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 Seattle Mariners 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). All statistics, unless indicated otherwise, were gathered from fangraphs.com.
Boog Powell: (AAA: Tacoma Rainiers):
Mr. Powell has had a couple stints in the major leagues in 2017. In 41 plate appearances at the MLB level he only has a .206 batting average. He has walked a lot (14.6% BB%), which I consider just 0.4% short of a grade of excellent while striking out at a 22% K% rate (poor).
However, it is what he has done at the AAA ball level that gets him on this list. He has hit for a .331 batting average in 163 plate appearances at that level with a 14.7% BB% (great) and a 9.8% K% (excellent).
Daniel Vogelbach: (AAA: Tacoma Rainiers):
Mr. Vogelbach is in a position to become the first baseman for the Mariners whenever they decide he is ready to take that on consistently. He has had 20 plate appearances at the major league level this season but he has only hit .176 in that extremely small sample size. So, lets look at what he has done this season in the minor leagues.
In 296 plate appearances Mr. Vogelbach has hit 9 home runs with a .147 ISO (Isolated Power). He has power in that bat that should easily exceed that .147 ISO in the future though. He has proven that in significant time in AAA ball in 2016. His 19.6% K% in AAA ball this season is his highest strikeout percentage in any stop along the way in AA and AAA ball. Now, while I give that a grade of below average, two things should be noted: 1. I am a hard grader when it comes to strikeout percentage for hitters. 2. He’s a power hitter, and as long as he can maintain a respectable power hitter batting average then this K%, or one even in the 20% to even 25% range is one that I can stomach as a fantasy baseball owner, as long as he has the solid power hitter home runs coming with it and a nice BB% even makes him more attractive.
Speaking of the walk percentage (BB%)…this guy has consistently been able to draw walks. This season in AAA ball he has a 13.9% BB% (great).
Andrew Moore: (AAA: Tacoma Rainiers):
In his first taste of the major leagues Mr. Moore has produced a 3.60 ERA and 8 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched (2 games started). This is a solid start that Mr. Moore can build upon and hopefully he will draw confidence from the ERA.
I of course give much more weight to FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) than I do ERA as it is a nice predictive statistic to use in helping me project a pitcher’s ERA going forward, assuming his quality of pitching remains the same moving forward. In this case there is some concern for me as he has a 4.68 FIP at the MLB level.
In the minor leagues this season he has pitched at the AA and AAA ball levels. In 34.2 innings pitched in AA ball (5 games started in 6 games pitched) Mr. Moore had a 2.08 ERA and 3.75 FIP. His 23.9% K% was just 0.1% short of a grade of great while his 6.5% BB% was above average. In 53 innings pitched in AAA ball (9 games started) he had a 3.06 ERA and 3.67 FIP. His 23.1% K% I consider above average and the 3.9% BB% while there I consider excellent. In short, he has had a very productive and positive season on the mound.
Ian Miller: (AA: Arkansas Travelers):
As an older 24-year-old (and now 25-year-old) prospect still in AA ball Mr. Miller really needed to put together a strong season to stay relevant and on the prospect map for fantasy baseball addicts like me. He has done just that with a .336 batting average in 308 plate appearances this season. His high .406 Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) suggests that the batting average is bound to come down some, but still, this has been a great start for him. Last season he stole 49 bags in 52 attempts during 494 AA ball plate appearances. This season he has 26 stolen bases in 30 attempts.
We have seen his K% rise from the 10.9% (great) it was in 2016 to the 18.5% (average) that it is today, but it is still a number I am fine with. I’d like to see him improve his 7.8% BB% (below average) a bit though as a lot of his fantasy baseball value is in his legs and stolen base ability.
Chuck Taylor: (AA: Arkansas Travelers):
Mr. Taylor, welcome to the prospect map. You are now someone worthy of following. Sure, you’re a bit old prospect-wise for AA ball as a hitter when looking at prospects and the value of their statistics. You’ve been in the minor leagues since you were drafted way back in 2012 in the 4th round of the June Amateur Draft. But you also have hit .313 this season (your first time ever as a professional ball player with a batting average above .300) with your highest ISO (.164) that has helped you to 7 home runs (another season high for you). You have done all of this while maintaining an average 16.1% K% (average, and only a 0.1% increase from your short stay in AA ball last season and a big decrease from your 2016 A+ ball 21.2% K%) and posting an above average 10.8% BB%. Once again, welcome to the fantasy baseball prospect map. Keep up the good work!
Max Povse: (AA: Arkansas Travelers):
Mr. Povse had his first taste of pitching at the major league level this season and the experience had to have left a bitter taste in his mouth. In 2.2 innings of relief work he had a 10.13 ERA and 7.65 FIP. The Mariners were wise to send him back to AAA ball where he has succeeded this season.
In AAA ball he has pitched 39 innings (8 games started in 9 games pitched) and has a 3.46 ERA and 3.29 FIP. The 19.6% K% (below average) isn’t anything special and his 8.6% BB% (is awful). Still, he is a prospect to keep an eye on.
Braden Bishop: (A+: Modesto Nuts):
Mr. Bishop possibly could be a future lead-off hitter for the Mariners down the line. As a prospect that’s less than two months away from being 24-years-old I’d really like to see what he can do at the upper levels of the minor leagues (AA and AAA ball) sooner than later. His .311 batting average with 13 stolen bases in 17 attempts in 344 plate appearances this season has me wanting the Mariners to promote him now to AA ball so I can see how he performs at that level. His 14.5% K% (above average) and 11.3% BB% (above average) tells me that he is ready to prove his worth in the higher levels of the minor leagues.
Nick Neidert: (A+: Modesto Nuts):
Mr. Neidert has improved upon his 2016 A ball performance in A+ ball this season. He has a 3.09 ERA and 3.29 FIP in 87.1 innings of work (16 games started). His 26.4% K% (great) is something to get excited about, as it was only 19.4% (below average) in 2016. He has increased his strikeout percentage while keeping his walk percentage the same as last season at 3.7% BB% (beyond excellent). All this from a 20-year-old. It’s time to really start getting excited about him.
Anthony Jimenez: (A: Clinton LumberKings):
An older 21-year-old prospect in A ball is a little bit hard to get excited about. However, it is his first taste of professional ball above the Rookie ball level. In 256 plate appearances this season he has a .298 batting average and 7 home runs (.184 ISO). However, he also has a 28.5% K%. He has 24 stolen bases, but also has been caught stealing 10 times. Keep an eye on him I guess.