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Deep Prospects to Stash in Dynasty

Chasing prospects is like playing the lottery. You're going to lose more times than you'll win, but if you win big it'll make up for all your losses.

In dynasty leagues, managers are always going to try to be three steps ahead when it comes to identifying the next hot prospect. In this article, we're going to try to find those "three steps ahead" prospects who can become solid fantasy contributors in the future. You're not going to see any consensus top-100 guys on this list, and with only a couple exceptions I have limited the players on this list to guys who have not appeared above Double-A. So we're going deep on this list, and it would not be a surprise if half these guys or more never find success in the majors. But again, this is the fantasy lottery.

Let's take a look at these guys — some of whom I've watched in person through my work in Minor League Baseball — and figure out who to stash for the future.

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Brent Honeywell Jr. (RHP, TB)

As I said, there are a couple of exceptions to my self-imposed rule of excluding players who played above Double-A. Honeywell hasn't pitched in a regular-season game since 2017 as a result of various injuries, and because of that, he could be a good, post-hype sleeper. In 2018, he underwent Tommy John surgery, while working his way back in 2019 he fractured a bone in his elbow, and then last year he underwent another surgery to remove scar tissue around his right ulnar nerve. He was a consensus top-20 prospect prior to the injuries, as he sported a career 27.4 percent strikeout rate and 5.6 percent walk rate in 416 innings in the minors.

According to Adam Berry of MLB.com, Honeywell was throwing 95 in live batting practice earlier this month, and he could be ready to take the mound early on into the minor league season. He'll almost certainly be on an innings limit after being out of the game for three years, but if he puts up a solid performance this season, the hype could quickly build back up. Stash him now, and be ready for him to become an impact player as soon as 2022.


DJ Peters (OF, LAD)

The second — and I promise last — exception to the rule for this article, Peters split time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019, where he slashed .249/.358/.453 with 23 home runs and 81 RBI. I got to watch Peters in his first year of pro ball in 2016, and he has been a guy I've been pretty high on ever since. The power dipped slightly in 2019, with his slugging percentage 20 points lower than his 2018 mark, but the big key is that he was able to increase his walk rate from 8.1 percent to 11.3 percent, while dropping his strikeout rate from 34.3 percent to 31 percent.

That improved plate discipline is going to be the key to getting him to the majors. He's looked good in Spring Training this year, slashing .259/.412/.519 with two homers and four RBI in 16 games, and he could be ready to make an impact as soon as this year.


Gilberto Celestino (OF, MIN)

Speed has always been one of Celestino's main assets, but as he's gotten older and advanced through the minors, he's starting to show some pop too. Having averaged 15 steals a year through his four seasons in the minors, Celestino has increased his ISO and slugging percentage each year since 2017. In 2019, Celestino hit career-highs in home runs (10) and slugging percentage (.410) playing between Single-A and High-A, while his .133 ISO was his highest mark since his first year of pro ball in 2016.

He's just 22, and playing in an organization that includes Alex Kirilloff and Brent Rooker, Celestino is flying under the radar in most fantasy circles right now. Given the fact the Twins have an injury-prone outfield, it would not be surprising to see Celestino get some playing time as soon as late 2021. Celestino looks like a guy on the rise, and dynasty managers should look to snag him while his price is still low.


Tahnaj Thomas (RHP, PIT)

Working with the Bristol Pirates in 2019, I saw plenty of Thomas pitching, and let me tell you this guy is a strikeout machine. He made 12 starts for Bristol that year, posting a 3.17 ERA and 29.5 percent strikeout rate in 48 1/3 innings. He had at least five strikeouts in eight of his 12 starts, which included a nine-strikeout performance against the Elizabethton Twins in which he allowed just one run over five innings. The strikeout rate was slightly down from the 33.8 percent rate he posted in Cleveland's system in 2018, but he cut way down on the walks with the Pirates as he posted a career-best 7.0 percent walk rate.

Losing a year of game action will delay his potential arrival to the majors, but this is a guy who can touch 100 mph with his fastball. So if he can continue to progress like he has through his first three years in the minors, he will get a shot at the majors either as a starter or a reliever. Ideally, he'll be able to stick as a starter, but he should be able to provide value regardless of his role.


Kyle Datres (2B/3B, COL)

Datres made some big strides in his second year in the minors, as he slashed .286/.397/.540 with 15 home runs and 20 steals in 96 games at Single-A in 2019. He also posted a decent 21.4 percent strikeout rate, and a very nice 12.4 percent walk rate. He looked far more like the player he was in college in 2019 as opposed to his debut performance in 2018, where he slashed .239/.250/.478 in 11 games at Low-A.

Looking to the future, Datres' case is one of the few situations for managers where the minor league season being canceled will actually benefit them. Datres turned 25 in January, and if he had a full season of work in the minors last year, he could have had a shot at competing for the starting third base job this spring following the departure of Nolan Arenado. As it stands, Datres will start the season in the minors, which will keep him under most managers' radars and make him a low-cost investment. Investing in Datres is a risk though as he doesn't have much of a body of work to project off of, but he looks like a potential 20-homer, 20-steal threat who could be competing for a spot in the majors by next year.


Luis Palacios (LHP, MIA)

This guy is the deepest of the deep prospects on this list, as he has yet to pitch above the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He has shown quite a bit of improvement across his three years in the Marlins' system, going from a 2.70 ERA, 21.8 percent strikeout rate and 7.6 percent walk rate in 2017 to a 1.12 ERA, 29 percent strikeout rate and 1.4 percent walk rate in 2019. The thing is though that we haven't seen how he pitches outside of the Gulf Coast League and Dominican Summer League.

In this one instance, I'm going to say don't rush to stash him just yet, but instead keep a close eye on how he does early on this year. He'll probably start off at Single-A, and if he does well in his first few appearances and continues to show a high strikeout rate, then go ahead and stash him on your roster.

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