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Fantasy: FAAB Targets For Week Seven



As the calendar speeds toward June, baseball enters prospect callup mode, with Chase Silseth, Nolan Gorman and Kyle Bradish being three notable recent examples.

With that in mind, today’s installment of FAAB recommendations focuses heavily on players with redraft potential. But deep leaguers need not worry. We have a handful of intriguing lower-level names, including a high-alert addition in all dynasty formats.

Thanks for reading, and happy FAABing!

Grant McCray, OF, Giants
Low-A San Jose • Age 21
League type: 12 teams or 125+ prospects rostered 

McCray did not rank among the Giants’ preseason Top 30 Prospects, but few prospects have done more to raise their stock early this season. While this isn’t a Jackson Chourio-level alarm, it’s the next tier down, and still a must-bid in all formats. McCray is widely available as well.

Described as a true five-tool player by evaluators, McCray is a 2019 third-round pick out of the Florida high school ranks. Through 29 games he hit .305/.407/.602 with six home runs and eight stolen bases. While his bat-to-ball skills are still fringy, he shows mature swing decisions with exit velocity data that would rank above major league average. A true center fielder with plus speed, McCray has the sort of power-speed combination dynasty managers covet. Factor in his defensive value and on-base skills, and you have a high upside prospect with the necessary skills to earn MLB playing time.

Luis Garcia, SS/2B, Nationals 
Triple-A Rochester • Age 22
League type: redraft stash

Only one position player younger than Garcia started the season at Triple-A: Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza. It’s easy to lose sight of just how young Garcia is after he surpassed his rookie limits in 2020 and has played in parts of two MLB seasons without establishing a regular role.

Over the last two seasons, Garcia has split time between Triple-A and the major leagues. Over 71 Triple-A games, he has hit .319/.382/.594 with 21 home runs and a 15% strikeout rate to a 9% walk rate. In that time he has been more than 50% more productive than the average International League hitter.

With mid-30s shortstops Alcides Escobar and Dee Strange-Gordon currently on the Nationals’ roster, and the trend of Garcia seeing the majority of his starts at shortstop for Rochester, it seems only logical that Garcia could see an extended run at the position in Washington—and soon.

Caleb Kilian, RHP, Cubs
Triple-A Iowa • Age 24
League type: redraft stash

Acquired from the Giants in the Kris Bryant trade last summer, Kilian impressed during last year’s Arizona Fall League by mixing his trio of fastball variations and a high-70s curveball with good depth. He uses his four-seam fastball and high-80s cutter as primary secondary weapons off of his curveball. He’ll flash a changeup, but it’s a clear fifth offering in his bag of tricks.

Kilian has performed well this year in his first taste of Triple-A, ranking third in the International League in xFIP behind the Orioles’ Grayson Rodriguez and the Cardinals’ Zack Thompson. However, he faces a few hurdles to a callup: there’s no clear opportunity in the Cubs’ big league rotation, and he’s not yet on the 40-man roster.

An injury to a Cubs starter would create an opportunity for a more permanent addition to the rotation. Enter Kilian. That hypothetical situation would make Kilian’s addition in fantasy leagues easy to make, particularly for a Cubs team that should have no delusions about competing in 2022.

Hayden Wesneski, RHP, Yankees 
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre • Age 24
League type: deep redraft stash

The righthander is here for performance-based reasons, because he has a few clear hurdles in front of him for MLB time with the Yankees in 2022. First, the Yankees are deep in the bullpen and in the rotation. Secondly, Wesneski is not on the 40-man roster. A best-case scenario might be a spot start, especially after Luis Gil had Tommy John surgery

Despite this, Wesneski is good enough to play himself into a more permanent role this summer. His slider is the classic sweeper with plus horizontal break with very little to no vertical movement. He pairs that with a four-seam fastball that sits 93-95 mph and runs to the upper 90s when needed. He mixes in a cutter in the high 80s to low 90s and also a changeup and two-seam fastball, but less frequently than the cutter.

Wesneski throws strikes, misses bats and can drive needed ground balls with his changeup and two-seamer. He has a starter profile and one with strikeout upside, but the question remains: Can he survive the gauntlet that is the AL East?

Zack Thompson, LHP, Cardinals 
Triple-A Memphis • Age 24
League type: deep redraft stash 

The Cardinals’ 2019 first-rounder out of Kentucky has had an up-and-down career thus far, but early in 2022 it looks like Thompson has turned a corner. His four-seam fastball velocity is up 3.5 mph year over year. He has added on average 2 mph to his slider, and his curveball is sitting mid 70s, as opposed to the low 70s of 2021.

The added power has led to added effectiveness according to ERA estimators like xFIP and FIP, where Thompson ranks among the top 10 to 15 qualified starters in the International League. He’s had some bad luck with home runs, but this should stabilize in a less homer-friendly environment.

