Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report: DL Hall is still a mixed bag; Corbin Carroll one step further
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve released my usual Outlook reportinstead of focusing my attention on higher concepts like theand my . Meanwhile, players like Max Meyer, Nick Pratto, Esteury Ruiz and Ezequiel Duran have all moved up the big leagues, creating several openings in my five on the edge.
One player I had intended to fill one of those openings is Braves left-hander Kyle Muller, who we’ve seen pitched to the majors before. It didn’t go well, but since his last opportunity on May 1, he’s made great strides in terms of underage control, walking five times in his last six starts. He has a 2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 during that streak, and frankly, his overall stat line at Triple-A Gwinnett looks solid:
His fastball is a true swing-and-miss throw, boasting a high spin rate and sneaking up on hitters thanks to his 6-foot-7 reach. He has a full secondary arsenal. Control was the last hurdle for him to cross, and now that he seems to have passed it, Muller seems like a viable candidate to replace a struggling Ian Anderson.
There’s only one problem: he broke his non-pitch hand last week.
That doesn’t totally rule it out, if you can believe it. The Braves have him fitted for a brace this will allow him I hope to continue throwing. But even if they follow through on that intent, he’ll have to prove it actually works before handing him a rotational berth in the major league. That’s reason enough to leave him out of my…
five on point
(These are the prospects most worth hiding in redraft leagues.)
2021 Minors: .319 BA (483 AB), 23 HR, 11 SB, .906 OPS, 45 BB, 89 K
2022 minors: .295 BA (353 AB), 13 HR, 10 SB, .881 OPS, 53 BB, 61 K
When Justin Turner suffered from abdominal tightness over the weekend, I wondered aloud if it could finally signal the arrival of Vargas. The answer, apparently, is no. It’s still no. Turner had pre-game practices and is expected to avoid IL. One day, though, it’s going to be yes, and I still think Vargas is the prospect best suited to make an immediate impact in Fantasy when he arrives. He makes hitting look so easy, with a walk out rate that exceeds what you would expect for a 22-year-old. Although he’s primarily a third baseman, he’s started eight of his last 12 games in left field, where the Dodgers have a longest-running need, so maybe that delay is more to put it off. comfortable than anything else.
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2022 minors: .296 BA (213 AB), 11 HR, 3 SB, .924 OPS, 18 BB, 59 K
Majors 2022: .140 BA (86 AB), 3 HR, 4 SB, .509 OPS, 9 BB, 36 K
I’m saving Kelenic as the No. 2 prospect to hide (insofar as he still even qualifies as a prospect), but that’s mostly because the Minors have been largely depleted of major league-ready talent. Somehow, he feels further removed from promotion than ever before. Yes, production has improved — he’s batting .321 (34 for 106) with five home runs in his last 24 games, with a respectable 20.3% clip — but the Mariners just got Kyle Lewis back. They sent Mitch Haniger to rehab. They’re about to have a real dilemma over how to get both Jesse Winker and Carlos Santana in the lineup, and adding Kelenic to the mix would only complicate things further.
I still like his chances to consider if and when he gets the call, but I feel like the Mariners regret promoting him last year and would rather he take his time and develop. Either that or they’re keeping it on ice to preserve its commercial value for a potential blockbuster.
2021 minors: 2-0, 3.13 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 31 2/3 IP, 16 BB, 56 K
2022 Minors: 2-6, 4.21 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 68 1/3 IP, 37 BB, 114K
Everything pointed to a DL Hall promotion. The 23-year-old, who looks set to follow in Shane McClanahan’s footsteps as a triple-digit cracking left-handed starter, had found other gear since early July, collecting a 0.83 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 17.4K/9. out of five starts. His steps were down. He was no longer tipping his pitches, which he blamed for his struggles earlier this year. It just seemed like every start he made at Triple-A Norfolk might be his last.
And then he allowed six earned runs in two thirds of an inning on Tuesday. So… we’ll see, but he may have delayed his arrival a few rounds with that one, assuming he’s still healthy.
2021 minors: .270 BA (456 AB), 22 HR, .783 OPS, 42 BB, 101 K
2022 minors: .338 BA (328 AB), 17 HR, .932 OPS, 22 BB, 55 K
Maybe it’s saying something that Burleson wasn’t called up when Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader were sidelined by injury, but the latter still is. The Cardinals continue to suffer from players like Lars Nootbaar in their outfield, and all the while Burleson continues to rake, currently leading an 11-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .356 (16 for 45). It’s just another day at the office for him. His batting average hasn’t dropped below .320 since June 7. He’s even batting over .300 against lefties now, which is unusual for a starting lefty hitter. Obstacles remain, like a shaky defensive profile and the fact that he isn’t on the 40-man roster yet, but at some point the Cardinals have to try to ramp up production.
