Do you play in a deeper or mono league and wish the Stash List had some names that weren’t already owned in your league? You’ve come to the right spot. Last time I did this, I gave you Dinelson Lamet and Eric Skoglund, both of whom are in the majors and have flashed a little something. On the other hand, I also gave you Ryan O’Hearn, a first base prospect who’s hitting .214/.308/.317 in the month-plus since that piece ran. Such is the nature of deep speculation. I’m not deterred. Let’s do some more.
It’s not often that I fall for a Tar Heel, but I did with Moran, a pure hitter who demonstrated supreme control of the strike zone during his three-year college career. After a mediocre Triple-A season in 2016 that included an unsuccessful cup of coffee, I was finally ready to move on this winter.
Moran was off to a half-decent start in 2017, slashing .250/.348/.425 and walking as often as he struck out, before hitting the disabled list the first of May. He’s been on some kinda tear since, ripping nine homers in his past 29 games. The reason I liked Moran in the first place was simply the quality of his hit tool, though you could find people who believed that the raw power was in there and that he’d be able to get to it in games because of his ability to put wood on ball. Even those people probably would be surprised at this outburst. The data seems to point to Moran as one of the legion of players who have changed approach though, perhaps validating this streak as something real. His spray charts indicate a clear shift toward the pull side, and batted-ball data suggests an intentional effort to elevate (and celebrate). Moran’s 41.7 percent fly-ball rate is a full 12 percentage points higher than his 2016 rate, while his ground-ball rate has dropped by more than 13 percentage points, making Moran one of the least-frequent worm destroyers in the PCL. Whaddya know, I’ve talked myself back into him.
I count seven healthy starting options ahead of Font, and that doesn’t even include veteran spot-start candidates Justin Masterson and Jair Jurrjens, or prospects with more likely futures in Dodger blue like Brock Stewart. Yeah, I didn’t know Jurrjens was still kicking around, either.
Despite the logjam in front of him, Font sure looks like he deserves a chance to face major leaguers. He’s sporting a 1.41 DRA and his 36.3 percent strikeout rate is the highest in Triple A and second best in the minors (A.J. Puk, 38.0 percent in High A). It’s been a while since Font was relevant in affiliated ball, but it’s worth remembering that he was a Dude at one point, albeit one with a bullpen projection. His history on the site goes back to a Kevin Goldstein reference in 2010, and reports thereafter frequently mentioned the quality of Font’s stuff, alongside his inability to harness it. The former is seen in the strikeout numbers I already referenced, the latter assuaged by a 5.0 percent walk rate that is a top-10 mark in Triple A. It’s probably going to take a trade for us to find out if this is halfway real or another case of stat line scouting gone awry. With a couple shares in my pocket already, I’d sure like to know which.
A few quicker hits:
Remember the helium on Brito after a productive spring and an AJ Pollock injury a year ago? He lasted all of two weeks as Arizona’s starting center fielder before being demoted to Triple A, where he spent much of the season. Brito recently returned from a dislocated finger that kept him on the shelf for the first two months of 2017. He still possesses the raw material to make an impact if and when an opportunity arises and his approach at the dish improves. Rey Fuentes has started three of the past six games in Arizona’s grass, which is to say that opportunity might not be long.
Cuevas is a former 21st-round pick, a non-prospect who registered a .621 OPS in Albuquerque in his first taste of Triple A in 2016 at age 25. Exciting, huh? There’s always been raw power in his bat, something’s that only been reflected in the stat line in a 2013 season spent in the Cal League. So, yeah, that’s problematic too. Nevertheless, Cueva’s popped nine dingers already in 2017 to go with 11 swipes. Speed has never been a problem, as Cuevas has two seasons of 30 or more steals on his resume. His power spike is almost certainly the product of an unsustainable HR/FB in an extreme hitters’ park. This is a Hail Mary that you should only make if the acquisition cost is zero, the context is as deep as is imaginable, and you think there is a communicable disease in Colorado’s outfield.
Leonard was unconscious in April, finishing the month with a .412/.474/.553 triple-slash and five steals to boot. He’s at .234/.297/.383 with a whole mess of strikeouts since, which is either what you should lead with if you’re trying to negotiate a trade, or the reason why you should ignore me altogether. Probably the latter. I’m in the tank for Leonard, who hits the ball hard every time I see him, and who has made enough solid plays at the hot corner to lead me to believe he could fill a second-division role there while offering fantasy players a touch of everything.
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