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Top 30 Impact Prospects for Redraft Leagues (Week 13)


July is almost here and the Wild Card races are looking muddled in both the American and especially the National League, where almost every club has a reasonable shot at the playoffs. The impending (and now single) trade deadline could make things interesting especially with only six or seven teams looking like guaranteed sellers - which could quickly turn this into a seller’s market. Of course, a number of teams could also choose to stand pat and dip down into their minor league systems for reinforcements.

Three players earned MLB promotions last week and immediately made their presences known. Zac Gallen finally earned his much-deserved promotion with the Marlins and had an excellent start. He allowed just one earned run in five innings and struck out six batters. Cubs pitcher Adbert Alzolay also had a solid debut with four innings of one-run relief. He struck out five batters but issued two free passes. Infielder Brendan Rodgers is back with the Rockies after an injury to shortstop Trevor Story. Hopefully, the Rockies will eventually learn how to handle young players after falling on their faces while managing Garrett Hampson’s and Rodgers’ first tastes of The Show.

The Indians announced on Sunday that they were recalling slugging first baseman Bobby Bradley just as I was beginning work on this week’s list. Dodgers catcher Will Smith was also recalled to the Majors but has been coming off the bench in recent days for the big league club. A tired bullpen forced Toronto to promote Sean Reid-Foley to the Majors despite modest-at-best numbers. Kyle Wright is also back up in Atlanta to provide insurance but it remains to be seen how long his stay will last. It might be over by the time I’m done writing this… Nope, not yet… sentence.

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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (1-10)

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

With Zac Gallen now in the Majors, Tucker takes over the top spot on the list. But will he still be in the Houston organization when August rolls around? The trade deadline is only about a month away and the Astros have been struggling recently. The club needs controllable pitching and has an abundance of offensive prospects so Tucker could be the odd man out - although it would likely take a really good player (or package of players) to get him. So San Francisco is not getting him for Madison Bumgarner and Toronto isn’t getting him for Marcus Stroman alone. Tucker is continuing to swing the bat really well. He’s hitting .400 over his past 10 games. He’s also hitting for power and running; overall he has 23 home runs and 17 steals.

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

Hiura continues to hit well in Triple-A since returning from his brief stay in the Majors. He’s batting .293 with three home runs over the past 10 games. He also has six walks but those come with 13 strikeouts; his strikeout rate is now 28% at the Triple-A level and it was 33% in the Majors so it’s something to keep an eye on.

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

Urias still has a shiny triple-slash line on the season in Triple-A but June is the first month that he hasn’t produced an OPS over 1.000 at .868. After a stellar BB-K of 19-20 in May, it’s dropped to 7-20 in June. Nonetheless, he appears to be MLB ready and the Padres could probably use his bat in the lineup before the club sinks too far out of the playoff race.

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

McKay continues to dominate at Triple-A and hasn’t allowed an earned run over his past two starts. In his five Triple-A appearances, he’s allowed just four runs. His ERA for the year is now at 1.22 and his K-BB is 88-15. After throwing 78.1 innings last year, you have to figure McKay’s cap is around 120-130 so he’s about halfway there.

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

Bichette is definitely heating up now that he’s found his footing after returning from the hand injury that cost him about seven weeks. He’s hitting .357 over his past 10 games and is 8-for-13 over the past three games. He’s also showing more patience over the past week and also has three stolen bases. Bichette knows he’s close and could finally reach The Show once Toronto starts dabbling in the trade deadline activity and perhaps finds a new home for veteran shortstop Freddy Galvis, who’s been one of Toronto’s better players.

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

Luzardo had two solid rehab appearances in A-ball but found the competition in Triple-A a little more challenging. He allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in just 3.1 innings. On the plus side, he struck out five batters and induced a lot of ground-ball outs. He’ll likely need a few more starts before Oakland is ready to trust him at the MLB level.

7. Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates (AAA) (ETA: July)

Keller is back at Triple-A after having real issues finding a groove in the Majors. His MiLB ERA of 2.98 has not translated to success at the MLB level where it’s at 10.50 through three starts. He’s really struggled with his fastball command and has allowed 21 hits and six walks in 12 innings. If we’re looking for encouraging signs from his MLB appearances, it’s the 15 strikeouts and just one homer allowed.

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

Kieboom is on fire again. He has hits in nine of his last 10 games, including 13 hits over his last five games. Just as impressive, his BB-K over that 10-game stretch is 9-3 with just one strikeout over his past five games. Washington is in a pretty heated race for a Wild Card spot and could use Kieboom’s bat in the lineup. The club’s veterans are mostly hitting well but surely there is a way to rotate him into the mix?

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

Lowe has really warmed up with the weather in June and is hitting .303 over his past 10 games. During that stretch, he also has a promising BB-K of 10-10. He’s still not hitting home runs with any consistency, though, and has just seven in 60 Triple-A games.

10. Jo Adell, OF, Angels (AA) (ETA: July)

The long layoff while recuperating from an injury certainly did not hurt Adell. He’s now hitting .403 in 17 Double-A games. He’s also hitting for power, running, and showing a solid eye at the plate. Sure, it’s a small sample size but the young outfielder certainly appears ready for the Triple-A challenge.

 

Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (11-20)

11. Jordan Romano, RHP, Blue Jays (AAA) (ETA: July)

I don’t normally include relievers on the list because their contributions are often modest at best but Romano is an exception. He’s only back in the minors right now because the club’s bullpen was overworked and he was one of few pitchers that had an available minor league option. Closer Ken Giles could be on the move at the trade deadline and Romano is the best in-house option to replace him in high-leverage situations after seeing a velocity spike with the permanent move from starter to reliever.

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

Martin has now made three Triple-A starts since returning from a shot at the Majors but he’s been inconsistent. In 12 combined innings over those three appearances, he’s given up 19 hits and nine earned runs. The strikeouts are still there with 16 but he needs to limit the baserunners if he’s going to get another shot with the now-struggling Astros.

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

Diaz’s OPS is up to .919 after a solid 10-game stretch that saw him hit .314 with a BB-K of 6-9. He also hit a couple of home runs recently. The Marlins will be hard pressed to find a trade partner for veteran second baseman Starlin Castro (.589 OPS) but Diaz deserves an opportunity.

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

Robert continues to have a fascinating season with 15 home runs, 22 stolen bases and a .356 batting average. But he also has a BB-K of 14-65 in 65 games and has extremely wild hot-and-cold stretches. Chicago finds itself surprisingly in the hunt for a playoff spot and the club could be tempted to see if Robert can be a difference-maker.

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

June has not been kind to Castro, who is hitting just .244 in the month and has seen his overall batting average dip down to a season-low of .308. However, even though he’s not hitting for average right now, he’s still doing little things to help his team win, including four steals and seven walks in the past 10 games.

16. Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox (AAA) (ETA: August)

Cease continues to be his own worst enemy and is no longer looking like a shoo-in for a promotion in June or July. He’s allowed 13 earned runs over his past three starts which has caused his ERA to balloon to 4.69. He’s not allowing home runs - with just four allowed in 63.1 innings - but his fastball command has deserted him and he’s given up 70 hits. On the plus side, after striking out just one batter over two starts on June 9 and 14, he whiffed seven batters in his most recent outing.

17. A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics (A+) (ETA: August)

Oakland is continuing to take it slowly with Puk, who has now made three two-inning appearances in his return from Tommy John surgery. He struggled with his command in his last appearance and allowed two earned runs on three hits and two walks.

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

I’m surprised Dunn is still in Double-A but he did hit a rough patch in early-to-mid June. His last start was much better and he struck out nine batters in six innings. He remains an interesting option for the Mariners in the second half of the year.

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

Manning appears to be in a bit of a mid-season funk. He hasn’t been terrible but he also has been as dominant as he was in the early going. He’s allowed three earned runs in three of his last four starts. The young hurler has been struggling with his control and has walked 12 batters in his last four appearances - which represents almost half of the free passes given up this season over 14 starts.

