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Top 30 Impact Prospects for Redraft Leagues (Week 12)


Believe it or not, the midpoint of the minor league baseball season is here. We’re starting to see short-season leagues get underway, 2019 amateur draft picks are signing their first pro contracts, minor league all-star breaks are happening, and prospect promotions are also picking up steam.

Major league teams are also continuing to dip into the minor leagues for reinforcements and pitchers Mitch Keller (Pittsburgh) and Logan Allen (San Diego) are the most recent beneficiaries of an opportunity. Allen’s promotion is the most surprising given his recent struggles in Triple (seven runs and 14 hits in his last 11.1 innings) but all of San Diego’s starting pitchers are struggling at that level.

On the injury side of thing, Detroit’s Casey Mize has been removed from the list. Had he stayed healthy for the whole year there was a decent chance that he could have tasted big league action in August or September. The Mets, Mariners, and Angels have new players on this week’s list.

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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (1-10)

1. Zac Gallen, RHP, Marlins (AAA) (ETA: June)

Gallen has been at or near the top of this list for a while but he no longer belongs. The club had continually passed over the more-than-MLB-ready Gallen for lesser arms such as Elieser Hernandez and Jordan Yamamoto. But now the team is set to call him up to start on Thursday. Gallen gave up three earned runs in 5.1 innings during his most recent start but he posted an excellent K-BB of 8-1. His season K-BB is up to 112-17 through 91.1 innings. He leads the Pacific Coast League in ERA, innings, K/9, BB/9, K-BB%, opponents batting average, and is third in HR/9 (minimum 60 IP). After Gallen’s 1.77 ERA, the next closest pitcher is at 2.86 (32-year-old veteran hurler Hector Noesi). He is a must-add wherever pitching help is needed.

2. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros (AAA) (ETA: July)

Yordan Alvarez is punishing big league pitching (assuming you can qualify Toronto’s pitching as MLB quality) and Tucker is on another tear at Triple-A. The Astros just continue to find ways to churn out impact players and this young outfielder would have likely opened up the year in the Majors on 29 other MLB teams. He’s hitting .385 with five home runs and three stolen bases over his past 10 games. Of his 70 hits this year, 42 have gone for extra bases. He’s tied (with Alvarez) for first in the Pacific Coast League with 23 home runs and tied for fourth in steals with 15. Tucker’s power-speed combo is electric and the only real hole in his game is the strikeout rate, which sits at 22%.

3. Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers (AAA) (ETA: July)

Good teams have depth and that’s where Hiura finds himself right now: As a depth piece at Triple-A. He’s not letting the recent demotion slow him down, though, and is hitting .326 over his past 10 games. He’s also hit five home runs over that stretch. The BB-K has room for improvement (18048 in AAA, 3-23 in the MLB) to ensure sustained offensive success so it gives him something to work on until he receives the next call to The Show.

4. Luis Urias, 2B, Padres (AAA) (ETA: July)

Veteran Ian Kinsler is heating up and hitting .351 in June, which could be bad news for those waiting for Urias to hit the Majors. However, rumor has it that San Diego — sitting in fourth place in the NL West — is willing to start dealing players and Kinsler could help a contender off the bench and with his veteran leadership. So that likely puts Urias’ ETA to return to the Majors in July. The young second baseman is in a cold stretch and is hitting just .214 with 12 strikeouts over his past 10 games but still has an OPS of 1.085 for the year.

5. Brendan McKay, LHP/1B (AAA) (ETA: July)

So, what is the best way for a minor league pitcher to show he’s almost MLB ready? Well, striking out rehabbing Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton (twice) is a solid choice. McKay did that and more on June 15 against a very good Yankees Triple-A team (even before adding those veterans). He held the club to just one hit and one walk over five innings. And he struck out seven batters. If the Rays can successfully manage his innings, he could be a valuable weapon in the playoffs.

6. Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays (AAA) (ETA: July)

Bichette is back and healthy at Triple-A. He’s been managing quite a few hits in his return but he’s also been very aggressive and has yet to take a walk. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him press a bit in an effort to make up for lost time and join his friends Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio in Toronto. But once he settles in, there is a good chance that he’ll take off.

7. Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies (AAA) (ETA: July)

Rodgers, like Garrett Hampson before him, wasn’t given as much consistent playing time as you would like to see and he too finds himself back in Triple-A. But he also didn’t perform when given the opportunity (.577 OPS, four walks in 21 games).

8. Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals (AAA) (ETA: July)

Kieboom continues to plug along while waiting for another opportunity in Washington. The club’s playoff hopes aren’t looking good so the young shortstop could very well earn some solid playing in the second half of the year especially if the club can find deadline takers for veterans Brian Dozier and Howie Kendrick. Kieboom isn’t doing anything spectacular at Triple-A right now but he’s been good for his age and has an impressive BB-K of 10-7 over his past 10 games. He has a .958 OPS on the year, which is within the Top 10 in the Pacific Coast League among true prospects (ie. not including Triple-A veterans).

9. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Athletics (AAA) (ETA: July)

Luzardo’s second outing in his return from a serious shoulder injury went very well. He struck out nine batters without issuing a walk over four innings of one-run work. He’s on his way back to Triple-A.

10. Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, Rays (AAA) (ETA: July)

Lowe is finally in a groove over his past 10 games. The hulking first baseman is hitting .300 over that stretch with two home runs and a BB-K of 10-10. His OPS is at 1.079 in June. Part of his success is coming from hitting well against both right-handed and left-handed pitching. Like Keston Hiura and the Brewers, Lowe is another example of good teams that have good depth.

 

Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (11-20)

11. Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians (AAA) (ETA: August)

It looked like the Indians might finally be tiring of Jake Bauers’ consistently-under-performing ways and then he went out and hit for the cycle, no doubt buying himself some additional rope. And Bradley just keeps mashing in Triple-A — but also swinging and missing a lot. He has four home runs over his past 10 games but his BB-K is also at an alarming 2-14. He now has 86 strikeouts in just 62 games. But 37 of Bradley’s 67 hits have also gone for extra bases, including 20 clearing the fences.

12. Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox (AAA) (ETA: July)

Just when it looked like Cease was getting close to the Majors, he’s hit a rough stretch at Triple-A. The young right-hander has a K-BB of just 1-6 over his past two outings spanning 5.2 innings. His sudden inability to consistently find the strike zone and miss bats is worrisome. He hasn’t been overworked and has thrown just 57.2 innings over 12 starts (averaging less than five innings per start). On the plus side, he’s still inducing ground balls at an above-average rate and has allowed just four home runs in a year where Triple-A homers are way up.

13. Will Smith, C, Dodgers (AAA) (ETA: August)

Smith handled his brief MLB trial extremely well with a .967 OPS in six games, including two home runs. But the playoff-hungry Dodgers will continue to go with the more proven, veteran backstops barring another injury. The young catcher isn’t letting his return to Triple-A slow him down and he’s hitting .300 with five home runs and a BB-K of 5-5 in the last nine games.

14. Corbin Martin, RHP, Astros (AAA) (ETA: August)

Back in Triple-A after a modest five-game showing in the Majors, Martin’s second Triple-A start in June was better than his first with just two runs allowed in five innings with eight strikeouts. But his command hasn’t been strong and he’s given up 13 hits and five walks over those two recent appearances. His next shot at the Majors could hinge on what happens at the trade deadline.

15. Willi Castro, SS, Tigers (AAA) (ETA: July)

The Tigers continue to receive underwhelming results from their second basemen (and third base) but Castro remains at Triple-A. Interestingly, the Tigers haven’t given the young shortstop much time at all at those other positions despite his modest results (and mixed future projections) at shortstop. His bat has cooled off a bit lately, but he’s still hitting .316 overall and is showing more patience at the plate (six walks in his last 10 games).   

16.  A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics (A+) (ETA: July)

Puk is being moved along a little more cautiously then the A’s are moving Jesus Luzardo. The tall southpaw allowed one run over two innings while allowing one hit and one walk. He struck out three batters. He has an impressive seven strikeouts in four innings but has allowed two home runs in A-ball, which suggests his command still has a ways to go.

17. Kyle Wright, RHP, Braves (AAA) (ETA: July)

Well, Wright really needed that. He had his best start (by far) of the year on June 14. He threw 7.2 shutout innings and allowed just two hits and two walks. He struck out 10 batters. After his struggles, while being yo-yoed between Triple-A and the Majors, the Braves will likely give him a solid stretch of starts in the minors before he receives another shot at The Show.

18. Justin Dunn, RHP, Mariners (AA) (ETA: August)

The Mariners jettisoned another veteran recently in Edwin Encarnacion so the sell-off should continue well into July for trader (GM) Jerry DiPoto, which could leak into the starting rotation and open up opportunities for the likes of Dunn. The right-hander hasn’t been overly sharp over his last two starts (seven earned runs) but he’s battled well and still has 11 strikeouts over his past 10.2 innings. Overall, he has a 72-18 K-BB in 59 innings.

19. Isan Diaz, IF, Marlins (AAA) (ETA: July)

Diaz continues to hit well and is batting .351 over his past 10 games. He also went deep two times during that stretch and now has 14 home runs on the season. Diaz is still hitting a lot of balls on the ground so there is room to get even more balls into the air. He now has a solid .376 on-base average on the year. The Marlins’ infielders are providing very little offense so it shouldn’t be too long before Diaz earns an opportunity.

20. Jo Adell, OF, Angels (AA) (ETA: August)

Injuries kept Adell off the field for much of the year but he’s making up for lost time at Double-A. Through his first 12 games, the athletic outfielder had 15 hits with more than half of those going for extra bases (including an eye-popping seven doubles). He’s also showing good speed and is a perfect 4-for-4. His BB-K of 4-6 is also impressive given the long layoff.

