Checking In: Top MLB Prospects to Make Fantasy Impacts (Week 7)

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Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of our Checking In: Top MLB Prospects list! Here, I will be discussing some of the hottest prospects in the game, guys performing well over the whole season, and guys heating it up over their past couple games.

First off, I hope everyone had a splendid mother’s day, thanking their mothers for all they do! I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the love and support I have received from my mother, and I had a great day spent with her today. We had a nice lunch, boat ride and dinner with the whole family.

While my mother has helped me get to the point of writing about baseball players, other mothers have helped get their sons to the point where they may be playing in the big leagues. And if the players in this article keep playing the way they have thus far, their mothers could get a chance to see them reach the majors at some point this season. So without further ado, here are some hot prospects this season and over the past couple weeks!

Editor's note: Get a free one-week MLB Premium Pass including our famous Lineup Optimizer/Generator, Premium Matchup Ratings, DFS Lineups, Cheat Sheets, and 10 other tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Hot Prospects this Season

Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, CWS, AAA)

Stats: 148 PA, .338/.412/.523, 6 HR, 10 SB, 11.5% BB rate, 26.4% K rate

The key piece of the Chicago White Sox return in the Chris Sale deal over the offseason, Moncada has continued to demonstrate why so many view him as the top prospect in all of baseball. After combining for 15 home runs and 45 stolen bases in 106 games between High- and Double-A last season, the 21-year-old infielder has made Triple-A look quite easy so far while continuing to demonstrate one of the most tantalizing power/speed combinations in baseball.

Scouts see him as Robinson Cano but with more speed. That is extremely high praise, and makes him an extremely enticing fantasy asset. Adding to the hype surrounding Moncada is the fact that he is likely to be promoted in late June after his Super Two deadline passes, and he should find himself in a starting role from that point until the end of the season. He is by far the top dynasty prospect available, as well as the top 2017 redraft prospect available. If he is available in your league, stash him now and reap the rewards in the not-so-distant future.

Jacob Faria (SP, TB, AAA)

Stats: 36.1 IP, 3.47 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 37.9% K rate, 9.8% BB rate, 18.5% HR/FB, .217 AVG

Though not the top Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect, Faria has still enjoyed an outstanding season to this point. He is striking batters out at a ridiculous rate to this point, and leads all minor-league pitchers in strikeouts with 58 already this season. Though the ERA does not look great, his xFIP has been a sterling 2.23 thus far and he has looked like the part of future starting rotation stud.

Scouts don’t view Faria as a future ace since he lacks a dominant breaking ball he can whip out in strikeout situations, but his fastball/changeup combination is truly a lethal combo. Faria could still be a future starting pitcher and might be a solid No. 3 or 4 starter in the majors. The way he has pitched thus far, he is very likely to get a shot to start in the big leagues at some point this season. And with Blake Snell already being sent down to the minors and Jake Odorizzi struggling with the home run ball thus far, an opening could be open soon for Faria to see some time in the near future. Even if he does not become a future ace, he has proven he knows how to strike batters out, and that could certainly prove valuable to owners in 12+ team leagues.

Luis Urias (2B/SS, SD, AA)

Stats: 156 PA, .331/.425/.492, 2 HR, 4 SB, 14.1% BB rate, 11.5% K rate

It is impressive enough to see a 19-year-old performing well at Double-A, it is quite something else to see them walking more than they strike out. That takes an incredibly advanced and mature approach at the plate, and it is clear Urias has just that. This isn’t the first time he has done this however. In fact, he has never in a single season struck out more than he has walked. That is truly remarkable for someone as young as he is.

Urias has long been viewed as an advanced prospect for his age, and as such it would not be super surprising to see him reach the majors this season. Though a 20-year-old debuting this season for a team in a rebuilding mode like the Padres, Urias could simply do enough to prove that he no longer requires any time in the minors. San Diego has a combined SS WAR of -0.4 thus far and could benefit from a look at their future shortstop this season after the Super Two deadline. For fantasy owners, Urias could become a valuable source of hits and stolen bases should he receive a promotion.

Luis Castillo (SP, CIN, AA)

Stats: 39.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 23.8% K rate, 3.3% BB rate, 7.1% HR/FB, .228 AVG

Castillo came to Cincinnati as the key piece of the Dan Straily deal this past offseason, and has looked every part the top pitching prospect he was back in Miami. Though he is not the top pitching prospect in Cincinnati’s system, he has done everything in his power to appear that way. He has just one start this whole season with more than two earned runs allowed. And in his most recent start, he lasted seven innings and allowed just one run on five hits and no walks with a career-high 10 strikeouts.

