Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report: Gallen the Great
Do you like pitching punk? Well, do ya? This article was already shaping up to be a little pitcher-heavy this week and then the Marlins brightened up our afternoon on Wednesday, announcing the promotion of Zac Gallen. If you had Pablo Lopez, like myself in many leagues, I’m sorry it had to be this way. But his IL stint does open the door for Gallen, so you win some, you lose some.
If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Eric Cross’ Top-250 prospects, Top-300 Dynasty League Rankings, & 2019 FYPD/J2 Rankings.
Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report- Zac Gallen to the Show
Finally. After dominating the Pacific Coast League for nearly three months, Zac Gallen has received that call every minor leaguer dreams about. It, unfortunately, it took an IL stint to another bright young arm in Pablo Lopez for this to happen, but that aside, there’s a lot to be excited about here. We really need to put emphasis on the word “dominating” above too. Gallen’s performance this season in a hitter-friendly league, where offense is even more abundant this year than in year’s past, is truly spectacular. Just take a look at his ERA and WHIP compared to the pitchers that are currently 2nd through 5th in the PCL:
Those are just two stats. Gallen’s dominance this seasons stretches far beyond just ERA and WHIP. He also leads the PCL in innings pitched, strikeouts, and most every other category you can think of. Beyond that, Gallen is working deep into games on a consistent basis, tossing at least five innings in every start and seven innings or more in seven of his 14 starts. Any way you slice it, Gallen’s 2019 season has been phenomenal. Comparing it to Pedro Martinez’s dominance in 2000 during the height of the steroid era is a tad much, but you get the gist.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 24, 2019
With Gallen finally up with the Marlins, the question now is how much value can he provide for fantasy owners in 2019. Those expecting a Chris Paddack type of impact or for Gallen to continue dominating like he has in Triple-A will likely find themselves disappointed. This is a damn good arm, but he’s not quite on the Paddack/Soroka level. Gallen operates in the low-90s with run and sink on his fastball and will mix in a cutter, curveball, and changeup, all of which are above-average offerings. This recent success has come from his ability to get groundballs and his plus command of his entire arsenal. Gallen really knows how to attack hitters and mix his pitches to keep hitters from locking in.
Out of all the pitchers to come up recently like Jordan Yamamoto, Zack Plesac, and Logan Allen, Gallen is the one I’m the highest on for the rest of the season and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he’s a top-40 starter moving forward. Expect solid rations and somewhere in the vicinity of 9-10 K/9. If he’s still sitting on your waiver wire, snatch him up before someone else does.
So… Who’s Next?
Great question, glad you asked. FREE KESTON! Relax Eric, stick to the pitching side of things. Now that Zac Gallen is perusing the streets of Miami instead of pitching for the Baby Cakes (great team name), two names jump to the forefront of pitching prospects to stash for re-draft leagues. Those being Dylan Cease of the White Sox and Brendan McKay of the Rays. Well, Jesus Luzardo too, but we’ll get to him a little later.
Cease and McKay have been on very different paths so far this season. One started in Triple-A and has had a so-so season with a 4.37 ERA through 12 starts, while the other started in Double-A, dominated there, and has since continued his domination in Triple-A while popping a few home runs along the way. Now both are on the cusp of their Major League debuts.
If you can only roster one, McKay would get my vote. He’s been on the fast track to Tampa Bay since he was drafted two years ago and has pitched well at every stop along the way. It’s sounding like he should be up with Tampa Bay by the end of July to help the Rays down the stretch as they try to get back to the postseason. While he’s a 2-way player, the only real impact he’ll likely have this season is on the mound. With his four above-average to plus pitches and pinpoint command, McKay has the potential to make a big impact down the stretch in fantasy.
Casey Mize Hurt
Why? Why can’t we have nice things? Did we do something to upset the all-mighty Baseball gods for them to smite down Casey Mize? Okay, maybe I’m going a tad overboard, but with how dominant Mize has been since being drafted, and especially this season, even “shoulder soreness” is going to cause some panic in the prospect world. I’m not going to lie, some choice words that I cannot say here spew from my mouth as fast as a Nate Pearson fastball when I saw that Mize had left his last start early. They may or may not have rhymed with “duck” and “chit”. Neither can confirm or deny that.
All we can really do is hope that this is simply soreness like the Tigers said and not something worse that requires Mize to go under the knife down the road. Obviously, this doesn’t change his long-term outlook, but it does make his slim chance of a 2019 MLB debut even slimmer.
Other Prospect Notes
Jesus Luzardo (LHP – OAK): After two appearances with High-A Stockton, Jesus Luzardo will now report back to Triple-A Las Vegas where he ended last season. Well, technically he ended with Triple-A Nashville before Oakland switched affiliates, but you get the idea. The Athletics have been cautious with him ever since acquiring him from Washington and I don’t anticipate that changing now. He’ll likely get at least a few starts in Triple-A to build up his arm strength before coming up to Oakland sometime after the MLB all-star break. If you have room to stash him, now seems like a good time to do so if he’s available in your league.
