Regan's Rumblings: Quick Takes Around the Majors

Regan's Rumblings: Quick Takes Around the Majors

This article is part of our Regan's Rumblings series.

Occasionally throughout the year, I'll take a quick stroll through every team's depth chart and let you know what is top of mind for me. It could be a prospect that's coming up, a position battle or perhaps a potential breakout guy. Here are my ramblings for this week:

NL WEST

Dodgers -Juan Uribe batted .311/.337/.440 last season, but he's now a year older and the bat looks it. Meanwhile, Alex Guerrero drove in six runs in two starts recently while Uribe was nursing another hamstring injury, and Justin Turner just had four hits in a game while Uribe got a breather. To top that off, the Dodgers have one of the game's elite hitting prospects in Corey Seager who is doing this in Double-A: .500/.488/.762 in his first 43 PA. He even played third base in a recent game, though most of his time has come at shortstop. Prediction: no Dodger third baseman gets more at-bats than Guerrero by season's end. P.S. Nice pinch-hit against the Giants from Guerrero on Tuesday.

Padres -
Will Middlebrooks has career minor-league ratios of 7.4 BB% and 25.8 K%, both of which are below average, especially for a hyped prospect. I like that he's homered three times in his first 52 PA, but a 3.8 BB% isn't going to allow him to keep his job all year. At some point, Yangervis Solarte is going to get another extended look given his hot start -- .357/.400/.571. Prediction: Solarte is the starter by May

Occasionally throughout the year, I'll take a quick stroll through every team's depth chart and let you know what is top of mind for me. It could be a prospect that's coming up, a position battle or perhaps a potential breakout guy. Here are my ramblings for this week:

NL WEST

Dodgers -Juan Uribe batted .311/.337/.440 last season, but he's now a year older and the bat looks it. Meanwhile, Alex Guerrero drove in six runs in two starts recently while Uribe was nursing another hamstring injury, and Justin Turner just had four hits in a game while Uribe got a breather. To top that off, the Dodgers have one of the game's elite hitting prospects in Corey Seager who is doing this in Double-A: .500/.488/.762 in his first 43 PA. He even played third base in a recent game, though most of his time has come at shortstop. Prediction: no Dodger third baseman gets more at-bats than Guerrero by season's end. P.S. Nice pinch-hit against the Giants from Guerrero on Tuesday.

Padres -
Will Middlebrooks has career minor-league ratios of 7.4 BB% and 25.8 K%, both of which are below average, especially for a hyped prospect. I like that he's homered three times in his first 52 PA, but a 3.8 BB% isn't going to allow him to keep his job all year. At some point, Yangervis Solarte is going to get another extended look given his hot start -- .357/.400/.571. Prediction: Solarte is the starter by May 15 (at the latest).

Rockies -
Adam Ottavino averages 95.6 mph with his fastball, up from last year's 94.3 mph. He's also posted a decent 17.1 K/9 to go with a 1.4 BB/9, so safe to say he's locked in as the closer. Don't be shocked to see John Axford as his primary setup man by May.

Diamondbacks -
If the Diamondbacks are really serious about competing, they absolutely must upgrade at catcher. A Tuffy Gosewisch/Jordan Pacheco duo isn't going to cut it. Meanwhile, Peter O'Brien is hitting .372/.400/.674 for Triple-A Reno. If you need an NL-only or deep mixed-league catcher to stash, O'Brien may be your guy. Edit: I figured I'd leave the above sentences in there, but O'Brien has moved to the outfield for Reno, so his path to the big leagues has been made a bit less clear.

Giants -
In parts of four season with the Giants, Yusmeiro Petit has thrown 177 innings and posted a 9.7 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. Why he's being wasted in middle relief for a struggling Giants team is beyond me. Maybe he does prove to be best served in smaller doses, but the Giants are reportedly looking at him for Thursday's start against the Dodgers. Can't hurt for a sub-.500 level team. … In other Giants' news, Andrew Susac needs to play more, and Hector Sanchez less. Sanchez just plain can't hit, and the Giants have a .640 team OPS.

NL CENTRAL

Cubs - In my 12-team keeper friends league, I usually like to have one elite prospect riding the pine. Sure, it takes up a roster spot, but I did it with Kris Bryant last year and that turned out OK. This year, when Bryant was recalled, I grabbed Addison Russell, figuring that I'd be using him later this summer. Well, Russell is up and will be the team's starting second baseman. It's a bit of a curious move given Russell had just one walk in 39 Triple-A PA, but he obviously needs to be owned in all formats. Exciting time to be a Cubs fan. At this rate, Kyle Schwarber, the team's top prospect left in the minors, could be up by this summer given he's already at Double-A.

Reds -
Devin Mesoraco's 2-for-21 start has to be directly correlated with his ailing hip. Expect him to hit the DL soon. Brayan Pena is next up with his 5-for-22 start. No real upside there.

Brewers -
The 2-11 Brewers are an early frontrunner for the 2016 No. 1 overall pick. Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez are out until May with injuries, Aramis Ramirez looks done and Ryan Braun is a shell of his former self. Braun's five-year, $105 million extension kicks in next year, making him Ryan Howard's likely successor for worst contract in the game. Other than underrated SS Orlando Arcia, there's not much help on the way. Look for a fire sale this summer.

Cardinals -
The Cardinals' player I get asked about most often has to be Kolten Wong. After hitting 12 homers and swiping 20 bags in 113 games despite a .292 OBP last year, 2015 was supposed to be a step forward. A .219/.308/.281 start isn't a step anywhere but backward. Wong, though, does have a 5:5 K:BB, so unless Pete Kozma channels his inner Tommy Herr, Wong will have plenty of rope. I think he'll be fine, though the ups and downs will continue.

Pirates -
Jared Hughes has an 11.3 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 in eight innings after a rough spring. Should something happen to Mark Melancon, Hughes and Tony Watson would top the list of potential successors. Watson has been great since an ugly Opening Day, but I give Hughes the slight edge. Both are worthy of NL-only rostering.

NL EAST

Braves - Christian Bethancourt hit a semi-encouraging .286/.279/.500 for the Braves this spring, though that included an 8:0 K:BB in 42 at-bats. Off to a 4-for-26 start, Bethancourt may now be on the wrong side of a platoon with A.J. Pierzynski. To think, I was somewhat optimistic on him, but yeah that's gone. Meanwhile, the Jose Peraza callup won't be happening any time soon given his .222/.271/.289 start.

Marlins -
J.T. Realmuto has apparently supplanted Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the Marlins' primary catcher. If you need a No. 2 with upside, he may be your guy. Realmuto hit .299/.369/.461 in Double-A a year ago and he swiped a sneaky 18 bags last year.

Mets -
The Travis d'Arnaud injury was so unfortunate for the Mets and fantasy owners alike. He was off to a .317/.356/.537 start and appeared on his way to finally fulfilling his former top prospect status. Kevin Plawecki will fill in, sharing time with Anthony Recker. Plawecki doesn't have d'Arnaud's upside with the bat, but in two-catcher leagues, you could do much worse.

Phillies -
The Phillies have such an odd lineup. Once Domonic Brown returns from an Achilles' injury, six of the eight regulars will be left-handed hitters with one switch-hitter and Carlos Ruiz the token right-handed bat. The only guy with any real interest to me would be Odubel Herrera, batting .298/.353/.489 through 51 PA. He won't hit many home runs, but half of his 14 hits are for extra bases, and he's swiped three bags. He's stolen as many as 34 bases in the minors, so congrats if you nabbed him for a song in your NL-only league.

Nationals -
Anthony Rendon should be back soon from a knee injury, giving the Nats their entire projected lineup back for the first time this year. Drew Storen blew his first save Tuesday, though with a 3.00 ERA and 7:2 K:BB in six innings, his job is safe. Should that change at some point, Aaron Barrett is pitching lights out (6.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 9:2 K:BB) and seems to be the next man up.

AL WEST

Astros - At 8-6, the Astros sit atop the AL West as the only team in the division with a winning record. With the Cubs already recalling their top two prospects, might the Astros look to do the same with Carlos Correa and Mark Appel? Clearly both could benefit from additional seasoning, but even though he has a mere 51 PA above A-ball, his line in those PA is a fantastic .356/.431/.667. Shortstop Jed Lowrie has been decent with an .805 OPS, but I would not be surprised to see Correa manning short by June. Appel, meanwhile, has won both of his first two start this year and has a 0.90 ERA.

A's -
The A's would look pretty good with a left side of the infield composed of Josh Donaldson and Addison Russell, no? It's still early obviously, but I'm pretty encouraged by Ike Davis' .317/.396/.488 start. More than one home run would be nice, but he's struck out just six times for a 12.5 K%, a favorable number compared to his 22.6 percent career mark. He'll forever be a platoon guy, but AL-only leaguers have to be pleased.

Angels -
I look at that Angels lineup, and outside of Mike Trout, there just isn't much there. I expect nothing from Josh Hamilton if he even returns, Albert Pujols is hitting .192 and C.J. Cron less than that. Johnny Giavotella has been a bright spot, but his .317 average isn't going to hold up given an inflated .364 BABIP. Jered Weaver looks done with a 6.64 ERA and 83.3 mph average fastball. To top that off, the Angels have one of baseball's worst farm systems. I can easily see a fire sale coming, but they should hold onto Kole Calhoun, whom I really like.

Rangers -
Jake Smolinski is batting just .136/.345/.355 overall, but he did have two hits and a home run in a recent start. Smolinski hit .349/.391/.512 in 92 PA for the Rangers last year, so some improvement is a given, but he'll have to battle Carlos Peguero for playing time. Both have at least some short-term AL-only value. Smolinski was a second-round pick of the Nationals, so he has some talent.