The 24-year-old starting pitcher is likely about to be promoted to Triple-A, putting him just one level away from the majors. The Reds have a ton of pitching prospects close to the majors, but they’ve already used eight different starting pitchers thus far and seem to be willing to try out different arms, meaning Castillo could get a chance soon to impress. His control has steadily improved over the years, and he has continued to miss bats at an effective rate. He possesses an elite fastball and solid offspeed offerings that give him the potential to be a frontline starter. If he gets a chance to start in the majors, his strikeout potential and solid command make him a worthy own in 12+ team leagues.

 

Hot Prospects over the Past Several Weeks

Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE, AAA)

Stats: (since 5/07) 33 PA, .407/.515/.704, 2 HR, 3 SB, 18.2% BB rate, 27.3% K rate

When you’re talking about someone as talented as Zimmer, any progress is a great sign. Zimmer has struggled for much of his career with strikeouts, but he has always shown a near-elite power/speed combination that makes him as exciting a fantasy prospect as anyone. Though the strikeouts have followed him through this most recent stretch, Zimmer has been able to fight through them and post up extremely sound numbers over this past week.

It has to be exciting for owners to consider Zimmer debuting this summer in the majors. Even with his notorious strikeout issues, he usually fights through them and posts strong numbers in spite of them. If he hits .240 with a 30 percent strikeout rate once called up in the middle of June, he could still crush 10+ home runs and steal as many or more bases. The Indians need some outfield help, so it would not be a surprise to see him reach the majors this year. And his power/speed combination makes him a worthy own in most leagues should he receive a promotion. Think of him as a left-handed Keon Broxton in terms of what he potentially brings to the table.

Zack Burdi (RP, CWS, AAA)

Stats: (since 4/26) 8.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 40.0% K rate, 3.3% BB rate, 0% HR/FB, .074 AVG

Yes, relievers can make this list too! Especially when they’re as talented as Burdi. Likely the next closer for the White Sox after David Robertson is traded away, Burdi has dominated Triple-A thus season coming off a season where he was taken in the first round as a reliever after serving as Louisville’s closer. And over the past two weeks, he has really turned on the jets, extending his scoreless innings streak now to 10 consecutive innings and allowing just five baserunners dating back to April 26.

It’s always tough to say who will be a future closer, but Burdi has the stuff and is clearly in line to be the White Sox next franchise stopper. It certainly helps that he consistently flings that fastball up there in the triple-digits and has some elite secondary stuff. Though the White Sox have some other options for the ninth inning, Burdi seems the right move for a team in a rebuilding move who want to give their franchise closer time to adjust to the position. Expect him to be promoted after the Super Two deadline, and take over the role after the trade deadline.

Chris Shaw (1B, SF, AA)

Stats: (since 5/05) 29 PA, .458/.517/.708, 1 HR, 0 SB, 13.8% BB rate, 10.3% K rate

After largely struggling against Double-A pitching last season, Shaw has made a mockery of the league thus far. Over the full season, he has walked as much as he has struck out while also proving to be a legit power threat, bashing four home runs already and posting the 3/4/5 slash line scouts love to see (.311/.419/.515). He has especially been killing it of late, reaching base in 12 of his past 13 games.

Shaw plays in the minors of the San Francisco Giants, who — unfortunately for Shaw — currently have Brandon Belt manning first base for them. But Shaw is absolutely the second-string first baseman behind Belt, and could be in line for a promotion should anything happen to the Giants’ All-Star first baseman. If he gets a chance at the majors, he could be a solid add in on-base leagues as he knows how to reach base at a high clip and certainly has enough pop to produce in the majors.

Kolby Allard (SP, ATL, AA)

Stats: (since 4/23) 23.0 IP, 1.17 ERA, 2.35 FIP, 24.4% K rate, 5.6% BB rate, 6.4% HR/FB, .177 AVG

We talked earlier about a 19-year-old shortstop dominating Double-A. Now it’s time to talk about a 19-year-old pitcher dominating the league. The top pitching prospect in a system loaded with arms, Allard has looked overwhelmingly dominant in Mississippi, posting a 1.38 ERA and 3.15 FIP on the season. But since April 23, he has allowed just three total earned runs and just 20 baserunners. Safe to say, he has impressed thus far.

No matter how much he has impressed, it is tough to see him reaching the majors this season. He is just 19 years old, and will be for nearly all of 2017. One has to imagine that he will be on an innings limit, and would really have to be completely unhittable at Double-A to even bring a call up into a conversation. But Julio Urias debuted last season at 19, and Allard has done everything right thus far in his career, so who knows. If he does get a chance to start in the majors this season, his sky-high ceiling, ace stuff and elite command make him a worthy own in all leagues as he could be a future ace ready to break out at the first chance he receives.

 

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