Nolan Gorman (3B – STL): Yes, even the mighty Nolan Gorman is allowed to have his struggles. I mean, he’s taking it easy on Midwest League pitching. Yeah, that sounds better. Gorman is in one really smelly funk over the last couple of weeks, recording only three hits in his last 43 at-bats to drop his season average down to .241. Even his prestigious power has gone into hiding with zero homers since June 2nd. Yup, that was two and a half weeks ago for those wondering.
Nolan Gorman’s first AB = ✌️ pic.twitter.com/eupcCPLkw3
— Peoria Chiefs (@peoriachiefs) May 26, 2019
With Gorman’s swing and miss tendencies, there were bound to be some extended funks during his development. As much as I pump him up, he’s still barely 19-years-old and still very raw as a hitter. The power upside is enormous, but Gorman still has a lot of work to do on his contact skills and overall approach. Some have said he’s Joey Gallo 2.0. While I agree on the power side of that assessment, I’m still a firm believer that the hit tool develops to a point where Gorman can hit in the .260-.270 range consistently.
Logan Allen (LHP – SD): I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t expecting a big impact from Logan Allen this season and then he fires seven shutout innings in his Major League debut on Tuesday. Bravo Logan, bravo. This still doesn’t change my ROS outlook for him. Sure, Allen is a solid arm with four above-average to plus pitches, but he’s more of a floor guy than one with an overly high ceiling. He should definitely be owned in deeper mixed leagues and NL-Only league, but I wouldn’t get too giddy about Allen in standard mixed leagues. If he’s available, sure, you give him an add to see if he can build off his first start. I just wouldn’t expect him to be a big impact arm for you the rest of the way.
Justus Sheffield (LHP – SEA): You know your season isn’t going too well when you get demoted from Triple-A back down to Double-A. After posting a 6.87 ERA through his first 55 innings, this is a fate Justus Sheffield knows all too well. This wasn’t just PCL inflation either. Sheffield has struggled mightily with both his command and control this season and it’s led to him getting hit hard. Take a look at his 6.7 BB/9 and 2.0 HR/9 for evidence of that. Hitters know he’s having problems throwing strikes, so they can be patient and wait for a pitch to clobber or just work a walk. Hopefully, the demotion gives Sheffield the kick in the pants he needs. And maybe it has as Tuesday’s outing was his best in nearly a month. It’s not time to write him off by any means, but Sheffield is definitely sliding down my rankings.
Mitch Keller (RHP – PIT): Some prospects when called up, hit the ground running and leave a trail of destruction from their first pitch or at-bat. For example, Chris Paddack and Yordan Alvarez. Other, like Carter Kieboom, struggle immensely and get sent back down quickly. Then you have the group that experiences some ups and downs like we expect most rookies to go through. Mitch Keller fits in that last group. Who could forget him allowing six runs in his first Major League inning? All in all, Keller has a bloated 10.50 ERA next to his name in the Majors and will continue to hone his craft back at Triple-A for the time being. He’ll certainly be back up later this summer, but for now, he can be dropped in re-draft leagues.
Taylor Trammell (OF – CIN): Top Cincinnati hitting prospect, Taylor Trammell, went on the IL earlier this week with a hamstring strain. After a strong start to the season, Trammell had been struggling of late so the time off might help him hit reset on the season. He’s not expected back until some time in mid-July or so.
Zach Collins (C – CHW): It wasn’t just pitchers making noise this week. One of the top catching prospects got the call to the show as well when the Chicago White Sox promoted Zach Collins this week. Collins possesses above-average to plus power, but has struggled to hit for a solid average throughout his minor league career. Luckily, he has one of the strongest walk rates around which has kept his OBP very high. Those in AL-Only Leagues should give him a look, but mixed leaguers can take more of a wait and see approach.
Adbert Alzolay (RHP – CHC): In another under the radar promotion, the Cubs called up Adbert Alzolay yesterday after Tim Collins was DFA’d. Alzolay was having a fine season in the minors, posting a 3.09 ERA in six Triple-A starts after a rough outing in High-A to start the season. He should get a chance to make some appearances over the next couple weeks and has some NL-Only intrigue. But like with Collins above, I wouldn’t look to him in standard mixed leagues quite yet.
Tyler Freeman (2B/SS – CLE): The Indians have promoted middle infield prospect Tyler Freeman to High-A after hitting .292 with three homers and 11 steals in 61 games in the Single-A Midwest League. With Freeman’s combination of a plus hit tool, a solid plate approach, and above-average speed, he’s a middle infielder to be targeting in dynasty leagues that could push top-100 status within the next 12 months or so.
