If you play in dynasty format fantasy baseball leagues here at dynastysportsempire.com or elsewhere, you likely already know the value of having a healthy and deep minor league system. Keeping up on literally thousands of minor league players is darn near impossible for the average fantasy baseball owner. I like to think of myself as your funnel to sift through all the minor league talent and display for you the names you should know about.
Coming this offseason I plan to announce my top 10 dynasty fantasy baseball minor league prospects for each MLB organization. In the meantime, at multiple points during the season, I will be doing a notes article like this on each MLB organization’s minor league system that highlights multiple players that are doing well and that for sure should be on your radar as a dynasty league fantasy baseball owner.
Today we look at some of the Chicago Cubs minor league hitters and pitchers that are having positive seasons and that also have the talent level that is potentially worthy of a dynasty league roster spot (depending on how deep your roster size is).
Victor Caratini: (AAA: Iowa Cubs):
It’s been a strong start to the season for Mr. Caratini. He’s hitting .358 with 3 home runs in 146 plate appearances. Sure, the high .391 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) has a lot to do with the high batting average, and both are likely to come down by some this season since there is lots of games left to play, but nevertheless, this is a strong start! This is a player that has consistently in the past shown great plate discipline, and he continues to do so this season. He for sure is a bat to keep an eye on.
Jeimer Candelario: (AAA: Iowa Cubs):
Mr. Candelario is currently busy with the major league club struggling with a .143 batting average in 22 plate appearances of work. This is in stark contrast to his domination in AAA ball this season. In 115 plate appearances he had a .340 batting average and 4 home runs going prior to being called up. That batting average was high in part due to his high .433 BABIP. He also had a .309 ISO (Isolated Power), so he was hitting the ball with authority, as I consider that a beastly power ISO. This is a guy who has displayed great plate discipline over his minor league career. Right now he’s taking his lumps at the major league level in what still is a very small sample size. I wouldn’t be concerned with that though at this point in time. This is an exciting fantasy baseball minor league bat!
Ian Happ: (AAA: Iowa Cubs):
Speaking of exciting minor league fantasy baseball bats, well, we have one right here in Mr. Happ! When all 3 of these hitters were on the Iowa Cubs at the same time this season it would have been fun as a fan sitting in the stands and cheering them on. However, as I type this sentence Mr. Happ is with the big league club batting cleanup. Prior to yesterday’s game (since this will be published many hours after it has been written) Mr. Happ had a .308 batting average and 2 home runs in 17 plate appearances at the major league level. He really has made his presence known on the major league level quite quickly! Prior to the call up, in 116 plate appearances, Mr. Happ had a .298 batting average and 9 home runs (with a beastly .317 ISO)!
Trevor Clifton: (AA: Tennessee Smokies):
After looking at 3 hitters lets look at some pitching, shall we? Mr. Clifton has started 7 games this season and pitched 38 innings in his first taste of AA ball. He has struck out 35 hitters while compiling a 2.37 ERA. This looks great! Well, his 3.22 FIP shows that he has had his share of good luck on the mound this season. Even so, this has been a fine start to the season for Mr. Clifton.
Oscar De La Cruz: (A+: Myrtle Beach Pelicans):
The start of the season has looked like this for Mr. Cruz: 7 games started, 36.1 innings pitched, 27 strikeouts and a 2.97 ERA. That’s a stat line that is solid. However, when we dig just a little deeper, we find out that his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is a much higher 4.24. This is his first taste of A+ ball, so maybe he needs an adjustment period to get his FIP down. He also isn’t striking out hitters at the rate he was in 27.2 A ball innings (31% K%, which was excellent). He currently has a 17.4% K% (below average). I can’t move onto the next player until I at least mention that he has a complete game shut out this season.
Dylan Cease: (A: South Bend Cubs):
Umm…so…Mr. Cease has 50 strikeouts in 32.1 innings pitched. He has a 37.9% K%. Last year in A- ball Mr. Cease had a 36.3% K% in 44.2 innings pitched. I think he has safely established that he is an elite…and I mean elite of the elite…strikeout pitcher. In his 7 game started this season he has compiled a 2.23 ERA and a 2.92 FIP to go along with it.
Dakota Mekkes: (A: South Bend Cubs):
I hesitated putting Mr. Mekkes in this article. After all, we are talking about a 22-year-old in A ball pitcher. However, he was just drafted (10th round) in the 2016 June Amateur Draft, so I decided his performance is worthy enough to mention. In 20.2 innings pitched this season Mr. Mekkes has 30 strikeouts and a 37.5% K%. He is a bullpen guy that has 4 holds and 1 save in 2017. His ERA is 0.87. It should be noted that he has a 2.86 FIP. This is a guy to keep an eye on. His 13.8% BB% (beyond awful) is not what we want to see. However, lets allow him some more time to get more innings under his belt this season and prove his worth to continue to be mentioned in a future system notes article, and hopefully, get that BB% under control. I don’t often mention minor league bullpen arms, so I recommend that you keep an eye on him.