Monday, July 21, 2014

Bringing Your AAA Game - Trevor May & Robert Refsnyder

First, an update on some guys I have written about previously: Jimmy Nelson got the call (he had one spot start earlier this season) and struggled against the Cardinals.  He was hit with some very bad luck and walked 2 batters in only 4.1 innings.  He did strike out 5 and poor defense behind him gave him two unearned runs to go with 6 earned.  I think this was just a bump in the road and my outlook on him has not changed yet.  Mookie Betts was called up, struggled a little bit, and has been sent back down now that Shane Victorino is healthy.  He is still an excellent long-term keeper and will likely come back up to Boston sometime in August given Victorino's fragility and Jackie Bradley's struggles at the plate.

With the fantasy baseball season winding down (only 6-7 weeks until the playoffs!), many of you may be looking for the next prospects to get called up to give your team that late season boost.  I've got two MLB-ready guys for your consideration this fine July day.

Trevor May
  • Position: SP
  • Level: AAA
  • MLB Position in 2014: SP
  • Stats: 82.2 IP, 9.15 K/9, 3.48 BB/9, 2.94 ERA, 3.13 FIP
  • 2014 ROS Fantasy Impact: 6/10

The Lowdown


Trevor May Fantasy Baseball Twins
Flickr - BeGreen90
May is a nearly 24-year-old pitcher for Minnesota.  He has had an exceptional year in AAA and was picked to pitch in the Futures game for the U.S. squad before a calf injury caused him to withdraw.  He was once a top prospect in the Phillies system, but he did not develop the command and control that was expected and Fangraphs' Marc Hulet ranked him as the Twins' 12th best prospect coming into this year.  He has improved his command and control some this year and still has good fastball velocity at 92-94 mph.  That fastball has some good sinking action, but for some reason, he has trouble generating ground balls with only a 35.1% ground ball rate.  He has a good curveball, average change-up, and excellent slider.  

He is getting an above average 10.9% swinging strike rate this year, but his high walk rate (9.6%) hurts his K%-BB% value, which is 15.5%.  K%-BB% is the best predictor of future performance for pitchers and 15.5% is above the average for MLB (about 10%), but not the elite level you would like to see for a 24-year-old in AAA.    

Fantasy Impact


Rumors indicate that May will be the next in line for a Twins rotation spot and may (pun!) have been called up already if he didn't injure his calf in late June and miss two weeks of action.  Because of his age and experience, he is likely ahead of his teammate Alex Meyer, who has a higher ceiling, in the call-up list.  The back end of the Twins rotation has been shaky all year and Ricky Nolasco is on the DL with a potentially serious elbow injury (non-Tommy John) and may miss a few more weeks.  So May's call-up might come in the next couple of weeks, now that he is fully healthy and had a good first start back (3 IP, 1 ER, 3 K, 1 BB).  The other Twins pitchers after Correia, Hughes, and Gibson have been pretty terrible.  Kris Johnson, for example, has a 5.40 ERA with a 6.50 FIP in two starts and was mediocre at AAA earlier this year (despite his 2.75 ERA, which hides his 3.7 FIP and 7.6 K/9).  

In fact, the Twins have not announced who will be starting on Tuesday (July 22), so he might be up very soon.  Their depth chart only has four pitchers on it right now.  May's impact will likely be modest in MLB because he will need to adjust and he doesn't have completely overwhelming stuff.  Many scouts think he might end up in the bullpen because he has a good fastball and slider and his other pitches aren't as developed.  

Parting Shots


I would peg him for 7-8 starts the rest of the year and about 8 K/9, 3-4 BB/9, a 3.5-4.0 ERA and a WHIP around 1.3.  This makes him useful in deeper leagues and in dynasty leagues, since he is likely in the Twins' future rotation plans (at least until their next prospect crop is ready in 2 years, which includes names like Berrios and Stewart).  He should get better as he adjusts and settle in as a number 3 or 4 starter better than Correia and Nolasco.  In shallow leagues, there is no need to pick him up, just watch how his first start or two go and see if he is adjusting quickly.  I picked him up in my 14-team dynasty league where even league average pitching is valuable and I think he can do that at least. 

