Stop us if you have heard this story before: prospect crushes Triple-A pitching while fans and fantasy players pine for his promotion. Player is promoted, has early success, but then goes into a huge slump. Prospect is demoted, comes back with a new mindset, and eventually reaches the levels of success everyone hoped he would immediately enjoy. Blake Snell did that in 2017 and Adames did that in 2018. He hit .224/.227/.329 with a 34% strikeout rate before he was demoted in July, but returned to hit .305/.383/.435 over the rest of the season with a 27% strikeout rate and an 11% walk rate. The power will come as he continues to physically mature as he is still just 23 years old. He will hit 20 homers in a season before he steals 10 bases, and that could happen in 2019. Adames is not going to be a superstar, but he will be a better-than-average offensive shortstop for the foreseeable future.
When factoring in his Arizona Fall League exploits, Alonso hit 42 home runs in 159 games last year, cementing himself as the top slugger in the minors. The 24-year-old first baseman has no problem squaring up elite velocity -- he took a 104-mph fastball out to center field in the Fall Stars game -- but can still be eaten up by good offspeed pitches. While the other top prospects expected to be called up in mid-to-late April, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez, project to be positive contributors in batting average and power right away, Alonso’s batting average will likely be closer to .230 than .270 in his first big-league season. That said, he has 80-grade power and should have no trouble posting big home run and RBI totals from day one. It is very rare that a R/R first base prospect emerges as a valuable dynasty-league asset, and the fact that Alonso has done so is a testament to his work ethic, which gets rave reviews.
Closers need a couple things: two quality pitches (or one amazing one) and command. Alvarado has two excellent pitches in a fastball that tickles triple digits and a hard, 11-5 breaking ball that batters have a tough time picking up out of his hand. Early in 2018, he lacked the command portion of that equation and had a 14% K-BB rate despite his stuff because he could not hit his spots consistently. That changed midseason and Alvarado had a 28 K-BB% in the second half while holding hitters to a .154 batting average and a .244 slugging percentage. He allowed one home run on the season to the 263 batters he faced, which while fortunate, also speaks to how tough he is for batters to pick up. A few year ago, the club had Felipe Vazquez on the roster and traded him to get Jose Lobaton. They have Vazquez 2.0 here and will not repeat that mistake. As long as the Rays do not try to game the arbitration system, this is their new closer.