Fantasy Baseball Farm Report: Waiting impatiently for Matt Mervis

Following a 3-for-5 performance Sunday, Chicago Cubs first-base prospect Matt Mervis entered the week slashing .288/.410/.576 for Triple-A Iowa, with five home runs and 21 RBIs. The April binge from Mervis is really a continuation of a stellar 2022 season in which he hit 36 homers and 40 doubles across three minor-league levels, delivering an OPS of .984.

At this point, it's tough to make the case that the 25-year-old slugger requires any additional seasoning. Mervis is likely as ready as he's gonna get. He has been showcasing his parking-deck power for months:

Meanwhile, at the major-league level, the Cubs are getting next-to-zero production from their primary first basemen and DHs:

  • Eric Hosmer: .241/.305/.352, 1 HR

  • Trey Mancini: .232/.260/.333, 2 HR

  • Edwin Rios: .063/.250/.250, 1 HR

  • Luis Torrens: .250/.318/.300, 0 HR

Hosmer leads MLB in ground-ball rate (65.1%), and Mancini isn't far behind (56.3%). So yeah, it might be time to #FreeMervis. Chicago is a surprising 12-9 at the moment, despite the dreadful performance of two spots in the batting order that traditionally supply power and run production. A serious team would invite Mervis (and Christopher Morel) to the party.

Mervis is a recommended power stash, still available in more than 90% of Yahoo leagues.

Various other farm nuggets

— The Dodgers have really been hit hard by the paternity bug, leading to a call-up opportunity for Michael Busch, one of the most scorching-hot hitters in the high minors. Busch is slashing an outrageous .337/.461/.506 at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He cleared the fence 32 times last year in the high minors, driving in 108 runs and reaching base at a .365 clip (and striking out 167 times). He doesn't have a clear path to extended playing time just yet, but his MLB cameo could still be fun. In a less-loaded organization, fans would've been clamoring for his arrival long ago.

— Reds left-handed pitching prospect Andrew Abbott was rewarded with a richly deserved promotion to Triple-A after he opened his season with an absurd 36 Ks over 15.2 innings at Double-A Chattanooga — yup, those are actual numbers. Abbott has allowed only three walks, six hits and two runs in his three starts. He's not a pure triple-digit flamethrower, but he has a lively enough mid-90s fastball and a vicious curve. File away the name for later use.

— Rays prospect Kyle Manzardo hit a 455-foot moonshot over the weekend against Dylan Bundy during a 3-for-4, two-homer performance for Durham:

Last year, Manzardo hit 22 bombs with a .327 average in 93 games across two levels. He seems plenty comfortable at Triple-A so far this season, hitting .283/.371/.600 with five homers and nine XBHs.

— If we can just get David Hamilton to the big leagues, it would address a variety of fantasy problems for me personally. The 25-year-old shortstop has been binging at Triple-A Worcester, slashing .338/.397/.600 with four homers and 11 steals, which leads the International League. He swiped 70 bags at Portland last season, so the speed is very real.

Tanner Bibee has been dealing at Triple-A Columbus, striking out 19 batters in 15.1 innings while allowing three runs in three starts. There's at least a chance that we'll see Bibee take the mound for the Guardians on Wednesday against Colorado, which would be an actionable fantasy event. He has four quality pitches and can reach the upper-90s as needed. Last year, he struck out 83 batters in 73.2 innings at Double-A while delivering a 0.88 WHIP. He's probably ready for a new challenge.

Matthew Liberatore has punched out 36 hitters in his 27.2 innings for Triple-A Memphis, winning three of his five starts while maintaining an ERA of 2.60. He's coming off a solid spring, and it seems he has made meaningful velocity gains. He's likely the next man up if/when an injury hits the Cardinals' rotation.