Mister Christian / Oh the time has come / And you know that you're the only one...
The Situation: The Giants are rocking a collective .236 TAv, which is 25th in baseball, and while their 69 runs scored entering play yesterday was nice and all, it rated just 23rd. Starting third baseman Eduardo Nunez has been a big ol’ part of that problem, sitting on a .208 TAv his own damn self, and the now-DFA’ed Chris Marrero had failed to plug the hole left behind by left fielder Jarrett Parker’s broken collarbone. Enter number two prospectChristian Arroyo, owner of a ho-hum .446/.478/.692 line through 16 games at Triple-A Sacramento.
The Background: The Giants drafted Arroyo 25th overall in 2013 as a prep shortstop, signing him to a slot deal and sending him to the Arizona Rookie League, where he promptly hit .326 in a 45-game professional debut. Outside of a briefly rude introduction to full-season pitching the following year, he hit everything thrown at him up to Double A, climbing to the organizational top spot heading into the 2016 season. Still just 21, he yesterday became the lucky thirteenth member of the first round of his draft class to step between the lines of a big-league baseball game.
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Notes on Yoan Moncada, Austin Meadows, Yency Almonte, Franklin Barreto, and dank Herb.
Hitter of the Day:
Yoan Moncada, 2B, Chicago White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte): 2-3, BB, 3 R, HR, RBI, 2 SB, K
On a night when Chris Sale punched out 13 for Boston, Moncada reminded everybody in Chicago that he can fill up a stat sheet just fine his own damn self, thank you very much. He continues to strike out at a semi-alarming rate, but the power/speed combination is as elite as they get in the minor leagues. Pour one out for this poor Henry Owens fastball, y’all.
Notes on Kevin Kramer, Dane Dunning, Josh Staumont, Ian Happ, Brian Johnson, and more.
Hitter of the Day:
Kevin Kramer, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates (Double-A Altoona): 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Kramer might be the hottest hitter in all of minor league baseball thus far, as yesterday’s monster game lifts him up to a .423/.531/.846 through seven games. That’s, like, David-Ortiz-in-the-World-Series good. He is not a power guy by trade, but he is a good hitter, and a spike in pop would be a welcome development for a guy whose profile is on the fringy side as things stand. They say to never bet against a good hit tool, though.
Let's dip into why bat speed is one of the most important components of hitting, why there's more than one kind of bat speed, and which prospects might be best to target based on the nature of their swing.
Last week I kicked off this series with a primer, to which I will refer you with questions on the nature of this beast. For our first foray into the weeds this week, I was piqued by a question in my chat queue last week about the difference between bat speed and power. The latter is a topic I’ll surely spend a bunch of time dissecting in this space over the weeks to come, because who plays in a dynasty league and isn’t willing to trip a sibling in order to read about power-hitting prospects? For today’s run, though, we’re going to talk about bat speed.
It’s a skill that can be on the more difficult side to identify for the untrained eye—most swings taken by professional baseball players are, after all, objectively quite fast. And it’s one of those terms that even mainstream prospect reports written by not scouts will utilize frequently without much context about why it’s important. Intuitively it makes sense: if you swing faster, you have a better chance of hitting a ball that has been pitched fast. But understanding how and why certain players have better bat speed than others is useful when trying to map out valuation and a long-term dynasty league strategy.
Breaking down the back end of the Rockies rotation.
The Situation: Coors Field is an unceasing, Kakfaesque nightmare for pitchers. It has the same gravitational resistance to big flies as the surface of Ganymede. You might as well be trying to grip a snooker ball when you break off a curve. But somebody has to take two-fifths of these starts.
The Background: Freeland was the eighth overall pick in the 2014 draft out of the University of Evansville, and used his advanced four-pitch repertoire to move quickly through the minors despite missing time in 2015 shoulder fatigue and bone chips in his elbow. Freeland wasn’t as dominant in the minors as you’d expect a pitching prospect of his pedigree, but he also didn’t encounter any real bumps in the road—on the field at least.
Wilson sticks with the two-stud approach, betting big on a couple of $40+ bats.
In the “My Model Portfolio” series, the fantasy staff will create their own team within a $260 auction budget usingMikeGianella’slatest mixed leagueBid Limitsfor 2017. The scoring is 5x5 standard roto. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI,MI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, and 9 P.
Seth Romero, LHP, University of Houston
6-foot-2, rounded, dense frame, pretty physically maxed; quick through early progressions, can lack for consistent flow into leg kick; high kick, can get unbalanced, hips open early, struggled to sync with upper-half; yanked balls arm-side consistently at start of innings, struggled to make adjustments; deep arm action, above-average arm speed to low three-quarters slot, struggled to stay on time to consistent release point all night; front arm will come up, can pitch uphill; minimal effort, consistent foot strike, easy deceleration, clean finish.