Fantasy

MLB Fantasy: Hitters Who Are Raking in the Minors for American League Teams

In Fantasy Baseball, it’s really important to know not only who is raking in the show, but who is in AAA-ball too.  Most teams still call guys up from AAA-ball instead of the lower leagues.  Here is a look at one player from each team in the American League that is off to a good start with the bat in AAA-ball in 2017:

Paul Janish, SS, Baltimore Orioles – 34-year old righty swinging shortstop Paul Janish is known more for his glove than his bat, but he is raking in AAA in 2017.  He has played in 19 games this year and he is 15 of 53 (.283 avg., .821 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 1 homer and 9 RBI.  If Janish gets called up by the Orioles, it would be as a backup.  He has played in 459 games in his first 8 years in the show and he is only 247 of 1,146 (.216 avg., .572 OPS) with 123 runs scored, 7 homers, 84 RBI and 7 stolen bases.

Rusney Castillo, OF, Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox signed 29-year old righty swinging outfielder Rusney Castillo to a 7 year, $72 million dollar deal back in 2014.  So they are stuck with him.  He might work his way back to Boston if he keeps raking in the minors.  He has played in 17 games in the minors so far this year and he is 19 for 66 (.288 avg., .713 OPS) with 11 runs scored, 2 homers, 6 RBI, and 3 stolen bases.  Castillo has played in 99 games in his first three years with the Red Sox and he is 83 for 317 (.262 avg., .679 OPS) with 45 runs scored, 7 homers, 35 RBI and 7 stolen bases.

Yoan Moncada, 2B/SS, Chicago White Sox – 21-year old switch-hitting Yoan Moncada came into this season as the White Sox’ #1 prospect according to Baseball America.  He was the main part of the return in the huge Chris Sale deal with the Red Sox over the winter!  He is going to be the White Sox’ starting 2B in the very, very near future!  He has played in 20 games in the minors this year and he is 26 of 82 (.317 Avg, .903 OPS) with 16 runs scored, 4 homers, 5 RBI, and 6 stolen bases.  But, he has whiffed 29 times this year, which is something he has to cut down on before the White Sox call him up.  He has now played in 207 games in his first three years in the minors and he is 230 of 793 (.290 avg., .878 OPS) with 171 runs scored, 27 homers, 105 RBI, and 100 stolen bases.  Moncada got his first taste of the show last year with the Red Sox when he played in 8 games in which he was 4 for 19 (.211 avg., .513 OPS) with 3 runs scored, 0 homers, 1 RBI, and an awful 12 whiffs.  Moncada and Tim Anderson are going to make a dynamic double play combination for the Pale Hose for a long, long time!

Erik Kratz, C, Cleveland Indians – 36-year old righty swinging catcher Erik Kratz is killing the ball in the minors for the Tribe so far this year!  He has played in 11 games this year and he is 17 of 38 (.447 avg., 1.327 OPS) with 7 runs scored, 4 homers, 6 RBI and 1 stolen base.  Kratz has been an all or nothing hitter in his Major League career to date.  He has played in 225 games in his first 7 years in the show and he is 120 of 599 (.200 avg., .610 OPS) with 55 runs scored, 24 homers and 73 RBI.  But, he has whiffed 148 times against only 37 walks in the show.  That being said, if Yan Gomes or Roberto Perez gets injured, the Tribe would likely call up Kratz over top prospect Francisco Mejia, as long as he keeps raking at the plate!

Efren Navarro, 1B/OF, Detroit Tigers – 30-year old lefty swinging Efren Navarro is off to a red-hot start with the bat in the minors this year.  He has played in 21 games this year and he is 24 of 70 (.343 avg., .877 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 2 homers, 11 RBI and 1 stolen base.  Navarro has played in 130 games in his first four years in the majors and he is 63 of 256 (.246 avg.,  .627 OPS) with 27 runs scored, 1 homer, 20 RBI and 2 stolen bases.  If the Tigers continue to suffer a rash of injuries, Navarro could get another shot at the show with them in the near future.

Preston Tucker, OF, Houston Astros – 26-year old lefty swinging outfielder Preston Tucker is going to try to get back to Houston before his brother Kyle does (Kyle Tucker came into this season as the Astros’ #2 prospect according to Baseball America).  Preston Tucker has played in 19 games in the minors this year and he is 28 of 74 (.378 avg., .914 OPS) with 9 runs scored, 2 homers and 14 RBI.  He has played in 146 games in his first two years with the Astros and he is 95 of 434 (.219 avg., .677 OPS) with 46 runs scored, 17 homers and 41 RBI.

Ryan O’Hearn, 1B, Kansas City Royals – 23-year old lefty swinging 1B Ryan O’Hearn came into this season as the Royals’ #7 prospect according to Baseball America.  O’Hearn has played in 19 games in the minors this year and he is 24 of 77 (.312 avg., .933 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 5 homers and 11 RBI.  O’Hearn has now played in 344 games in his first four years in the minors and he is 377 of 1,303 (.289 avg., .871 OPS) with 187 runs scored, 67 homers, 220 RBI, and 13 stolen bases.  If the Royals keep tanking in the standings, they could look to deal starting 1B Eric Hosmer, as he is in his free agent walk year.  If the Royals deal Hosmer, O’Hearn will get the first shot to replace him as the new starting 1B.