Isan Diaz (2B – MIA): Over the last month, few have been hotter in the minors than Isan Diaz. Over the last 30 days, Diaz is hitting .337 with 17 extra-base hits and nine home runs in 101 at-bats, pushing his season line to .283 with 14 home runs. He’s likely going to get a chance with the Marlins this summer and could make for a sneaky-good pickup in re-draft leagues when that happens due to his above-average raw power.
Prospect Spotlight: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, Chicago White Sox
The debate over who the top hitter is from this year’s 2019 amateur draft is a good one. Some go with the upside of Bobby Witt Jr, while others flock to the #1 overall pick and likely best overall player in the class, Adley Rutschman. Now, I won’t fault you for choosing either of those two guys. They each have phenomenal upside and make for great dynasty league investments. But if I have the #1 pick in a 2019 FYPD, Andrew Vaughn is the player I’m taking, hands down. Here’s why.
Andrew Vaughn. Gone.
— USA Baseball (@USABaseball) June 29, 2017
You can say what you want about his lack of speed or suspect defense at first base, but there’s no denying what Vaughn brings to the plate. This is one of the best-looking swings you’ll find in this draft class. From the right side, Vaughn starts balanced with a slightly wider stance and hands shoulder high. He uses a bigger leg kicked synced with a moderate hand coil back and slightly up before exploding through the zone with plenty of bat speed. The swing path is direct through the strike zone with a slight uppercut.
Vaughn’s feel for the barrel is rare for a slugger of his magnitude. Not only does he have the power to hit 30+ home runs annually, but Vaughn also possesses a plus hit tool and sound approach that should allow him to hit for a high average with a strong OBP as well. That approach led to an 87/48 BB/K rate over his final two collegiate seasons at the University of California with an OBP well north of .500 each season. Rutschman and Witt are great targets, but with Vaughn’s combination of hit, power, and approach, he’s the one with the highest upside in my mind. A Jimenez/Vaughn middle of the order is going to a scary combination in a few years.
Sleeper Prospect Spotlight: Owen Miller, SS, San Diego Padres
The name Owen Miller is not one you’re going to see high on many prospect lists. Heck, he barely cracked my Padres top-25 back in the offseason due to the amount of depth in this system. But that wasn’t for lack of skill. If it was, Miller wouldn’t be sitting here in this sleeper prospect spotlight, now would he? The Padres selected Miller in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft and assigned him to the short-season Single-A Northwest League where he hit .336 with four home runs and four steals in 75 games.
Fast forward to 2019 and it’s been more of the same for Miller. In his first 67 games for Double-A Amarillo in the Texas League, Miller is hitting .371 with seven home runs and a trio of steals. With his plus contact skills, it’s not surprising to see Miller hitting for high averages. But what has been a pleasant surprise is the additional power he’s shown his season. His seven dingers are the most Miller has hit in the minors or at Illinois State. If he can get up into double-digit power totals, that would look really good next to his high batting average and 20-steal upside, which is still lurking despite his lower steal totals.
Who know if he ever runs more and fully capitalizes on his above-average to plus speed. He’s yet to do so, but that speed is there. Miller’s ceiling is a .280/15/20 hitter at either second base or shortstop. With his weaker throwing arm, however, second base could end up being his long-term defensive home instead of his current shortstop position. If your dynasty league rostered 300+ prospects, I’d give Miller a look.
Prospect Stash Rankings
No, these aren’t rankings of what prospect have the best mustaches. These are the prospects currently in the minors that can make the biggest 2019 impact. This is a combination of ETA and potential 2019 impact.
- Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL | Last: 1 (#FreeKeston)
- Luis Urias, 2B, SD | Last: 5
- Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU | Last: 2
- Nate Lowe, 1B, TB | Last: 3
- Carter Kieboom, SS/2B, WAS | Last: 4
- Monte Harrison, OF, MIA | Last: 6
- Ryan Mountcastle, SS, BAL | Last: 7
- Jorge Mateo, SS, OAK | Last: 8
- Bobby Bradley, 1B, CLE | Last: 9
- Isan Diaz, 2B, MIA | Last: NR
Called Up: Zack Collins
- Brendan McKay, LHP, TB | Last: 2
- Dylan Cease, RHP, CHW | Last: 3
- Jesus Luzardo, LHP, OAK | Last: 7
- Mitch Keller, RHP, PIT | Last: NR
- Corbin Martin, RHP, HOU | Last: 4
- Anthony Kay, LHP, NYM | Last: 5
- A.J. Puk, LHP, OAK | Last: 8
- Adbert Alzolay, RHP, CHC | Last: NR
- Enyel De Los Santos, RHP, PHI | Last: NR
- Matt Manning, RHP, DET | Last: 10
Photo/Video Credit: MLB Pipeline, Peoria Chiefs, USA Baseball, Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire
Eric Cross is the lead MLB/Fantasy Baseball writer and MiLB prospect analyst for FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. In the past, he wrote for FantasyPros and FanSided. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and a contributor in the best-selling Fantasy Baseball Black Book. For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
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