Mariners -
Can the Mariners ever develop a home-grown All-Star other than Felix Hernandez and Kyle Seager? Dustin Ackley, Mike Zunino, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton represent a hope that the Mariners can be future contenders, but all have disappointed this year. D.J. Peterson is an interesting prospect after hitting 31 home runs between high-A and double-A last year, but he's batting just .143 in double-A this season. I have hope for Paxton, though. His controls is still there, but his command has left a bit to be desired, as he's getting pitches up in the zone and hitters are crushing them. That should change.

AL CENTRAL

White Sox - Everyone wants to know when Carlos Rodon will join the Chicago rotation. Rodon made his first appearance Tuesday, and it wasn't pretty (2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K). He was pretty much all over the place. Rodon has a 4.4 BB/9 in 34.2 minor-league innings, so his control issues aren't exactly new, but he's also had limited pro experience. I'm not sure he's going to be of much help this year, but in keeper leagues, he's worth burning a roster spot.

Indians -
As crazy as it may sound, the Indians' rotation might be the best in baseball come midseason. That statement is highly dependent on the development of Trevor Bauer, but so far so good. Bauer has a 0.95 ERA in 19 innings with a 26:11 K:BB. We have to love the 12.3 K/9, but the 5.2 BB/9? Not so much. Bauer walked just two in seven innings last time out, so that helps, but we'll need to see that repeated consistently to be completely comfortable that this is the new Bauer. Still, given his ability and status as a 2011 top-five pick, Bauer is capable of top-20 fantasy starter status.

Tigers -
The big story in Detroit has to be Shane Greene, who has allowed just one run in 23 innings this year. This comes despite an 11:5 K:BB, which equates to a 4.3 K/9. It's surprising to see his strikeout rate that low given it was 9.3 last year. He generates a fair share of ground balls (2.7 GB/FB) and so far, Greene has yet to allow a home run. With that and a .182 BABIP, Greene's FIP sits at 2.90, which is probably a decent barometer of what we can expect the rest of the way. The Yankees and probably even the Tigers didn't see this coming, but Greene has taken a big step forward.

Royals -
Maybe it's just a nice hot streak, but this could finally be the year of the Mike Moustakas breakout. The Royals third baseman was 0-for-4 on Wednesday, but he's still hitting .305/.388/.508. Moustakas has made the most progress in his approach at the plate, as his strikeout rate sits at 7.2 percent versus a still-solid 14.8 percent last year. It would still be nice to see his walk rate improve from his current 5.8 percent, but this is certainly encouraging. It's possible he's a top-10 third baseman the rest of the way.

Twins -
Jose Berrios might not be as well known as players like Julio Urias and Lucas Giolito, but he's one of baseball's top pitching prospect. The 21-year old is just 6-foot, but he already touches the mid-90s, and this year, Berrios has posted a 20:4 K:BB in 11 innings. At this rate, Berrios is probably looking at a June debut.

AL EAST

Blue Jays - AL-only leaguers wanting to speculate on relievers should look at Roberto Osuna. Osuna has tossed 9.2 shutout innings with a 10:3 K:BB, averaging a healthy 94.8 mph with his fastball. He's a strikeout machine having put up a 12.3 K/9 at High-A last year, and despite skipping right from that level to the big leagues, he hasn't missed a beat. Should something happen to Miguel Castro, Osuna may be next in line to close.

Yankees -
Mark Teixeira is off to an interesting start. He hit his fifth home run Wednesday and with a 10:11 K:BB, his .204/.333/.592 line looks odd indeed. Nine of his 10 hits have gone for extra bases, and the guess is that the .161 BABIP he was carrying entering Wednesday's game will only go up. Tex hasn't hit above .256 since 2009, but he could approach that mark and the 30-homer mark this year if he can stay off the DL.

Orioles -
I got over touting Travis Snider a couple years ago, but could he be in the midst of a breakout in Baltimore? Snider was 0-for-2 with a walk Wednesday, but at .310/.408/.476, it's been a nice start for Nick Markakis' replacement. Snider is walking in 14.3 percent of his at-bats compared to an 8.4 percent for his career, and against southpaws Snider is batting an encouraging .500/.500/.700 in 10 at-bats. He did hit .381 in 42 at-bats against lefties last year, so the Orioles would be wise to not platoon him.

Red Sox -
Everyone wants to know what's going to happen once Rusney Castillo comes off the DL from his shoulder injury, but no one really knows at this point. Castillo was 5-for-12 in Triple-A prior to being diagnosed with inflammation, but he should be back in about a week or so. This will work itself out, as either Shane Victorino (.147 BA) will start hitting or he'll get hurt.

Rays -
Tim Beckham is hitting a modest .235/.289/.471, but the Rays have to be at least somewhat encouraged by what they've seen from their 2008 No. 1 overall draft pick. Beckham's 15 strikeouts in 38 at-bats are concerning, but while Nick Franklin is closing in (next week) on a return from an oblique injury, Beckham could still find himself with a fair share of at-bats in some capacity this year.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Regan
David Regan is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner, including the 2015 Baseball Article of the Year and the 2010 Baseball Writer of the Year.
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