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AL West Prospect Updates: Fisher, Newcomb, Chapman, Wilson, Ortiz

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Jason Hunt takes a look at five prospects from the AL West who were outside his top 100 in the offseason, and see where their stock may have moved.

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It's coming up on the time when I will be releasing my midseason fantasy prospect rankings update, and one of tasks I usually like to start with is looking at prospects outside the previous top 100 to see if anyone is jumping up or falling down quite a bit. With that in mind, let's take a look at five prospects from the AL West that might be moving.

Derek Fisher, Astros (#106)

Stat line: .301/.389/.522, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 15 SB, 50 R, 28 BB, 53 K (52 games)
Level: Low-A Quad Cities (39 games), High-A Lancaster (13 games)

Fisher was a little bit old for the Midwest League, so it's not surprising he was promoted quickly out of there. He's been hitting even better in the hitter-friendly California League, with four home runs in his 9 games there so far. Fisher's a player that gets a bit lost in the shuffle in the depth of the Astros' system, and could be a name that climbs more for fantasy than real life. He's limited to left field defensively, but could be an above-average contributor across all five categories.

RECOMMENDATION: He's going to likely end up a bit higher in this upcoming rankings update, and if his current owner thinks he's a product of the Cal League, now might be a good time to buy.

Sean Newcomb, Angels (#129)

Stat line: 3 W, 2.31 ERA, 62.1 IP, 48 H, 35 BB, 76 K, 1.332 WHIP (13 starts)
Level: Low-A Burlington (7 starts), High-A Inland Empire (6 starts)

Newcomb is another pitcher that I just didn't have as good a feel for as I had hoped when I was doing rankings in the preseason. He was the third ranked prospect in the Angels' system behind Andrew Heaney and Roberto Baldoquin, and is looking more like a quick mover each day. He generates ground balls at a high rate, with 49% so far at his current level, and providing dominant strikeout totals at his previous stop. Just from looking at the pitch counts from Baseball Reference, it looks like he's having a bit of an issue with efficiency, as he has had starts where he threw 80+ pitches but struggled to reach the 5th inning. It's very early still, and his last start appears to have gone better (although we don't have the pitch count), so it's just something to watch at this point.

RECOMMENDATION: He's probably going to move up somewhat also, but not likely to be more than what happens with graduations. I'm not ready to move his value up, in part because I want to see how he adjusts to these high pitch counts he's had in a couple starts.


Matt Chapman, Athletics (#146)

Stat line: .264/.351/.558, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 2 SB, 31 R, 16 BB, 37 K (33 games)
Level: High-A Stockton (California League)

Chapman did not debut this year until the second week of May due to a knee injury, but has been clubbing home runs at an unsustainable rate (33% HR/FB% this year). He's striking out at a higher rate than I think was anticipated from him coming out of college, so it's possible he could be trying to sell out for these power numbers and specifically the short left-field in Stockton. He is drawing walks in over 10% of his plate appearances, so there are definitely signs that he could see improved numbers in batting average as the season progresses.

RECOMMENDATION: Hold steady - His value has not likely increased between the injury and the up-and-down performance, but he's an interesting target in OBP leagues given how good his approach can be.


Austin Wilson, Mariners (#139)

Stat line: .183/.286/.299, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 4 SB, 19 R, 18 BB, 51 K (48 games)
Level: High-A Bakersfield (California League)

I started this post last week, and the numbers for Wilson didn't look any better then than they do now. I'll have to dig a little deeper into how it's occurring, but it seems at least in part that BABIP is getting him somewhat. .229 is lower than it probably ought to be, but with a 31% strikeout rate his batting average probably would still only be in the .230-.240 range.

RECOMMENDATION: Hold - He should be better than this, and trying to sell him now is probably going to lead to some regrets or a bad trade on your part.

Luis Ortiz, Rangers (NR)

Stat line: 3 W, 1.71 ERA, 42 IP, 40 H, 8 BB, 35 K, 1.143 WHIP (9 starts)
Level: Low-A Hickory (Sally League)

Ortiz will almost assuredly jump up the rankings, in part because the performance has been good, and because the reports coming out about him point to an extremely interesting pitcher long term.

He was our #8 prospect in the Rangers' system this offseason, and I'd be curious if the Rangers move him up to High-A before the end of the year. He's very polished for a high school draftee, and may need a new challenge.

RECOMMENDATION: Can you buy in now? He's probably still three years from the majors at least, but a full year of performance even close to this level with these kinds of reports will likely vault him into the top 100.