Prospect Stock Report 9.14.17
September 14, 2017 | Justin Klein
Willie Calhoun was called up by the Rangers on Tuesday, September 12th as he started in left field and slotted into the batting order in the seventh spot. In his first major league at bat Calhoun singled to right field and knocked in an RBI. He finished the night 1-4. Then on Wednesday he again started in left field and batted seventh. He went 0-2 before he was pinch hit for by Adrian Beltre. With several Rangers dealing with injuries it appears that Calhoun will get a good amount of starts and playing time as the season winds down. He may be pinch hit for occasionally, and with the Rangers just a couple of games out, he could also lose at bats when the injured Rangers (Gomez, Beltre, Odor, Mazara) return to full health. If the Rangers fall out of the wildcard race then Calhoun is all but assured regular playing time and a starting spot. It’s important to note that this is probably it as far as big power bats coming up for the minors this season. Lewis Brinson might return from injury and come up, and Tyler O’Neil could possibly be a late season call up, but in all likelihood Calhoun is the last big bat to be called up as far as we’re concerned in the fake game. In case you’re not familiar Willie was the main piece coming back to Texas in the Yu Darvish trade with the Dodgers. Prior to the season Calhoun was ranked as the 76th best prospect at Baseball Prospectus and the 92nd best prospect at Baseball America. As he has a cup of coffee with the Rangers this fall his power will hopefully be on full display as it was in the minor leagues. In 99 games and across 414 plate appearances with the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate Willie smacked 23 HR while posting a .276 ISO, .391 wOBA, 134 wRC+ and a triple slash line of .298/.357/.574. Then after the trade Calhoun managed to notch 8 more HR, a .257 ISO, .384 wOBA and a 129 wRC+ with a triple slash of .310/.345/.556 across 120 plate appearances in 29 games. Still just 22 years old Willie has shown tremendous plate discipline as he’s never struck out in more than 11.8% of his at bats outside of a 20 game stint in high A where he notched a 15.9% K rate. Aside from that poor 20 game sample Calhoun has also never posted an ISO lower than .215. Throughout his minor league career he’s shown the ability to consistently hit for average and power while getting on base. He doesn’t run much, and he’s below average defensively, but boy can he hit. While he’ll play leftfield in Texas this season (and likely DH some as well) he has 2B ability in Yahoo leagues. He’ll add OF eligibility after five starts. Currently available in 92% of Yahoo leagues Calhoun should be added in all dynasty leagues, keeper leagues, AL only leagues and in most deep league formats as well. Because we’re not certain of his playing time and how he’ll hit in his first taste of big league action I’m a little less bullish in smaller redraft leagues. For most of those I’d take a wait and see approach with the young slugger. That said, if he does flash his big time power I won’t hesitate to pick him up. Especially if I can slide him into a 2B or MI slot for the rest of the season.
Walker Buehler was called up just over a week ago, and after posting a very clean two inning debut on September 7th (where he allowed just one hit and struck out two) he’s been hit up quite a bit. In his second outing on the 10th Walker only managed to get one out while he allowed four runs (all earned) on two hits (including a HR) and two walks. Then in his third outing, on the 13th, Buehler allowed another earned run on two hits while striking out one. It’s been rough for him out of the gate, but he has the skills to be a serious weapon out of the Dodgers bullpen and it will be interesting to see if they decide to keep going to him despite the poor results thus far. I believe that they will, as they’ll want to get a better and clearer idea of what they have as they head down the stretch and into the postseason. If Walker’s poor play resulted in him being dropped and you’re in any sort of keeper or dynasty league you should immediately add him. Seeing as how he’s available in 97% of Yahoo leagues he’s out there for most of you if you want him.
Speaking of struggling Dodger rookies that have led off my Prospect articles of late there’s also outfielder Alex Verdugo. After starting in his first two major league games Alex has been moved to the bench and only used as a pinch hitter with one appearance as a defensive replacement. And to be fair he’s barely even been used in that capacity, as he has just five appearances in the past 10 games. Currently available in 98% of Yahoo leagues he’s still a great addition in any sort of keeper or dynasty league, but is an afterthought in every redraft league regardless of format.
Jen-Ho Tseng is making his major league debut with the Cubs tonight as they play host to the Mets tonight at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago. It’s a good matchup for the young southpaw as the Cubs should be heavy favorites. Available in 88% of Yahoo leagues he could be a decent streamer in deep mixed leagues and only leagues and a worthwhile flier in dynasty or keeper leagues. This season at Double A Tseng tossed 90 and 1/3 innings across 15 starts and managed a 8.27 K/9 and 2.39 BB/9 while posting a 2.99 ERA and 3.28 FIP. Then at Triple A he notched a 6.38 K/9 and a 2/29 BB/9 with a 1.80 ERA and a 4.25 FIP in nine games across 55 innings pitched. Although he is the Cubs minor league pitcher of the year this season his dip in strikeouts is concerning from a fantasy perspective. That said, as he fills in for the injured Jake Arrieta he should get a couple of starts and could be worth using in deeper formats as he could provide a win or two with some above average ratios and a decent amount of K’s.
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