Kevin Newman, Ian Happ, and Austin Meadows lead a slew of promotions this week.
Promotions have dominated the news this week, as teams return from their respective All-Star breaks and draftees begin to sign with their clubs. The minors get shaken up again as most of their dominant stars move up to a higher league and new talent arrives. It’s an exciting time. Let’s get to it!
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A look at the batters from the Carolina League All-Star Game, from the perspective of a single look, and the benefit of a half-season of play.
We have the good fortune of having BP Prospect Team members all over the country, taking in games and giving you eyewitness reports and notes from the field. Unfortunately, they don’t always get to travel, which is why the California/Carolina League All-Star Game is always a treat for some of our team, as they get a brief look at guys they’d never otherwise see. Wilson Karaman was the beneficiary this year, as California hosted, and he took copious notes on guys he normally doesn’t get to catch. We’re presenting you with those notes and providing the backup of Adam McInturff’s season-to-date looks at many of the same players. This gives you the benefit of seeing what we’re able to take away in one viewing, and the nuances that bear out over a longer set of looks. We’ll start with hitters and tackle pitchers in a second installment. —Craig Goldstein
Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.
Welcome to the starting pitcher planner, where every Friday I’ll be taking a look at the pitchers slated for two turns in the upcoming week. The hope is that the planner can help guide lineup and FAAB decisions that need to be made over the weekend. Of course, my information isn’t perfect and I don’t have a crystal ball. Rain, injuries, and teams reshuffling between when I write and Monday’s first pitch will definitely happen. If new information comes to light after we publish, I’ll try to tackle it in the comments. Feel free to beat me to it if you have any info, and I’ll be glad to offer my opinion there if you want it.
Let’s get some ground rules out the way before getting started. The pitchers will be split by league and then by category. Here are some general thoughts about the categories:
Good play on the field is not just indistinguishable from the qualities of the people playing, but homologous to it.
In a fit of writer’s block, I asked a friend what he wanted to read about baseball. My friend, who’s a pretty incisive guy, tells me to write against the sabermetric orthodoxy and argue for the importance of personalities and character on baseball teams. Basically argue against the stats-for-all approach to team building and management and make a case for the oft-beleaguered “character” types.
I thought about this for a while and at first I was going to go in a different direction, because I think the baseball community has pushed back against some of our earlier blindspots about the human element. Managers like Joe Maddon have shown the power of not only solid game planning, but also good people management. (Writers like Russell Carleton have shown the power of those managers.) And the rise of fun, young players that galvanize and characterize teams—think, for instance, of Jose Fernandez’ smile or Trevor Story’s precociousness—have shown us that, even if they can’t be quantified in terms of “wins,” players’ characters matter to the overall aesthetics of the game. So it isn’t like we haven’t grown some nuance as a group: We no longer, to paraphrase the Great Old Man of the game Joe Morgan, root for computer numbers.
But we still have our biases and it might be worth reconsidering how we think about things like character and personality, about “the human element” as opposed to the pure optimization of efficient team-building. As I suggested in my piece on international free agents, these are in fact people being drafted, signed, used, and released by our favorite teams, and there is a story behind all of them. One reaction to this realization is digging into these stories, trying to put more of a face on the game; this generally leads to depression or despair, a lack of true alternatives to recognize the mass of humanity that makes up baseball. What’s that second option, then?
Examining the players who've earned their fantasy pay to this point in the season and those who haven't.
We are about 72 games into the season and closing in on the true halfway mark. So it seems like as good a time as any to take a look at the hitters and pitchers who have delivered for their fantasy teams so far and the ones who have not.
Table 1: Top 10 Salaries, 2016 AL Pitchers Through June 22
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Thomas Szapucki, Josh Bell, Aaron Judge, and Nick Neidert.
Prospect of the Day:
Thomas Szapucki, LHP, New York Mets (Short-Season Kingsport): 6 IP, 2 H, 13 K. So there’s a right way to make your first professional start, and there’s probably a wrong way or 86, and there’s the next-level ballin’ than Szapucki did yesterday. A fifth-round prep arm last June, he dominated in ways Appy League lineups just aren’t accustomed to with a low-90s heater and 11-5 hook. Lauded for his projectability and arm strength heading into the draft, he’ll be a long burn on account of his age and customary mechanical rough edges, but that was one hell of an introduction.
This is the final installment in a series that has examined the major-league front office. If big-league players are actually just guys in funny pajamas, then the front office workers are just (mostly) guys in funny polo shirts. But who are the people wearing those polo shirts (and how can I become one)? We’ve spent the past few articles looking at that question—in BP style—using a data-driven approach.