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Austin Hays, Baltimore Orioles
Scouting Report: The Orioles 2016 third-round pick out of Jacksonville has greatly upped his prospect stock after having one of the best offensive seasons in all of minor league baseball. It’s not too surprising that Hays had a ton of success in his first professional season given that he’s got a strong and mature body, which helps him to drive the ball to all fields. Hays possesses strong hands that can get to velo on either side of the plate and he has enough barrel control to adjust to offspeed when he is fooled. There’s some concern that he’s a bit too aggressive in the box as he tends to expand the zone and pull his head when he’s attacking the baseball. However, Hays is very physical in the box with the tools and swing for potential above-average hit and power grades. Defensively, Hays has the arm and speed to play capably in all three outfield spots. He’s started in both center and right field this season, but long-term I think that his plus arm and aggressive nature play best in right. Hays is as gritty and energetic as they come on the baseball field, harkening back to the days of old school baseball as you see with his lack of batting gloves. While there may not be an elite carrying tool in the profile, Hays can really do it all and has a chance to develop into an above-average regular in the outfield. Greg Goldstein

Fantasy Impact: Do you like guys that rake? Of course you do, what a silly question. Hays is one of said guys. The 22-year-old spent his summer dominating High-A and Double-A pitching to the tune of .329/.368/.593 with 32 dingers and 32 doubles in 563 plate appearances. He doesn’t walk much, which could exacerbate growing pains associated with leaping to the big leagues from Double-A, but he doesn’t strike out a ton either, posting strikeout rates under 16 percent at each stop this season. The Orioles outfield is fairly crowded already, so it’s hard to foresee Hays getting too much time this season, but in dynasty formats, he’s a guy that could hit for average and power in the very near future. —Mark Barry

Sandy Alcantara, St. Louis Cardinals
Scouting Report: When I wrote up Alcantara earlier in the year, I said that he could be in the majors “in a year or so.” The Cardinals, as ever when they have a 102 mph throwing prospect, decided to move that timeline up just a bit, so even if the slight righty spends next year in Triple-A, he’s in the majors for now. He brings with him a fairly standard arsenal for a Cardinals prospect—fastball, changeup, and a slider and curveball that can occasionally blur into each other. The change is his most developed secondary pitch, with a solid 10 mph gap to the fastball and occasional sink. In order to make the most of the change as he faces more major league hitters, he’ll probably want to put more movement onto it, but it’s still a better pitch than the slider and curveball, both of which function best as change-of-pace pitches.

This September will be good experience for Alcantara, and a good chance for the Cardinals to decide if he still has any future as a starter. Once again, they’ve found themselves with a flamethrower, young and ready for action. Kate Morrison

Fantasy Impact: There isn’t a ton to see here from a fantasy perspective, at least in the here and now. Alcantara’s huge fastball can certainly play in the context of the short bullpen bursts in which it will be deployed for the remainder of the season, but low-leverage rookie relievers with 30-grade command don’t offer a ton for even the most strikeout-starved among us. As a long-term dynasty investment Alcantara remains intriguing, but the rawness of his present version makes him a better investment in deeper leagues at this point. —Wilson Karaman

Greg Allen, Cleveland Indians
Scouting Report: A former sixth-round pick back in 2014, Allen is your prototypical speedy leadoff hitter who profiles to be better than average defensively in center field. With a smaller and more compact build, Allen’s offensive game is built off contact as he can slap infield hits and singles all over diamond. While the over-the-fence pop has taken a step back this year, he still has sneaky gap power because he’s stronger than you might think when looking at him. Allen’s swing is fairly linear, so he’ll produce mostly singles and doubles given the typical loft he gets when he does square. However, with plus speed, an above-average arm and capable contact skills, Allen has a chance to develop into a regular top of the order bat. Even though he’s more realistically going to profile as a quality fourth outfielder given his lack of over the fence pop. —Greg Goldstein

