Quarterbacks turned baseball players have a nice history in Coors.
The Situation: Mark Reynolds is nursing a sore hand, so the Rockies might be able to use an infielder with some defensive flexibility and a .354/.401/.587 line in the upper minors this year.
The Background: McMahon was drafted 42nd overall in 2013 out of Mater Dei High School in California. A prep shortstop, he was moved to third base as a pro and mashed his way to Double-A in short order, posting .500+ slugging percentages at each of his stops on the minor league ladder. He hit a speed bump in Hartford last year, struggling with the jump to Double-A to the tune of .242/.325/.399. A return engagement to the Insurance City went much better—and the cozy confines of the new stadium didn't hurt either—and he’s continued to mash in Albuquerque.
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I'm just a dreamer / I dream my life away / I'm just a dreamer / Who dreams of better days
The Situation: The Braves first-choice 2017 shortstop—top prospect Dansby Swanson—scuffled for the first half of the season, so the Braves are turning to another high-end infield prospect to take up-the-middle reps for the dog days of summer.
The Background: Ozzie Albies signed out of Curacao in July 2013 for $350,000. He was aggressively moved though the Braves system, coming stateside as a 17-year-old, heading to full-season ball as an 18-year-old, skipping Advanced-A as a 19-year-old, and spending his entire age-20 season so far in the International League. Albies has hit at every level, posting a career line in the minors of .304/.365/.424, while splitting time between second base and shortstop.
On the 20th episode of the DFA podcast, Bryan hosts an all-star collection of BP writers in our first live episode! Listen in as Craig Goldstein, Patrick Dubuque, Jeffrey Paternostro, Emma Baccellieri, Kate Morrison, and Aaron Gleeman all share their thoughts on the major and minor moves as the deadline comes and goes. It's a must-listen!
The Situation: Zack Wheeler has hit the shelf with a “stress reaction” in his right arm (plz do not call it a stress fracture). The Mets are quickly running out of arms to plug into their beleaguered major-league rotation (ah the halcyon March days waxing about their pitching depth), and have turned to Chris Flexen, who might be their best pitching prospect period. He is certainly the closest to the major-league ready despite tossing just 48 innings above A-ball.
The Background: The Mets selected a 17-year-old Flexen in the 14th round of the 2012 draft as a California prep arm, eventually signing for an over-slot $374,000. He progressed to full-season ball as a 19-year-old in 2014, showing low-90s velocity and a potential plus curve, before his season was cut short by a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery. He returned to the mound in late-2015, but scuffled in A-ball for the next season-plus. The Mets added him to the 40-man roster after 2016 anyway, but his 2017 campaign was delayed by Spring knee surgery to remove a bone chip. He hit the ground running in May, dispatching with a St. Lucie rehab assignment, before dominating the Eastern League to the tune of a 1.66 ERA and near-30 percent K-rate.
Not gonna tour with Trent Reznor. Third of three, bottom of the bill. You can’t pay me to make that kind of music. Not gonna swallow that pill.
There’s a Stewart Lee bit in one of his recent stand-up specials that has always stuck with me. Lee’s an Edinburgh Fringe Festival stalwart, the British version of the comedian’s comedian. His persona is a smug intellectual—only partially a put-on for the stage—at best maintaining a chilly detente with his audience, but usually he descends into haranguing, mocking, or expressing his sincere disappointment in them.
The Situation: It’s July 23rd. Red Sox third baseman have hit .224/.284/.307. Rafael Devers can probably do better than that.
The Background: Devers signed out of the Dominican Republic as part of the 2013 IFA class for $1.5 million. He came stateside the following summer after just 28 games in the DSL. In 2015, he was given an aggressive assignment to the South Atlantic League as an 18-year-old. He held his own—batting .289/.323/.443—and jumped up our 101 from No. 90 to No. 35. He almost xeroxed his line in 2016 as a 19-year-old in Advanced-A, and that was after an ice cold start to the season. The continued development of his offensive tools—along with solid on-field performance as one of the youngest players in the Carolina League—made him one of the top-20 prospects in baseball coming into this season, despite questions about his ultimate defensive home. If a top-20 prospect in baseball could “break out,” Devers 2017 would qualify. He mashed in Double-A, hitting .300 with 18 bombs in a half season before a recent promotion to Pawtucket. It took a mere week of additional mashing to get the call to Boston. Devers checked in at No. 5 on our Midseason Top 50, but he had a case for No. 1.
In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.
I was chatting with my colleague Meg Rowley recently when Harry Frankfurt’s essay “On Bullshit” came up. This was not actually about our midseason list making process, but it could have been. Frankfurt separates “bullshit” from “lying” by virtue of the speaker’s knowledge of the truth. You lie knowingly. You bullshit merely to convince. No one can claim objective, absolute truth of ordinal rankings or prospect outcomes. Some of us sure act like it of course. But especially within a midseason list I find myself on slipperier footing. The tiers get mushier. “I don’t know” feels like an appropriate answer more often than it should in this line of work. Here are five prospects we ranked last week. I really don’t knowing the numbers are right, but I must still venture to convince.
George Bissell and Jeffrey Paternostro, BP’s senior prospect writer, discuss the BP Midseason Top 50 prospects list, and Eric Roseberry #FriendOfThePod stops by to draft the biggest second half fantasy storylines.