“Tranquilo” – Five Players to Monitor in the International League
Let’s first note that Ronald Acuna is now playing Triple-A baseball at only 19 years old. The Braves have been pushing their prospects aggressively and Acuna has yet to blink. His call up is on deck and he could press for everyday at-bats next season. What a story. Here are some other high upside guys you should monitor for September call-ups with a view toward the 2018 campaign.
I haven’t had the chance to feature Adames yet this season but he is my favorite prospect in baseball. The Rays acquired him in 2014 in the David Price deal, and Adames has progressed steadily through the farm system. He is lauded as a high character leader with above average defense at shortstop, but what will intrigue fantasy owners is his ability at the dish. He is a plus hitter with above average raw power and is not afraid to get deep into counts in search of his pitch to drive. Adames is only an average runner and won’t post gaudy stolen base production, but he profiles as another offensive force in the AL East that will compete for consistent playing time next season.
Albies is a natural shortstop that has been getting reps at second base in preparation of a franchise double play combination with Dansby Swanson. Albies won’t supply much power, but the Curacao native is a gifted hitter that makes consistent hard contact from both sides of the plate thanks to elite hand-eye coordination. Albies’ pure athleticism makes him a serious threat on the base paths and he’ll post girthy stolen base production. He made his MLB debut last night at only 20 years old and the Braves view him as a table setter atop their future NL East pennant winner.
Andujar trained with the same trainer as Gary Sanchez in the Dominican Republic and has the makings of a very solid fantasy baseball player. He’s still polishing his game on the defensive side and needs to solidify that part of his game to earn every day at bats, but once he does, the bat has upside. He is allergic to walks but makes a ton of contact and has a knack for squaring balls up. He could stand to improve his strike zone recognition but the bat could develop into a weapon for both average and power. Fantasy owners should not expect immediate results but three years down the road, Andujar will be a steal.
Kingery does not stand out in any one facet of the game but rather is a well-rounded ball player with minimal flaws. His most explosive tool is his plus speed that he blends with savvy on the base paths to become a stolen base threat. At the plate, Kingery is a disciplined hitter with command of the strike zone and a tight approach. His swing is crisp, contact, and the raw power doesn’t wow scouts, but he uses the middle of the field and sprays balls to all parts of the field. Kingery’s prospect stock has risen noticeably this season and caught the attention of the fantasy community. He isn’t a future superstar but Kingery will have a productive role for fantasy owners once he settles in as an average everyday second baseman in Philadelphia.
Cordell was recently traded to the White Sox from the Brewers in exchange for Anthony Swarzak and the change of scenery offers Cordell a path to playing time. He will take his fair share of strikeouts but offers plus speed on the base paths along with the above-average power that is still developing in games. It is unclear exactly where he will slot in defensively but he has the arm and speed to handle any of the three positions. Cordell is 25 and has yet to put it together and blossom but the tools are intact to become an above average fantasy asset.