The offensive bar is set high for these minor leaguers, but their defensive shortcomings won't hurt your fantasy squad.
Given all of the major-league talent and production that plays at first base, you’d think that there’s a veritable cornucopia of names that are lurking just below the surface, waiting to be promoted and produce. Well, you’d be wrong. So very, very wrong. And not the kind of wrong where you don’t want to be right, either.
Instead, what we find is a smattering of players who have a strong enough offensive profile to withstand the weight of expectations placed on a first baseman, while also featuring a lack of defensive ability so distinct that their teams aren’t even attempting to play them out of position with the hope that they could somehow not be a first baseman. Instead, the depth at the major-league level is created when teams ultimately give up on the guys they are playing out of position and transition them down the defensive spectrum, because, at this point, winning games starts to matter.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Notes on nine prospects, including Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw and Mets righty Hansel Robles.
Hitter of the Day: Travis Shaw, 1B, Red Sox (Surprise Saguaros): 2-3, 2 R, HR, BB, K. Shaw is an on-base machine that is unfortunately stuck playing first base. He has some pop, although it usually comes in the form of doubles, but his real value comes from what happens when he doesn’t swing. He likely won’t be a starting first baseman, at least not on a first-division team like the Red Sox, but there’s a niche out there for him somewhere.
Pitcher of the Day: Hansel Robles, RHP, Mets (Scottsdale Scorpions): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Robles is a relatively inexperienced prospect for his age (23) having taken four seasons to get to a full-season league and never having thrown more than 95 1/3 innings in a season despite working as a starter. Robles’ performance has rarely been in question, but as an undersized right-hander (5-foot-11), he needs to prove that he can handle the workload as a starter.
Notes on eight prospects, including Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw and Cardinals righty Sam Gaviglio.
Hitter of the Day: Travis Shaw, 1B, Red Sox (Surprise Saguaros): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, K. Shaw doesn’t have many tools, but he does hit for some power and get on base. The power was on display on Wednesday both in the gaps and over the fence, a good sign for Shaw who struggled in his first taste of advanced pitching this season in Double-A.
Pitcher of the Day: Sam Gaviglio, RHP, Cardinals (Salt River Rafters): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Velocity isn’t the only way to strike batters out, but it certainly makes things easier. Gaviglio struck out six batters on Wednesday despite an average fastball velocity of 89 MPH. He relies heavily on his two-seam sinking fastball, which he threw 59 percent of the time on Wednesday and comes in just as fast, and on Wednesday it generated more strikeouts than ground balls. Sometimes that just happens.