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 May 6 thru May 12, 2019:
Tim Lopes earned our AAA Farmhand of the Week honors this week by hitting 3 HR (in 3 straight games), stealing 3 bags, and walking more times than he struck out during the week. Lopes’ hot week has now brought his 2019 season batting average up to .304 for the Tacoma Rainiers. A 6th round pick way back in the 2012 draft, Lopes hasn’t slugged above .400 since that season. Until this year. He’s now sporting a really healthy .518 slugging average so far this season, which adds a whole new dimension to his game. He’s always been a solid contact type hitter, posting a .275 career MiLB batting average. But with some speed and pop, Lopes becomes a lot more interesting as a potential AAAA type prospect to watch.
Bobby Daldongs broke out this week with a 3 HR outburst against Trenton on the 11th. Dalbec now has hit all 5 of his HR in 2019 his last 4 games. His approach just makes him a real feast of famine type of hitter, with K% north of 30% pretty much everywhere in his MiLB career. However, in 2019, Dalbec seems to be focused on his approach at the plate, tightening his K-rate down to 25.8%, and moving his BB-rate up to 18.0%. If these improvements can hold up as he heats up and likely heads to AAA later in the summer, it’s a huge encouragement.
In their 2019 Red Sox prospects overview this offseason, FanGraphs lumped Dalbec into some infamous company:
Mike Olt, Juan Francisco, Matt Davidson, and Pedro Alvarez are recent examples of players with offensive skills who struggled to overcome their issues with strikeouts.
Dalbec’s game really feels sameish to this group of guys. I always wind up owning these guys in the back end of my deep-league rosters, holding out hope that their contact can hold up just enough so that they are capable of playing full time and banging out 30+ HRs. I think the current ‘success story’ for this type of player is 2019 Joey Gallo. Similar to Dalbec, Gallo’s solid glove prevents him from being a complete liability when he hits a really cold streak. So I still really think there’s a chance for Dalbec to become an MLB and fantasy contributor.
Yuck, it was a pretty rough week for hitters in A+ ball this week. So I gave the nod to Nick Allen so I could look into him a little more. Allen, 20, was a prep selection out of San Diego in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft. I saw a comp floating around somewhere that called Allen a cheaper, less-hyped version of Nick Madrigal. He’s listed at 5’8″, 166 lbs, middle infielder so maybe that comp makes a little bit of sense. But unlike Madrigal, Allen is slugging .504 with 3 HR and 14 2B so far in 2019.
Allen has been good at making contact (14.9% K-rate) and getting on base (9.9% BB-rate, good for a .369 OBP this season). He’s also run a decent amount in his professional career thus far (37-for-50 in SB attempts), despite scouting reports that his speed was merely average. So he’s hitting well, he’s running a fair amount, and he’s learned how to add some power to his game. But that’s not the best part!
No, the best part is that Allen’s glove is just outstanding. Here was FanGraphs take this offseason:
Even among a historically talented group of SoCal shortstops (Hunter Greene, Royce Lewis, Brice Turang), Allen was clearly the most gifted defender of the group and the best defensive high school infielder a lot of scouts have ever seen. He has 80 hands, above-average range, a plus arm, and an intoxicating flare and confidence not typical of humans of this stature.
If he just keeps hitting enough, he’s going to be a MLB regular.
I’m a pretty big MiLB fan and also a pretty big White Sox fan, and I had no clue who Dawkins was before I started looking at him for this piece. It just goes to show you how many baseball prospects there are out there (6500+ in affiliated baseball) and just how special of athletes these guys are, even if they are just grinding away in the Sally League.
Dawkins was a 27th round selection by the White Sox out of Sacramento State in last summer’s draft, signing for a meager $5k bonus. When you look at his collegiate stats, he was tough to strike out, posting sub 10% K-rates in 3 of his 4 seasons. This season in the Sally League, he’s only striking out 13.6% of the time. He’s a little bit of a slap hitter (.108 ISO, 2.9% HR/FB rate), but he’s also hitting .331 with a .392 OBP this season. And those on-base chances are leading somewhere, as he’s already stolen 12 bags and scored 20 runs for Kannapolis this season.
This is the second Farmhands of the Week win for the former Braves 1st rounder. I keep putting him up on here because I really think there’s a chance that Sims might come up and contribute at the MLB level for the Reds this season. Players like Sims who are AAAA types can really add a lot of value to your farm team in formats where you are rostering big farms (think 200+ prospects). Not that you should spend your whole farm on these types of guys. How I like to play it is to set a percentage of my farm slots (like 5-10%) for AAA ‘lotto tickets’. I usually look at stats first, but things like draft pedigree (Sims being a 1st rounder gives him a boost in my eyes) can also come into play. These are the types of guys who might slide into significant playing time due to injury or incompetence at the MLB level.
These guys can really help your squad and organizational depth. Some leagues have a rule where players can move up and down between your minors and your active roster depending on their ‘real life’ status. I play in one of these leagues. It’s very deep (24 teams) and the waiver wire is really shallow. So in house options like Sims can sometimes be life savers.
Crismatt turned in a dominant show on May 9th against Tulsa, the Dodgers AA affiliate. Crismatt scattered 3 hits over 6 innings and punched out 13 batters while allowing no walks and no earned runs. And this was no below-average lineup he was facing. The Drillers order that day boasted top prospects Gavin Lux (3 Ks), DJ Peters (3 Ks), and Keibert Ruiz (3 Ks).
Crismatt signed with the Mets as an international free agent out of Colombia back in 2012. Prospects Live gives us this breakdown of his arsenal:
Crismatt throws four pitches: fastball, curveball, slider, and change-up. He mixes them well and keeps hitters off-balance. With a low 90’s fastball, he has to stay off the barrel and pitch backwards in order to be effective. When he is on, the fastball runs and sinks, inducing a high rate of ground balls. Crismatt’s curveball flashes 12-6 while his slider acts more like a cutter. His change-up flashes fade. All this adds up to a pitcher that can maximize his stuff to turn over a lineup.
I’d say there’s an outside chance that Crismatt winds up making some spot starts for the Mariners this season.
Oliver Ortega made 2 scoreless appearances for Inland Empire last week, punching out 16 batters over 9 innings in the process. His ERA on the season is now down to 3.21, and he’s holding batters to a .179 batting average against. He’s just getting killed by the free passes (he allowed 8 last week), as evidenced by his 1.32 WHIP and 20 BB in 28.1 innings of work. Ortega did pop up on the FanGraphs list of the Angels top prospects this offseason in the ‘long shot’ category, so he’s worth a follow for your deep league watch list at this point.
2 starts, 2 wins, 14 Ks, 0 earned runs for Molina last week, who paced the Burlington Bees and put in another strong performance for Angels pitching prospects. His 2019 ERA is now down to a stingy 1.35 in 7 games (4 starts) in the Midwest League. He’s likely just a future relief arm, but monitor him this season to see if he keeps having some success while being stretched out as a starter with Burlington.