Every year at this time, we run into questions about the optimal conference tournament structure. One simple suggestion I haven’t yet seen, though, balances all interests involved and adds an extra few hours of heart-pounding baseball. What more could conferences, teams and fans want?
Jared Walsh - Walsh may not be one of the most exciting players to debut this year, but he sure is an interesting one. The former 39th round pick had a breakout year offensively in 2018 as he hit .277/.359/.536 and jumped from High-A to Triple-A. He’s continued that offensive success so far in 2019 hitting .302/.398/.604 with 10 homers in 37 games with the Salt Lake Bees prior to the call up. He has made some improvements with his strikeout rate but is still going down on strikes over 25% of the time.
Walsh is interesting because he represents a new wave of player that will surely be more common as today’s benches keep shrinking. Walsh was being used as a LOOGY (left-handed one out guy) in Triple-A. In 2018 the Angels dabbled a bit with him in the bullpen as he amassed eight appearances throughout the year and he’s already received five this year. The Angels liked enough of what they saw to actually bring Walsh to instructs over the winter to work as a pitcher. Even with Bour being sent down the presence of Ohtani and Pujols will cut unto Walsh’s playing time and I don’t think he works his way into regular playing time for the Angels this season. He can safely be let on the wire in 15 or less team formats. Walsh ranked 22nd on my Los Angeles Angels prospect list.
Shaun Anderson - The long-haired righty was a third round pick by the Boston Red Sox in the 2016 draft. Anderson couldn’t crack the loaded rotation in Gainesville but found his niche as the closer as was behind guys like A.J. Puk, Dane Dunning, Logan Shore and Alex Faedo on the loaded Florida Gators staff. He’s always had the stuff to start and after the Red Sox drafted him they began building stamina and getting Anderson back into the rotation. He was traded to the Giants along with RHP Gregory Santos in a deadline deal for Eduardo Nunez in 2017, and was our eighth ranked prospect in our Giants prospect list. He relies on ground balls and weak contact more than missing bats, and his deep arsenal lacks a truly plus pitch. He’s primarily fastball/slider, but also throws a sinker, change and curveball. With average command, Anderson’s best trait is his ability to keep the ball in the yard and a favorable home park plays into that. Anderson is a useful streamer at home and should be up with the rebuilding Giants for the remainder of the season.
Luis Arraez - A career .331 hitter in the minors, Arraez has a plus hit tool due to his elite hands. He makes contact at a high rate as has only struck out more than 10% of the time once his career and that was in 2018 when he posted a 10.9% strikeout rate while playing in the Florida State League. Arraez’s offensive approach is simple as he is a left-handed hitter with a knack for slapping the ball over the shortstops head or through the 5.5 hole. Despite his plus hit tool, Arraez’s overall skill set isn’t interesting to me because he completely lacks power and is a slightly below average runner. His range is limited at second base, but as we’ve seen in today’s game that’s becoming less and less of an issue. He does have good hands and the Twins have begun moving him around the diamond a bit to add some versatility to the package. Arraez was our 21st ranked prospect on our Minnesota Twins top 30 list, and projects as an offensive-minded utility option going forward. I don’t think he is up for the long haul and he can remain safely on the wire.
Call-up season has come early this year, and with it a new cast of talents to root for and fawn over. Today the Milwaukee Brewers got in on the early season promotion trend and added Keston Hiura to their 25 man roster, and the list of future stars now gracing MLB fields. Hiura is one of the more followed prospects in the minor league universe, due to his high draft position (ninth in the 2017 draft) and offensive upside. Fantasy managers have stashed Hiura in certain formats as early as a season ago with hopes of a potential call-up. Today is the day. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the former UC-Irvine standout.
It seems like there isn’t an abundance of Shed Long love around baseball. That might be because he’s been the same player for the last three years or so with little variance, good or bad. We’ve long formed our opinion on the 5-foot-8 23-year-old. Yeah, that size is right. Long is anything but an imposing figure at the plate but he’s not lacking dynamic skills.
Son of a Big Leaguer, Freshman Phenom, Tommy John survivor, Top 10 pick, and under-performing prospect; Cal Quantrill’s career has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions. After varying results over the last season and a half, the former Stanford standout, received the call to the big leagues. Let’s dig into the scouting reports from the pre-season industry ranks and see how they compare with the pitcher we see tonight versus the Atlanta Braves.
Finally — and perhaps a year later than we expected — Nick Senzel is making his major league debut with the Reds. The elite prospect is batting second in the lineup and the hope is this is day one of his becoming a fixture in Cincinnati. Injuries have dogged him for the last year, to the point where I think some have forgotten just how good he can be.
The minor league season is officially into its second month — May is upon us. There was a lot to digest in the opening month of 2019 and, amidst the injuries, promotions, and MLB debuts, several performances went unnoticed. We went digging to make sure we spotlighted someone that you might’ve missed.
There was a moment last season where I realized what separates Vladimir Guerrero Jr. from every other minor league hitter I’ve every watched. The funny part is it wasn’t an actual at bat. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was on deck while Bo Bichette faced Jack Wynkoop a soft tossing lefty in the Rockies system Guerrero Jr had homered off in Hartford about 10 days earlier. Despite his prior success against Wynkoop, Vlad was staring daggers at each pitch with an intense focus rarely seen. Bichette roped a double out to left center on a soft fastball over the plate. Up stepped Vlad. He took two pitches off the plate, the next pitch a fastball, he hit on a laser for a single.