Farmhands of the Week: April 22 thru April 28

The Farmhands of the Week are back for a third season! A great resource for dynasty/keeper league players to find some under the radar prospects or breakouts before they happen. These ‘Farm Freebies’ can help rebuild your minor league system in no time!

Here are the Farmhands of the Week for April 22 thru April 28, 2019:

Hitters

AAA

Name Age Level Org Rank Team Position H TB AB HR RBI R BB SO SB AVG SLG
Luis Urias 21 AAA SD 3 ELP 2B 12 35 28 6 11 11 3 4 0 0.428 1.250
Tim Locastro 26 AAA ARI NA RNO LF 13 29 25 4 10 10 4 4 2 0.520 1.160
Jacob Scavuzzo 25 AAA SD NA ELP LF 9 29 23 6 13 6 3 7 1 0.391 1.260
Kevin Cron 26 AAA ARI NA RNO 1B 8 27 21 6 15 7 4 6 0 0.380 1.285
Yonathan Daza 25 AAA COL 14 ABQ RF 12 24 25 2 6 6 3 0 1 0.480 0.960
Jose Rojas 26 AAA LAA NA SL 3B 11 24 27 4 13 7 1 5 0 0.407 0.888
Brendan Rodgers 22 AAA COL 1 ABQ SS 12 24 24 2 6 11 3 3 0 0.500 1.000

As many people have noted, the AAA level is now using the same baseball as the major leagues, with the attendant run-scoring results. The materials and design of the MLB ball produce less drag on the baseball, which allow the balls to travel both faster and farther due to the decreased air resistance. I think Ben Lindbergh’s piece for The Ringer is the best explainer I’ve read on the new MLB baseball and its effect on run scoring.

My point here is that, when I look at the overall MiLB hitting leaderboards so far this season, they’ve been dominated by AAA hitters. This week, we had several impressive performances but none as impressive as the display that Luis Urias put on. Urias, 21, was called up to the MLB club earlier in the season by GM AJ Preller, but it seems like manager Andy Green preferred the idea of running out Ian Kinsler as his everyday 2B. Well, Urias went down to AAA and banged. And Fernando Tatis Jr. did his best Jean-Claude Van Damme impression yesterday, so he might miss some time (but hopefully not too much):

Feels like Urias is the next man up (again) in SD.


AA

Name Age Level Org Rank Team Position H TB AB HR RBI R BB SO SB AVG SLG
Hunter Owen 25 AA PIT NA ALT LF 10 24 24 3 6 7 1 7 0 0.416 1.000
Ibandel Isabel 23 AA CIN 25 CHA 1B 10 23 31 4 7 5 1 10 0 0.322 0.741
Weston Wilson 24 AA MIL NA BLX 3B 8 20 26 3 9 5 5 2 2 0.307 0.769
Gabriel Cancel 22 AA KAN NA NWA 2B 8 19 28 3 10 8 2 9 1 0.285 0.678
Jake Fraley 23 AA SEA 14 ARK CF 10 19 29 2 4 4 1 7 1 0.344 0.655

Wilson homered in 3 straight games to start the week (1 combo meal), and he’s now slugging .560 so far in 2019. He’s a good-sized athlete (6’3″, 215) with plus raw power. He also sports a career .275 batting average in the minors. The Brewers are pretty jammed up at 1B at the moment, but Wilson has shown a ton of positional versatility in his professional career. He’s mostly played 3B for Biloxi this season, but he’s also played 1B, 2B, SS, LF, and RF when needed since being drafted by the Brewers in the 17th round in 2016. He’s a good claim in deeper leagues because of his performance and advanced level.


A-Advanced

Name Age Level Org Rank Team Position H TB AB HR RBI R BB SO SB AVG SLG
Brady Policelli 23 A-Adv DET NA LAK C 12 24 27 2 5 6 2 5 2 0.444 0.888
Eugene Helder 23 A-Adv SEA NA MOD 3B 8 19 25 3 5 8 7 2 0 0.320 0.760
Dylan Busby 23 A-Adv PIT NA BRD 3B 6 19 23 4 7 5 3 6 1 0.260 0.826

Policelli’s stat line first jumped out at me because he’s a catcher, but he stole 2 bags this week. Then I looked back at his 2018 line and the dude stole 19 bags last year! Love it. He was the Tigers’ 13th round selection out of Towson (lacrosse school) in 2016. He was a slightly above-average offensive performer in the Midwest League last year, and it looks like he keeps making small improvements. So far in 2019, his K% is down to 18.6%, and his ISO is up over the magic .200 level at .210.

