X
Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

X

Receive free daily analysis

NFL
NBA
NHL
NASCAR
CFB
MLB
MMA
PGA
ESPORTS
BETTING

Already have an account? Log In

X

Forgot Password


POPULAR FANTASY TOOLS

Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
News and Alerts

MLB Prospects Breakout Watch for Fantasy Baseball - Matthew Liberatore, Nolan Jones, Brandon Pfaadt, Michael Busch and more

Matthew Liberatore - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Prospects News

With the passing weeks, we get more and better data to use. This year, we have more and better data for all of AAA (that is the International League and the Pacific Coast League). With the International League adding in the Statcast infrastructure, we can now know a whole lot more about the players down there.

Enter this weekly post, in which I take a look every Thursday at the standout fantasy baseball prospects in AAA. I will try my best to keep the analysis to the players we could see in the Majors soon, and you will see that reflected here.

I am focused almost entirely on skill-based data. Things like launch velocity, launch angle, pitch velocity and movement, and more things of the like. I'm probably not even going to mention batting averages or ERAs. Those types of stats are random enough in the Majors, and they are downright useless to look at when you're talking about AAA. So let's talk about a few names to consider adding, or at least closely monitoring, in your fantasy leagues this week.

Featured Promo: Get any full-season MLB and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Team Sync platform, Premium articles, daily Matchup Rating projections, 15 lineup tools, DFS cheat sheets, Research Stations, Lineup Optimizers and much more! Go Premium, Win More!

 

Prospect Pitchers

Brandon Pfaadt, Arizona Diamondbacks

There were some flirtations with Pfaadt making the Major League rotation out of camp, but he couldn't quite crack it. The Diamondbacks have been rolling with Madison Bumgarner once again, and it hasn't been going well. Not only are there on-field questions with Bumgarner, but we've heard some rumblings about off-the-field stuff there as well. Of course, we wish Bumgarner the best and we have had a blast watching his great career, but we have to focus on reality – and the reality is that it does not look like Bumgarner is long for a spot in the rotation.

The "Baby Snakes", as they have been nicknamed, are playing great baseball and currently sit in first place in the NL West. Think what you will about their chances of actually beating out the Dodgers over 162 games, but the truth is that it's a competitive ball club we're looking at and they have to be in win-now mode. That should facilitate the promotion of Brandon Pfaadt sooner rather than later.

Pfaadt was one of the standouts in the minor leagues last season, going for a ridiculous 26.9% K-BB% across 29 starts, mostly in the PCL which is the toughest league to pitch in in all of the minors. He struck out 218 hitters in 167 innings and walked only 33. Pristine stuff. Here is a quick look at this pitch mix, although we are talking about only three outings so far this year:

 

A good fastball and a great slider with a changeup and curveball in the mix as well. That is good to see, as we often hesitate about pitchers that do most of their work with the fastball. It is a lot tougher to get a fastball by a Major League hitter as compared to a minor leaguer, of course, so it's really important for these young pitchers to already have good secondaries – and it seems like Pfaadt had that.

I think he'll be up by the middle of May, and he very well could get the call as soon as next week.

Matthew Liberatore, St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals are desperate for help in the starting rotation, and the next man up for them would seem to be Liberatore. He's pitching phenomenally in the minors and the Cardinals currently hold a 4.64 team ERA which puts them in the bottom half of the league, and that's with the help of their strong bullpen.

Despite the tragic rotation, the Cardinals still have to be the favorite in the NL Central with their potent lineup and strong bullpen arms. I think they're probably already looking forward to trying out some new guys in the rotation. Here's what Liberatore has done so far this year:

A 17.6% SwStr% and a 1.9% Brl% are just fantastic. His 33% strikeout rate is the best in AAA, which is exactly what you want to see.

Pitchers tend to lose a few points in strikeout rate when being promoted to the Majors, but it is a relatively sticky statistic. On average, a pitcher's K% drops three points when going from AAA to the MLB. In Liberatore's case, that would put him at 30% and work just fine. He could even fall to 27% or so and still have a chance to be quite good for fantasy purposes.

