Ah, late May, one of the more awkward times in the dynasty calendar. If your team is good, you’re likely trying to prey on would-be contenders who are realizing they need to pack it up. If your team is awful, you’re likely getting a head start on scouting the 2017 crop of prospects. If you’re stuck in the middle, well, you know you have about 6-8 weeks left to make some big decisions.
Because we’re sort of in no-man’s land, it is be a good time to look in on a few of my favorite dynasty sleepers from the “next 112” list I published in mid-March. Are the samples too small to draw super-meaningful conclusions? Of course. But since these guys were sort of on the periphery of fantasy relevance in most leagues anyway, we can be a little quicker to cut bait or invest than we would be with more-established names.
There’s no real pattern here. I just looked at about 20 guys and took a handful of especially promising or disheartening cases. Make of it what you will!
Bo Bichette (SS)—Blue Jays
Is hitting .360/.439/.566 with an 11.6 BB% through 155 PA as a 19-year-old in Low A good? Because it seems good. Bichette has gone full Scorched Earth on the competition at Lansing so far—hitting, hitting for some power and showing an awfully selective approach at the plate. Scouts have never doubted Bichette’s bat speed or power potential, but there’s always been a boom-or-bust element to his profile that’s led to some tempered enthusiasm. Six strong weeks in Low A don’t make those concerns disappear, but it’d be hard to ask anything more of Bichette right now, and he’s certainly on pace to rank as a top-101 dynasty guy by midseason.
Shed Long (2B)—Reds
Long has one of the weirder prospect profiles in the minor leagues. A converted catcher who’s now a … fast second baseman? … Long is dominating in his second stint in High A. The 21-year-old is hitting .315/.367/.481 in 180 PA, and while he “only” has three steals so far, it’s looking more like his 2016 power breakout might be legit. I’ve yet to see much reported about Long defensively, and it’s worth pointing out that he’s repeating a level he already succeeded at in a small sample. He’s definitely trending up, though, and I think it’s worth buying in now if your league rosters 120-150 prospects.
Dustin May (RHP)—Dodgers
One of Craig Goldstein’s Large Adult Sons, May is taking well to Low A in his first stint there. Through 33 2/3 innings and eight starts, May is posting a 3.21 ERA, 25.5 K%, 5.7 BB% and has allowed just one homer. What’s more promising is write-ups like this one from Emmett Rosenbaum, which praises May’s current stuff but also allows for projection down the line. I’ve beat it into your head by now that the only pitchers in the low minors worth investing in are the ones with big upsides, and May appears to fit the bill. Claim now or forever hold your peace.
Ryan Mountcastle (SS)—Orioles
One of my Large Adult Sons, Mountcastle was billed as having an advanced bat when he was drafted in 2015, and so far, so good. Mountcastle is hitting .324/.353/.561 despite functioning as one of the youngest everyday players in High A (he’s still just 20). All of the caveats about his defensive home not coming at shortstop still hold true, but that just makes his performance at the plate all-the-more important. It’s unclear where Mountcastle will end up defensively, but if he keeps hitting like this it won’t particularly matter. I’m all-in on him, honestly, and he’d be in my top-101 right now.
NOT GOING SO HOT
Aristides Aquino (OF)—Reds
A Goldstein Large Adult Son of whom I requested joint custody, Aquino was a popular name in our internal discussions leading up to the release of the dynasty top-101. He received very little fanfare from the prospect community at large a season ago, but hit .273/.327/.519 with 23 homers as a 22-year-old in High A. Scouting reports indicated that that power was legit, and the Reds decided to get aggressive and send him to Double A to start 2017. It’s gone pretty poorly. Aquino is hitting just .194/.250/.406, and while that’s not crazy for a guy adjusting to a new level, it certainly puts an end to that borderline top-101 talk. I still like Aquino, and would add him to your watch list if his owner in your league drops him, but the helium is leaking.
Harold Ramirez (OF)—Blue Jays
OK, I’m getting close to giving up. I’ve long been a defender of Ramirez because I’ve believed in the hit tool. Even if the power never came, as many scouts predicted, I thought he’d be able to hit-and-run just enough to be a little interesting in deeper fantasy leagues. That hypothesis starts to look pretty shaky if Ramirez can’t hit, though. Through 127 PA in Double-A, Ramirez is hitting just .219/.272/.351. To be fair he’s already hit more homers than he did in all of last season, but even I can’t try and spin that as a positive. I still think Ramirez has a chance to hit his way to the majors in a second-division role, but the upside is so limited that you don’t need to bother rostering him right now.
Yeyson Yrizarri (SS)—Rangers
Welp. Yrizarri might have one of the best names in the minors, but he has one of its worst approaches, too. The 20-year-old is hitting just .248/.274/.362 through 158 PA this season, and that middle number is in thanks large part to a 2.5 BB%. Yrizarri was always going to be a slow burn, and he still has the tools to be a fantasy asset. But at this point you can wait until Yrizarri shows signs of improved life at the plate before worrying about him. I just cut him in TDGX.
Thank you for reading
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