“Alluhring Strategy” Making a Minors Adjustment: Looking Deeper…Under 21 Prospects at 3B
I’ve heard it said in today’s culture, “3rd Base ain’t what it used to be.” Now, I doubt they were referring to baseball when they said this, but rather figuring out how to have that “birds and the bees” talk with their kids. Well, I WANT to apply it to baseball as there are too many light hitting players manning the hot corner these days due to injuries and shallow talent pool in the majors at the moment. I would love to see the league get back to more traditional power hitting 3B and I believe help is on the way. Most of you know that there are some heavy hitters close to getting the call such as: Sano, Bryant and Franco. However, we wouldn’t be “looking deeper” if we talked about these guys. Let’s look at a few guys under 21 that will bring the power back to the position, since “Chicks love the long ball.”
Joey Gallo is the epitome of raw power that you want at 3B. In his first 170 games of his pro career, he hit an absurd 62 HRs. Downside = 250 strikeouts during same span. What is discouraging is that there aren’t many walks to go with it. With this horrendous K/BB ratio and a low batting average to boot (.251 in 2013) you have a true all or nothing hitter. He could easily hit 40 HRs a year in the big leagues if he could learn to hit an off-speed pitch. He did manage to steal 15 bases last season, but lacks the speed to steal bases at the upper levels, the result of an average speed tool. He has a very unique and violent swing mechanics which accounts for his ridiculous power but also his inability to pick up off-speed pitches. Joey has a plus arm which gives him a shot to stay at the hot corner and giving him value to your fantasy roster. Scouts say he projects somewhere between Russell Branyan and Adam Dunn. If he can develop some pitch recognition skills and can get on base, he will get the at bats to hit 40 HRs a season and perhaps increase his ceiling to something like a Pedro Alvarez. There is an outside chance he comes up to Texas late in 2015. More likely we will see him in 2016. My take…Gallo will have great value in dynasty leagues, especially the large format leagues due to his incredible power. For this reason, I would be selling on him to try and acquire multiple piece in return. He holds much more value in points based leagues than roto.
We stay in the AL West and look at another prolific power hitter. Nunez has a similar skill set as Gallo, but not quite to the same extreme. I could see 25 HRs a year in the majors, but he might not get the at bats needed to get there if he doesn’t improve on his 2013, 136/27 K/BB ratio. If he gets traded out of the organization and doesn’t play half his games in a pitcher’s park like the Coliseum, he could border on 30 HRs per season. I know he is young, but he also needs to improve on his plate discipline and learn to hit off-speed pitches or his plus power tool will go to waste. He is a below average fielder and committed 39 errors in his first full season in minors. If his fielding doesn’t develop he may get moved to the OF or 1B. In this case, his fantasy value takes a hit as he’s probably never going to hit much above .250. All this being said, he will be much cheaper to acquire than Gallo and a good stash if you have deep rosters or minor league rosters. Oakland won’t rush him through the system and give him time to develop. He may see the majors in 2016, but more likely, we don’t see him until 2017.
The AL West gets a sweep in this piece as we head over to the Astros organization. Most people that follow baseball already know that Houston has arguably the best farm system, with several Top 100 prospects. Well, Ruiz isn’t one of them. At least not yet. He is the deepest of the prospects in this piece, but I like him to have the best career of the three. He had a rough start to 2013, but made a mechanical adjustment to his swing and took a huge step forward in the second half of the season. He has proven to be teachable and has a quick, compact swing. This should lead to a high contact rate and gap power that should develop into 15-20 HRs per season by the time he makes “the Show.” He will steal a few bases here and there, but more as a smart base runner than from a speed tool. He could legitimately have two plus tools (hit and power) that can be a great complement to Correa and stabilize the left side of the infield for many years in Houston. His defense is in question, but Houston should be patient with his development in the field as they have Singleton penciled in at 1B for the near future and prefer to see Ruiz man the hot corner. This would be preferable for dynasty owners as well. I don’t see Ruiz as an All-Star but a solid everyday 3B and the type of player that can contribute to a fantasy championship run in deeper leagues.
***All stats are from http://www.baseball-reference.com/Bryan Luhrs Real Deal Dynasty Sports Leagues, Creator & Commissioner MajorLeagueFantasySports.com, Fantasy Baseball Writer http://www.realdealdynasty.com @realdealdynasty