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Hot Fantasy Prospects To Watch For Week 18

fantasy baseball prospects MLB prospects rookies call-ups

We're days away from the Trade Deadline, which means we're about to see a lot of prospects on the move to new organizations.

So far we've seen Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman go from the Rays to the Twins, Tucupita Marcano headed to Pittsburgh from San Diego, and then on Monday the Pirates acquired Hoy Jun Park and Diego Castillo from the Yankees. And with some of the other big names that are rumored to be on the move this week, we're likely going to see a lot more prospects finding new homes very soon.

While we wait to see the next big trade come to fruition, let's go ahead and check out these four prospects who have been on a tear at the plate recently.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and weekly lineup resources:

 

Keibert Ruiz - C, Los Angeles Dodgers

Level: Triple-A
2021 stats: 50 G, .305/.378/.635, 16 HR, 44 RBI, 39 R

Ruiz has been on fire this season, putting up career highs with 16 home runs and a 1.013 OPS across 50 games. That's been helped in part by a 10-game hitting streak that he is currently on, where he has slugged four homers with 13 RBI and eight runs scored. At this point with Ruiz it's more a matter of finding playing time than developing, as not only is he putting up these numbers at Triple-A during his age 22 season, but he has shown consistent improvement from year to year in the minors. And he's also showing great plate discipline this season, recording a 10.8 percent strikeout rate and 10.4 percent walk rate this year to go along with a career 9.7 percent strikeout rate and 7.0 percent walk rate.

The only thing stopping him right now from becoming a fantasy star is Will Smith, who has entrenched himself behind the plate in Los Angeles. Now it is possible that eventually Ruiz can force the Dodgers' hand in making a change, and Smith does have some limited experience in the minors playing third base and second base. Any change would be highly unlikely to happen this year however, and barring any injuries, Ruiz will most likely spend the rest of this year in Triple-A. But managers in redraft leagues should start paying close attention to him for the future, as there's a very good chance he can make a big impact in fantasy in 2022.

 

Ryan Vilade - SS, Colorado Rockies

Level: Triple-A
2021 stats: 63 G, .273/.337/.376, 3 HR, 10 SB, 19 RBI, 39 R

After a slow start to the year, Vilade has started heating up at the plate recently. He's currently riding a six-game hitting streak where he is batting .478, and over his last 11 games he is slashing .302/.340/.442 with one home run, two steals, five RBI and eight runs scored. It's been a bit of an adjustment period for Vilade after making the jump from High-A in 2019 to Triple-A this season, but things finally seem to be falling into place for him at the plate. The really good sign for his potential is that despite the fact his current .273 average and .714 OPS are career-lows, he has still maintained a strikeout rate of 17 percent and a walk rate of 8.7 percent — which are nearly identical to his career 17.4 percent strikeout rate and 10.1 percent walk rate. So as long as he can continue to maintain the plate discipline he's shown throughout his career, the hits should start coming in soon enough.

Given the struggles that Vilade has had early on at Triple-A, it's unlikely that we'll see him get called up this year — even if Trevor Story is traded. How he finishes out this season though will be a strong indicator of what to expect out of him in 2022. If he is still struggling to hit the ball, he'll assuredly start 2022 back at Triple-A and could spend a good chunk of time there. But if he goes on a tear at the plate to close out 2021, he has a decent shot at competing for a spot on the Rockies roster out of Spring Training. He's got 15-homer, 15-steals potential, and with a future hitting at Coors Field he's definitely a guy you should be keeping an eye on.

 

Josh Jung - 3B, Texas Rangers

Level: Double-A
2021 stats: 31 G, .306/.374/.532, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 22 R

Jung had only 44 games of professional baseball under his belt before last year's cancelled minor league season, and he put up solid results with a .316 average and .831 OPS between Rookie ball and Single-A. So far this season Jung has almost 60 fewer plate appearances than he recorded in 2019, and already he's surpassed nearly every one of his marks from his debut campaign. He's currently hitting .306 with a .906 OPS, is fourth on the Frisco RoughRiders with seven homers, and has been absolutely on fire over his last 10 games, where he is slashing .357/.404/.667 with three homers, 12 RBI and 10 runs scored.

He's a consensus top-100 prospect in MLB currently, with MLB Pipeline having Jung as a potential 20-homer threat in the future. Out of all the guys on this week's list though, Jung is the furthest away from reaching the majors. At this point he has a grand total of 75 games under his belt, and while he has shown plenty of promise, Jung is definitely one of the players who had his trajectory affected the most by the cancelled 2020 season. Managers should expect Jung to spend most — if not all — of 2022 at Triple-A, and he'll likely become fantasy relevant in 2023. That being said, managers should still keep an eye on him through the rest of this season, to see if he can show off that 20-homer potential.

 

Micker Adolfo - OF, Chicago White Sox

Level: Triple-A
2021 stats: 61 G, .254/.322/.543, 17 HR, 52 RBI, 38 R

It's been a longtime coming, but it finally looks like Adolfo is putting things together at the plate. The biggest issue for Adolfo throughout his career has been injuries, but now that he's healthy he has posted career-highs with 17 home runs and a .865 OPS over 61 games. He was recently promoted from Double-A to Triple-A, and already he's putting up results as he is 5-for-15 with a double, two home runs, six RBI and five runs scored in just four games with Charlotte. And that's just what he's done since being promoted. Over 17 games in the month of July, Adolfo is slashing .313/.333/.625 with five homers, 19 RBI and 13 runs scored.

Given his extensive injury history and the fact he's only just now getting his first taste of Triple-A, there's no reason to expect the White Sox to rush him up to Chicago any time soon. They just got back Eloy Jimenez from the IL, Luis Robert isn't too far behind, and then between Brian Goodwin, Andrew Vaughn, Adam Engel and Billy Hamilton, there's already too many outfielders for too few spots. Barring significant injury or underperformance, Adolfo will almost certainly finish this year at Triple-A. But if he can continue to swing the bat well and put up good results with Charlotte, Adolfo could be competing for a spot on the roster out of Spring Training next year.



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