It was a good week if you were waiting on middle-infield reinforcements. Miller and Semien both made it back before the All-Star break and Wong will be with the Cardinals for their first series coming out of it. Near-term playing time concerns for Semien were alleviated when the club sent Franklin Barreto back to Triple-A Nashville. We’ll have to wait and see if Wong fares as well. You’d assume Wong plays the keystone and pushes Matt Carpenter back to first base on most days, but I’m not sure how the Cards can completely take the bat out of Luke Voit’s hands considering his .316/.366/.684 introduction to Major League Baseball. Devil magic strikes again.
Granite got the call to Minnesota after a torrid stretch at Triple-A Rochester. His full-season line of .360/.412/.492 is impressive enough that there’s little need to cite a split, but it’s worth calling out his .441/.497/.615 triple-slash in 37 games from June on. That’s nice, but the speed is what you’re buying here. Granite swiped 56 bags a year ago, and while his pace has slowed at Triple A, he’s still nabbed 15 in 59 contests this season. A year-and-a-half long track record of running single-digit strikeout rates tells me he has a chance to put those wheels to work in the big leagues if he can find a path to semi-regular at-bats.
The Dropouts: Austin Meadows (24)
Meadows has been out since June 21 with a hamstring injury. I’m still bullish in the long term, but there’s precious little pointing to 2017 relevance at this point.
1. Yoan Moncada (2B)—White Sox (Previous Rank: 1)
Nothing left to say here.
2. David Dahl (OF)—Rockies (Previous Rank: 2)
At long last, Dahl is out on a rehab assignment. He played in High-A Lancaster Wednesday night and is eligible to come off the disabled list as soon as he’s ready. Given Dahl’s lengthy absence, injury history, and the organization’s need for him to be healthy down the stretch as they compete for a playoff spot, I expect the Rockies to take their time.
3. Amed Rosario (SS)—Mets (Previous Rank: 3)
4. Derek Fisher (OF)—Astros (Previous Rank: 4)
5. Lewis Brinson (OF)—Brewers (Previous Rank: 5)
6. Rafael Devers (3B)—Red Sox (Previous Rank: 6)
Not much left to say here either. All of these guys continue to rake. There are questions about timing of call-ups and playing time upon arrival for everyone except Rosario, but the potential payoff is worth the risk that each never carves out a fantasy-relevant role.
7. Tommy Kahnle (RHP)—White Sox (Previous Rank: 7)
8. Jose LeClerc (RHP)—Rangers (Previous Rank: Unranked)
9. Kyle Barraclough (RHP)—Marlins (Previous Rank: Unranked)
10. Joe Jimenez (RHP)—Tigers (Previous Rank: Unranked)
11. Cam Bedrosian (RHP)—Angels (Previous Rank: 10)
We’re entering the thick of trade deadline season, which means the list of relievers I’m willing to speculate on is swelling by the day. Kahnle, Barraclough and Jimenez are my best guesses (hopes?) for next in line when the White Sox, Marlins, and Tigers inevitably trade their incumbents. LeClerc is part of a committee in Arlington. His 14.4 percent walk rate might be problematic for a closing role, but good luck convincing DRA of that. By our measure, LeClerc has been one of the 15 best pitchers in baseball. I’m probably being too stubborn on Bedrosian, but come on. It’s Bud Norris.
12. Keone Kela (RHP)—Rangers (Previous Rank: 8)
13. Jeurys Familia (RHP)—Mets (Previous Rank: 9)
14. Arodys Vizcaino (RHP)—Braves (Previous Rank: 11)
The only thing more fun than speculating on relievers is speculating on hurt relievers.
15. Cesar Hernandez (2B)—Phillies (Previous Rank: 21)
16. Neil Walker (2B)—Mets (Previous Rank: 20)
17. Jayson Werth (OF)—Nationals (Previous Rank: Honorable Mention)
18. Yasmany Tomas (OF)—Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: 22)
19. Anthony DeSclafani (RHP)—Reds (Previous Rank: Honorable Mention)
Hernandez began his rehab assignment Wednesday night and should be back atop the Phillies’ lineup shortly. Do people remember that DeSclafani posted a 3.28 ERA that was substantiated by a 90 DRA- in 2016? I sure didn’t. He threw a 40-pitch bullpen with his full repertoire a week ago and is progressing towards an early August return after missing all season because of a strained UCL.
20. Ryan McMahon (1B)—Rockies (Previous Rank: 12)
21. Rhys Hoskins (1B)—Phillies (Previous Rank: 13)
22. Raul Mondesi (SS)—Royals (Previous Rank: 15)
23. Franklin Barreto (SS)—Athletics (Previous Rank: Unranked)
24. Chance Adams (RHP)—Yankees (Previous Rank: 16)
25. Scott Kingery (2B)—Phillies (Previous Rank: 14)
There are obvious warning signs in Barreto’s profile as it relates to his 2017 value, and if you’ve been reading all year, you’ve probably heard me talk about one or both of them. The first is his strikeout rate, which sat at 29.8 percent when he was called up from Triple-A Nashville to Oakland. His previous high in a full-season league was 18.4 percent. My second concern was Barreto’s inactivity on the bases. He’s stolen only four bases (and been thrown out five times), one season removed from tallying 30 steals. If he can’t hit and doesn’t run, it goes without saying that he won’t return any fantasy value. Barreto did manage a pair of steals in his 11 big-league games, but he also struck out 18 times in 42 at-bats. It’s worth remembering that Barreto is barely 21 years old, and while he’s a fine prospect, he doesn’t look ready to me. He’ll get another opportunity after Oakland moves some pieces at the deadline, which is why he still ranks here, but I’m not optimistic about his ability to produce at present.