  • Position: 2B
  • Level: AAA
  • MLB Position in 2014: 2B
  • Stats: .297/.408/.500, 6 HR, 24 R, 16 RBI, 3 SB
  • 2014 ROS Fantasy Impact: 4/10

The Lowdown


Robert Refsnyder Fantasy Baseball Yankees
Flickr - BeGreen90
Refsnyder has shot up the Yankees' prospect list this year after being a nobody since he was drafted in the 5th round in 2012.  He was an OF in college and did very well as MVP of the College World Series for Arizona, but didn't show enough power for a corner OF spot in MLB.  The Yankees took a big risk moving him to 2B since scouts were not sure he could make it there.  He slowly progressed through the Yankee system in 2013 but he has dominated two levels in 2014.  In AA, he had a .342/.385/.548 line with 6 HR and 5 SB in 60 games before his promotion.  He has continued to do well in AAA, as shown by his stat line above.  His defense has always been the biggest question mark and he is making progress there.  Enough progress that the Yankees may call him up this season.  

The best comp for him is Tommy La Stella.  They are both 2B that have line drive swings, average-to-below average power, excellent walk rates, high batting averages, and enough speed to steal about 10-15 bags per year.  Refsnyder's walk rate, 15.1%, is about double the MLB average and is excellent for a 23-year-old.  His strikeouts are a little high at 19.7%, but not a red flag.  His power is likely limited to doubles, triples, and the occasional homer, but he could hit 15 in a season and his ISO is over .200 this year.    

Fantasy Impact


If you play in a league where Scooter Gennett or Tommy La Stella are useful, Refsnyder will be useful.  He fits right in with those fellow keystone hitters.  La Stella has significantly less power than Refsnyder has shown (La Stella had a .066!! ISO at AAA this year), but has a much better K rate (7.1%).  La Stella's line in AAA this year was very similar to Refsynder's except for those two stats.  Their walk rates, averages, OBPs, runs, and RBI were all similar.  Refsnyder has swiped a few more bases this year than La Stella, but neither is very fast.  

Scooter Gennett's slash line in MLB this year looks a lot like Refsnyder's AAA line except Gennett doesn't walk very much and relies on a high batting average to sustain his OBP.  The power and steals you get from Gennett are probably what you can get from Refsnyder as soon as next season.  

As for this year, I expect a September call-up at least.  An earlier call depends on the Yankees playoff situation and what they do at the trade deadline.  Right now, they are using Brian Roberts and Yangervis Solarte at 2B and neither of them is producing much.  Roberts is slashing .241/.305/.372 (blah) and Solarte was sent back down to AAA recently (later recalled) because he was slumping.  His line is slightly better than Roberts' line, but not much and still with no power.  Refsnyder has more power than both of these guys and can match their average and OBP values.  So, basically, his call-up comes down to how much confidence the Yanks have in his defense.  

For your fantasy team, I would expect a good average, good OBP, and decent steals and homers for your middle infielder slot.  I think he would be in the 15-20 range for 2B ranks.  

Parting Shots


Well, if I am going to make a wild prediction and try to guess his stat line for his September call-up, I would go .270/.360/.430 with 2-3 HR, 8-12 R, 5-8 RBI, and 2-3 steals.  If that helps you out in your deep league team, then keep him on your radar.  Right now, his call-up is not impending and, while there is a chance he gets called up sooner than September, there is no big need to stash him now.  He doesn't have the up-side of most stash-able players so, he should be there for you when he gets the call. And now you know a little something about him to guide your waiver claim.

You can put it on the board.......YES!!!! Prospect Leaderboard

1. Mookie Betts  OF (back down in AAA :( so he stays on the prospect list for now)
2. Trevor May SP
3. Alex Meyer  SP (Behind May only because May will likely get more starts this year, Meyer is better long-term stash)
4. Rob Refsnyder 2B
5. Garin Cecchini 3B/OF (Scuffling and injured at AAA, he has been disappointing)

Deutschland won the World Cup!  I am both sad and happy as Germany is my second favorite team, after the stars and stripes, of course.  As always, though, I will end with tschus!

Hit me up on Reddit with your roster questions, waiver questions, trades, whatever and I will do my best to help you out. Reddit user: WisconsinsWestCoast

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