Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report: Schmidt Ready To Take Over The Big Apple
After a two or three week period when prospect promotions were abundant, this past week saw that flow decrease to a trickle with only a couple of notable prospects receiving the call, none of which having much or any redraft appeal. I know, that’s not a great way to lead into this article, but we’re at the point of the 2020 season where we’re likely done seeing big name promotions. I’m not saying there’s no chance in someone like MacKenzie Gore or Andrew Vaughn getting called up, but it’s unlikely at this point. With all that said, there were a few promotions, headline by Clark Schmidt that possess exciting longterm value for fantasy leagues along with a mashing first base prospect on the rise that you should be targeting heavily in dynasty leagues.
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Clark Schmidt & Other Prospect Callups
Clarke Schmidt (RHP – NYY)
This is the one I’ve been waiting for coming out of the Evil Empire. While Deivi Garcia has mostly impressed since getting the call a few weeks ago, Clarke Schmidt is the top pitching prospect in this system as far as I’m considered with the highest floor and arguably the highest ceiling as well. A former 1st round pick in 2017 out of the University of South Carolina, Schmidt flew through the minors, needing only 114 innings to reach the Major Leagues thanks to a dynamic arsenal and above-average command and control.
The arsenal is a trio of above-average or better offerings, headlined by a low to mid-90’s fastball with hard sinking action and a high-spin slider in the mid -80s that has produced a 60% whiff rate in his first 2.1 innings with the Yankees. Both pitches grade as plus and Schmidt’s changeup will flash above-average to plus at times too, giving him three legit weapons to attack hitters with in any given outing. While Garcia and Luis Medina might be in the same upside neighborhood with Schmidt, neither can sniff his high floor. Schmidt will likely pitch out of the pen down the stretch for New York, killing any potential redraft value, but this is a potential #2 starter longterm.
Luis Campusano (C – SDP)
Honestly, this one surprised me. The Padres just acquired two catchers at the deadline last week and follow that up by calling up another catcher in Luis Campusano a week later. Nothing against Campusano at all, but a very surprising move. Campusano wasted no time making his presence felt with a home run and two runs scored as part of a 1/3 debut on 9/4, but found himself quickly on the IL two days later with a left wrist sprain.
Even without the IL stint, it was going to be hard for Campusano to carve out any redraft value as he was likely going to be a part-time player down the stretch for San Diego. However, the longterm upside here is very intriguing. Well, intriguing for a catcher. Kidding!
Without question, Campusano is one of the five best catching prospects for dynasty leagues and you could make an argument for him as high as #3 behind Adley Rutschman and Joey Bart. While he’s far from a finished product and never had an at-bat above high-A until his promotion this week, Campusano has displayed an above-average hit tool above-average raw power, and an advance plate approach that led to nearly as many walks as strikeouts last year. Campusano’s bat speed and barrel control are exceptional and he’s always limited his strikeouts well. Long-term, this could be a top-10 fantasy catcher.
Daz Cameron (OF – DET)
This was the “exciting” roster move that Detroit’s front office was hinting at the other day after they optioned Christin Stewart. I’m not sure I’d use the same vernacular when describing Daz Cameron for fantasy purposes. The 37th overall selection of the 2015 draft has endured a tumultuous minor league career, both in Houston and in Detroit. Cameron’s best tool for fantasy is his plus speed which helped him accumulate 109 steals in 460 minor league games. However, Cameron was also caught 47 times which equates to a 69.9% success rate. He could certainly add 20-plus steals annually as a starter in the Major Leagues, but with his lower conversion rate, I’m not seeing him given the green light ro run wild and surpass 30 steals any time soon,
How I described Cameron’s speed and bare running accument can basically be applied to the rest of his offensive profile as well. While he’s shown he can draw walks at a decent clip, posting a 10.7 BB% in 2019 and 10.2% for his career, Cameron’s contact skills have mostly been below-average and his strikeout rate has seadily been clumbing over the last three seasons from 21.4% in 2018 to 25.7% in 2019 and finally 28.8% last season.
Detroit could really use a leadoff type of hitter to slot in front of Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and others down the road, but I’m not expecting Cameron to be that guy longterm. More than likely, he’s a player that bats in the bottom-third of the order that hits around .250 or so with double-digit homers annually and 20-plus steals as well. That’s enough to put you on the fantasy map, but I’m not so sure there’s upside for much more than that.
Brent Rooker (OF – MIN)
It feels like Brent Rooker has been in the high minors for several years now. In reality, it’s only been two seasons since Rooker reached Double-A, but Rooker lost time last year due to a groin injury which likely kept him from receiving a callup. Rooker was raking at the time and finished with a .282/.399/.530 line and 14 home runs in 67 games. While I’m not 100% sure where Rooker fits in longterm, he has that power-hitting corner outfielder look to him with plus power and around an average to slightly below-average hit tool combining to give him .260/30 upside if given the chance to start.
The problem is that Rooker’s defensive shortcomings limit him to a corner outfielder, spot, first base, or designated hitter longterm. Those are spots where Minnesota has a ridiculous amount of depth, including top prospect Alex Kirilloff and recent first round pick, Aaron Sabato. He’s going to have to flex his offensive abilities to force his way into a starting role for this Minnesota squad moving forward.
