulated last season, Collins is on pace to hit 24 home runs in 2019. In a nutshell, I think that’s the player he’ll be at baseball’s top level (once he settles in, of course). With Welington Castillo presumably headed to the IL with a back injury, Collins will likely back up James McCann until further notice. With Yonder Alonso currently sporting a 60 wRC+ for the season, I’d imagine Collins will see most of his at-bats as a DH. Four or five total starts a week feels about in-line with how the White Sox will handle him, though that estimation might be on the aggressive side. Once Castillo returns, one of two things could happen. If he rakes immediately, Chicago could look hard at DFA’ing Alonso to free-up at-bats for the remainder of the season. If Collins struggles out of the gate, the easiest solution would be to simply demote him back to Triple-A Charlotte, then recall him when rosters expand in September. Either way, the White Sox would be prudent to see what they’ve got with Collins sooner rather than later. Andrew Vaughn is coming. From a big picture fantasy standpoint, I don’t really see a scenario in which Collins becomes a household name in AVG leagues—in 2019 or beyond—as anything more than a low-end C1 in 12-team leagues as a best case scenario. The 24-year-old could eventually hold legitimate, rosterable value in 5×5 OBP leagues, though. Think Justin Smoak or Carlos Santana with more strikeouts. Let’s just hope he accrues enough starts at catcher to maintain eligibility for the foreseeable future.
— Sox On 35th (@SoxOn35th) May 27, 2019
- It’ll all fall apart since I’m mentioning it, but’s been a heck of a month and a half for me in TGFBI.
I must say, I’m beginning to fall in love with the whole ’15-team roto, no trades, no IL-slots, weekly waiver adds via FAAB’ aura of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. Managing your roster and taking advantage of the wire (without attempting to take advantage of your league mates via trade) on a weekly basis might be the purest way to determine genuine fantasy baseball skill. Having drafted José Ramirez fourth overall in League 13’s draft, FAAB additions like Lucas Giolito, Eduardo Escobar, Hunter Pence, Hunter Dozier, David Fletcher and Alex Gordon have been absolutely crucial in my ascension. Still, I have a loooonnnnnnggggg ways to go to become truly relevant in the Overall Standings. I currently rank 3rd within my league. Regardless of the eventual outcome, this entire experience has been a ton of fun.
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Featured image courtesy of photographer Rick Scuteri