December 16, 2015
Minor League Update
Games of December 14-15
Monday, December 14th
Hoskins is your standard polished college mid-round-pick corner bat. But he is not without his charms, and the raw power is real. The question with Hoskins was always going to be if he would hit enough against more advanced pitching. He had a very strong campaign in 2015, but the top line numbers aren't particularly eye-popping for a 22-year-old first baseman in A-ball. Double-A arms will be his first real professional challenge, but there may be an opening at first base soon as the Phillies ramp up their rebuild.
Tuesday, December 15th
Trade rumors have swirled around Baez all offseason, and with the Cubs acquiring Ben Zobrist last week, Baez is out of places to play in a suddenly-even-more-stacked Cubs lineup. Soler and Schwarber will bring back the truly premium arms if the Chicago front office can bear to part with either, while Baez's swing-and-miss may scare teams away. He cut his Triple-A strikeout rate in 2015 to under 25 percent, which isn't bad in this era for a player with his top-of-the-scale raw power, and he only just turned 23 this month. Baez struggled again with plate discipline in the majors, yes, and he's not bringing back Carlos Carrasco or Tyson Ross, but if a team sees him as a change of scenery candidate, he could help bring back a rotation upgrade for the presumptive 2016 NL Central favorites.
I wrote about Becerra last week and don't have anything new to add to the scouting report obviously, but it did strike me as interesting that he is still getting regular playing time for a Winter League team still in a playoff race. By this time in the offseason league season, most teams are playing former fringy major league vets and have jettisoned most of the interesting “prospects” to the bench. The goal here is to win, and the Tigres think that Becerra gives them the best chance to do that manning right field. That speaks better of his performance than any small-sample stat line.
Willin Rosario, DH (Aguilas Cibaenas) 2-4, R, RBI
Some of those fringy former major leaguers are also doing their best to get themselves back to fringy current major leaguer status. Rosario was outrighted by the Rockies this offseason and is now a free agent coming off the worst season of his career. He does have a long track record of hitting lefties though, and is probably still better than whatever utility infielder your team is planning to use as an emergency catcher in 2016.
I am not the person you should be looking to for highly specific fantasy baseball advice, but the Ken Giles trade got me to wondering who would close for the Phillies in 2016. This is a somewhat pointless question, but I am not going to spend my free time solving the P versus NP problem or anything useful anyway. While it is still possible that Philadelphia goes out and gets a cheap veteran reliever type to take the ninth, of the given incumbents Neris is the most intriguing. He has above-average velocity, and a bat-missing splitter. He has generally shown pretty good control for a late-inning power arm type. And most favorably for Neris, his main competition internally may be Jeanmar Gomez. There is the small matter of the eight home runs in his 40 innings of work last year, but that is not necessarily predictive given the stuff, and really what is the worst that could happen to the 2016 Phillies?