The densest concentration of prospect superpowers will offer plenty to watch for this autumn.
The Arizona Fall League is the Mecca of the prospect world, giving scouts and fans the most saturating collection of prospects gathered in any one spot at any point on the baseball calendar, save perhaps the one-day Future’s Game. Unlike that all-star exhibition, however, many of the game’s top prospects will ascend to the desert to play for something more than just national exposure and that third digit on the radar gun, with 32 games to refine their skills against fellow top prospects.
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These hot-corner players aren't owned in many leagues, but they might hold keeper value for 2015 and beyond.
If there’s anything we love more than baseball around here on the fantasy staff, it’s collaborating with each other. So, at the behest of myself, we’re going to be doing one final group series of the year to close out the last seven weeks of the season. For this series, we will each select one player who is below 25 percent owned in either ESPN or Yahoo! leagues who could be someone to consider grabbing before the end of the season with an eye toward a keeper spot. Now, given the depth we’re dealing with here, these recommendations are not for owners who can keep five or seven players from season-to-season—it’s more for those of you who play in leagues where keepers take up more than half of your roster (and possibly more, in the case of some recommendations contained within).
Garin Cecchini, Boston Red Sox
“Garin Cecchini has had a down year. His much-vaunted walk rate is down and his strikeout rate is up. Trading walks for strikeouts is not good. The good that might come of this is that his poor performance has potentially made him acquirable. We know that owners hate selling low, but if he has not been claimed or if he has been dropped, then I still think he is worth a shot. Since he’s still only 23 years old, 2014 might prove to be an adjustment year for Cecchini. Of course, it might not. But if it does, you are looking at a cheap third basemen that gives you a little bit of everything while playing half his games at Fenway. On top of that, opportunity is not unforeseeable as only Will Middlebrooks and Brock Holt stand in front of him on the depth chart. Cecchini could also very easily be traded, potentially in a package including Boston’s many outfielders and number five/six starters. The advantage here is that the acquiring team probably likes Cecchini, meaning playing time would be likely. It is not a sexy gamble, but it is a gamble that (depending on your league) might just be cheap enough to be worth the risk.” —Jeff Quinton
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson and Astros righty Mark Appel.
Hitter of the Night: Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, BB.
There’s not much left to say about Pederson, who should be in the majors at this point and would be with any of the other 29 organizations. Unlike some of the top prospects we’ve seen struggle lately, Pederson’s floor should be higher, given his power production and on-base skills.
Pitcher of the Night: Mark Appel, RHP, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 10 K.
I’ve been waiting all year to put Appel in this section of the Update. It’s been a tale of two seasons for Appel, who was as horrific as could be in the California League but has actually been pretty good in the Texas League, getting his ERA below the 4.00 mark. He’s even missing bats more frequently lately, signaling a return of the stuff that got him selected in the top 10 twice.
Madison Bumgarner comes close to a perfect game, Alex Gordon does something nobody has done against Glen Perkins, and more from around the league.
The Tuesday Takeaway
If you’ve pitched at any level, from Little League to high school to college to the pros, you’ve had a coach tell you to get ahead and stay ahead. Madison Bumgarner took that sage advice to heart on Tuesday night.
Facing a depleted Rockies lineup—sans Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Michael Cuddyer—Bumgarner threw 24 first-pitch strikes in 28 tries. Fifteen of the 23 plate appearances that lasted at least three pitches featured an 0-2 count. And eighty of Bumgarner’s 103 offerings either satisfied plate umpire Cory Blaser’s strike zone or elicited a swing.
The Cubs call up another of the most exciting prospects in the minors, as Jorge Soler takes his place in front of Wrigley's ivy.
The situation: The rebuilding Cubs find themselves in need of an outfielder as Justin Ruggiano is likely headed to the disabled list. Top prospect Jorge Soler has been mashing at Double- and Triple-A and has earned a callup that will likely last the rest of the year.
A classic BP piece on "what could one day be looked back upon as a slice of history."
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
On August 5, 2005, Baseball Prospectus published the following feature on some random Mariners game, chosen that week for Jonah Keri's Prospectus Game of the Week feature. Okay, not quite some random game. Felix Hernandez was making his first ever start in Seattle that day.
Examining a handful of players who might pique your interest in deep leagues.
That’s me in the intro. That’s me in the spotlight.
Rusney Castillo, OF, Red Sox
In last week’s Deep Impact, I talked up Mookie Betts, assuring owners that he’d see the majority of playing time in center field for the rest of the season now that Jackie Bradley Jr. has been relegated to the minor leagues. Whoops.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Astros outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and Orioles righty Parker Bridwell.
Hitter of the Night: Delino DeShields, Jr., OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 4-6, 3 R, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, BB, 2 K.
It’s been a big step back this year for DeShields, who hasn’t hit since leaving the California League and hasn’t seen his power translate to Double-A. This is a massive game for any prospect, though it should be noted that his team scored 23 runs in the game, so there may have been something in the air.
Pitcher of the Night: Parker Bridwell, RHP, Orioles (Frederick, A+): 8 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 K.
This isn’t just the best-pitched game tonight, it’s one of the best of the minor league season. Bridwell is maddeningly inconsistent and has been his entire professional career, but it’s outings like this that keep people coming back to him as a prospect. He’s got a major-league arm, but there are still big questions about whether or not he’ll ever develop enough consistency to be a starter.
Yesterday / there was baseball that these teams played / and there will be even more today
The Monday Takeaway
Over the weekend, the Cubs' pitching staff held Baltimore’s potent lineup to just four runs, as the American League East leaders dropped all three games of their series to the club occupying the National League Central cellar.