With Boston releasing Hanley Ramirez and Boston stating that they would give Blake Swihart some playing time behind the plate, it may be the week to a shot on him as an upside bench option at catcher. Over the first third of the season, Swihart only has five hits in 33 at-bats with no HRs and one RBI. His best upside came in 2014 at AA (.300 with 12 HRs and 55 RBI over 347 at-bats). Blake is a career .260 hitter in the majors with five HRs and 37 RBI over 385 at-bats. Possible double-digit power with 400+ at-bats and some value in steals.
Over the last seven games, John Ryan Murphy made only three starts leading to four hits over 13 at-bats with two HRs and six RBI. With Alex Avila batting only .128 over 81 at-bats with 43 Ks, Murphy should be in line for a step up in playing time. Over four seasons at AAA, John Ryan hit 2.47 with 21 HRs and 122 RBI over 933 at-bats.
Ronald Guzman found his stroke over the last week. He has eight hits in his last 18 at-bats with six runs, four HRs, and eight RBI. Over his first 91 at-bats in the majors, Guzman had 35 Ks. Ronald is now on pace for 30 HRs and 105 RBI with 545 at-bats. He’s a career .275 hitter in the minors with 51 HRs, 339 RBI, and 24 SBs over 2,299 at-bats. More steady than explosive while sitting against tough lefties.
The Nationals are in a tough predicament at first base with Matt Adams playing well and Ryan Zimmerman due back in a week or so. Mark Reynolds has 12 hits in 25 at-bats with seven runs, five home runs, and seven RBI since returning to the majors. Reynolds played well in 2017 (.267 with 30 HRs and 97 RBI over 520 at-bats), which points to more playing time somewhere in the majors.
I’ve had an up and down ride with Adalberto Mondesi in 2017 while searching for a speed out for my teams trailing in SBs. After missing almost the first month of the season and another two weeks late in May, Mondesi returned to action on May 21st at AAA. He has three hits over his last 13 at-bats with six RBI. His missed time this month was due to a hamstring issue, which may lead to short stolen base chances over the next few weeks. Over 430 at-bats in his career at AAA, Adalberto hit .298 with 67 runs, 16 HRs, 70 RBI, and 31 SBs. Mondesi is getting better while deserving a starting job in the majors.
Daniel Murphy will begin a minor league assignment on Saturday night, which puts him a couple of weeks away from returning to the majors. Over his last 1065 at-bats in the majors, Murphy hit .334 with 48 HRs and 197 RBI. If he’s sitting in the free agent pool in shallow leagues, it’s time to add him to your bench.
With Martin Prado back on the DL, Brian Anderson regains a starting job. Over his last 14 games, Anderson has 18 hits in 54 at-bats with nine runs, five RBI, and one SB. In 2017 between AA and AAA, Brian hit .275 with 22 HRs and 81 RBI over 429 at-bats. He’s seeing the ball, and his power will come shortly.
Todd Frazier should return from the DL next week after missing about three weeks. Over his first 114 at-bats, Frazier had five HRs and 21 RBI which projected over 570 at-bats would be 25 HRs and 105 RBI. His batting looks to have risk over the last three seasons (2016 – .225, 2017 – .213, and 2018 – .237), but his K rate (23.6) and walk rate (15.0) suggest a higher value in batting average.
Amed Rosario found his stroke over his last six games (7-for-20 with five runs, three HRs, and three RBI). He continued to hit down in the Mets starting lineup while his 2017 resume at AAA (.328 with 66 runs, seven HRs, 58 RBI, and 19 SBs over 393 at-bats) points to difference maker upside.
I’m not a big fan of Miguel Rojas, but he played well over his last seven games (7-for-23 with two HRs and seven RBI). He’s a career .245 hitter in the minors with 20 HRs and 223 RBI over 2,615 at-bats. Only a short-term injury cover.
Dexter Fowler suffered a knee injury on Saturday, which will lead to a trip to the DL. His injury clears a spot for Tyler O’Neill to get extended playing time as his replacement. Over his last seven games, O’Neill has nine hits over 21 at-bats with three HRs and six RBI. Over two seasons at AAA, Tyler hit .260 with 44 HRs and 126 RBI over 608 at-bats. High upside power hitter while offering batting average risk.
Brandon Nimmo continued to bat leadoff for the Mets with Yoenis Cespedes on the DL. Over his last 12 games, Nimmo has 14 hist over 43 at-bats with nine runs, three HRs, four RBI, and two SBs. Over four seasons at AAA with 650 at-bats, Brandon hit .309 with 116 runs, 17 HRs, 87 RBI, and 12 SBs. His success commands more at-bats.
Melky Cabrera started the last six games for the Indians after being called up last week. He has four hits over his first 19 at-bats with one run and one RBI. His long resume in the majors should lead to a full time starting job going forward. More of a steady piece to the puzzle than a difference maker.
Joe Musgrove returned to the majors in a big way last Friday night. He tossed seven shutout inning vs. the Cardinals with no walks and seven Ks while throwing only 67 pitches with 50 for strikes. Musgrove went 30-13 over 362 innings in the minors with 344 Ks and stellar command (1.1 walks per nine). I like the upside of his arm, but I do have concerns about his health.
Ivan Nova has been a disaster over his last five starts (20 runs and 44 baserunners over 23.2 innings with 17 Ks). His failure may be the window that Tyler Glasnow need to get a major league starting job. At the end of April, the pitching coach made a change in his breaking pitch. His curveball is now a tighter slider leading a nice five-game run in relief (one run, seven hits, and one walks over 9.1 innings with 12 Ks). Without his bad outing on May 1st (six runs and six baserunners over one inning), Tyler has 3.28 ERA and 1.216 WHIP with 34 Ks over 24.2 innings.
The Cardinals will activate Alex Reyes from the DL next week after tossing 23 electric innings over four levels in the minors (no runs, seven hits, seven walks, and 44 Ks). In his last outing, Reyes threw 90 pitches, which put him on track to pitch at least six innings in the majors if he’s throwing strikes. Over 72.1 innings in his career at AAA, Alex has a 4.48 ERA with 33 walks and 106 Ks. St. Louis should give him 20 starts over the last four months of the season. All the tools to have elite success, but he needs to throw strikes.
After struggling over his first four starts in the majors (13 runs and 32 baserunners over 19 innings with 14 Ks). Trevor Richards pitched great on April 25th against the Dodgers (no runs over 4.2 innings with ten Ks), but Miami shipped him back to AAA. In his four starts in the minors. Richards has a 2.05 ERA and 0.92 WHIP with three walks and 24 Ks over 26.1 innings. The Marlins may call him up next week, and I expect better success.