Solak, 24, has slugged 17 homers for Triple-A Durham so far this season, though his .266/.353/.485 line checks in just 11 percent above the league average in the rocket-powered International League. The utility man sits at #93 on FanGraphs’ latest update of the game’s top prospects, with the site especially lauding his makeup, versatility, and power/speed combo. An addition to the 40-man roster would have been necessary for the former Yankee farmhand this offseason, and with the club already possessing of Joey Wendle, rookie-of-the-year candidate Brandon Lowe, Christian Arroyo, Willy Adames, Daniel Robertson, Matt Duffy, Mike Brosseau, Yandy Diaz, and up-and-comer Vidal Brujan in roles that would mirror Solak’s eventual place on the roster, a move did seem prudent.
Fairbanks, 25, brought his super-charged fastball to Arlington for the first time this season. The 6’6 righty struggled big-time with command in his short Ranger stint, walking seven in just 8 2/3 IP, to go with four homers allowed, but did flash world-beating stuff over that span (15 K, 97.2 MPH average fastball velocity). The two-time Tommy John survivor has logged just 43 minor-league innings since a transition to the bullpen in 2017, a sample which hasn’t held back plaudits from evaluators around the game. FanGraphs describes the flame-thrower as an “impact relief piece,” grading his fastball/slider combo as one of the best for burgeoning relief prospects across the minors.
Fairbanks’ll head to Triple-A Durham, per Topkin, where he’ll bolster an already-staunch register of high-leverage pieces in the Tampa ’pen. Even without effective seasons from lynchpins Diego Castillo and Jose Alvarado, the Tampa ’pen reigns FIP-supreme in MLB this season, with an AL-best 45.5% grounder rate.
The assignment for Solak is as-yet unclear, but he’d seem to represent a perfect right-side complement to Nomar Mazara, Shin-Soo Choo, or Asdrubal Cabrera, all of whom have slumped badly against southpaws this season. Rougned Odor, he of the dreadful 63 wRC+, has actually been far better against same-side hurlers this season, so perhaps the club pans to slot in Solak full-time at the keystone in his place.