Minor League Monitor - Midwest League

Nick Castellanos - Tigers  3B  DOB: 03/04/92

Hitting .179 in April with a 4/20 BB/K ratio made Castellanos look like a possible flop after receiving heaps of praise heading into the season. The young third baseman woke up in May, hitting .303, then justified the praise by hitting .375 in June. The home run power isn't there yet with only 4 on the year but he projects as a potential 30 home run hitter. The 23 doubles are a promising sign that he has some un-tapped power potential. The biggest weakness in his offensive game is his plate discipline. He doesn't draw many walks, only 18 on the year, and he is prone to the strikeout with 74 so far. Castellanos is only 19 so it's no surprise to see his discipline this way and I'm not worried about it being a permanent problem.

Hayden Simpson – Cubs  SP  DOB: 05/20/89

The Cubs first round pick from last season has had a horrendous pro debut. After 17 starts he has a 6.22 ERA which includes his latest outing, a 2.1 inning 5 run performance in the Rookie Arizona League. Having your first round pick demoted from Low-A halfway through their first pro season is not what you're looking for and the Cubs have to be concerned with Simpson's performance so far.

Matt Szczur – Cubs  OF  DOB: 07/20/89

The Cubs may have a first round flop in Simpson but the have a fifth round steal in Szczur. The former two sport star at Villanova is hitting .312/.365/.431 with 17/5 SB/CS. The AVG was expected and the speed isn't a big surprise, although it's better than anticipated. If Szczur can add power to his repertoire he will become a top 50 fantasy prospect for sure.

Rymer Liriano - Padres  06/20/91

Liriano started the season in the California League but was in over his head and demoted after 15 games. The Padres were aggressive starting Liriano at High-A as a 19 year old. Liriano, now 20, remains relatively young for the Midwest League and is having an outstanding season. In 62 games he is hitting .315 with 11 2B, 8 HR, 40/13 SB/CS and is sporting a respectable 29/60 BB/K.

Garrett Gould – Dodgers  SP  DOB: 07/19/91

Gould started the season with a lot of upside and questions about whether he could become the pitcher he is capable of turning into. He seems to have raised his peak this season to that of a potential #2 starter. In 16 starts he has a 1.86 ERA with opposing hitters batting .201 against him.

Keyvius Sampson - Padres  SP  DOB: 01/06/91

After missing a turn in the rotation, Sampson returned and had his worst outing of the season. On June 28th he gave up 7 earned runs in 2 innings. He returned a week later to fan 7 in 5 innings of one run ball. His outing on the 28th skewed his ERA but Sampson remains one of the most dominant pitchers in the Midwest League.

Mike Rayl – Indians  SP  DOB: 11/01/88

Rayl is a tad old for the Midwest League but you can't fault him for it. The Indians haven't had Rayl on the fast track due to him being a 15th round draft pick out of a community college. The tall lefty has a 1.90 ERA through 14 starts and 66.1 innings. He has allowed 43 hits and 11 walks while striking out 72.  Until Rayl reaches AA we won't be able to read too much into his numbers. I imagine the Indians will move him to High-A soon. If he succeeds there he will be one to follow because he could move quickly from there.

Michael Walker – Brewers  3B  DOB: 06/12/88

Named a Midwest League All Star, Walker is turning into a nice pick up in the 14th round last year. He hit well in the Pioneer League last season and has been even better this season. He is hitting .294 with 14 home runs. He has drawn a good amount of walks with 49 but they are accompanied by 89 strikeouts. Walker doesn't hit for enough power to strike out that often so he will need to cut down on the Ks if he is going to be an effective fantasy threat.

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