It might be a touch early to label Foltynewicz a post-hype guy, but the former 19th overall pick has logged nearly 230 innings across parts of the last three seasons in the big leagues with a 5.46 DRA, so I’m going to assume there are enough skeptics in the room to warrant some discussion here.
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A handful of junior-circuit bats who warrant your attention.
Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers – It feels a little like cheating to include Castellanos in this piece, as all signs were pointing squarely in the direction of full-throated breakout last year before his hand bone connected to a fastball and shattered in August. I wrote nice things in advocating for Castellanos to be the third baseman you target a couple months back, and since then his ADP has barely budged, even in spite of signals that he’s primed to hit second in front of Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton.
Castellanos is and always has been a line drive machine, and while that continued last year he also posted a second straight year with a three percentage point jump in fly-ball rate, and he pulled more of those fly balls. The result was a guy who finished 26th out of over 600 registered big-league hitters in Adjusted Exit Velocity-based Predicted Runs (that’s Kris Bryant/Freddie Freeman territory, for reference). You marry an excellent pure hitter with a mature 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame and a more pull-happy, fly ball-oriented contact profile, and you’ve got yourself a real interesting hitter there, don’t you?
Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra Catholic High (CA)
Elite physicality, quick-twitch athleticism, has some growing into his body to do, can struggle at times—particularly in the field—to harness his quickness and strength; plus range at short, quick feet, top-shelf mobility, fielding actions will get a little quick and jabby, electric field-and-transfer, shows quality footwork around the bag; above-average arm strength, sloppy mechanics, below-average accuracy on the move; lacks innate smoothness and feel of a shortstop, athleticism to give it a go anyway; high leg kick, balanced off back side, simple load, creates torque, plus bat speed; lower half gets too quick, back knee will fold and he’ll lose his hips, becomes an arms swing; leverage to the pull side, bat speed and strength projection for above-average, potentially plus raw depending on how he fills out; advanced approach, flashes command of the zone, patient hitter, average or better hit and power tool potential; plus-plus runner, 4.04 from the right side, very quickly into second gear, stole second comfortably on a 1.27 pitcher and 2.0 pop; disruptive baserunner, aggressive, manufactures extra bases and pressures defenses.
A deeper dive to find future fantasy assets at this position.
While actively refraining from dropping any Boyz II Men lyrics in here, I’ll instead note that we’ve come…a long way in our journey to the corners of organized baseball where the bright lights of Bret’s Top 50 Dynasty lists don’t shine. And for our trouble, we didn’t even get a lousy t-shirt, we got an article all about marginal and minor-league relievers. Weee! I tried to make what follows as helpful and potentially useful in some capacity as I could. And as always, if I didn’t mention one of the 8.6 million other relievers in the world that you happen to like, feel free to inquire within the comments. Bret’s Top 75 relievers can be found here, while previous pieces in this positional series can be found here:
A deeper dive in search of long-term fantasy contributors on the hill.
Man, there are a lot of pitchers out there, huh? Luckily for you, Bret just ranked the top 175 of ‘em for dynasty league play this morning, and as always I’d strongly advise you to go wade through those waters before you shake your galoshes around in here. And then I’ll reiterate my warning from last week’s column on outfielders that there is any number of additional guys I probably could’ve highlighted here, but in the interest of saving my own and the editorial staff’s collective sanity, I’ve tried to limit the field to guys I find especially interesting or noteworthy for whatever reason. As always, questions on additional players are more than welcome in the comments. Previous pieces in this series can be found here:
Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills High School (CA)
Long and lean, loose, athletic, narrow frame with moderate projection; muscle development will be wiry rather than bulk, room to wear another 15-20 pounds without compromising physicality; raw delivery, measured takeaway, consistent early rhythm, spine tilt, unbalanced at fulcrum; slingshot arm action, early wrap, high elbow in the back, scapular stress, elite arm speed to three-quarters slot; hips stay closed off, moderate stride, significant inversion at strike, cross-fire, can struggle to stay on line and on time; effort through drive, moderate head whack, cuts off finish; slow unpacking out of the stretch, 1.33-1.51, runners had no trouble timing him.
Notes on Connor Seabold, Colton Hock, Quinn Brodey, and possibly other guys who sound like they wear critter pants.
Connor Seabold, RHP, Cal State Fullerton
Seabold is a slender right-hander with a relatively narrow frame that has some projection to it, though there isn’t quite as much there as you’d expect out of a 6-foot-2 kid that’s barely scraping 175. The delivery features elasticity and notable coordination, with fluidity through a high, sweeping leg kick. There’s notable spine tilt into a deep arm swing, and he’ll get late on occasion. But the arm gets compact and is lightning quick to release. He repeats pretty well to drive above-average command projection. He lived off the fastball in this start, as he has in previous starts I’ve seen of his, sitting 91-93 all night with an occasional cutter in the 87-88 range. The pitch gets quality sink and finishes with some late life, and he was able to move it around and above the zone consistently all night. The command was especially strong to the arm side in this start, though his feel to work the whole of the zone was on display. He worked in the occasional upper-70s breaking ball, which can show a fairly round shape. He mostly deployed it as a chaser, and he struggled to start it consistently enough in the zone when he did. He dropped one would-be changeup at 83, as well, though it was a lost pitch. The fastball and feel are the draws here, as his heat is the type that can miss barrels consistently without premium velocity. I’ve yet to see the makings of a strikeout pitch from him, but he projects well as a durable ground-baller who generates weak contact.
A deeper dive into the pool of future fantasy contributors at this position.
Bret just up and ranked the top 125 outfielders for dynasty league play, and those will be running at the beginning of next week. To wet your whistle in the meantime, we've got a whole bunch of guys who either didn't make his cut or have a good shot to next year. Before you jump in, a very important disclaimer, given the vast seas ahead of us in this series: there are probably like three dozen other potentially useful players I could’ve justified writing about here, but this column already pushes the boundaries of time, space, and our editorial staff, so eventually I just have to hang up the ol’ digital autopen. Happy to talk about anyone else in the comments. Previous pieces in this series can be found here: