Kris Bryant answered critics with a dominant 2014. Between stops at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, the slugging third baseman compiled a .325/.438/.661 triple slash, good for a 1.098 OPS. Showing both power and speed (43 home runs and 15 stolen bases), Bryant laid claim to the title of the best prospect in baseball. ROTOscouting’s Chris Blessing scouted the offensive juggernaut in Tennessee earlier in the year. Has the profile changed as Bryant adds the finishing touches?
Jairo Labourt was one of many Toronto prospects slated for assignment at short-season Vancouver, a pivotal Blue Jays affiliates for 2014. After graduating quality prospects to the big club (save for breakout campaigns from LHP Daniel Norris and OF Dalton Pompey), the Jays patiently waited until June for a handful of high ceiling talents to debut. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, Labourt has fit in well with a big-name rotation featuring Alberto Tirado, Miguel Castro, and Matt Smoral. Showing both the stuff and results to succeed as a starter, what should Toronto fans expect from the lanky lefty?
The Cubs called up Jorge Soler on Monday, bringing the talented outfielder to Wrigley for the last six weeks of the season. Across three levels, the Cuban compiled a triple slash of .340/.432/.700, more than enough to warrant a big league look. Unlike Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara, Soler was already on the 40-man roster and is signed to a Major League contract. Recalled midway through the I-Cubs’ matchup against Tacoma, Soler provided a brief glimpse into his potential. What will the future star be working on during his time in the north side of Chicago?
Sonny Gray: Buy or Sell?The Athletics shored up their staff for a 2014 playoff run by acquiring aces Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija. Both pitchers aren’t long for the Bay Area (Lester’s a free agent after this season, though Shark is under team control through 2015), but Oakland had its future ace already: Sonny Gray. On fantasy owners’ radars since starring at Vanderbilt, Gray was a popular breakout pick for 2014. The right-hander is cruising through first full season with 2.6 WAR, 7.84 K/9, and 3.33 FIP. Should owners cash in on Gray’s pedigree, or is the best still to come?
Garrett Richards is breaking out in a big way. Richards’ career numbers before 2014 are largely uninspiring, but with 3.6 WAR already (good for 10th best in the game), the Oklahoma product is performing like one of the best pitchers in baseball. Richards is rewarding shrewd owners for their likely minimal investment, but is there more going on under the hood to suggest selling high on the Angels’ ace?
With Thursday’s MLB trade deadline quickly approaching, contending teams have been afforded as much time as possible to determine if a “rental” player is worth acquiring. Since both pitchers are performing admirably this season, Jon Lester and David Price’s, ahem, prices are largely distinguished by the extra year of team control for Price. Lester, on the other hand, is a free agent at year’s end and is analyzed by (1) how much he costs to acquire and (2) how much better he makes the team for the rest of the year. A third consideration, his financial cost, is mostly negligible for 2014 if the acquiring team makes the playoffs. Though both are squarely on the hot stove, Lester is a different acquisition than Price.
Last week, Felix Hernandez was the focus of ROTOscouting’s ongoing look into the impact of Solo Home Run situations. Hernandez has maintained his health to the degree of throwing another third more Major League innings than the seven previous Solo Home Run pitchers combined (1983 IP for Felix versus 1469.1 IP). Part one discussed the importance of Hernandez reaching his late twenties without sustaining a significant injury. Part two looks at some other possible ways King Felix’s reign has lasted.
Heaping expectations on an 18-year old infielder at a short season affiliate is a fool’s errand. After seeing the Blue Jays’ Franklin Barreto though, it’s easy to be carried away. With an impressive array of tools and plenty of athleticism, Barreto was a gem of the 2012 international class. Signed for $1.45 million, Toronto can afford to let the Venezuelan determine his own pace. For now, he’ll play shortstop, but what do the Blue Jays have in Franklin Barreto?
The Solo Home Run situations study has featured pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery or have missed time due to injury. This week, the focus is a pitcher who’s avoided the knife and thrown more Major League innings than all of the previous subjects combined: Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Hernandez is having his best statistical campaign, already accumulating 5.4 WAR in his age-28 season. Still, Hernandez has been a reliable workhorse since entering the league in 2005. How do King Felix’s Solo Home Run ratios stack up against the young guns felled by elbow issues?
Masahiro Tanaka joined the ever-growing list of pitchers to hit the Disabled List with UCL injuries. Diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his pitching elbow, the Yankees ace will undergo the same platelet-rich-plasma procedure Dylan Bundy attempted before succumbing to Tommy John surgery. Tanaka may or may not recover in time to be a factor in the AL East this year, but his game and pitch usage deserve further review. Given the nature of Solo Home Run situations, was Tanaka in greater risk of injury?
1-On-1 ROTO Strategy Session
The Best Of RS
- Can Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez Crack the Texas Rangers Opening Day Rotation?
- Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline 101: A Former MLB GM’s Take
- Felix Hernandez and Solo Home Run Situations: A Blueprint For Longevity
- JR Graham: Is He Still An MLB Arm For The Atlanta Braves?
- Mason Williams: Is It Time To Label Him A Bust For The Yankees?
- Mike Newman's Top-50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Scouted in 2014
- Nick Kingham Scouting Report (2014)
- Rangers Joey Gallo, Marlins Giancarlo Stanton And Strikeouts
- The ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast
- Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Prospects By Team
- Will Mike Moustakas Finally Put It Together Next Season?