Fantasy Impact: It’s been a bit of a disappointing year for Allen, as he was coming off a breakout campaign in which he rode an excellent approach to a .400-plus OBP and 57 stolen bases across two levels as a 23-year-old, even popping 10 surprise homers. That power output, however, did not reflect realistic expectation. After injury derailed part of his season, Double-A pitchers got more comfortable attacking him in the zone with greater frequency in his second go-around, and the halcyon double-digit walk rates of yore quickly melted into a nominally below league-average effort. He makes contact at a solid clip, and the base-stealing proficiency appears quite legitimate (24 of 26 this year, 80 percent success rate for his career). But in an era where more than seven players per team have hit double-digit homers, outfielders who are not Billy Hamilton and possess 30-grade power are left basically hoping for a Jarrod Dyson-style best case scenario. There’s certainly a chance Allen goes on a nice run of knocking base hits and stealing bags down the stretch, and for that reason he’s a decent flyer for speed-starved contenders to take. But when Dyson’s the ceiling, investing in the process makes for a sub-optimal use of roster resources in keeper and dynasty formats at this stage. —Wilson Karaman

Victor Alcantara, Detroit Tigers
Scouting Report: Alcantara has some of the raw ingredients to become an interesting bullpen, piece, but he also has some significant flaws that are likely to prevent him from impacting the late innings. While his fastball can sit in the 94-96 mph range and has reached as high as 98 mph in the past, he generates that velocity with an aggressive delivery and harsh arm action that prevent him from throwing quality strikes—or strikes at all, at times—consistently. Alcantara can also flash a plus slider and solid changeup, but the slider lacks consistency, much like the fastball, and his changeup is very firm; oftentimes reaching 88-90 mph without significant movement. When he’s around the zone Alcantara can dominate hitters with nasty stuff, but those spurts where he’s around the zone are much too infrequent and he is likely to be tagged by big-league hitters. —Mark Anderson

Fantasy Impact: Nothing to see here, folks. Alcantara has a big fastball, and that’s cool, but a season that includes walking nearly six guys per nine and suffering a demotion to Double-A does not exactly cry out for attention in fantasy leagues of any depth. If he throws together a couple outings in a row where he whiffs the side without any walks or something, perhaps we revisit. For now, let’s move along. —Wilson Karaman

Dillon Peters, Miami Marlins
Scouting Report: After missing most of the season with a broken thumb, Peters came back with a vengeance in the Southern League. With the Marlins looking for all the rotation help they can get, they call on Peters to give them a boost in the stretch run. While small in stature, his above-average fastball, breaking ball, and average change profiles in a rotation. This kind of profile has to prove it as a starter, less he be judged based on his lack of his stature. – Steve Givarz

Fantasy Impact: This is pure speculation, but I’m willing to bet an overwhelming majority of Jacksonville millennials invested their free time soaking up sunshine at the beach or sipping a cold beverage at the local watering hole this summer. Clearly, this 25-year-old southpaw wasn’t one of them. He was too busy dominating Southern League lineups with a deceptive three-pitch mix. Not only did Peters record an absurd 1.97 ERA with 40 strikeouts and just 11 walks over 45 2/3 innings encompassing nine starts as a Jumbo Shrimp, but he’s made the jump directly from Double-A to the big leagues seamlessly, tossing a pair of quality starts against the Phillies and Nationals. The arsenal isn’t overpowering, casting serious doubt on his ability to maintain an elite strikeout rate long-term, but superb control and his ability consistently induce weak contact buoy the realistic fantasy floor. Utterly bereft of starting pitching prospects, the Marlins are likely to give Peters plenty of opportunities to prove he belongs in the major-league rotation. He’s worthy of a roster spot in deep mixers right now and has the potential to evolve into an intriguing late-round target next season, especially if he finishes strong in September. —George Bissell

Richard Urena, Toronto Blue Jays
Scouting Report: I wrote a Ten Pack entry about him earlier this summer and little has changed. He is capable of driving the ball to any part of the field and possesses the tools to develop into an above-average defender. However, his aggressive approach and tendency to periodically lose focus in the field are currently holding him back. It can be easy to forget though that Urena is still just 21 years old. He realistically could become the Jays’ starting shortstop within the next couple of years, but I expect him to struggle during this initial big league experience because he is not ready. —Erich Rothmann

Fantasy Impact: Urena is somehow both a little underrated in dynasty circles and … also not that good? His proximity to an everyday job and his prospective lineup/home park help to boost his status, but as Erich alludes to above, a player’s ETA and when the ETA for when that player will actually be good often don’t sync up. At his peak, Urena could be a solid MI option who contributes a little bit across the board, but unless you’re rostering about 200 prospects it’s probably not worth keeping him around to see if he reaches that modest ceiling. —Ben Carsley