With the Cardinals being aggressive with their prospects in 2022, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Thompson get some starts with the MLB club over the next month. He’s gone five or more innings in four of his last five starts dating back to late April. With added power and command, a trio of secondaries and the ability to miss bats, Thompson could be a sneaky source of quality innings in leagues of all shapes and sizes.

Graham Ashcraft, RHP, Reds
Triple-A Louisville • Age 24 
League type: deep redraft 

Called up to the Reds’ major league taxi squad roster on Saturday, Ashcraft is a groundball artist with fringe command. His 71% groundball rate and 11% walk rate encapsulate his game perfectly. He’ll look dominant one moment pumping sinkers and cutters in the upper 90s to 100 mph. The next moment he will miss the zone on a series of pitches.

Ashcraft’s arsenal is interesting. His four-seam fastball looks and moves more like an upper-90s cutter. He pairs it with a two-seam sinker that also sits in the upper registers. His primary secondary is a sweepy mid-80s slider that shows impressive movement for a pitch sitting 83-85 mph. He gets over a foot of sweep on average on his slider. It’s a fairly high-spin pitch that averages 2500-2650 rpm.

Ashcraft has a powerful arsenal with distinctive movement profiles, but he’s still honing his mix to get the most out of it. There will be brilliant games where Ashcraft misses bats and drives weak groundball contact, and also others where it seems like his command and ability to miss bats is non-existent. He is a better long-term play but not an awful stash if you need upside innings.

Austin Wells, C, Yankees 
High-A Hudson Valley • Age 22
League type: 14 teams or 150+ prospects rostered 

The 2020 first-round pick out of Arizona is enjoying a career year a month and a half into 2022. He’s hitting for more contact and more power. He’s swinging and missing less, chasing less and walking more.

Wells has also been notably better behind the plate, showing improved blocking and receiving abilities while throwing out 37% of basestealers. It’s a good all-around offensive skill set with plenty enough contact and game power to drive the profile.

Wells is potentially underrated in moderately deep dynasty leagues, and he’s potentially a lot closer than his Class A assignment might appear.

NL West Prospect Notebook

National League West Prospect Notebook For July

Organization reports from our five National League West correspondents, headlined by an emerging Dodgers righthander from the club's bountiful 2020 draft class.

Yosver Zulueta, RHP, Blue Jays
High-A Vancouver • Age 24
League type: 16+ teams or 250+ prospects rostered 

Zulueta made his 2022 debut with Low-A Dunedin on April 28 and has already received promotion to High-A Vancouver. He looked excellent in his debut, mixing three above-average or better pitches from a deceptive low slot. His fastball sat 96-99 mph and touched 100 according to the stadium gun multiple times. He mixed in a slurvy low-80s curveball and a changeup with run and tumble.

Zulueta has a good pitch mix and an arm that could potentially move quickly as a 24-year-old with time to make up. He is one of the better off-the-radar arms I’ve seen this year and a must-add in deep dynasty leagues.

Tink Hence, RHP, Cardinals
Low-A Palm Beach • Age 19
League type: 20+ teams or 350+ prospects rostered 

The 2020 second-round round pick made his full-season debut with Palm Beach on Thursday, going 3 innings, allowing a run on one hit and a walk, while striking out five. His fastball sat 95 mph with an outlier vertical approach angle. He played a high-70s curveball off his fastball with around 25 inches of break off of his heater.

Hence showed a couple of changeups, but not enough to have any takeaways about the pitch. He is here because he throws hard and has the fastball shape and launch to attack batters high and miss barrels. That’s interesting in deeper dynasty leagues, if only to see where it goes.

Brett Harris, 3B, Athletics
High-A Lansing • Age 23
League type: 20+ teams or 350+ prospects rostered 

A 2021 seventh-round pick out of Gonzaga, Harris has been one of the best players statistically in the minor leagues. He hit .316/.429/.602 with seven home runs through 28 games.

Harris’ average exit velocity of 89.5 mph is above major league average, and his top 10% exit velocities fall in the 104 mph range. His launch angles are consistently in the optimal 10-30 degree range, he’s an 80% contact hitter who chases less than 15% of the time.

In other words, Harris pairs a truly plus hit tool and on-base ability with above-average power. While he might be an older player at a lower level, his underlying metrics point to a mature hitter with very real bat-to-ball skills and power.

Vaun Brown, OF, Giants
Low-A San Jose • Age 24
League type: 20+ teams or 350+ prospects rostered 

A five-year starter at Florida Southern, Vaun is nearly three years older than the average California League player. Despite this, he is a player to pay attention to for his immense double-plus power.

While Brown’s combination of 10 home runs with 12 stolen bases will catch many dynasty managers’ eyes, the steals should really be an afterthought in the context of Low-A and the rules that encourage basestealing.

But you should be paying attention to Brown’s power. His average exit velocity is above 91 mph, with his max exit velocities exceeding 110 mph. There’s power here, and also a scary aggressive approach. Whether or not this will work for Brown, only time will tell, but he does possess a carrying tool in his power.

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