Despite being drafted as a catcher, Policelli has played all over the diamond in his professional career. He’s seen time at C (6 games), 3B (2), LF (4), CF (1), and RF (5) thus far in 2019. This versatility gives him a path to playing time as he keeps climbing the ranks. And if he can keep flashing this patience and power profile with a little speed on top, he’s going to start popping up on dynasty league radars too.


A-Full

Name Age Level Org Rank Team Position H TB AB HR RBI R BB SO SB AVG SLG
Sam Huff 21 A-Full TEX 21 HIC C 8 23 23 5 6 7 4 7 2 0.347 1.000
Mason Martin 19 A-Full PIT NA GBO 1B 9 23 29 4 8 9 6 13 1 0.310 0.793
Wander Franco 18 A-Full TB 1 BG SS 9 21 21 3 5 7 3 2 1 0.428 1.000
Andy Weber 21 A-Full CHC 30 SB 2B 11 21 27 1 10 4 2 8 1 0.407 0.777
Curtis Terry 22 A-Full TEX NA HIC 1B 9 20 25 2 4 3 0 5 0 0.360 0.800
Alec Bohm 22 A-Full PHI 1 LWD 3B 10 20 24 2 5 3 2 2 0 0.416 0.833
Jarred Kelenic 19 A-Full SEA 2 WV OF 9 20 22 3 5 6 3 4 2 0.409 0.909

 

There are some big-time prospects on this list (Franco, Kelenic, Bohm) but Hickory Crawdad’s Sam Huff takes the cake as our A-Full Farmhand of the Week this week. Huff now has 11 HR in 22 games in 2019. Here’s a video courtesy of Dan Victor (South Side Sox, Notes from the Sally) of Huff making some loud contact in yesterday’s game:

While Dan describes Huff as a ‘big bodied’ catcher, he did manage to steal a couple of bags this week too, bringing his season SB total up to 3. He went 9-for-10 in stolen base attempts last year, so there’s sneaky speed here. Huff is now slugging a vigorous .805 in the Sally League and is likely due for a promotion.


Pitchers

AAA

Name Age Level Team W L SV IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Shaun Anderson 24 AAA SAC 0 0 0 11.2 10 4 4 1 3 14 3.21 1.16
Zac Gallen 23 AAA NO 2 0 0 14.2 9 3 2 2 4 13 1.27 0.92
Anthony Misiewicz 24 AAA TAC 0 1 0 13 8 1 1 0 1 12 0.69 0.69
Lewis Thorpe 23 AAA ROC 1 0 0 8 3 1 1 1 0 12 1.13 0.38

Gallen added 2 more wins to what’s been a dominant 2019 performance for the New Orleans Baby Cakes. I wrote a little more on him earlier in the week as his sitting near the top of our Strawberry Start Ratio leaderboard too. Everything seems to be clicking for him right now, and he’s in a great organization for him to get an MLB shot this season. And my dumb ass doesn’t own him in any leagues.


AA

Name Age Level Team W L SV IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Anthony Kay 24 AA BNG 1 1 0 11.1 5 1 1 0 5 17 0.81 0.90
Tanner Houck 22 AA POR 2 0 0 11 6 0 0 0 1 15 0.00 0.64
Brendan McKay 23 AA MTG 0 0 0 10 7 1 1 1 1 15 0.90 0.80
Parker Dunshee 24 AA MID 2 0 0 15 6 0 0 0 3 14 0.00 0.60
Robert Dugger 23 AA JAX 1 1 0 12 5 4 3 1 4 13 2.25 0.75
Emilio Vargas 22 AA JXN 1 0 0 11.2 10 4 4 1 0 13 3.21 0.89
Sam Lewis 27 AA JXN 1 1 0 10.1 7 2 1 0 5 13 0.89 1.19
Jeremy Beasley 23 AA MOB 1 0 0 10 5 1 1 1 2 13 0.90 0.70

