Here's a look at some of the action from the latter part of the week:
The thing about watching prospects is that they don't always cooperate.
On Thursday I decided to check out a few innings of the game between the Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies) and Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox) of the Double-A Eastern League. Three Yard Goats made our Consensus Top 100 Fantasy Prospects list: OF David Dahl (#41), 3B Ryan McMahon (#46), and OF Raimel Tapia (#49). As a bonus, RHP Antonio Senzatela, one of Colorado's top 5 pitching prospects, was on the mound. The first thing I noticed was that Senzatela, a fastball-slider-changeup guy, was wild even in warmups. Two hard hit balls, a walk, and a double later, he was down 3-0 in the first inning; he lasted only two innings and threw 40 pitches on a chilly night in Maine. Dahl, McMahon, and Tapia were quiet early in the game, as the Sea Dogs built an 8-0 lead through five. Dahl's bat eventually got going--he finished with a double, HR, and 3 RBI--but by then I had changed the channel.
Elsewhere, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs) took on the Carolina Mudcats (Braves) in High-A Carolina-League action. The Pelicans' middle infield features SS Gleyber Torres and 2B Ian Happ, Chicago's top two fantasy prospects, ranked #36 and #51, respectively. Carolina's roster includes SS Dansby Swanson (#13 overall), as well as OF Braxton Davidson, one of Atlanta's top ten organizational prospects.
It was one of those nights.
The quartet of prospects finished a combined 1-for-16 with 6 strikeouts. Happ alone finished 0-for-4 with 4 Ks. Torres got the lone hit--a solid single to left--and then promptly fell down, face-first, between third and home as he was trying to score on a double. Carolina held on to win, 3-2, in a game that--I'll be kind--did not meet my expectations.
It finally felt like baseball season as the temps approached 70 here in northern Ohio. With my beloved Buccos playing the Brewers on the big screen, I decided to put my laptop to good use and check out one of Milwaukee's affiliates, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Low-A Midwest League, as they hosted the Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals). Peoria's lineup includes two of St. Louis's top hitting prospects, SS Edmundo Sosa and OF Magneuris Sierra. Wisconsin, meanwhile, features two of my favorite prospects in Milwaukee's loaded system, SS Isan Diaz and OF Monte Harrison. With Peoria's flamethrowing RHP Sandy Alcantara on the mound, this game seemed like a good choice.
And it was. All four of the game's most intriguing position players flashed at least one of their impressive tools. Sosa, who turned 20 in March, has an open stance that leaves him vulnerable to outside breaking pitches but helps him generate sneaky power (7 HR in 49 games last season). In the top of the 4th inning he reached on a solid single to left and later scored. The inning also featured an RBI-single by Sierra, who made loud contact all evening despite only one base hit. Peoria carried a 3-0 lead into the 7th inning, when Harrison triggered a three-run rally with a walk and a stolen base. Diaz finished 0-for-4 with a K, but his excellent bat speed and confidence at the plate were obvious, for he was one of the few Rattlers hitters who did not appear overmatched by a dominant Alcantara.
The box score does not tell the story of Alcantara's evening. His final line (6 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) suggests little more than a quality start. In truth, he was downright dominant through five innings. True to his scouting report, he blew three high fastballs past Harrison in the first inning. He also appeared to have a solid offspeed pitch that repeatedly fooled Rattlers hitters who understandably were sitting dead-red. On this night, at least, his curveball was a wipeout pitch. Only in the 6th inning did he start falling behind hitters. In the 7th he walked Harrison, hit a batter, and then appeared visibly frustrated when he did not receive a borderline call. He was lifted after 94 pitches.
Peoria won the game, 5-3. Of the top position players, Diaz remains my favorite. Fantasy owners should view him as a future second baseman with above-average offensive skills, including a plus hit tool. Alcantara, meanwhile, looks like another Cardinals pitching prospect with a high ceiling--mid-rotation at least, and probably higher.
What I'll Watch the Rest of the Weekend
The Myrtle Beach-Carolina and Peoria-Wisconsin series continue, and I'll catch as much of them as possible. Elsewhere, Alex Bregman (#15 overall prospect) and the Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros) are becoming must-see TV. Last night Bregman hit a grand slam, his 4th HR of the young season. Tonight, RHP Francis Martes, our #86 overall prospect, will take the mound for the Hooks. It is well within the realm of possibility that both Bregman and Martes could be called upon to help the Astros later this season. Fantasy owners should pay close attention.