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 Tampa Bay Rays 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.
Patrick Leonard: (AAA: Durham Bulls):
Mr. Leonard is having a solid season in AAA ball. In 336 plate appearances he has hit .284 with 6 home runs. He has stolen 11 bases in 12 attempts. Ideally he would have a less than 24.1% strikeout percentage (K%) (poor), but that is what he has produced. He is a guy to keep an eye on.
Willy Adames: (AAA: Durham Bulls):
This guy is considered by many to be the Rays top prospect and in AAA ball this season, his first taste of it, he has hit .280 with 6 home runs. He is on fire lately as well at the plate.
Brent Honeywell: (AAA: Durham Bulls):
You might think it odd that Mr. Honeywell makes this article. Oh, sure, he is a top prospect in the Rays system with a bright future ahead of him. But, he has a 4.91 ERA this season in 73.1 innings pitched (14 games started), and well…that is not good. I would agree that certainly isn’t good. But the problem has not been with him as much as it has been just a bunch of bad luck, as his 2.99 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) shows. Heck, his 27.6% strikeout percentage (K%) is excellent and his 6.4% BB% is above average. If the owner in your dynasty league is down on him, well, then this is the perfect time to swoop on in and try to get Mr. Honeywell in a trade.
Jacob Faria: (AAA: Durham Bulls):
Mr. Faria isn’t in AAA ball any longer. He now has a solid 32.1 innings pitched (5 games started) at the major league level in 2017. His 2.23 ERA is a little bit on the lucky side as his 2.84 FIP shows, but even if his ERA mirrored his FIP all his fantasy baseball owners would still be thrilled. He has managed to have a 27.6% K% (excellent) and 3.9% BB% (excellent) and it will be fun watching him continue to establish himself at the MLB level.
In AAA ball this season he had a 34.7% K% (beyond excellent) to go along with a 9.1% BB% (beyond awful). Prior to this season all his time in AA and AAA ball he has had a BB% at 10% or higher, so I still have some concerns in this area. While in AAA ball this season he had a 3.07 ERA and 3.21 FIP in 58.2 innings pitched (11 games started).
Joe McCarthy: (AA: Montgomery Biscuits):
He is an interesting guy to keep an eye on. In his first taste of AA ball this season he has hit for a .295 batting average in 322 plate appearances. He also has 12 stolen bases in 15 attempts. I also love the 14.3% BB% (great) that goes along with his 18.6% K% (below average).
Brandon Lowe: (A+: Charlotte Stone Crabs):
Hello Mr. Lowe! Ok, first let us temper our excitement with the reality that he is a day short of being a 23-year-old prospect succeeding in A+ ball. Ideally I get really excited about a prospect if he is succeeding at a high level if he is 20-years-old or younger while at this level. But, his minor league experience began in 2016 so he is just showing to his bosses that he is ready for a bigger challenge, like AA ball.
I mean, the guy is hitting .336 this season in 263 plate appearances. Oh sure, he has a .381 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play), and that batting average is likely to come down some as the season progresses. But he also has a 16.3% K% (average, and remember, I am a tough grader in this area) and 12.9% BB% (great) to go along with that batting average.
I am sorry. I seem to have not told you something quite important to his prospect status. We will see if he can keep this up, especially as he moves on to the higher levels of the minor leagues, but so far this season he has 9 home runs and a solid power ISO (Isolated Power) of .261!
Genesis Cabrera: (A+: Charlotte Stone Crabs):
Mr. Cabrera has moved onto AA ball (more on that in a moment), but first lets talk about his time in A+ ball. In 69.2 innings pitched (12 games started in 13 games pitched) he had a 2.84 ERA and 3.35 FIP. So, we see he was a bit lucky on the mound. His 21.9% K% was just 0.1% short of getting a grade of above average from me and his 9.1% BB% was the same amount short of a grade of awful.
In AA ball he has improved his K% to 24.5% (great) and his BB% to 7.6% (average). However, lets not get too excited yet as he has only thrown 13 innings (2 games started) at the level.
Jesus Sanchez: (A: Bowling Green Hot Rods):
The 19-year-old kid has really impressed. In his first exposure to professional ball above the Rookie ball level Mr. Sanchez has hit for a .295 batting average in 294 plate appearances. He also has 9 home runs (.185 ISO) and 4 stolen bases in 4 attempts. He is a prospect you should know about!