Three Up, Three Down: Christian Yelich Worth The Prospect Price
Christian Yelich, OF, Brewers
The Brewers paid a heavy price in prospects for Yelich, and he’s been absolutely worth it. The 26-year-old outfielder has kicked his game up a notch since July 4, batting .405 since then to surge into the National League batting title lead (.326). Overall Yelich has the third-highest OPS in baseball since the holiday, and he leads the Brewers in hits, runs, doubles, total bases and all three slash line categories.
Khris Davis, OF, Athletics
Matt Chapman and Matt Olsen are the headline-grabbing youngsters, but Davis is the bedrock of the A’s success. After last year becoming the first Athletics player to hit 40 home runs in back-to-back seasons since Jimmie Foxx, Davis is in the midst of his best season yet, on pace for 44 home runs and 310 total bases, both career-highs. As the A’s surge, he’s only getting hotter. He’s hit .300 with 11 homers during their current 20-7 run, carrying them into the second AL wild card spot.
Carlos Carrasco, Indians
Without much fanfare, Carrasco had the 10th-highest FanGraphs WAR among starting pitchers from 2015-2017 – right behind Stephen Strasburg and just ahead of Justin Verlander — and he’s quietly been dominant again this summer. Since coming off the disabled list (right elbow contusion) on July 6, Carrasco is 5-0, 1.99 with 42 strikeouts and four walks in 31.2 innings. He’s throwing strikes 67 percent of the time, and overall has limited opponents to a .241 average. Once again, he’s pitching like one of the top 10 starters in baseball, and giving the Indians a second No. 1 starter behind Corey Kluber.
Amed Rosario, SS, Mets
The Mets supposed next wave of position players is disappointing en masse, and Rosario is at the forefront. The No. 8 prospect in baseball entering last year, Rosario owns a .233/.278/.351 slash line through 151 career games. He’s not walking (4.2 percent career walk rate), he’s not hitting the ball hard (87.2 mph average exit velocity, just behind Leonys Martin) and he’s not been particularly sharp in the field either, with both the Total Zone Fielding and Defensive Runs Saved metrics rating him well below average. Rosario is only 22 years old and has plenty of time ahead of him, but the steps he needs to take forward are massive to even be an average major leaguer.
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Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays
The Blue Jays’ season continues to spiral, and their ace has been part of the problem rather than the solution. After getting lit up for 11 hits and seven runs in his last start on Aug. 1, Stroman has a 5.63 ERA, a 1.49 WHIP and a .287 opponent average this season, all of which would be the worst marks of his career. His walk and hits allowed rates are both up, his strikeout rate is down, and he’s been less durable than ever, averaging just over five innings per start after delivering back-to-back 200 inning seasons in 2016-17. Stroman still shows flashes of his previous dominant self (2.45 ERA in final four July starts), but he hasn’t pitched well with any consistency this season.
Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, White Sox
Lopez appeared to have solidified himself as part of the White Sox’s future rotation earlier this year, but things have become much more tenuous. Lopez has regressed badly as the summer has gone on, posting a 6.27 ERA in his last nine starts with opponents batting .290/.363/.517 off of him. Lopez is having trouble finding the strike zone (4.0 BB/9 this season) and when he does find it he’s not missing bats (6.3 K/9.) Even with a swing-and-miss slider that’s a bona fide outpitch, Lopez’s 95 mph fastball and low 80s changeup have proven eminently hittable to major leaguers. Both the quality of those two pitches and his control will have to be rectified for him to remain a part of the White Sox’s plans.