MLB Streaks & Trends: July 19
Joe Gallina goes around the league, tracking the notable streaks and current trends affecting most fantasy baseball leagues.
There’s about two and a half months left to the fantasy baseball season. We’re sure many of you can remember a time when you picked up a rookie off of your league’s waiver wire and he ended up being the final piece of the puzzle that eventually helped you win a championship. We’re talking about guys like Yasiel Puig in 2013 (.319 BA, 19 HR, 8 SB in 104 games), and Danny Santana back in 2014 (.319 BA, 20 SB in 101 games). Interestingly enough, after slumping for three years, Santana has resurrected his career with the Rangers. With 13 home runs and 11 stolen bases he could be the guy who once again gets picked up off of league waiver wires and helps leads fantasy teams to championships.
We’ve already had a bunch of high profile rookies, including players like Austin Riley and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. , get promoted to the big leagues. Predicting who will be next is not always easy, but logic leads us to believe that baseball’s worst teams would be most likely to call up players from their farm system. Teams like the Orioles, Royals, Tigers and Marlins know they have no shot at making the playoffs this season and are in full blown rebuild mode. It’s no secret that the Mariners are looking to reconstruct their team from the ground up as well.
There are some teams who might hold off on promoting their high end prospects in order to delay the start of their service time clocks and eventual entry into the free agent market. By promoting top pitching prospect Zac Gallen a few weeks ago, the Marlins showed that they are not one of these teams. Outfielder Monte Harrison and infielder Isan Díaz are two Marlins prospects who have a chance of seeing big league action this season.
Harrison has a quick bat and a nice blend of power and speed. He has 30 home run potential but if he expects to stick in the big leagues he’ll need to cut down on his strikeouts. His strikeout rate is down 6.3 percent since last season, but it’s still high at 30.3 percent. He’s been dealing with a wrist injury of late, but in 50 Triple-A games Harrison is batting .284 with nine home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Harrison is more likely to be a September call up, but Isan Díaz, who is considered the Marlins’ second baseman of the future, may see big league action sooner than that. If the Marlins can trade Starlin Castro , Diaz would likely become their everyday second baseman. Diaz has power, he’s quick on the bases and he has shown good plate discipline. He has a career double digit walk rate and he’s cut his strikeout rate by more than seven percent since last season. Diaz is batting .305 with 22 home runs and five stolen bases this season.
The Orioles are another bad team thinking towards the future and there’s a good chance that they’ll give Ryan Mountcastle the opportunity to be part of that future well before the end of this season. Mountcastle can play both corner infield positions but he’s likely looked upon as a future outfielder. He’s currently batting .299 with 15 HR and 54 RBI in 86 games for the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate. He’s tweaked his approach at the plate in order to get the most out of his power. Mountcastle’s adjustments have helped elevate his average launch angle, increase his barrel rate, and develop into a more consistent power hitter.
Mariners outfield prospect Jake Fraley may be wearing a big league uniform pretty soon. He has a career .287/.363/.477 minor league triple slash and was promoted to Triple-A about a month ago. So far he’s held his own. Fraley has emerging power and might eventually develop mid-20 home run power. He was expected to make his big league debut in 2020 but with the Mariners in clear rebuild mode, and Mitch Haniger expected to miss a bunch more of this season, look for Fraley to make his debut before the end of the 2019 season.
San Diego Padres fans are clamoring to get another glimpse of infielder Luis Urías . Urias got a brief taste of big league action earlier this season and based on his .083 batting average it appeared he needed a bit more seasoning. Well, the 22 year hold has been raking since being sent down to the minor leagues. Urias is a line drive contact hitter who’s batting .316 with 19 home runs in 72 games for the Padres’ minor league affiliate. The only thing standing in Urias’ way of him becoming the Padres every day second baseman is Ian Kinsler . Since Kinsler is batting just .217 it shouldn’t take long before he hits the bench or is traded for a bag of balls in order to make way for Urias.
Don’t be too surprised if Astros OF/1B prospect Kyle Tucker finds himself on the Astros’ roster before the end of the season. He struggled against big league pitching last season, and quite frankly, if he does join the Astros roster he might not be in the lineup every day. However, he’ll likely join the club by September, at the latest.
Also don’t be too surprised if we don’t see Bo Bichette , the Blue Jays top infield prospect, in the majors until next season. Bichette looks ready to take on big league pitching, but then again so did Guerrero Jr. and he actually seems mortal, batting just .240 in 66 games for the Blue Jays. Based on recent history, and the way they handled Guerrero’s big league debut, having control over a player’s service time is important to the Jays. We wouldn’t expect them to promote Bichette until super two passes early on in the 2020 season.
Lastly we may have another two-way player joining the likes of Angels SP/DH Shohei Ohtani and the Rays SP/DH Brendan McKay before long. Jake Cronenworth has played second base, third base, shortstop and…pitcher. For the most part he has served as the opener for the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate and thus far he’s done well. He has a mid-90 mph fastball and he hasn’t given up a run in just over seven innings pitched. As for his hitting skills, Cronenworth is batting .342 with 10 HR and 11 SB for the Rays Triple-A affiliate. With his versatility on the field and his hot bat, we may get to see him on the mound and in the batter’s box before the end of the season.
*All stats presented in this article are current as of the morning of Thursday July 18, 2019.