The fantasy baseball world is all abuzz with the recent call-ups of Zach Neto, Taj Bradley, and Brett Baty. However, there’s yet more call-ups coming this week to get excited about and potentially more coming sooner rather than later as well. We’ll touch on some updates with a few guys we’ve talked about before and then analyze the latest batch of prospects and what they mean for fantasy baseball waivers going forward. Look for an updated Top-400 Prospect Rankings coming for next week’s Prospect Report highlighting the risers and newcomers to the rankings.
Recent MLB Call-ups
Taj Bradley - RHP Tampa Bay Rays
Yes I know, his call-up isn’t new news, though he did pitch again on Tuesday against Cincinnati. And pitched well too. However, the update here is that he’s going to stay in the rotation to replace Jeffrey Springs, on the IL requiring Tommy John, and that will now gives us nearly a full year of starts, barring health, from Taj Bradley. That changes his outlook and value immensely as he pitched 130-plus innings last year, he can last the full season at this point and thus give us SP2-SP3 value. There is likely no way he’s available in your league, but if he is, grab him, but also you can try and make a trade for him if you need pitching. He’s the best arm that’s coming up this year, almost assuredly, and the last chance to get a league-winning arm on your roster.
From one electric arm to another, Mason Miller has been lighting up the interwebs since the start of April. His stuff has been wildly impressive since spring training and he forced the A’s’ hand in the promotion. The 2021 draftee has made a total of 11 appearances in the minor leagues for Oakland, totaling 28.2 innings in that span, which is surely less than we like to see for a guy making his debut as a starter. However, when his stuff is this good, and the MLB rotation is that bad, the move makes sense. Heck, even the A’s GM David Forst said “we need anything we can get right now to stabilize the staff.” For those who don’t know his stuff, his 100-mph fastball is the dominant pitch in his repertoire but there’s also a plus slider and cutter in the mix with a change-of-pace Changeup. The control is outstanding making for an interesting mix of high-octane movement and velocity with a lot of strikes. In his 28.2 innings pitched in the minors he compiled 53 strikeouts and six walks including going 19:0 in K:BB ratio in 8.2 innings this year at Triple-A Las Vegas. Miller will stick in the rotation going forward to bolster the worst starting rotation in the majors. However, be cautious of the upside here. Firstly, he’s still unproven and pure velo only works for so long against MLB hitters. Secondly, it’s not like he’s getting a ton of help with his offense nor the division he’s in. Miller is very intriguing but comes with inexperience and risk of only bringing Ks.
Jordan Diaz - 1B/3B Oakland Athletics
Sticking in Oakland, Jordan Diaz is back up with the A’s after a taste of the majors late last year. After starting back at Triple-A this year, he didn’t disappoint and is back. Diaz slashed .273/.319/.455 in 12 games to start the year with a homer, five doubles, eight RBI, and two runs. Unlike Miller, Diaz has been a slow burn since signing out of Columbia in 2016. The corner infielder has yet to nail down a defensive position for the future with either first or third or even second a possibility along with DH. The one thing he has proven is that he’s got a hit and power tool that works well and keeps his bat in the lineup. While he doesn’t walk a ton, he does have a career 14.7-percent K-rate which is great for a guy who’s hit 33 homers in his last 222 MiLB games which adjusts to 24 homers for 162-game pace. Oakland has gotten nothing from their first base duo so it’s time to try something else with Daiz. Last week, I mentioned Tyler Soderstrom possibly on the verge of a call and that could still happen with both playing a combo of 1B and DH.
Levi Stoudt - RHP Cincinatti Reds
Drafted in the third round of the 2019 MLB draft by Seattle, Levi Stoudt is making his MLB debut on Wednesday for the Reds who were in a bit of a pickle. They needed a starter and wanted to push the rotation back a day to give Hunter Greene a breather after taking a come-backer off his leg last start. That’s where Levi Stoudt comes in getting the start against the Tampa Bay Rays. Part of the Luis Castillo trade return, he’s a quality arm but not elite. The velocity is there with his 55-grade fastball, touching 97, as is the life, however, everyone has velocity now. The slider is the next best pitch, also at a 55-grade, but the changeup and curveball offerings are average at best. Stoudt’s arsenal is enough to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter for Cincinnati but not much more, which to be honest is all they really need following Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo. Before you go adding pitching depth to your fantasy baseball roster, know that Stoudt came into Wednesday’s start knowing that it was a spot start. He’ll likely be back up later this year after more time at Triple-A but he’s not sticking in the rotation right now.
Emmanuel Valdez - 2B/3B/OF Boston Red Sox
Speaking of rotations, Boston has quite the rotation going on defense up the middle and outfield. Hence the promotion of Emmanuel Valdez from Triple-A Worcester. He was part of the return for Christian Vazquez last August but there’s a lot left to be desired here. Valdez is mainly a left-handed hitting pull-power bat that’s played all over the field. Before getting excited about the defensive versatility, it’s because he has no traits that fit one particular spot. His range is iffy, at best, at second base and center while his arm strength isn’t good enough for third base and is barely passable in left field. He hit .296/.376/.542 with 28 homers, 107 RBI, 92 R, and eight steals in 126 games across multiple affiliates and levels last year; a career best. However, this year hasn’t started well with a .179 average in 11 games at Triple-A with one home run and three doubles and striking out 15 times in 39 ABs. This is more of Boston searching for something, anything, to help them rather than Valdez being a solid add. As Jon Impemba, our resident Red Sox fan, said to me, Valdez feels like a Dalbec with worse defense.
Sometimes prospects feel like they’ve been a prospect for a long time despite still being young. That’s the case with Brayan Rocchio who was signed in 2017 and is still just 22 years old but has been a known name for what seems like the moment he signed. The switch-hitting middle infielder for Cleveland has a nice combo of hit and run tools with decent pop. His real special traits are his fielding and baseball IQ though. Those make everything else play up. Over 384 games in the minors, including this year, he’s slashed .277/.346/.428 with 40 homers, 245 runs, 193 RBI, and 75 steals. The main concerns with Rocchio are just how effective a base-stealer he’ll be given his 64-percent success rate in the minors and not possessing blazing speed, as well as defensive fit. He plays a very good defensive middle infield but Cleveland already has that covered, fairly well and his bat isn’t overpowering enough to switch things up there. When all is said and done he’s likely a .270 hitter with 15 home run pop and 16-20 steals a year. However, before we get excited about the upside, he’s likely only up for a few days until a few players come back for Cleveland from the paternity list and IL.
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Related MLB Links
- 2023 MLB Fantasy Baseball Prospect Reports
- 2023 MLB Top 400 Fantasy Baseball Prospects
- Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Advice
- Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings
- 2023 MLB Injury Reports