Fantasy: FAAB Targets For Week Six
Angels righthander Chase Silseth fired six scoreless innings in his MLB debut on May 13. If you read last week's FAAB Targets and bid accordingly, then you might have profited in your deep dynasty league. BA had previously identified Silseth as the Angels' 2021 draft sleeper back in February.
It's time to run back to the waiver wire for another week of FAAB nuggets.
Miguel Vargas, 3B, Dodgers
League size: redraft stash
Three qualified hitters who are 22 or younger have compiled a wRC+ of 130 or greater this season at Triple-A. Only one of those hitters is walking more than he strikes out: Vargas. While he faces major stumbling blocks to playing time in Los Angeles—including lack of a true defensive home, no 40-man roster spot and overall depth in the Dodgers organization—it would take only an injury for Vargas to earn his first MLB callup.
If you have a spot to play with or your bench, Vargas is a worthy addition in all formats with 12 or more teams. Questions regarding Vargas’ power and top-end exit velocities concern me less than most. His average exit velocities are fine for a 22-year-old with his level of hitting ability and approach, while his home park in Oklahoma City is one of the least power-friendly in the Pacific Coast League.
Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Royals
League type: 14+ team redraft stash and shallow dynasty
“Italian Breakfast” has produced results more than 40% better than the average Triple-A International League player this season after hitting .252/.371/.539 with eight home runs through 24 games. The remarkable part of Pasquantino’s line is that his batting average on balls in play is just .233, when the average typically falls somewhere in the range of .300. His production could actually be better with just neutral luck, and that’s mighty impressive.
Pasquantino does not currently have a 40-man roster spot, and he plays the same position as fellow first baseman Nick Pratto who does, but things can change quickly. Pasquantino could very well find an MLB opportunity in the next month and is thus a worthy stash in deeper redraft leagues. He is must-roster in shallow dynasty and keeper leagues where under 100 prospects are rostered.
Brett Wisely, 2B, Rays
League size: 16+ team dynasty leagues or 250+ prospects rostered
The Rays seem to find players everywhere, and Wisely is a prime example of that. A 15th-rounder out of Gulf Coast (Fla.) JC in 2019, Wisely has done nothing but hit over the last year plus. All credit to Pitcher List’s Nate Handy, who has been singing Wisely’s praises as recently as late last year.
A classic Rays prospect, Wisely is a lefthanded-hitting second baseman with bat-to-ball skills and underrated power. So far in 2022, Wisely is hitting .286/.355/.518 with five home runs through 28 games in his first taste of Double-A with Montgomery.
The Rays’ organizational depth poses barriers to playing time, but if Wisely proves his bat his real, he’ll play in MLB for some team.
Colt Keith, 3B, Tigers
League size: 16+ team dynasty or 250+ prospects rostered
Keith possesses a strong combination of contact, plate discipline and power, and he’s performing as a 20-year-old in High-A. After striking out at a rate of 35.5% over his first 18 games for West Michigan at the end of 2021, Keith has cut his strikeout rate nearly in half to 19.1%. He’s worth a grab in moderately deep dynasty leagues but is pushing his way into shallower format consideration.
Tanner Bibee, RHP, Guardians
League size: 16+ teams or 300+ prospects rostered
Many viewed Bibee as a pitchability West Coast guy with a bag full of fringe pitches entering 2022. What the Guardians have trotted out so far has been anything but that. Bibee is now sitting 94-95 mph and touching 98 with a sweeper slider in the low-to-mid 80s, a Bugs Bunny changeup that statistically grades as plus, and a curveball with nearly 30 inches of depth off of his fastball shape.
The results Bibee has gotten for High-A Lake County should come as no shock given that pitch mix in the Midwest League. As of Saturday Bibee sports a 1.25 ERA and 36 strikeouts to four walks over 21.2 innings. This is the Guardians, and Bibee is the exact type they’ve had success with recently. If the massive jump in pitch mix quality signals anything, it’s that Cleveland knows what they like and how to optimize it.
