Prospect News: Nico and the Sword of Light

The playoffs just started in my home league: a ten-team mixer. And it’s great to make the playoffs and all, but something seems weird about deciding our season during the only month when the real team’s seasons are decided. It’s not that nothing’s at stake in the real games, but the greatest motivator for most organizations might be their draft slot: a significant number in this Collective Bargaining Agreement whereby regular season record dictates both amateur acquisition budgets: draft and international.

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The other exigencies still in play—development and health—have a variety of impacts in our game. Clubs want to see their young players on the field, but they’d rather not see them get hurt. Most young pitchers are running out of innings, and a lot of the good pitchers are resting/planning for the playoffs. On the swinger side, the idea of an everyday player in September is . . . nice, as an idea. But as a general rule, you’re looking at a lot of off days.

They’re not for you: the off-days. In fact, players’ days off make more work for you, which is where a lot of these late-season prospects come into play: as newly stream-able entities. Maybe you’re a little tired in these twilight weeks. Maybe you’re giving your fantasies to football. That’s fine. The players are tired too. Might be the same for everyone, no? The world belongs to anyone who gets out of bed, so let’s kick that alarm-clock Rocky music and punch these carcass—er, ugh, weigh the merits of this week’s newly minted major leaguers!

 

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Called up:

Chicago Cubs SS Nico Hoerner hasn’t lit the minor leagues aflame this season, but I think you can basically ignore his AA numbers. Hit-tool prospects benefit most from the juiced ball, and this 2018 first-round pick is just that, striking out in 10.5 percent of his 294 plate appearances across 70 AA games. He had been scheduled for a repeat trip to the Arizona Fall League, but that’s probably off due to Javy Baez’s injury, so Nico gets a chance at a Major League mic drop. Maybe he can’t save the day for the city of Chicago or your fantasy team, but he’s talented enough to chip in some solid box scores down the stretch and enhance his fantasy profile heading into 2020. I suspect he’s exactly the type to ride a few hot weeks to an off-season value boost.

Los Angeles Dodgers 3B Edwin Rios is a decent power streamer or DFS play whenever he’s in the lineup, and I think he’ll play a bit now that the Dodgers have clinched.

Seattle Mariners OF Kyle Lewis has not played well in AA this year, but AA doesn’t play with the juiced ball, and I’m taking a no-stone-unturned approach whenever talented players get a chance at the big-league’s balls. Lewis is a former Golden Spikes Award winner and 11th overall pick. His leg kick was so big it compromised his timing last time I saw him, but perhaps he’ll quiet his lower half enough to sustain balance and gain a split-second for pitch recognition and reaction. If so, you’re going to want Kyle Lewis on your rosters. Especially if he aces this audition for an early 2020 promotion.

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I feel like every other call-up I cover is a Mariner. That Jerry Dipoto sure stays busy, huh? Next on the docket is RHP Justin Dunn, an intriguing arm the Mets jettisoned in their ill-fated Edwin Diaz play. It’s unclear at present what role he’ll fill, but his innings totals suggest he could start:

2017 = 95.1

2018 = 135.1

2019 = 131.2

That leaves him about 34 innings between now and his ceiling. Last season’s total plus 30 is probably not the formula every organization uses, but most follow it better than the golden rule. The bulk of last season’s innings (89) and all 131.2 this year were logged in AA, where Dunn’s been excellent, striking out 10.8 per nine while walking 2.67 and keeping his homerun rate below one (0.87) per nine innings. I can’t help but wonder: Why has he thrown 220.2 innings at AA and none at AAA? Eh, doesn’t really matter now. He’s a pickup or stream in most leagues.

I like everyone on this week’s list, but I’m especially interested in Seattle RHP Art Warren. That seafaring closer job is kind of a mythical creature at the moment: Lock Ness type stuff. Maybe they’ll sign a veteran or two in the offseason, but the ring is open for an accurate hat-thrower, and I think Warren has refined his command enough this season (3.69 BB/9, 0.28 HR/9, 11.65 K/9) to be a candidate who polls well among most demographics.

Our last Hey-Sailor of the day goes out to Seattle SS Donnie Walton. He sounds like a New Kid on the Block, doesn’t he? He is 25 though, probably about the age of a New Kid when they first hit and had that hot minute in their first few days on the block. And now this Donnie is within swinging distance of some real money. Or at least a betterment of his future opportunities. As a 25-year-old in AA, his stat-lines get dinged a little, but his 11.3 BB% and 12.9K % stand out at any age, as does his .390 on base percentage. You’re better off not needing a strong run from Donnie Walton. I hope your league doesn’t come down to that. But much crazier things have happened than a useful stretch from guy like Donnie.

 

Showing Soon?

Cleveland OF Ka’ai Tom is smashing through the AAA playoffs. Even with Puig and Franmil in tow, Cleveland might make room for Tom, who’s been unconscious for a month now.

Is that what we say? For the ZONE, when a player goes all Mark Lemke? Unconscious . . . for a month . . . (that’s called a coma, right? I mean I’m no doctor.)

Anyway, Tom’s hitting well. Seems like a man built for this era: good loft with a good approach and decent enough contact skills. Also, he has to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft this winter, so he’ll have to be on the 40-man roster by then whether they promote him or not. Might as well get some looks, playoff chases pending.

Man, was I chatty today? Felt chatty . . . anyhow, Top 100 and team rundowns are coming soon! Thanks for reading! Take er easy! And if she’s easy . . . (that’s, uhhh, actually called consent, right? I mean I’m no doctor.)

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