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

Mateo continues to be frustrating. He’s hit .300 each month during the 2019 season but his walk totals during that span have gone from seven to five to three. His steals have followed suit from seven to six to three. If he can quit chasing the long ball so much (He has 11 in 72 games) and gets back to doing what makes him special, he can help the A’s in the second half.

 

Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (21-30)

21. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/3B, Orioles (AAA) (ETA: August)

Like Jorge Mateo head of him on this list, Mountcastle needs to try to do a little less (swinging) to do a little more. The Orioles corner infield prospect has a BB-K of 0-11 over the past 10 games and 9-71 overall despite hitting for a .300 average. He’ll find it easier to tap into his raw power potential if he starts getting more selective with the pitches he’s swinging at.

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

It’s been a rough transition from Double-A to Triple-A for Kay, who features an 11.00 ERA through three starts at the higher level. He’s given up 15 hits during that stretch but also features a respectable K-BB of 10-4. The lefty went just four innings in his last start but also allowed just two earned runs so hopefully he’s now headed in the right direction to help the Mets later this year.

23. Deivi Garcia, RHP, Yankees (AA) (ETA: August):

There’s been talk that New York could be in the market for starting pitching but perhaps they’ll save their prospect capital and just dip down into the minors instead. Garcia has been on fire over his past two starts with 24 strikeouts and just three walks in 11 shutout innings. Oh, and he’s allowed just one hit during that stretch, too.

24. Jake Fraley, OF, Mariners (AAA) (ETA: August)

Fraley earned a promotion to Triple-A over the weekend but has struggled to find his footing at the new level so far. He hit a home run in his first game but is now in a modest stretch of 2-for-13. The Mariners’ outfielders (other than Domingo Santana) are hitting pretty poorly so a solid stretch of two or three good weeks at the Triple-A level could earn Fraley a shot at The Show.

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

Gordon hasn’t really done much over the past 10 games to get excited about. He hit just .250 over that stretch with a BB-K of 3-12. As a result, his Triple-A teammate Luis Arraez earned another promotion to the Majors and doesn’t look eager to return to the minors with hits in each of his five appearances for the Twins.

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

Wong just can’t catch a break. He’s one of the top hitters in the International League with a .354 average — and hit .400 over the past 10 games — but it was teammate Michael Brosseau that earned the big league promotion.

27. Bryse Wilson, RHP, Braves (AAA) (ETA: July)

Wilson’s season can be best described as “solid” and he hasn’t really dominated Triple-A but he remains in line for some second-half starts because no one else has really stepped up either. He’s really improved up his strikeout game in June and has whiffed 28 batters (with just four walks) in 21 innings - as well as exactly seven batters in each of his past four starts.

28. Gavin Lux, SS, Dodgers (AA) (ETA: August)

The Dodgers have given rookie catcher Will Smith an opportunity to show his worth at the MLB level this year so why not Lux, too? The middle infielder is hitting well again after a mini-slump and is batting .361 over his past 10 games. His BB-K is also a solid 7-10 during that stretch. He’s even running a little bit with three steals.

29. Brandon Bielak, RHP, Astros (AAA) (ETA: August):

It’s been a rough year for many of the Astros’ more highly-regarded pitching prospects so perhaps Bielak deserves a chance? The righty had a rough introduction to Triple-A with 14 earned runs allowed in his first two appearances but the last two have gone much better. During that stretch, he’s allowed just one earned run and struck out 14 batters in 13 innings. He also has a history of producing good ground-ball rates and keeping the ball in the park.

30. Dustin May, RHP, Dodgers (AA) (ETA: August)

May jumps back on the list after a solid two-start stretch that saw him strike out 19 batters without issuing a walk in 14 innings. May has been durable while throwing lots of strikes and showing the ability to keep the ball in the yard (five home runs in 79.1 innings). He looks ready for the Triple-A challenge and shouldn’t be far off from a taste of big league action.

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