Eric Young, 2B/OF, Los Angeles Angels – If 31-year old switch-hitting 2B/OF Eric Young gets called up to LA and he gets regular playing time, you should pick him up due to his blazing speed!  He has played in 19 games in the minors this year for the Angels and he is 33 of 80 (.413 avg., 1.003 OPS) with 18 runs scored, 2 homers, 9 RBI, and 6 stolen bases.  Young has played in 563 games in his first 8 years in the majors and he is 371 of 1,506 (.246 avg., .642 OPS) with 239 runs scored, 8 homers, 88 RBI, and 145 stolen bases.  Young led the National League in steals in 2013 with 46 of them combined for the Rockies and Brewers!

Daniel Palka, 1B/OF, Minnesota Twins – 25-year old righty swinging Daniel Palka came into this season as the Twins’ #9 prospect according to Baseball America.  Palka has played in 20 games in the minors so far this year and he is 20 of 78 (.256 avg., .784 OPS) with 13 runs scored, 5 homers and 13 RBI.  He has now played in 468 games in his first five years in the minors and he is 482 of 1,799 (.268 avg., .852 OPS) with 290 runs scored, 99 homers, 323 RBI, and 45 stolen bases.  Palka will likely get his first taste of the show at some point this year for the Twins as long as he keeps raking in AAA!

Ruben Tejada, 2B/SS, New York Yankees – 27-year old Ruben Tejada is a major league player stuck in the minors with the Yankees.  He has played in 16 games in the minors this year and he is 18 of 50 (.360 avg., 1.052 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 2 homer and 14 RBI.  He has played in 616 games in his first seven years in the majors and he is 504 of 1,997 (.252 avg., .647 OPS) with 207 runs scored, 10 homers, 153 RBI, and 16 stolen bases.  Tejada will likely get a shot later this year with the Yankees or some other team.

Franklin Barreto, 2B/SS, Oakland A’s – When Marcus Semien went down to injury, many thought the A’s would call up 21-year old righty swinging Franklin Barreto to replace him in the starting lineup.  They decided to go with Adam Rosales for now, but that might not last.  Barreto came into this season as the A’s #1 prospect according to Baseball America!  He has played in 21 games in the minors this year and he is 29 of 83 (.349 avg., .971 OPS) with 13 runs scored, 4 homers, 15 RBI and 1 stolen base.  He has now played in 366 games in his first five years in the minors and he is 420 of 1,417 (.296 avg., .823 OPS) with 227 runs scored, 38 homers, 202 RBI, and 78 stolen bases.  If Barreto gets called up by the A’s, it’s going to be to play every day!

Boog Powell, OF, Seattle Mariners – With as bad as the Mariners are playing, anyone that is looking good with have a real chance of getting promoted!  24-year old lefty swinging outfielder Boog Powell was suspended for 80 games in 2016 due to testing positive for PEDs, so he is going to have to really play well (and do it cleanly) before he gets back in the Mariners’ good graces.  Powell has played in 14 games in the minors so far this year and he is 12 for 46 (.261 avg., .750 OPS) with 13 runs scored, 0 homers, 4 RBI, and 5 stolen bases.  Powell has now played in 372 games in his first six years in the minors and he is 412 of 1,376 (.299 avg., .769 OPS) with 222 runs scored, 9 homers, 126 RBI, and 68 stolen bases.  The Mariners have recently called up Powell and he has played in one game, but he has yet to bat for them.

Patrick Leonard, 3B/1B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays – 24-year old righty swinging Patrick Leonard is off to a torrid start with the bat in AAA-ball this year!  He has played in 21 games in the minors so far this year for the Rays and he is 34 of 81 (.420 avg., 1.051 OPS) with 17 runs scored, 2 homers, 17 RBI and 5 stolen bases.  Leonard has now played in 564 games in his first six years in the minors and he is 540 of 2,064 (.262 avg., .759 OPS) with 315 runs scored, 57 homers, 274 RBI, and 48 stolen bases.  Leonard will get his first shot at the show in 2017 if he keeps raking in AAA!

Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Texas Rangers – 28-year old righty swinging Will Middlebrooks is off to a great start in AAA-ball for the Rangers this year.  He has played in 12 games in the minors this year and he is 15 of 48 (.313 avg., 1.002 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 4 homers and 14 RBI.  He has played in 325 games in his first five years in the majors and he is 254 of 1,112 (.228 avg., .665 OPS) with 114 runs scored, 43 homers, 152 RBI, and 10 stolen bases.  Middlebrooks has good power, but he will need to fix some holes in his swing before he can get his career back on the right path if he gets back to the show.  He has whiffed 311 times against only 63 walks so far in his major league career.  Middlebrooks is blocked at 3B in Texas by Adrian Beltre and Joey Gallo.

Jason Leblebijian, IF, Toronto Blue Jays – 25-year old righty swinging Jason Leblebijian can play all over the infield and that versatility defensively could get him to Toronto in the near future.  He has played in 20 games in the minors this year and he is 19 for 60 (.317 avg., .989 OPS) with 12 runs scored, 4 homers, 13 RBI and 2 stolen bases.  Leblebijian has now played in 467 games in his first six years in the minors and he is 437 of 1,652 (.265 avg., .737 OPS) with 256 runs scored, 35 homers, 214 RBI, and 46 stolen bases.

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