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Top 30 Impact Prospects for 2019 Redraft Leagues (Week 5)

Well, this list has changed quite a bit since the start of the year, and the pace of promotions to the Majors has picked up in recent weeks. The consistent No. 1 player in the rankings, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., has now ascended to The Show. And over the past week, three other players have joined him including shortstop Carter Kieboom, as well as pitchers Griffin Canning and Justus Sheffield. And then news broke that Nathaniel Lowe had been promoted to The Show about an hour after this article was originally submitted for the week.

The new No. 1 player on the list is Cincinnati’s Nick Senzel, who is back from injury and now has five games under his belt at the Triple-A level. The biggest mover up the list is Milwaukee’s Keston Hiura, who finally has his BB-K rate under control and is continuing to rake. The biggest drops on the list belong to Atlanta’s Kyle Wright (performance, depth), San Diego’s Logan Allen (performance), Detroit’s Daz Cameron (performance), and Toronto’s Bo Bichette (injury). Baltimore’s Austin Hays, still on the disabled list, dropped entirely out of the rankings.

Organizations with new representatives on the list include Detroit, Oakland, San Diego, and Cleveland. Curious who those players are? Have a gander below.

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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (The Top 10)

Nick Senzel, 2B/OF, Reds (AAA) (ETA: May)
Senzel is back from injury and suddenly finds himself as the No. 1 player on this list. Had he been healthy to start the year, the versatile fielder player would likely already be in The Show. He was a little off in his first game and struck out three times but has since produced a 2-4 BB-K and has had a hit in each of his first five games. Senzel has also spent all five games in center field.

Jonathan Loaisiga RHP, Yankees (AAA) (ETA: May)
Keeping up with Loaisiga’s travels keeps me busy as April is just ending and he’s already been recalled by the Yankees twice and assigned back to Triple-A three times. Through all that movement, the young hurler has shown good poise and maturity by producing at both the Triple-A and Major League levels. The life of a No. 5/6 starter is never easy and with C.C. Sabathia back and Domingo German throwing well, the next opportunity may require a DL stint from a member of the existing staff.

Cal Quantrill, RHP, Padres (AAA) (ETA: June)
Quantrill struggled with his control in his last start and issued three free passes in 4.2 innings. Still, he appears set as the Padres’ sixth starter and is in line for the next opportunity with Eric Lauer currently looking like the weakest link in the rotation.

Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros (AAA) (ETA: July)
Whitley recently came out of the bullpen for an appearance after making the request in an effort to get prepared for either role at the MLB level. He struck out five batters over three innings but also allowed four runs on four hits and a walk. His ERA sits at 7.71 so he clearly has yet to hit his stride this season.

Yordan Alvarez, 1B/OF, Astros (AAA) (ETA: May)
Designated hitter Tyler White has heated up a little bit but his OPS is still just sitting at just .717 with little-to-no power. Alvarez, meanwhile, continues to slug at Triple-A with 11 homers and 11 hits in his last six games, including a 4-for-5 day on Saturday. The OPS sits at 1.310 as April comes to a close.

Luis Urias, 2B, Padres (AAA) (ETA: July)
Urias may have put too much pressure on himself with the presence of fellow stud prospect Fernando Tatis Jr.’s meteoric rise and immediate success. The diminutive second baseman needs to play a different style of game by making lots of contact and getting on base any way he can. Power will likely never be a big part of his game so the strikeouts need to be kept to a minimum. With that said, he now has a ridiculous seven home runs in 10 Triple-A games after going deep five times over the weekend.

Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers (AAA) (ETA: June)
Hiura continues to show a much improved plate approach and his strong offensive numbers are becoming more reliable. He still sports a 4-27 BB-K but he’s struck out just three times in the last eight games. Perhaps just as importantly, he’s walked three times in the last four games. With Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw both struggling to hit, the Brewers may need to shake things up before they slide too far down the standings. Giving Hiura time at second while moving Moustakas to third and Travis Shaw to first for some games could get things moving in the right direction.