This is a good pile of arms who all had really strong weeks this week. But Tanner Houck gets the nod as FOTW as he just cruised through his 2 starts for AA Portland. Houck was a first-round selection out of Missouri in the 2017 draft, and the Red Sox picked him with the idea that he’d be a fast moving arm for them. His 2018 was bumpy, but he did manage to make 23 starts and pitched 119 innings, all in A+ ball. His 2019 is off to a better start, as he’s now 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA. His WHIP, currently at 1.40, is still concerning. But he’s still only 22 and is right on track with being an MLB contributor for the Red Sox relatively soon.


A-Advanced

Name Age Level Team W L SV IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Eli Morgan 22 A-Adv LYN 1 0 0 11 6 3 3 2 0 15 2.45 0.55
Maximo Castillo 19 A-Adv DUN 1 1 0 12 6 2 2 0 1 14 1.50 0.58
Kyle Bradish 22 A-Adv IE 1 0 0 9.1 1 2 1 0 4 13 0.99 0.55
Jhonathan Diaz 22 A-Adv SAL 2 0 0 11 6 2 2 0 5 12 1.64 1.00
Julian Garcia 23 A-Adv CLR 0 1 0 10 9 2 2 1 0 12 1.80 0.90
Jorge Tavarez 23 A-Adv IE 0 0 1 7 3 1 1 0 0 12 1.29 0.43
Spencer Howard 22 A-Adv CLR 0 0 0 5.2 4 0 0 0 0 11 0.00 0.77

Eli’s been on the radar at the Farm for a good while now. He’s relied on excellent control thus far in his professional career, and this season he’s posted a minuscule 4.1% BB-rate in 28 innings (1.29 ERA). Arsenal-wise, Eli’s changeup is plus to double plus, giving him an out-pitch that’s very successful against minor league batters (38.1% K-rate in 2019). However his fastball, despite his excellent control, is probably a below-average offering. It was clocked as low as the mid-80s last season. Keep your eye out for velocity readings on Eli’s scouting reports this season. People will be tempted to draw a Shane Bieber comp (same org, same infinitesimal walk rate), but Bieber’s fastball sits 94-95. Eli can have success in the low-90s with his current arsenal, but anything outside of MLB spot starter is going to be tough.


A-Full

Name Age Level Team W L SV IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Kris Bubic 21 A-Full LEX 1 0 0 13 7 2 2 1 3 18 1.38 0.77
Zach Haake 22 A-Full LEX 0 2 0 11 9 2 2 0 3 18 1.64 1.09
Clay Chandler 25 A-Full WV 2 0 0 12 8 0 0 0 0 15 0.00 0.67
Tim Cate 21 A-Full HAG 1 1 0 12 7 3 2 2 4 15 1.50 0.92
Hector Yan 20 A-Full BUR 0 0 0 9 6 1 1 0 4 15 1.00 1.11
Jonathan Stiever 21 A-Full KAN 2 0 0 12 12 3 3 1 1 12 2.25 1.08
Shelby Lackey 21 A-Full ASH 1 0 0 10 3 0 0 0 2 12 0.00 0.50

Man I can’t help but feel like I whiffed on Bubic for my First-Year Player Draft Guide, where I had him ranked as the #27 overall pitcher in last year’s class. Instead, Bubic has been one of minor league baseball’s breakout performers thus far in 2019. After another dominant week, the lefty out of Stanford now boasts a 3-0 line on the season with a 1.86 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. His K-rate (41.7%) and BB-rate (6.5%) are both spectacular. He’s got a funky, deceptive delivery with a sinking fastball that touches 93 and a deadly changeup that is a plus pitch in my book. Look for him to get promoted when one of his fellow draft mates (Singer, Kowar, Lynch) is ready to move up from A+ Wilmington.

This video is from an earlier start this season, but you can see how difficult the ball is to pick up out of his hand:


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