I know, I know, I know, and I’m sorry. We got dozens* of emails asking “Where was Nook Nacks last week?” and “Where were Nook Nacks last week?” and “Which of those last two questions is grammatically correct?”. I know. Nook Nacks didn’t run because of, well, life. I was on the road for work and and couldn’t follow baseball or prospects and it was a sad, lonely time for me. But I’m back and the Nacks are back. Try to contain yourself.
Lots of stuff happened since our last meeting. The World Cup started and the USA won a match, the Spurs won some basketball stuff and a bunch of baseball got played. All fun things. Something tragic happened as well — Tony Gwynn left us much too soon. Everyone who’s met him says he was the kindest person you could meet who adored the game of baseball. Tony coached at San Diego State and loved seeing young players develop, so we’ll talk about some of those types today. Nobody below’s going to be Tony Gwynn, but that’s a bar set unreasonably high.
Pennies for Someday
Gregory Polanco, OF — Pittsburgh Pirates
You know this, but Polanco got the call up to the bigs, and he’s here to stay. Before we start parsing the numbers, here’s a quick haiku about El Coffee:
A true number is bestowed,
I think it’s fair to say the Pirates wanted to keep Polanco in the minors long enough that he wouldn’t become a “Super Two” player. There’s no such thing as a hard Super Two deadline, but teams can guess when it’ll be and hope that it saves them a few million dollars down the road. Anyway, that’s all done with and in the past, and now Polanco is up for good. We know this for lots of reasons, but one of them is that they gave him a real number. No 67 or 78 or something silly — 25, a good, honest number that befits a man of Polanco’s talents. Oh yeah, he’s also hitting .378/.417/.467 in his first 9 games in the bigs. Is he available in your league? Yes? Grab him and start him and don’t look back.
Jimmy Nelson, RHP — Milwaukee Brewers
Nelson just got the call to the bigs, went 5+ innings, struck out six and earned his first major league win. A good day for him, for sure. Nelson was dominant in AAA this year, posting a 1.62 ERA while striking out 91 batters in 83.1 innings. His walks were low, he had a .96 WHIP and, frankly had nothing left to prove in the minors. The Brewers are leading the NL Central and I don’t see any reason why Nelson won’t be in the rotation for the rest of the season. There will be bumps in the road, but he could be an asset in four categories going forward, and might be better than someone on your bench right now. If you’re in a deep league, scoop him immediately.
Rafael Devers, 3B — Boston Red Sox
Devers is the youngest player we’ve written about here, and he’ll probably hold that prize for quite some time. Seventeen year-olds are so far away that there’s rarely a point in writing about them, but I’m a Red Sox fan and I’m excited about him so I’m gonna scribble. Devers just got promoted to the Gulf Coast League, but before that he’d been toying with the Dominican Summer League. In 17 games he hit three bombs, three triples, two doubles and walked more than he struck out. His OPS was 1.112. He’s already a six footer who weighs 195 pounds, and he’s going to keep getting bigger and stronger because he’s just 17. Devers is the kind of prospect that can blow up quickly — he might be available this year in your dynasty league’s international free agent draft, and he might merit going number one overall. His talent is real and he’s got the makings of fantasy stardom.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP — Pittsburgh Pirates
I love huge pitchers. Glasnow, all six-foot-seven of him, qualifies as huge. In addition to being huge, he hasn’t allowed a run in June. Glasnow is far from a sure thing, as he’s just 20, in high-A ball and has a BB/9 over 5 right now, but you can’t quibble with the results. I think he’s due a promotion, since his raw stuff is too good for guys at his current level, and the fellas at double-A are a much more selective bunch. Glasnow needs to be challenged to improve, and where he’s at isn’t much of a challenge at all.
DJ Peterson, 1B/3B — Seattle Mariners
I didn’t love Peterson when the Mariners drafted him last year. I thought he was a fine pick, maybe a bit of a reach, but I just didn’t love it. I think this has something to do with my prospect crush on Hunter Renfroe, and the fact that he was drafted just one pick later by San Diego. You can’t argue with the overall numbers that Peterson’s put up since he’s turned pro, but there are a few areas of minor concern. First, a lot of this damage has been done in the Cal League, which is the perfect place to hit baseballs. Second, Peterson isn’t drawing a ton of walks. He’s hitting for average and getting on base at a more than respectable clip, but his K/BB is about 3/1 right now, and that type of ratio scares me a little bit. I’d like to see the M’s push him to AA sometime this summer so we can get a better idea for his bat and overall approach. Again, these concerns are minor, but they’re legitimate.