Chance Sisco, Baltimore Orioles
Scouting Report: Sisco is an old-school, hit tool-first catching prospect, but don’t let that belie that he’s still a catcher, at least for now. Coming into the 2017 season Sisco had survived the tools of ignorance to hit .300 or better at every level where he had significant playing time, but 2017 brought his first extended offensive struggles. Still, the average and plate discipline were enough to marshal together a .267/.340/.395 line at Triple-A Norfolk, not altogether terrible for a catcher in the International League. Long considered just an okay defensive catcher with a mediocre arm and decent hands, Sisco did improve his FRAA to an above-average score for the first time since entering full-season ball, carried mostly by strong framing numbers. He’s got a decent chance to remain behind the plate, and if he does, he should get on base enough to carry the defensive profile even if it ends up below-average. For this September, he appears to be firmly planted on the bench as the third catcher, getting more of a glimpse of the MLB lifestyle than any real playing time. —Jarrett Seidler

Fantasy Impact: I won’t try to hide my bias here; I’ve been big on Sisco for quite a while. I understand that his offensive performance in the minors this year was somewhat underwhelming. But, he now seems like a safer bet to stick behind the plate than he did a year or two ago, and given my faith in his hit tool, that’s a great sign. I think Sisco is headed for few, if any, top-5 catcher finishes, but I think there’s a good chance that he serves as a top-10-to-12 option for as long as he has catcher eligibility. In what is perhaps the most disparate comparison between IRL and fantasy ever, I think Sisco could be something like non-peak Yadier Molina; an average-driven catcher with just enough R and HR to make you want him. You are welcome for the lack of Thong Song joke. —Ben Carsley

Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins
Scouting Report: Anderson’s defense is by far his best tool. He has soft hands, good footwork, a strong arm and plus reactions. He has a quick first step in any direction and can make every play. His bat lags a bit behind right now. Though he punishes both mistakes and pitches up in the zone, he struggles with his timing and can be exploited by spin down. He is aggressive early in counts and is the quintessential first-ball fastball hitter. He does have a good idea of the strike zone and will take a walk. —Scott Delp

Fantasy Impact: Anderson has started every game since being called up so if you need a body in a deep league corner infield spot, he can give you some counting stats and may provide a decent OBP. This is likely to be an adjustment period for him so he should not be counted on to make a big impact. —Scott Delp

Taylor Williams, Milwaukee Brewers
Scouting Report: Williams is interesting because he could become one of those relievers who pop up and have success, seemingly out of nowhere. He lost the 2015 and 2016 seasons to an elbow injury which eventually required Tommy John surgery. Now healthy, Williams was piggy-backed in Double-A this season and got 46 2/3 innings under his belt. He has an explosive fastball which sits in the middle nineties and flirts with triple digits with late arm-side run. He also has a power slider that dives down and away from right-handed batters. Both are plus pitches, though he has struggled with his command as is sometimes the case after surgery. His history before Tommy John shows good command so there is upside here. He has a change-up that lags well behind those pitches that he likely does not need out of the bullpen. —Scott Delp

Fantasy Impact: It is not likely that Williams will see much in the way of high leverage appearances while the Brewers remain in contention for a playoff spot, though with the recent struggles of Josh Hader, a couple of solid outings could move Williams up the pecking order. He does have a chance to make an impact in 2018, especially in leagues that reward holds. —Scott Delp

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Tony9999
9/08
Can you put the organization they're in somewhere in the write up so those of us who are in AL or NL only leagues can quickly scan without having to get into another link (and the attendant delays due to ad loading) to find that out? Seems like that should be de rigueur for any article?
TheArtfulDodger
9/08
Absolutely. That was an oversight on my part. Thanks for pointing it out.
Tony9999
9/08
Thanks Craig! Would that be possible to do on any article re minor leaguers by any writer (Editorial staff might make that a rule, I'd think)? See the Fantasy Freestyle article in today's email. No mention of what organization the player's with. Since I usually look at these when I'm at work (and supposed to be working, lol), I only have time to scan and knowing the organization would be helpful. Thanks again!