 

Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (21-30)

21. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox (AA) (ETA: August) 

Robert continues to be one of the most fascinating prospects to watch in the minors because of his wild hot and cold swings. After a stretch of going 6-for-11 over three games, he’s now gone 0-for-19 over four games. Even with that hot spell, he’s hitting .158 with a BB-K of 2-13 over the last 10 games. Overall, though, he’s hitting .353 with a 1.033 over 60 games split between A-ball and Double-A.

22. Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers (AA) (ETA: August)

Manning has been a little less consistent lately and has allowed three runs in 5.1 innings in two of his last three games. And he struck out just three batters in his most recent outing. Still, he’s inducing ground balls at a high rate and has a K-BB of 91-22 in 76.2 innings. With Casey Mize now on the sidelines with a shoulder issue, Manning is the best bet to give Tigers’ fans a little excitement in the second half of the year.

23. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Blue Jays (AAA) (ETA: July)

With veteran Edwin Jackson absolutely getting rocked in Toronto, the Jays will have to make a change soon. Reid-Foley will be in competition with other Triple-A starters Jacoby Waguespack and David Paulino but neither of those arms has been particularly impressive and both have struggled with injury issues. Reid-Foley, meanwhile, has been very inconsistent with poor control but he’s at least avoided the IL to date. And the Jays are at that point in their rebuilding season where a healthy, warm body that can allow fewer than five runs in five innings is a bonus.

24. Jorge Mateo, SS, Athletics (AAA) (ETA: August)

Mateo is almost at 100 hits through 64 games thanks to his .325 batting average but there are still significant holes in his game, which are holding him back. He has well-above-average speed but still has yet to figure out when the attempt a stolen base (15-for-22) and hasn’t realized that walks are a great way to get on base. His BB-K of 12-70 is ugly. With shortstop Marcus Semien being the A’s most consistent hitter and second baseman Jurickson Profar now heating up, Mateo’s best hope for impacting the MLB roster could be a move back to the outfield or a utility role.

25. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, Orioles (AAA) (ETA: August)

Mountcastle has significantly cooled off since his hot stretch at the beginning of June. He’s hitting .220 with a BB-K of 2-13 over his past 10 appearances. And he’s gone deep just once in that stretch. Mountcastle is still hitting .310 on the year but his BB-K is an ugly 9-60 in 58 games. Rio Ruiz has been very inconsistent at the MLB level so there’s an opportunity here if the Triple-A third baseman can make some improvements and find some consistency of his own.

26. Anthony Kay, LHP, Mets (AAA) (ETA: August)

Kay finally sneaks onto the list after a recent promotion from Double-A to Triple-A. He had a solid performance in Double-A with 70 strikeouts and just 38 hits allowed in 66.1 innings. He had a rough first game in Triple-A when he allowed five earned runs on six hits in four innings. However, his K-BB of 6.1 was encouraging. Kay isn’t overpowering but he could eventually make a solid backend rotation piece for the Mets.

27. Nick Gordon, SS, Twins (AAA) (ETA: August)

This is the third example of a good team benefiting from strong depth. The Twins have received good performances from middle infielders Jorge Polanco and Jonathan Schoop. Triple-A infielder Luis Arraez is hitting .342 and showed well in a 10-MLB-game sampling but Gordon has the higher ceiling and is now warming up after missing the first month of the season due to injury. After posting a BB-K of 3-15 in May, he’s improved to 4-9 in June. He has athleticism, versatility, and more pop than Arraez. Gordon just needs to hit more balls in the air and on the line.

28. Adbert Alzolay, RHP, Cubs (AAA) (ETA: August)

Alzolay has now struck out at least eight batters in each of his last four starts. And he’s allowed just five hits and three walks during that stretch which helps to explain why the Cubs have been considering promoting him to the Majors. His K-BB of 46-6 in 32 innings is impressive.

29. Jake Fraley, OF, Mariners (AA) (ETA: August)

As mentioned, the Mariners are in full purge mode and a couple more trades could open up playing time for the hot-hitting Fraley. And with the Triple-A cupboard bare of impact outfielders, it wouldn’t be a stretch for the club to reach down to Double-A for the speedy prospect. Fraley’s actually hitting just .156 over his last 10 games but he still has a .922 OPS for the year with 11 homers and 16 steals in 21 tries.

30. Kean Wong, 2B/OF, Rays (AAA) (ETA: August)

Wong continues to fly under the radar despite a .352 batting average in 55 Triple-A games, which is good for third in the International League. Tampa Bay has a ton of depth up the middle and even left Wong unprotected in last winter’s Rule 5 draft but he’s still just 24 and has pedigree as the brother of Kolten Wong. There are a number of teams out there that could use an offensive-minded player like this so he could be used at the trade deadline to help bring in some veteran roster reinforcements for the playoffs.

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