Hayden Juenger, RHP, Blue Jays
League type: 20+ team dynasty or 400 prospects rostered
On the heels of early success and strong feedback from rival evaluators, Juenger entered the Blue Jays’ Top 10 Prospects this week. Here’s what I wrote about the 21-year-old at Double-A New Hampshire in his updated report:
“Opposing scouts view Juenger as one of the top players in the system at present and like his velocity and feel for a pair of secondaries. Juenger is sitting 94-96 mph and touching 97 on his fastball from a flat vertical approach angle, allowing him to miss bats on his four-seamer. He mixes two mid-80s secondaries in a changeup with heavy armside run that grades as his best bat-missing pitch and a slider in the mid 80s with sweep and slight ride. It’s a high-octane pitch mix that has scouts taking notice.”
There’s certainly bullpen risk with Juenger, who was a reliever for Missouri State in 2021, when he was Toronto’s sixth-round pick. Even considering this, it’s clear he has special talent.
Maikel Garcia, SS, Royals
League type: 20+ team dynasty or 400 prospects rostered
Speed, contact and on-base ability can be difficult to come by. A plus basestealer who supplies batting average can make a big difference in a Roto league.
Enter Garcia, the Royals' 22-year-old shortstop who was hitting .307/.415/.379 with 12 steals on 14 attempts for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Long considered a glove-first shortstop, Garcia has shown increased bat-to-ball skills and a discerning eye at the plate. He’s running just under an 80% contact rate with a chase rate in the mid teens.
The downside: He has well below-average power. Garcia lacks the impact desired in today’s game but offers three above-average to plus characteristics offensively—contact, on-base, basestealing—while possessing at least above-average defense at shortstop.
In a deeper format where speed and batting average is hard to come by, I’d take a flier on Garcia’s upside based on his proximity and presence on the 40-man roster.
2022 MiLB First Half Offensive Breakout Performers
Geoff Pontes breaks down position players who've improved year over year using wOBA.
Blaine Crim, 1B, Rangers
League Type: 20+ team dynasty leagues or 300+ prospects rostered
Late last season, Crim was a player who kept showing up for me when looking at guys with above-average contact and power. The righthanded hitter won MVP honors in the short-season Northwest League in 2019 and picked up where he left off in 2021, swatting 29 homers as he rose to Double-A Frisco. He kept raking in the Puerto Rican League last winter.
Honestly, I don’t totally know what to make of Crim. He’s a contact-first first baseman who doesn't walk much. His power has played well, though. He has slugged .550 with 36 home runs in 137 games dating back to the beginning of 2021. I’m willing to take a gamble on the contact and power potentially playing, even if Crim’s profile is a hard one to project to an everyday role.
Will Brennan, OF, Guardians
League Type: 20+ team dynasty or 300+ prospects rostered
Do you remember “nice price” stickers on CDs? I can remember digging through the bargain bin at my local Strawberries Records for discounted gems. Brennan is our “nice price” FAAB pick of the week.
The 2019 eighth-rounder out of Kansas State made a solid Double-A debut with Akron over the final few months of 2021. Brennan returned to the Eastern League to begin 2022 and is showing the best power of his career, while walking more than he strikes out.
Many in the Guardians organization believe Brennan is better than other more highly touted prospects. It’s hard to debate this, because he’s showing plus feel to hit and approach. He’s hitting for average power while playing both center field and the corners.
Brennan’s profile sounds like a lot of profiles that go unnoticed in dynasty leagues until they’re on an MLB roster playing every day and producing. I’d be willing to take a gamble on Brennan’s upside for a bargain bin price.
Cal Conley, SS, Braves
League Type: 24+ team dynasty leagues or 400 prospects rostered
Conley is a college hitter repeating Low-A. He is hitting .211 and has 28 strikeouts in 29 games for Augusta.
Are you out yet?
Well, consider this: Conley is hitting .265/.327/.469 in May. His OPS in May was .797, compared with .575 in April. The 2021 fourth-rounder from Texas Tech had cut his strikeout rate by more than 50%, and production has followed.
But wait: there’s more.
Year over year, Conley’s batted ball profile has changed. So far in 2022, the switch-hitter’s flyball and line-drive rates are up 25%. So was the first month and his limited 2021 numbers the Conley of the past, or is he just hot to open May? When looking under the hood, there seems to be tangible changes to Conley’s batted-ball profile. That could make him the ultimate buy-low dynasty target.