With the minor-league season just a week old and the major-league version not much more seasoned than that, there isn’t a whole lot of upheaval since last week’s list. Injuries, promotions, poor performance, and wild speculation will stir it up soon, don’t you worry.
The Graduates: None.
I was bullish on McHugh’s stashability last week, assuming he was a rehab turn or two away from rejoining Houston’s rotation and re-asserting his back-end fantasy value. He made it through just one inning in his first rehab start, and is now shut down for six weeks with an elbow injury. Few pitchers in baseball have thrown as many breakers as McHugh over the past three seasons, so this was probably bound to happen sooner or later. I’m not optimistic enough to leave him on the list as we wait a couple months for a return.
Jones has started six of the Tigers’ seven games, so doesn’t really fit the profile for this column seeing as how he has something close to a full-time opportunity. I like the power-speed potential, though his contact inability and down-the-order lineup position limit his fantasy ceiling.
Urias made his 2017 debut for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday, allowing two runs in 3 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking four. More important than the results was his pitch count. Despite limited action this spring, Urias threw 79 pitches, and might be more stretched out than I originally anticipated. Physically ready or not, Dave Roberts suggested that “some time at the end of the month makes sense” for his arrival. I’ll take the over.
I’m trying not to be swayed by the in-person looks I got at Moncada this week, but am having a hard time. He swatted a home run on Monday that sounded like he hit the ball with a telephone pole, and yesterday he thumped a pitch on the outer half off the top of the wall in the opposite-field gap. Oh, and those were from different sides of the plate. While I still have concerns about the strikeout rate that aren’t likely to be answered in the short term, Moncada is going to be very impactful very soon.
Soler swung a bat Sunday for the first time since injuring his oblique on Feb. 26 and could begin a rehab assignment next week. Paolo Orlando is off to a .125/.192/.125 start in his stead, which is to say that the job is still firmly Soler’s as soon as he can get back.
This is what happens, Terry.
An unintentional omission from last week’s list, Ross is at Triple-A Syracuse because the Nats don’t need a fifth starter until April 22. Ross was beaten up a bit in his first start for the Chiefs, but I don’t think his major-league rotation spot is in any jeopardy regardless of what happens while he’s on the farm.
7) Reynaldo Lopez (RHP)—Chicago White Sox (Previous Rank: 7)
Berrios surely can use his time in Rochester for refinement, but he has absolutely nothing left to prove at that level from a performance standpoint. After six shutout innings in his first appearance, Berrios now owns a 2.48 ERA and 215-to-51 K-to-BB ratio in 193 Triple-A innings. Adalberto Mejia, who won the last spot in the Twins’ rotation with a solid spring, couldn’t get out of the second inning in an ugly major league debut. Lopez’s run prevention and ability to pitch deep into games in the early going at Triple-A Charlotte leave much to be desired. His 15 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings does not.
Injury update time. Prado was cleared to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday and began in High-A. The plan is for Prado to play four games and, barring a setback, he could return to Miami for full action next week. Mesoraco’s through four games of his rehab assignment at Double-A Pensacola but has yet to catch back-to-back contests. Playing time upon his return is unclear, but especially if you’re a Gary Sanchez or Buster Posey owner, Mesoraco is worth a stash because of his imminent activation and upside. Nothing to report on Ramos or Murphy.
Small sample fun: Meadows has a .374 OPS, Zimmer has just four strikeouts in 27 at-bats, and Swihart has caught all give games in which he’s played. I expect one of these things to continue.
15) Lucas Giolito (RHP)—Chicago White Sox (Previous Rank: 7)
16) Jose De Leon (RHP)—Tampa Bay Rays (Previous Rank: 14)
I’m officially worried about Giolito. Reports from both spring training and his first outing at Triple-A Charlotte have his fastball in the low-90s. Mixed-league value is going to be hard to come by unless that changes, and the Pale Hose have no reason to push him to the big leagues in the meantime. I said last week that De Leon would need to return to action soon to hold on to his spot on the list, and there is no update to his injury status. Tick, tick, tick.
Last week I said that “10 of the seven outs Bradley recorded were by way of strikeout,” which is mathematically impossible, no matter how impressive Bradley was in his first appearance. He didn’t quite have the same swing-and-miss stuff in his second outing, but he did allow just one baserunner in two innings of work. I’d give him one more shot in the rotation if I were the Diamondbacks, but he could be plenty relevant if he becomes one of the next Andrews Miller we’ve heard so much about this spring. Because, you know, everyone has one of those just lying around waiting to be deployed optimally.
18) Cody Bellinger (1B)—Los Angeles Dodgers (Previous Week: Honorable Mention)
Leaving Bellinger off the proper list last week was a mistake, considering I included four inferior players with similarly ambiguous paths to regular time. He’ll have to really rake in Triple-A to force the Dodgers into giving him the call, much less installing him as an everyday, fantasy relevant player. Bellinger has the tools to do it though, bringing significant power if he can keep the strikeouts in check, with a bit of speed to boot. Mancini replaces Alvarez by virtue of playing the same position(s) and already being in the majors.
I still believe that Crawford arrives first, and that Barreto is more valuable in our game because of his speed and the security of his hit tool. He’s off to a blistering start at Triple-A Nashville, but I don’t see the A’s rushing him in a non-competitive season. Chad Pinder likely gets the first shot at playing time when Jed Lowrie gets hurt. I’m willing to hedge against that assumption with a spot at the bottom of the list. Crawford is off to whatever is the opposite of a blistering start.
25) Aaron Altherr (OF)—Philadelphia Phillies (Previous Rank: 24)
Playing time has been in short supply, but you have to figure the Phillies will see what they have with some of their controllable assets before too long. I still believe in the power-speed combo here, even if I’m nervous about its utility because of suspect contact ability.
I’d like to include someone from Texas’, and maybe Washington’s bullpen, I just don’t have any conviction about who it should be. Matt Bush and Koda Glover are my hunches, but neither is making an especially strong case just yet.
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