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Trey Mancini, 1B, Orioles
Trey Mancini led the charge in the O's big win over Steven Wright and the Red Sox on Wednesday night, hitting a pair of HRs and driving in 4. He then capped his week with another 2 HR performance against the Jays on Sunday (4 Rbi). Those two games account for most of his production (4 HRs, 9 Rbi). Trey grabbed one of the last slots on Baltimore's roster with a strong spring that saw him hit .333 with 3 HRs and 14 RBI in 60 ABs. That's pretty healthy.
The 25-year-old RHH was an 8th round pick in 2013 and he had had a surprising run for the O's. Drafted as a power prospect Trey has shown some contact skills and a hit tool despite a swing that at times gets pretty lunky. After two strong AA campaigns, Trey was stout in his first AAA tour last year, maintaining the strong walk rates that he didn't really show until he hit the high minors. You'll notice his K rates took a jump too and that's almost a plus in my eyes because I think he had reached that point where he's confident as a hitter and he started tapping into his power a bit more.
The big issue with Trey and his value this year is PT with Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo between him and his best source of ABs. He's instead finding ABs in the OF in both left and right and the Orioles seem to want to find a way to play him against LHP. If he continues to hit, however, there may be additional playing time available to him. These things tend to work themselves out. Phil Backert of SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio told us on Sunday's show that the O's were content replacing Mark Trumbo with Mancini's bat before Trumbo two less than half his original asking price to resign with Baltimore. After that signing and the acquisition of Seth Smith, Mancini's path to PT seemingly evaporated. Trey is, however, starting to collect some condensation of that PT with his strong start.
I am not sure Trey is anything super special, but if you give him 500 ABs I could see him returning 20+ HRs, maybe 25+ and league-level average.
In deeper leagues Trey might not be a bad guy to have rostered right now. Power is available in a lot of places but chances are there aren't a lot of guys available who show both power and a hit tool. Add in some placing time and Trey become a healthy contributor. I think he has both the talent and the opportunity in Baltimore but keep in mind that his ABs are far from certain.
Long-Term Fantasy Grade - C+
Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates
Not a great start for Josh Bell so far and to cap things off he was limited to a pinch hitting performance on both Friday night and Sunday. He sits at .156 entering Wk#3 with just a run and an Rbi to show for 32 ABs over 11 games.
Last summer I wrote this about Bell : "The 6-3/235 LHH has been overshadowed in the Buc's organization by their top pitching prospects and Austin Meadows. It didn't help that Josh lost development time battling with knee issues early in his pro career, but by the time he reached the high minors in 2014 his strong plate approach had already been established as you can see below in his K and BB rates. What he has established this year is his power game.
Josh was drafted for his raw power and despite his injury issues, the Pirates can be forgiven if they were starting to get anxious about his ability to channel that raw power into game power. Well it's here, and it comes with some solid plate discipline and that could make him an interesting and broad fantasy asset because he should be able to chip in a few SBs as well."
That solid plate discipline has been somewhat lacking in the early going, as evidenced by a 37% chase rate even though his K rate sits at a seemingly acceptable 14.3% (as of this writing). What that adds up to is lackluster quality of contact (18.5% Hard %), which, in part, leads to a .185 BABIP.
I'm not worried yet. All of this should iron out. I am a bit worried about the two days out of the lineup this weekend. The last thing Josh needs is spotty playing time. The Bucs shouldn't worry either. They should just keep running him out there and let him find his feet. He has a quality approach and that's going to reemerge. Sometimes it's tough for a kid to look at that scrawny average on the scoreboard in April and keep his head on straight. If the Bucs stay the course, Bell will be fine.
Once he is comfortable, we can begin to wait for him to bring some lift to his game so we can get an idea of the scope of his power game. Josh should be a league-average hitter with what appears to be sub-average power for first base, but if that fly ball rate starts to climb, he has the physical power to surprise us. That's going to take some time, though. You should be patient. So should the Pirates.
Long-Term Fantasy Grade - A--
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