Fantasy Baseball: Alek Thomas’ call is worth the bet, even amid other disappointing debut

The Diamondbacks came into play Sunday with a surprising .500 record despite ranking 25th in points per game, so they’re looking to boost their offense with the call of Triple-A prospect outfielder Alek Thomas. Thomas, the team’s consensus No. 2 prospect was in the starting lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies, and he thinks he has a locked starting spot, so should he be considered a must-have for Fantasy before week 6?

Definitively. Thomas entered the season at the age of 22 who had already reached Triple-A for 34 games last season, and he continues his success in the first month of the season, eventually reaching .332 / .404 / .592 in 58 matches. at the highest level of miners. He has 12 home runs and eight interceptions in those 58 games with a very reasonable 17.7% strikeout rate and 10.0% walk rate, so it’s not hard to see how his profile can stack up. translate for Fantasy.

If Thomas hits, he has the potential to be a five category contributor for Fantasy, with above average pop and speed and enough bat control to hopefully avoid too many strikeouts. In an ideal result, he probably looks like 2021’s Randy Arozarena, a 20-20 threat that doesn’t hurt you with batting average, although maybe something more like 2021 Andrew Benintendi (.276, 17 HR , 8 SB) might be a more reasonable expectation.

Of course, we’ve seen prospects more talented than Thomas struggle to get off the ground in the majors, with Jo Adell and Jarred Kelenic being the most prominent examples in recent seasons – they’re certainly not alone. Last season rookies as a whole produced an 84 wRC+ – 100 would be the league average – and 2022 hasn’t been better so far. The leap from minors to majors remains the hardest for prospects to make, and Thomas has enough questions about his hit tool to turn him into an immediate difference maker.

However, given the current fantasy landscape, you can’t really draw nobody as difference makers right now. That’s an exaggeration, but only a slight one — only 10 outfielders currently have an OPS north of .850 in the majors right now. It’s partly because the offense is down league-wide, but also because the outfield just hasn’t been a great position – outside of the top 25 players in my rating, I don’t feel not particularly confident in too many players.

That makes Thomas well worth the bet. Maybe he goes the way of Adell or Kelenic (or Josh Lowe or Carter Kieboom or Nick Madrigal or Dylan Carlson or Cristian Pache or Joey Bart or…well, you get the idea), but Thomas is talented enough to be worth betting on the upside here, especially in this attacking environment. He might flop, but I’m guessing you already have at least one player in your lineup who’s already flopped. For waiver wire runs this week, I’d prioritize Thomas over the Twins’ top shortstop prospect Royce Lewis, a similar prospect whose playing time could depend on how long the injury is. Carlos Correa keeps him away.

Thomas’ skills make him a go-to player in any league or five-outfielder league or league where interceptions have extra value, and even in a 12-team, three-outfielder league, I think I’d give him a try find a spot. on my bench. It might not work, but just like the Diamondbacks, your roster probably needs a spark, and maybe Thomas can provide it.