The Cardinals need help, and Liberate is pitching well with a deep arsenal - he is right there with Pfaadt in terms of minor-league pitchers to stash.

Andrew Abbott, Cincinnati Reds

This is not a guy to add right now since he's in AA and probably not coming to the Majors soon, but I couldn't leave him out this week after seeing what he's done in two starts so far. So far in 2023, he has faced 35 batters and struck out 25 of them.

K% Leaders, AA-AAA

Pitcher Affiliate IP K%
Andrew Abbott CIN 10.2 71.4%
Mason Miller OAK 8.2 65.5%
Ty Madden DET 5.0 65.0%
Mike Vasil NYM 6.0 61.9%
Kai-Wei Teng SF 7.2 53.1%

So yeah, we're talking about AA ball and a tiny sample – but it's not easy to post that high of a strikeout rate even over three innings. Keep an eye on Abbott, I'm definitely adding him in dynasty leagues if he's free.

 

Prospect Hitters

Nolan Jones, Colorado Rockies

Jones was strangely called up to the Majors for a few days only to not play at all and be sent back down a few days later. Weird stuff, Rockies!

Anyways, Jones has been terrorizing pitching in the Pacific Coast League so far this year with a league-leading 1.398 OPS. He's hit seven homers in 53 PAs while walking as often as he's struck out (seven times each). Jones has a great 14.3% Brl% and a 76% Contact%. Only 11 hitters have pulled that off in all of AAA. He has legit exit velocity (110 max, 107 90th percentile) and it's really encouraging to see him cut the strikeouts down, even if it's just in the minors. For comparison's sake, he had a 26% K% in AAA last year, so there is real improvement here so far.

The Rockies are a bad, bad Major League team. They could seem to benefit from an upside bat, and they should be wanting to see what they have with Jones who was acquired this offseason. I'd pick him up in deeper leagues when he gets another call.

Michael Busch, Los Angeles Dodgers

Busch is another one of those 11 hitters I mentioned above in the Jones' write-up. He has a 10.9% Brl% and an 80% Contact% in 73 PAs so far. That is an elite combination. He is one of only three hitters with a 10%+ Brl% and an 80%+ Contact% (Miguel Andujar and Dominic Canzone being the others).

Busch is currently listed as the Dodgers' #3 overall prospect, and for once, their Major League lineup isn't completely loaded. They could actually use a boost in the middle infield after losing Trea Turner to free agency and Gavin Lux to injury. Keep an eye on Busch, and grab him as soon as he gets the call to the show – or sooner!

Ronny Mauricio, New York Mets

The Mets have already called up Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty, so why not make it a trio of top prospects by promoting Mauricio soon?

He is certainly banging down the door with a 1.193 OPS in the minors, and the quality of contact has been terrific as well with a 13% Brl% and a strong 76% contact rate.

It's not exactly clear where Mauricio would play for the Metropolitans. His primary position is shortstop, and the Mets are obviously not hurting there. He might need an injury to happen to find himself regular PAs in the Majors, but if that does happen - he's someone to have a look at.

That's it for this week looking at Statcast data down on the farm. Check back next week for more updates!



Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy baseball app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, sleepers, prospects & more. All free!



More Fantasy Baseball Prospects and Rookies




POPULAR FANTASY TOOLS

Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
News and Alerts

RANKINGS

QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
RANKINGS
C
1B
2B
3B
SS
OF
SP
RP

