The Situation: Arizona made a smorgasbord of moves this winter to position themselves as contenders in the NL West. They currently sit two-plus touchdowns out of first place. With the team all but eliminated from playoff contention and Zack Greinke ailing, the Diamondbacks will call on the best prospect in the system, right-hander Braden Shipley.
Background: Shipley came to Nevada as a true two-way prospect, and was actually better with the bat early on, earning second-team All-WAC honors as a shortstop. That quickly changed, as Shipley transformed himself to one of the best right-handed starters west of the Mississippi, and earned top-10 consideration during his junior year. However, Shipley’s stock slid on draft day causing him to fall to the Diamondbacks with the 15th overall pick. Since then, he’s put up solid—if not spectacular—numbers, posting a career 3.79 ERA in just under 442 innings with a career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.70. As is so often the case, those numbers don’t truly tell the story of how talented Shipley is, and the DBacks have seen enough to believe he’s ready to get big-league hitters out.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Examining players who might pique your interest in deeper formats.
This week’s Deep League Report features three repeat customers who have outperformed their projections since their first appearance. Also featured this week: a former MVP, two guys who are really fast, a pitcher who used to be a shortstop and a guy who’s striking out more than two batters per inning. It’s go time.
Monday is turning into a great day for prospect debuts, but this one is the most great.
The Situation: Houston is right in the thick of the playoff chase again, and with A.J. Reed struggling to get on base or hit for power upon his promotion, the Astros will instead call on the best prospect in their system, Alex Bregman.
Background: Bregman was a potential second-round selection coming into the 2012 draft out of Albuquerque, but it was clear that he was set on attending LSU, and attend LSU he did. He quickly established himself as one of the best players in college baseball, posting a .963 OPS in his freshman year and quickly became a legit candidate to be the top player taken in the 2015 draft. A so-so sophomore season saw his stock slide ever so slightly, but he hit .323/.412/.535 and was taken second overall by Houston that June. After an impressive first professional season, Bregman destroyed pitching this spring/summer, posting a 1.016 OPS, earning a trip to the Futures Game (where he nearly hit for the cycle), and becoming one of the best prospects in baseball.
In his Padres debut, 18-year-old Anderson Espinoza displayed the precocious ability and projection that has driven his status as a nationally-celebrated prospect. Espinoza came out in the first inning with a toned-down fastball, working smoothly between 91 and 94. He lasted three innings, but in the latter two he worked 93-96, touching 97 twice, with natural though inconsistent running action and some sink. At higher velocities, the fastball run can be downright explosive. Espinoza works from a high 3/4 release point with a good arm action and an overall mechanical package that exudes premium fluidity and athleticism. His command and feel sometimes evaded him on this muggy night, and he impressed by remaining composed.
Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Isan Diaz, Josh Staumont, Patrick Weigel, and Aristides Aquino.
Prospect of the Weekend:Isan Diaz, IF, Milwaukee Brewers (Single-A Wisconsin): 3-for-4, 2 R, 3B, 2 HR, BB, K
We generally try to spread out the prospect of the day/weekend, but I’m pretty sure this is the second or third time Diaz has won it, and for good reason. He’s torn the cover off the baseball for the month of July, hitting .333/.417/.726 with seven homers. That’s good. Whether it’s at shortstop, second base, or whatever position he plays, Diaz can be a regular there. The offensive upside is that high.
J.P. recommends a handful of widely available players who could help your fantasy squad down the stretch.
Here at The Buyer’s Guide, we routinely talk about established players, their fantasy trade value, and whether owners should buy, sell, or hold. As in-season trades die down in late July and early August, it’s perhaps more helpful to scour the waiver wire for help.
Scott Servais was hired with no managerial experience--but with a long front office resume, a close friendship with his GM, and a history of being chummy with analytics. How's it going?
“It’s gonna be much different than what you’ve seen in other camps. And there’s a reason—we’re trying to get a different result. I think if you wanna get a different result, you gotta do something different...You gotta be open to change. Change is uncomfortable. Just not used to it. But we’re talking about changing the culture, you gotta do something different.” —Scott Servais, January 28, 2016
When the Mariners hired Jerry Dipoto, and gave him authority to hire a new manager, he seemed keen to avoid the power struggles that had marked his time in Los Angeles and necessitated his eventual departure. In the days leading up to his resignation in July 2015, Ken Rosenthal reported that Dipoto and Mike Scioscia had clashed over the coaching staff’s over-reliance on “feel” and resistance to advanced analytics to prepare the Angels for matchups. In Seattle, Scott Servais offered something else—a career’s worth of collaboration, coupled with a willingness to try new things. In many ways, Servais looked the part of a major-league manager. He was a former catcher, and head of player development. He had an extensive coaching background even if he had never previously managed. Perhaps more importantly, he had an extensive background with Dipoto. Even before Los Angeles, they had overlapped several times. They were friends and colleagues of 15 years, and Dipoto had praised Servais’ willingness to listen to and try new things. Dipoto was the stathead, and Servais the player development guy, but they met in the middle.