2021 minors: .435 BA (23 AB), 2 HR, 3 SB, 1.465 OPS, 6 BB, 7 K
2022 minors: .308 BA (260 AB), 19 HR, 25 SB, 1.078 OPS, 54 BB, 76 K
I was tempted to put Carroll in my five on the edge before, but resisted when the Diamondbacks confirmed in late June that he wouldn’t pull a Michael Harris and skip the Triple-A. Well, now he’s at Triple-A — he’s been there for a few weeks, actually — and it’s going like every other stop.
The guy is a baseball prodigy. He played in all 118 minor league games in four years, interrupted by the pandemic and shoulder surgery, and nonetheless went through the entire minor league system. He was 18 when it started. He became a legit powerhouse despite his small stature while continuing to stand out for his discipline and speed. I don’t know what motivation the Diamondbacks have for calling him, really, but I’m confident he’ll push the issue. And the benefit could argue a reservation just in case.
Five on the outskirts
(Here are a few more leads who are doing something remarkable.)
2021 Minors: .273 BA (444 AB), 17 HR, 24 SB, .825 OPS, 60 BB, 117 K
2022 minors: .264 BA (329 AB), 15 HR, 12 SB, .811 OPS, 42 BB, 80 K
After rising through the ranks of prospects last year, Marte fell at the start of this year when he showed out of form and struggled in all facets of the game. He did a lot to appease those concerns in July, however, batting .356 (26 for 73) with nearly half of his home runs for the season (seven). He still seems destined to outrun shortstop, so to speak, but as long as the increased roster doesn’t interfere with his hitting, there will be a place for him in the lineup.
2022 minors: .320 BA (272 AB), 10 HR, .885 OPS, 24 BB, 59 K
Colas found itself in a no man’s land in perspective at the start of the season. He was a pretty high international signing (from Cuba, to Japan), but that doesn’t always work out. And at 23, he would need to make an almost immediate impact to avoid finding himself on the trail of the fourth outfielder. After needing a few months to find his footing, he did indeed catch fire, and his recent move to Double-A, where he batted .393 (11 for 28) with three home runs in seven games, was not. enough to slow him down. What’s most impressive is that power is supposed to be his tool of transportation, so seeing him hit for that kind of batting average – and with the strike and line rates to back it up – raises the bar for the type of player he could be.
2021 Minors: 2-0, 4.44 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 73 IP, 20 BB, 90K
2022 Minors: 6-7, 2.78 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 90 2/3 IP, 22 BB, 106K
Shuster was an unconventional pick when the Braves picked him in the first round of the 2020 draft, but the southpaw has always stood out with a bonkers change that carries him even into the upper tiers of the minors. He’s struck out 20 in 13 innings in his last two Double-A starts, and he has a 19% swing strike rate in his last five. That’s close to what Spencer Strider was doing during his rapid rise through the system last year. Now Shuster isn’t throwing as hard as Strider, but all those missed bats are a testament to how effective his switch is. Because he’s left-handed and usually commands the strike zone, this throw may be enough to get him through.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 3B, Twins
2021 minors: .391 BA (87 AB), 4 HR, 1.022 OPS, 5 BB, 26 K
2022 minors: .308 BA (328 AB), 23 HR, .998 OPS, 32 BB, 92 K
Encarnacion-Strand is the second third base prospect in as many years to pop up out of nowhere for the Twins, and power comes a little more naturally to him than it did to Jose Miranda. He’s homered 15 just since the start of June, a span of 38 games, and is batting .412 (14 for 34) with three homers in eight games since switching to Double-A. He has the usual strikeout issues of a young hitter, and like Miranda, he may not be long at third base. Due to its pop-up status, however, it has the advantage of being available even in deeper Dynasty leagues.
Evan Carter, OF, Rangers
2021 minors: .236 BA (106 AB), 2 HR, 12 SB, .825 OPS, 34 BB, 28 K
2022 minors: .274 BA (285 AB), 9 HR, 16 SB, .848 OPS, 43 BB, 53 K
Carter was a hot dog prospect heading into the season, and he started showing why recently, batting .319 (29 for 91) with five homers and six interceptions in his last 26 games at High- HAS. Most impressive is how he reduced his strikeout rate to 13.8% over that span while walking at about the same pace. He actually had more walks than strikeouts in his pro debut last year, and it was this advanced plate discipline that saw him rise quickly through the prospect ranks, especially as a player who displays both power and speed. And by the way, he is only 19 years old.