Archie Bradley (P-ARI): Archie Bradley won after allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks with 11 strikeouts over seven innings vs. the Padres. While his 5.02 masks it, Bradley has taken a huge step forward in his development in 2016. He moved his K/9 over 9, and while his control still needs work, he did lower his BB/9 by over 1 to 4.2/9. The other key for Bradley will be improving his changeup, which will allow him to lower the .398 wOBA allowed to lefties. He has the raw skills and athleticism to put it all together in 2017.
Aaron Blair (P-ATL): Aaron Blair won after allowing two runs on four hits (one homer) and one walk with 10 strikeouts over six innings vs. the Tigers. The surface numbers do not look pretty for Blair--7.59 ERA, 46:34 K:BB ratio in 70 innings, and two wins--but underneath them lies some promising signs heading into 2017. Blair demonstrated a willingness to throw all four pitches--four-seam, two-seam, curveball, changeup--at least 12 percent of the time; and he induced a nine percent swinging strike rate while allowing a 30 percent hard hit rate, all near league average. Keep an eye on his progress during the spring, but I see Blair as a worthy late-round pick whose prospect pedigree and year of experience honing his craft give him upside.
Jose Peraza (UTIL-CIN): Jose Peraza went 1-for-4 with a run and three stolen bases to spark the Reds over the Cubs. With the efforts Peraza moved his OBP to .357 on the season with 25 runs, 25 RBIs and 21 stolen bases over 71 games. His pedigree and MiLB history suggest that he should continue to improve his EYE and batted ball profile to more suit his speed game. With a full-time gig likely his out of Spring Training, Peraza could be one of the best middle round picks we'll see in all formats.
Yasmany Tomas (OF-ARI): Tomas went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. 2016 has been a breakout year for Tomas, who has posted a .272/.313/.510 line with 31 homers and 83 RBI through 139 games. His 41 percent hard hit rate and 105 MPH average speed off bat on homers largely support Tomas' 25 percent HR/FB rate, so the power looks legit. Plate discipline issues do linger, however, as do playing time concerns. He's a man to watch in spring, but unless those issues resolve themselves favorably, I suspect he'll be overdrafted given the plethora of power available in drafts.
Matt Koch (SP-ARI): While his below-average strikeout rate and likely pitch count limitations keep his ceiling low, Matt Koch ($3000) still brings huge ROI upside to today's action. Koch posted a 4.08 ERA with a 74:19 K:BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings across two hitter-friendly environments at Double and Triple-A before tossing a five-inning gem against the Nationals in his first MLB start. San Diego, Koch's opponent, is last in the league in total offense vs. righties. The home park isn't ideal, but for the price, he's difficult to ignore in tournaments today.
*I want to thank you, our readers and loyal subscribers, for your support and for making 2016 our best year yet. Cheers to a strong finish and to a productive off season. See you in January!