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Hot Prospects To Watch - Toussaint, Cease, Manning


All eyes continue to be on Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the No. 1 overall prospect, as he works his way back from an oblique strain in spring training. The 20-year-old looks to be fully healthy and is now slashing .360/.448/.560 with a homer and six RBI in seven games for High-A Dunedin and Triple-A Buffalo.

It shouldn't be long now before he's called up to the Blue Jays to make his much-anticipated big league debut. Anyone who has been stashing him in fantasy leagues will surely be looking forward to that moment.

Let's take a look at a few lesser-known prospects and how they're faring at the major and minor league level. We'll focus on pitching this week after covering three hitters in Week 2...

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Braves Turn To Another Prospect In Rotation

Touki Toussaint - SP, Atlanta Braves

It seems that the Braves are always stocked with a promising young stash of pitchers. Atlanta opened up with two prospects in the rotation -- Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson -- but they're now both gone in favor of Toussaint.

It's not the first time we've seen Toussaint in the big leagues; he went 2-1 with a 4.03 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings in seven outings (five starts) over 29 innings in 2018. His 2019 debut was impressive, going six shutout innings in relief of an ineffective Sean Newcomb on Saturday against the Mets. Toussaint struck out seven and walked three to get the win.

Newcomb was sent down to work on his control, so Toussaint will get his chance in the rotation. Fantasy owners need to take notice. The 22-year-old right-hander is the team's No. 6 prospect and is ranked No. 48 overall by MLB Pipeline.

Toussaint showed the ability to harness his raw stuff in the minors in 2018 when he went 9-6 with a tidy 2.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 10.8 K/9 in 24 starts between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. He has a high-90s fastball and also a devastating curveball that is a swing-and-miss pitch.

If Toussaint can limit the free passes, he has a serious chance to be a front-line starter and stick in Atlanta's rotation for more than just a handful of starts.

 

Dylan Not Ceasing To Amaze

Dylan Cease - SP, Chicago White Sox

You can't get off to a much better start than Cease has. The right-hander is 2-0 with five hits allowed in 10 shutout innings in his two starts for Triple-A Charlotte to begin the year. He's walked just one while striking out nine of the 33 batters he's faced.

If he keeps this up, Cease will surely be pitching for the White Sox in 2019. He was very effective last year at High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham in 23 combined starts, too, going 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 11.6 K/9.

He was involved in the deal that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs in 2017, and Cease continues to dominate in the minors with his fastball/curve combination. He consistently hits the mid- to upper-90s with his heater that also has movement on it. Cease is becoming more polished as he ages, too, as evidenced by the fact that his walk rate continues to tumble.

At this rate, it'd almost be an upset if we didn't see him make his MLB debut this year.

 

Flying Under The Radar

Matt Manning - SP, Detroit Tigers

A first-round pick in 2016, Manning jumped out last year when he led all Tigers minor leaguers with 154 strikeouts at just 20 years old. The 6-foot-6 right-hander has cleaned up his mechanics in recent years and features a mid-90s fastball and hammer curveball. He also has a changeup that is developing as his third pitch.

He's been a bit of a project along the way, but Manning's athleticism and size give him a ton of upside a the next level. It's already showing in 2019, as he's 2-0 and has allowed just one earned run in his 12 innings of work at Double-A Erie over two starts. He has 15 K's and just three walks in 40 batters faced.

Casey Mize is Detroit's top prospect, but Manning is right behind at No. 2 and might have a better chance of being called up to Detroit before Mize. Outside of Matthew Boyd at the big league level, no Tigers starter is a lock to stay in the rotation all season, and Matt Moore (knee) is already hurt.

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