REAL-TIME FANTASY NEWS

Todd Gilliland5 mins ago

in Downgraded Equipment for Texas
Dylan Cease1 hour ago

Strikes Out 11 Batters
Gabriel Arias1 hour ago

Exits Early On Saturday
John Means1 hour ago

Looks Impressive On Saturday
Tanner Scott2 hours ago

Records 10th Save
Luis Arraez2 hours ago

Suffers Injury On Saturday
Carlos Santana2 hours ago

Hits 300th Career Home Run
DeAndre Hopkins3 hours ago

Expected To Play In Week 3
DK Metcalf3 hours ago

Active For Week 3
Ryan Preece4 hours ago

Will Start 25th At Texas
Marcus Stroman4 hours ago

Struggles In Return
Jose Cuas4 hours ago

Records First Save
Chase Briscoe4 hours ago

The Top Value Play On Sunday At Texas
Chris Paddack4 hours ago

Could Return On Sunday
Mike Yastrzemski5 hours ago

On The Bench Versus Southpaw
Tyler Anderson5 hours ago

Done For The Season
Will Smith5 hours ago

Gets Saturday Off
Ricky Stenhouse Jr5 hours ago

.'s Struggles At Texas To Continue This Weekend
Joey Logano5 hours ago

Makes For A Nice Bounce Back Play At Texas
NASCAR6 hours ago

Bubba Wallace Wins Pole At Texas Motor Speedway
Ryan Mountcastle6 hours ago

Hopeful To Return Soon
Eury PĂ©rez6 hours ago

Eury Perez Placed On Injured List
Ryan Blaney6 hours ago

A Core Play At Texas
Michael Brantley6 hours ago

To Miss Fifth Straight Game
Harrison Burton6 hours ago

Still On Wood Brothers Hot Seat
Austin Hays6 hours ago

To Sit Out On Saturday
Austin Cindric6 hours ago

Keeps On Struggling In Qualifying
Joe Musgrove6 hours ago

Resumes Throwing
Daniel Suarez6 hours ago

Thrives In Texas Qualifying Saturday
Jamaal Williams6 hours ago

Placed On Injured Reserve
Chase Elliott7 hours ago

Starts From Near The Back At Texas
Ross Chastain7 hours ago

Offers Less Upside At Texas
Jaylen Waddle7 hours ago

Won’t Play In Week 3 Against Denver
Ty Gibbs7 hours ago

Poised To Continue Strong Run In Texas
Aric Almirola7 hours ago

Tops Stewart-Haas In Qualifying
NASCAR7 hours ago

A.J. Allmendinger Surprises With Sixth In Qualifying
Kyle Larson7 hours ago

Starts 11th On Sunday Afternoon
Kyle Busch7 hours ago

Looks To Rebound On Sunday
Martin Truex Jr8 hours ago

. Hoping For Better Fortunes In Texas
Randy Arozarena9 hours ago

Is Not In The Lineup On Saturday
Raimel Tapia9 hours ago

Getting Called Up By The Rays
Tony Kemp9 hours ago

Is Not In The Lineup On Saturday Against The Tigers
Junior Caminero9 hours ago

Is Batting Fifth For MLB Debut On Saturday
Deon Jackson12 hours ago

Colts Release Deon Jackson
Clayton Keller13 hours ago

Ready To Become 100-Point Player
Nicklas Backstrom13 hours ago

Feeling At 100 Percent
Oliver Ekman-Larsson14 hours ago

Set To Get Look On Top Power-Play Unit
Carter Verhaeghe14 hours ago

Battling Muscle Tightness
Nikolaj Ehlers14 hours ago

Struggling With Neck Spasms
Logan Cooley14 hours ago

Scores Wonder Goal In Preseason Opener
14 hours ago

Chauncey Billups Backs Scoot Henderson To Become A "Star"
Josh Green14 hours ago

Aims To Become A Bigger Defensive Presence
Josh Hart15 hours ago

Set To See Minutes As Power Forward
Cade Cunningham15 hours ago

Jaden Ivey Believes Cade Cunningham Will "Shock" People
DeMar DeRozan15 hours ago

Ready To Shoot More Threes
Marcus Morris15 hours ago

Sr. Set To Remain A Starter In New Season
DK Metcalf19 hours ago

Returns To Practice On Friday
Andy Dalton22 hours ago

To Start In Week 3
Jaden McDaniels24 hours ago

Timberwolves Desire To Extend Jaden McDaniels
Boston Celtics1 day ago

Celtics Signing Lamar Stevens As Bench Piece
Frank Ntilikina1 day ago

Could Be Limited At Training Camp
Jayson Tatum1 day ago

To Play More Point Guard In 2023-24?
Isiah Pacheco1 day ago

Picks Up Questionable Tag
Brandin Cooks1 day ago

Set To Return In Week 3
David Montgomery1 day ago

Doubtful To Play In Week 3
Zay Jones1 day ago

Ruled Out For Sunday Against Houston
Puka Nacua1 day ago

Back At Practice On Friday
Rasmus Dahlin1 day ago

Sabres Aiming To Lock Up Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power Long-Term
Joe Burrow1 day ago

