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Hot Prospects To Watch - Tucker, Reynolds, Alvarez

We're into the third week of the minor league season and prospects are already finding their way onto big league rosters and making an impact at the next level. Elsewhere, some of the biggest prospect names of 2019 are fighting their way back from injury.

Nick Senzel, the Reds top prospect, will join Triple-A Louisville this week after spraining his ankle at the end of spring training. A popular pick for National League Rookie of the Year in the preseason, Senzel could make his big league debut sooner than later.

Catcher Joey Bart, San Francisco's top prospect, will have to wait longer after being diagnosed with a broken hand last week. The future successor to Buster Posey, Bart will be out four to six weeks, a major blow to prospect hounds that were hoping he'd be called up early this year to help a weak Giants offense. And the most exciting prospect news on the horizon: we may see Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. up in the majors sometime this week.

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Injuries Cause Bucs To Call On Prospects

Cole Tucker - SS, Pittsburgh Pirates

The club's No. 5 prospect was called up on Saturday to replace Erik Gonzalez (broken collarbone). The switch-hitting shortstop is off to a great start with three hits in 10 at-bats (.300), including a home run, two doubles and two RBI in his first three games.

The alternatives -- Gonzalez and Kevin Newman -- don't offer Pittsburgh much upside at the plate, so it's entirely possible that they let Tucker run with the job if he continues to produce. In 13 games for Triple-A Indianapolis before his call-up, Tucker hit .333/.415/.579 with three long balls, seven RBI and five stolen bases in 66 plate appearances.

The 6-foot-3 former first-round pick has dealt with injuries in the minors, but he broke out late last season and tore up the Arizona Fall League as well. Tucker has never hit more than six homers in a season on the farm, so you shouldn't expect big power numbers just yet.

His speed will play the most initially for fantasy owners, as he stole 47 bags with two different teams in the minors in 2017. He had 35 swipes in 133 games for Double-A Altoona in 2018. Tucker could be up for good with the Bucs, therefore he should be picked up in deep mixed and NL-only leagues for his speed.


Bryan Reynolds - OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh needed outfield reinforcements when Starling Marte landed on the injured list. Corey Dickerson and Lonnie Chisenhall are also on the shelf. Reynolds, who was hitting .367/.446/.735 with five homers and 11 RBI in 13 games for Indianapolis, got the call.

He hasn't missed a beat in his first three big league games, going 5-for-10 (.500) with two doubles over the weekend. Even with Gregory Polanco back from shoulder surgery, there is opportunity in Pittsburgh's outfield for Reynolds to carve out some decent short-term value in NL-only affairs.

The former Vanderbilt star and No. 8 prospect in the organization, Reynolds was involved in the trade that sent Andrew McCutchen to the Giants in 2018. The 24-year-old has a strong hit tool and excellent plate discipline. He may not have a ton of fantasy upside unless he develops more power, but Reynolds could force his way into the fourth-outfielder role before long.

There's a good chance he's sent back down to the minors when Marte, Dickerson and Chisenhall are ready, but Reynolds is one to watch in deeper leagues if he gets another chance in Pittsburgh.


Move Over Kyle Tucker

Yordan Alvarez - OF, Houston Astros

Tucker was supposed to be the team's top outfield prospect, but he's hit just .129 (8-for-62) with 16 strikeouts at Triple-A Round Rock so far this year and struggled in 28 games with Houston last year. Tucker will still likely be very good in the long run, but Alvarez is the one turning heads in 2019 to kick off the year.

Houston's No. 3 prospect and No. 41 overall is scorching hot at the dish at Round Rock, hitting .339/.451/.915 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI in just 18 games. The 21-year-old Cuban has homered in three of his last four games (seven RBI) and has five hits in the last two games.

Alvarez has quickly become one of the best offensive prospects in the game from the left side of the plate. He hit .299/.374/.507 in his first two full seasons in the minors and quickly rose to the Triple-A ranks. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder makes hard contact to all fields and has tremendous natural pop. He doesn't run much and is just an average defender.

Houston is pretty set at the big league level in the outfield, but Alvarez could show his face in the big leagues later this year, especially if Josh Reddick struggles at any point. Grab Alvarez now if he happens to be available in any dynasty or AL-only leagues.

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