Prospect Stock Report 9.1.17
September 1, 2017 | Justin Klein
Alex Verdugo was called up by the first place Los Angeles Dodgers today and according to their manager Dave Roberts he’s going to play. That’s big news if true. Verdugo was recently named the 27th best prospect in all of baseball by the dynamic crew over at Baseball Prospectus. At Triple-A this season Alex posted a .314/.389/.436 triple slash with a .367 wOBA and a 118 wRC+. His most impressive stat was his 10.5% BB rate, especially when compared to his 10.1% K rate. Walking more than you strike out is an elite skill. The fact that he’s improved in taking walks in every minor league season and was able to accomplish that feat facing the best players that he’s ever faced is profoundly impressive. Although Alex hasn’t impressed with the power or speed yet his carrying tool is the hit tool and that’s the most important one. When it’s paired with an ability to work a count and get on base it becomes quite valuable. Currently available in 96% of Yahoo leagues Alex should be owned in every keeper and dynasty league and if he’s available there you should immediately add him. If he actually plays regularly he’s worth adding in all but the shallowest formats and especially in OBP leagues. On the other hand if the loaded Dodgers decide to sprinkle him in the starting lineup and mainly use him off of the bench than he’s only useful in extremely deep formats or NL only leagues. It turns out that Alex is in fact in the starting lineup and he’s starting in centerfield with Granderson and Puig on each side of him in the outfield and Chris Taylor playing shortstop. I’m not sure if this will be their lineup against a right handed pitcher going forward, but it will certainly change against a left handed pitcher. In any case it’s good to see Verdugo in the lineup right away. With a double header on tap against the Padres tomorrow the Dodgers will face one LHP and one RHP, so we should get more useful information on Verdugo’s usage then. I bet that he’ll sit the first game and then starts the second game, but we’ll see. If that happens, it will lead to believer that Verdugo will in fact get to start against right handed pitchers, and therefore get to start against two-thirds of the league.
Also making his debut on Friday night is Cardinals 21 year old right handed starting pitcher Jack Flaherty. Although he’s already given up five earned runs in less than three innings pitched he’s still a player of interest. That’s because Jack managed to post a 7-2 record across 15 games started and 85 and 1/3 innings pitched at Triple-A this season. During those innings he notched a solid 8.96 K/9 and a 2.74 ERA. Before that Jack tossed 63 and 1/3 innings at Double-A and he managed a similar 8.81 K/9 with an even better 1.42 ERA and the same 702 record in 10 games started. Currently available in 71% of Yahoo leagues (that number might go up because of this thus far lackluster outing) Flaherty could be a solid addition in deeper mixed league and only leagues as well as dynasty and keeper leagues if he’s available. I added Jack in one redraft league where I needed some innings in a ROTO format and then in a keeper league as well. I’ll hold him in the keeper league and in the redraft league because he’ll face the Padres in San Diego his next time out. Even if he gets hit up a bit again he should be a great source of K’s. If he’s not hit up he could even contribute solid ratios with those K’s. Just keep in mind that he’s still quite young and although he’s skilled there will no doubt be some bumps in the road.
Harrison Badar was called up again today by the Cardinals and he was slotted second in the batting order against the Giants. It makes you wonder why St. Louis didn’t just keep him up in the first place. In any case Harrison is 1-2 and he’s already smacked a two run HR as I write this. That brings his major league average up to .304 across 25 career plate appearances as I write this. Badar should be owned in all dynasty and keeper leagues already, but if he’s not go and make the addition post haste. Currently available in 99% of Yahoo leagues he’s out there for most of you. In mixed leagues I would be willing to add Bader in deeper formats and in all only leagues if available. He has some power and speed and could be extremely useful if he stays near the top of St. Louis’ batting order. If he slides down he could still be useful, but he almost certainly won’t be as valuable. It will be interesting to see how much he plays. I would think that the Cardinals would give him plenty of playing time, but with the team just five games out of the wild card race he could lose some playing time if he doesn’t contribute right away. That creates a lot of pressure to succeed and can go both ways so it will be interesting to watch and see what unfolds. After posting 20 HR and 15 SB in 479 plate appearances at Triple-A this season I’m curious as to just how much of that power and speed are going to translate to the big league level. So far it looks like most or all of it, but only time will tell.
Last but certainly not least I need to mention the Milwaukee Brewers Brandon Woodruff. After notching a 4.30 ERA across 75 and 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season Brandon managed to post a 1.62 ERA at the big league level in 16 and 2/3 innings pitched, but it was a rather lucky mark and not indicative of how well he actually pitched. That’s because he also posted a K/9 under 7 (6.82) and a BB/9 over 4 (4.32) while also notching a .280 BABIP, 99.2% LOB% and a FIP of 4.09. Woodruff gets the tough task of facing Matt Scherzer and the Nationals on Saturday at Miller Park. While I would sit him in all but the deepest formats and/or head to head leagues where only K’s are needed he’s still worth monitoring and picking up in deeper formats. Currently available in 96% of Yahoo leagues most of you can go and add him now for free if you’d like. If Brandon stays in the rotation (it’s no lock as Milwaukee has at least six capable starting pitchers) he would face the Cubs in Chicago next Friday, so it’s tough sledding again for the young rookie. In any case he’s worth adding in deep mixed leagues, all NL only leagues and in all keeper and dynasty leagues.
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