Zac Gallen, RHP, Marlins (AAA) (ETA: May)
Gallen clearly doesn’t want to be in the minors any longer. He went eight innings on Sunday and allowed just two runs on two hits and one walk. He struck out seven. The right-hander sports a 0.81 ERA through five starts, continues to induce a solid number of ground ball outs and is missing bats more consistently than ever with 38 strikeouts.

Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies (AAA) (ETA: July)
Speaking of players that are tired of playing in the minors, Rodgers is on a crazy streak right now with a run of five straight games with multiple hits in each. In the past five games, he is 12-for-22 with two home runs and just three strikeouts. He has an impressive 1.003 OPS through 22 games. Ryan McMahon should probably start getting nervous because Rodgers could be the spark that the club needs.

Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros (AAA) (ETA: July)
Tucker is still struggling to keep the strikeouts down after whiffing five times in the last six games but he’s now having some balls fall in, too, with six hits in the same time frame. Unfortunately, it could be some time before Tucker gets a fair shot in Houston given the unrelenting offensive juggernaut in The Show, and Yordan Alvarez currently ahead of him on the depth chart.


Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (11-20)

Jon Duplantier, RHP, Diamondbacks (AAA) (ETA: May)
Duplantier has now made three starts at the Triple-A level but the organization is wisely keeping the innings totals down. He hasn’t fully ramped up yet after spending time in the big league bullpen but also threw just 74 innings (plus another 21.2 in the Arizona Fall League) last year due to injury. His control has not been at its best with seven walks in 8.2 innings.

Cavan Biggio, 2B, Blue Jays (AAA) (ETA: June)
If there is one thing the new Blue Jays manager loves, it’s versatility in his players. Biggio can offer just that as the infielder has played second base, third base and first base in Triple-A. His bat has cooled a little bit lately but no one could have kept up that blistering pace. He’s 0-for-11 in his last three games and might be pressing now with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s recent promotion. His OPS is still 1.000 even with the recent slump.

Sean Murphy, C, Athletics (AAA) (ETA: June)
Murphy continues to perform with the bat and recently had a seven-game stretch that saw him collect 12 hits and raise his average from .367 to .397. The big league catching tandem is starting to show some signs of cracking and the starting staff is strugglingly so Murphy may soon earn his shot.

Kyle Wright, RHP, Braves (AAA)( (ETA: July)
Wright’s slide down the list has as much to do with the Braves’ pitching depth as it does with his own personal performance. Mike Soroka, hopefully fully recovered from shoulder woes, is looking every bit the stud we expected. But he was also terrible on Sunday when he allowed eight earned runs in 1.2 innings.

Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates (AAA) (ETA: June)
Keller continues to operate as one of the best pitchers in the minors that most people have never heard of yet. He allowed four runs in five innings over the weekend but also issued just one walk and struck out 10 batters. His control is excellent but the command continues to waver.

Daz Cameron, OF, Tigers (AAA) (ETA: July)
Cameron is sliding down the list after falling into some bad habits. After doing a much better job of controlling the strike zone, he struck out 11 times in a six-game stretch that some him collect just two hits and no walks. It’s a shame that he’s not focused on seizing the opportunity with the big league outfielders struggling badly and very little depth in the upper minors.

Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox (AAA) (ETA: June)
Well, the season started out well for Cease with 10 scoreless innings, but he’s been lit up in his last two starts. Over 8.1 innings, the right-hander has allowed seven earned runs on 11 hits and five walks. On the plus side, he’s inducing ground balls over fastballs at a ratio nearing 2-to-1.

Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers (AA) (ETA: July)
Mize, the first overall selection in the 2018 draft, recently earned a bump from High-A ball to Double-A. He was downright overpowering against A-ball hitters and gave up just seven hits and one walk in 26 innings. His ERA was an impressive 0.35 in his four starts.

Harold Ramirez, OF, Marlins (AAA) (ETA: June)
As a minor league free agent Ramirez chose the Marlins in the off-season because they promised him a fair shot at reaching the majors after being struck in Double-A for three years. Well, he’s already been passed over a few times now in the early going despite a batting average of more than .300 and solid gap pop. He’s picked things up recently and has 11 hits in his last six games, pushing the OPS to .904.

Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays (AAA) (ETA: August)
The news surrounding Bichette’s injury — a broken hand — has finally been provided and he faces a 4-6 timeline to return. That’s actually a bit of good news. If the injury had required surgery, then he would have been out closer to the eight-week mark. As a result, Bichette still has a good chance to get back, find his timing, and join his good friend Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in Toronto in August.


Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (21-30)

Will Smith, C, Dodgers (AAA) (ETA: July)
Smith is hitting almost everything in the air, which is probably good because catchers rarely have the necessary foot speed to beat out infield base hits. Now, Smith is probably more athletic than most catchers so a ground-ball isn’t a death sentence for him but he also has good power potential. His offense looks very close to MLB ready so now he can focus on polishing the defensive side of his game while awaiting an opportunity to move up.

Logan Allen, LHP, Padres (AAA) (ETA: July)
Allen looked like he was turning things around with solid results in both his third and fourth starts of the year. But then he laid a turd is his April 25 start and lasted just 1.2 innings while giving up five hits, including three home runs. Allen actually threw 65% of his pitches for strikes, which shows the importance of command (as opposed to control) at the upper levels of pro ball.

Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Blue Jays (AAA) (ETA: June)
Reid-Foley continues to hang onto this list by a thread. He has not performed well at all in Triple-A but the lack of starting pitching depth in the upper levels of the Jays system — and injury issues on the big league staff — make it likely that the young hurler will throw a bunch of innings in the Majors this year. He has the stuff to succeed but currently lacks the command (and possibly mental fortitude) to realize his full potential.

A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics (INJ) (ETA: July)
Puk is throwing to live hitters in his bid to return from Tommy John surgery. He’ll likely soon move on to pitching in extended spring training games and then, eventually, competitive action likely in Double-A or Triple-A.

Luis Robert, OF, White Sox (AA) (ETA: August)
Robert has hit a bit of a wall recently and went 3-for-14 in his last five games, including a Golden Sombrero (four strikeouts) in the April 26 game against the Orioles’ top pitching prospect D.L. Hall, and then again on the 27th. Opposing pitchers may be figuring Robert out and realizing that they don’t necessarily have to throw strikes to get the aggressive hitter out.

Willi Castro, SS, Tigers (AAA) (ETA: July)
Castro earned a spot on the list last week and then went on a tear with nine hits in four games, upping his average to .352. On the downside, his plate approach has taken a hit with a 6-14 BB-K over his past 10 games.

Oscar Mercado, OF, Indians (AAA) (ETA: June)
Mercado recently hit more than .400 over a 10-game stretch to up his triple-slash line to .342/.435/.575 through 18 games. He also cut his strikeout rate significantly and had a 4-7 BB-K over that same stretch. But then an 0-for-9 over the weekend dragged his numbers back down a bit. Given his speed and defensive skills were his two biggest assets, the increased offensive performance is a welcomed sight.

Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves (AAA) (ETA: July)
Toussaint is another struggling player who’s trying to stay relevant and on this list. Both his command and his control has been off and, like Kyle Wright, is suffering from increased depth ahead of him. The right-hander has the stuff to dominate but it’s becoming more and more likely that he may need to shift to the bullpen if he’s going to be an impact arm in Atlanta.

Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Athletics (INJ) (ETA: July)
Luzardo is throwing in Arizona but has yet to start actually pitching. If all goes well, he should see some game action in the latter half of May. And the A’s starting pitching staff could really use an infusion of talent.

Josh Naylor, 1B/OF, Padres (AAA) (ETA: July)
Nathaniel Lowe’s promotion to the Majors on Monday necessitated a last-minute addition to the Top 30. As a result, Naylor — who’s been smoking the ball lately — gets the call. He’s had two or more hits in six of the last seven games, which resulted in a 13-for-29 stretch. And his BB-K during that timeframe was 9-5. Naylor is still hitting too many balls on the ground, which cuts off some of his raw power potential, but he has seven homers in 23 games. My gut feel is that he’ll be flipped this summer for some additional pitching depth as he’s pretty much blocked in San Diego.

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