Limited In Friday's Practice
Connor Hellebuyck1 day ago

Focused On The Jets In 2023-24
DK Metcalf1 day ago

Questionable For Week 3
Trevor Zegras1 day ago

Jamie Drysdale Absent On First Day Of Camp
Jaylen Waddle1 day ago

Questionable With Concussion
Andrew Cogliano1 day ago

Hoping To Be Cleared For Season Opener
Amon-Ra St. Brown1 day ago

Listed As Questionable For Week 3
Alexander Barabanov1 day ago

Prefers To Remain In San Jose
Austin Ekeler1 day ago

Ruled Out Again
Mattias Ekholm1 day ago

Roughly A Week Away From Skating
Jamaal Williams1 day ago

Ruled Out With Hamstring Issue
DeAndre Hopkins1 day ago

Listed As Questionable Against Browns
Amari Cooper1 day ago

No Longer On The Injury Report
Deebo Samuel1 day ago

Considered Day-To-Day With Rib Injury
Damian Lillard1 day ago

Suns Considered Dark Horse To Facilitate Damian Lillard Deal
Donovan Mitchell1 day ago

Not Expected To Sign An Extension Next Summer
1 day ago

Amen Thompson Is Ready To Go For Training Camp
Buddy Hield1 day ago

Mavericks, 76ers, Bucks Have Shown Interest In Buddy Hield
Kelly Oubre1 day ago

Jr. Expected To Sign With 76ers
Mateusz Gamrot1 day ago

Seeking Victory In Seventh UFC Appearance
Rafael Fiziev1 day ago

Looks To Get Back In Win Column
Michelle Waterson-Gomez1 day ago

In Dire Need Of Victory
AJ Fletcher1 day ago

Set To Showcase On Main Card
Bryan Battle1 day ago

A Favorite At UFC Vegas 79
Evgeny Kuznetsov2 days ago

Sees New Head Coach As "Perfect Match"
Mark Scheifele2 days ago

Open To Staying With Jets
BUF2 days ago

Buffalo Sabres Reportedly Eyeing Patrick Kane
Alexander Romanov2 days ago

100 Percent For Training Camp
Jack Quinn2 days ago

Not Close To Returning
Christian Dvorak2 days ago

Out Until November
Jusuf Nurkic2 days ago

Heading To Phoenix?
Damian Lillard2 days ago

Could Be Moved Before Training Camp
Ricardo Ramos2 days ago

Set For First Fight In Over A Year
Charles Jourdain2 days ago

Hoping To Bring UFC Record Above .500
Marina Rodriguez2 days ago

Gets A Rematch At UFC Vegas 79
Dan Ige2 days ago

Enters UFC Vegas 79 On Two-Fight Win Streak
Bryce Mitchell2 days ago

Looking To Bounce Back After First Career Loss
VEG2 days ago

Daniil Miromanov Ruled Out Long-Term
Chris Wideman2 days ago

Out Indefinitely With Back Injury
Mason McTavish2 days ago

Nursing An Upper-Body Injury
Brooklyn Nets3 days ago

Jordan Hall Signs With Nets
Xavier Moon3 days ago

Signs With Clippers
Aleksej Pokusevski3 days ago

To Miss Next Six Weeks
Buddy Hield3 days ago

Pacers Attempting To Trade Buddy Hield
Alexa Grasso6 days ago

Retains Flyweight Title With Split Draw
Valentina Shevchenko6 days ago

Unsuccessful In Bid To Recapture Title
Jack Della Maddalena6 days ago

Pulls Out Close Decision Win At Noche UFC
Kevin Holland6 days ago

Takes Close Loss In Split-Decision Showing
Raul Rosas Jr.6 days ago

Knocks Out Terrance Mitchell In 54 Seconds