Jorge Ona (OF – SD)
For redraft leagues, I wouldn’t recommend targeting Jorge Ona, but there’s intriguing appeal for deeper dynasty leagues. First and foremost, Ona is a truck at 6’/235 with easy plus raw power and a strong arm as well. Those have been Ona’s carrying tools since he was signed back in San Diego’s big International spending spree back in 2016, but he’s far from an all or nothing masher. Ona has displayed around average contact skills and was really thriving in the Texas League last season before a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery ended his season in early May.
If he can work his way into a starting gig at some point, Ona has the offensive potential to make a decent impact. Just don’t expect that to be this season down the stretch. However, in dynasty leagues, it couldn’t hurt to try scoop him up or send an offer to the person rostering him in your league as you can likely get him for cheap as he’s not one of San Diego’s big-name prospects which carries that added price in trade talks. At this point, his upside outweighs his price tag.
Dean Kremer (RHP – BAL): A 14th round pick back in the 2016 draft, Dean Kremer was one of the pieces Baltimore acquired when they traded Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018. That was also the same season that Kremer transition into a starter which looks like it was the right call. But with that said, Kremer’s upside is more in a back-end starter role than someone that is going to help anchor Baltimore’s rotation into the future. Kremer works in the low-90’s with his fastball and will mix in a curveball, cutter, and sinker, all of which were working well in his Major League debut where he allowed only one hit and one run over six innings. However, only the curveball grades above a 50 longterm.
Patrick Weigel (RHP – ATL): With all the injuries to the Braves rotation pieces, they’ve had to dip into their farm system more than they probably would’ve liked this season. Their latest pitching prospect to get summoned to Atlanta is 6’6 right-hander, Patrick Weigel. There are many mixed reports and outlooks out there on Weigel, but he projects more as a setup man or middle reliever longterm in my eyes due to below average command. In that role, Weigel could find some success with his above-average to plus fastball and slider, but he’s not much of a fantasy option now or in the future as far as I’m concerned. This smells like a reliever or back-end starter profile at most.
Luis Garcia (RHP – HOU): One of about 36 Luis Garcia’s in the minors, this one has a similar outlook to Patrick Weigel longterm. Garcia has three pitches that project as or flash above-average in his fastball, changeup, and curveball, but he’s struggled to locate those offerings and pound the strike zone throughout his professional career. For that reason, I don’t see him as a starter for too much longer.
Prospect News & Notes
Luis Patiño Optioned, Short-term Value In Question?
I’m not talking about 2020 redraft leagues. No, I’m talking 2021 with the question above. After his recent demotion back to the alternate site, Patiño’s 2020 value went from minuscule to obsolete and recent transactions by San Diego have me questioning his 2021 role as well. After the acquisition of Mike Clevinger, San Diego now has three pitchers locked into their 2021 rotation with Clevinger, Dinelson Lamet, and Chris Paddack. That leaves two spots up for grabs and at least four arms in the running.
We’d all love to daydream about those spots being handed to Patiño and Gore, but it’s not that simple as Joey Lucchesi and Zach Davies are also in the picture. Davies is the one to watch out for as he’s pitched exceptionally well this season with a 2.23 ERA and 0.93 WHIP across eight starts. Barring a catastrophic meltdown over the next three weeks, he’s likely bought himself a 2021 opening day rotation spot or at least put himself as a front runner at the very least.
Now, Patiño could very easily snag that #5 spot, but Gore is going to force his way into this rotation early on, likely before the end of May. There’s no doubt that Patiño’s longterm upside is astronomical with the potential to pitch like a front line starter, but I’d be hesitant to draft him next spring. It’s a situation worth monitoring heading into 2021.
Triston Casas Mashing and Rising
I’ve been hyping up Triston Casas ever since the 2018 draft and now that hype is really beginning to take off. As Jake Devereaux and I discussed on the latest 5 Tool Podcast, Casas has been beasting at Boston’s alternate site, cranking light-tower blasts on a regular basis. That was on display again the other day as Casas opted not to take first base after Tanner Houck hit him and proceed to crush a tape-measure home run a couple of pitches later. Such a boss move, right?
There have been plenty of lofty comps put on Casas already, and while those might be a bit unfair, it just shows how high many are on him. I’ve said it before many times that Casas has Bobby Dalbec power with a much better hit tool. While he doesn’t walk quite as much as Dalbec does, Casas has shown a mature plate approach for someone with his experience level with above-average contact skills and double-plus raw power to go along with it. It’s entirely possible we haven’t seen the end of his power growth either as Casas is only 20 and still has some physical projection left on his 6’5 frame.
I’ve long cautioned against left-handed power at Fenway, but Casas is one that can make it work. With his raw power, barrel control, and natural loft in his swing, it’s not a stretch to project him for 30-plus homers annually with the upside for much more and a slash line in the vicinity of .280/.380/.550. Your time is running out to buy him at lower than a top-25 prospect cost in dynasty leagues.
Media Credit: Icon Sportswire
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