“That’s Amore!” What MiLB Middle Infielder Helps You in 2018?
We’ve all started mock drafts, and a few leagues have already seen their drafts take place. We get to the later stages of the drafts, and you have to decide what to do with your final picks. Do you go after depth? Do you select a minor league player that you hope will make a difference? If you’re like me and wait on that minor league player more than likely you miss out as another owner grabs him before you can. What about adding pitchers you will be able to spot start and release later on? There are a number of options available. Depending on the league type, I usually shoot for minor league prospects I feel I can help me during the current season, and for redraft leagues I will either go for a minor league player I know will get a call (e.g. Cody Bellinger & Josh Bell last season) or sleeper pitchers. I’m sure there are numerous owners that shy away from drafting minor leagues at any point, especially for redraft leagues, but if you think about it, how many players do you draft with your last pick that will be on your roster within the first month? If you’re like me, very few, if any. This week, I will be breaking down two middle infielders that warrant being draft in these years draft throughout any league type.
Scott Kingery – Philadelphia Phillies
2017 Minors: .304/.359/.530/26 HR/65 RBI
NFBC ADP: 316
ESPN ADP: Undrafted
Yahoo! ADP: Undrafted
Fantrax ADP: 316
Kingery is coming off his best statistical season in the minors. He’s always been known as a player with a crafty bat, yet few saw him take the jump in power numbers like he did in 2017. Prior to the 26 home runs he hit in 2017, he only hit a combined eight in 2015 and 2016. Keep in mind, 18 were hit in Double-A and eight in Triple-A. That being said, these numbers were coming out pitchers that were advanced compared to the competition he faced in the lower-levels of minor league ball.
Does Kingery warrant being drafted this season? Early reports out of Spring Training suggest he’s getting the attention from the Phillies organization to win the Opening Day nod at second base. Frist-year, and first-time, skipper Gabe Kapler has his work cut out for him not only managing an organization in the midst of a rebuild, but helping develop his young players. There’s no question Rhys Hoskins is a target in fantasy drafts, but Scott Kingery is the name I’m paying attention to in the later-rounds of drafts. With Freddy Galvis now playing for the Padres, and J.P. Crawford getting his first crack at solidifying the shortstop position, the only person in Kingery’s way is Cesar Hernandez.
What should we expect? The former University of Arizona standout was a career-.300 hitter and hit a combined .284 in the minors. That being said, he’s always been known to have a polished bat and can spray the ball to all parts of the field. Will the power displayed in 2017 translate to the Majors? While we may not immediately see the 20+ home run potential immediately, there’s no question 10-15 home runs should be within reach during his rookie season. He’s going to get every opportunity on the base paths, which make 20+ stolen bases realistic. If I had to put a projection on his inaugural season, I’d expect his average to hover around .280-.300 with an OBP of .340+ with 10 home runs and 20-25 stolen bases. Those numbers warrant a roster spot in any format. Of course, you could do a lot worse taking a player with one of your last few draft selections. I’d monitor the next few weeks, and if Kingery does indeed win the starting second base job, I’d suggest grabbing him off waivers as soon as the announcement is made, and drafting him if your draft takes place after the announcement.
Gleyber Torres – New York Yankees
2017 Minors: .287/.383/.480/7 HR/34 RBI
NFBC ADP: 280
ESPN ADP: 226
Yahoo! ADP: 250
Fantrax ADP: 230
We’ve heard his name, and we thought we’d see him during the 2017 season. Unfortunately, after 55 games Torres elected to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Needless to say, the Yankees have Didi Gregorius starting at shortstop with Miguel Andujar doing everything in his power to hold off Brandon Drury and earn the Opening Day third base job. That leaves a question mark at second base. The Yankees have Ronald Torreyes, Danny Espinosa, Tyler Wade, and Jace Peterson. That being said, Brandon Drury could potentially open the season at second.
It’s been a tough Spring Training for Torres, and rightfully so. The 2017 Spring Training saw Torres slash .448/.469/1.400. Fast-forward to 2018 and Torres has slashed .130/.200/.417 and has yet to hit a ball out of the park. Again, Torres is coming of Tommy John surgery and there’s no question he’s pressing at the plate. Last season, he could have easily won the starting second base job, and that’s a thought that is still in the back of his head. With each day moving closer to Opening Day, it makes sense for the Yankees to start Torres in Triple-A while getting him everyday at-bats while getting him even more familiar with second base. I suspect this to be the ideal situation, and we should see Torres arrive in New York sometime in June.
What do we expect once he arrives? Assuming he starts off hot, there’s no doubt in my mind that Torres will be a .300-hitter in the Majors. Torres possess size and the offensive mechanics to become a 25+ home run hitter while driving in at least 80+ runs per season. How will he help in 2017? There’s no question the Yankees high-powered offense is going to score runs, and many at that. No matter where he hits, he’s going to get opportunities. With the top-of-the-order going to be set in stone, we will see Torres towards the bottom-of-the-order. This isn’t a bad thing either, as the there will numerous at-bats with runners in scoring position. There’s no question first-time manager Aaron Boone will be aggressive, and Torres should rack up a high number of RBI. Similar to Kingery, I see Torres hitting around .280+ with 10-15 home runs and I give Torres the upper-hand in runs batted in with around 65-70.
Is he worth drafting or adding during the season? It’s a tough call, but I’d imagine every manager has Torres on their shortlist. I’d recommend taking a shot on Torres in the later rounds, and if you feel confident you can get him before, and when, he gets his call, I’d suggest keeping your phone at your side at all times, because he’s going to get scooped up faster than the report can hit media outlets. Still, it will be a few months before Torres arrives, but he’s going to be as advertised, and he’s playing in an enticing lineup that will allow him to drive in runs, and score them. Personally, Torres possesses more talent now, and potential, than any player vying for the second base job. I can’t imagine any of the players competing with Torres will hold down second base for the entire season. With Torres coming off a major surgery, struggling this spring, and needing to get his feel back, it makes every sense to get him comfortable in Triple-A where there will be less stress. Once he arrives, he will be making a permanent address change and help your fantasy roster for not only this season, but for seasons to come.
MiLB Infield Prospects:
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts and Bilal Chaudry live on Sunday March 11th, 2018 from [8:20]-9:45pm EST for episode #105 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This is our kick off show for the new 2018 fantasy baseball season. This is our mock draft review special for the 2018 season. MLFS writers, and legacy league owners will be guests for 5 minutes to discuss their strategy.