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Hot Fantasy Prospects To Watch For Week 7

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The minor league season rages on. Now that fantasy baseball teams have been drafted and the season is underway, it's imperative to monitor the top fantasy baseball prospects who have turned heads thus far.

At this point in the season, excellent prospect performances shouldn't be taken too seriously. Sure, there's no denying that short sample sizes can correspond to long-term success, but we'll need to see a bit more out of the players listed below before we go into a deep dive.

Regardless, keep an eye on these names over the long haul as they may prove to be excellent waiver wire adds soon.

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Kyle Stowers - OF, Baltimore Orioles

Level: Triple-A
2022 stats: 34 G, .258/.361/.565, 9 HR, 23 RBI, .280 BABIP, 144 wRC+, 11.7 BB%, 22.8 K%

Drafted with the 71st pick back in 2019, Stowers is a talented outfielder with a gorgeous swing and tremendous raw power. He has good bat speed and impressive exit velocity, and although he has had a tendency to swing and miss in prior years, he seems to have improved in that area this season. Defensively, he's merely mediocre. Undoubtedly, it's his bat that ranks him eighth among MLB Pipeline's Orioles prospects. Stowers projects as a corner outfielder long-term, likely nestling into left field so that Baltimore can focus on getting his bat in its lineup day in and day out.

Most notably, Stowers has hit the ball incredibly well as of late. He is now 12-for-25 with five homers, 10 RBI, five walks, and six strikeouts over the course of his last six games. This line not only reflects his ability to create loud power but also the progress he has made to cut down on strikeouts. Once he reaches the majors, Stowers's big bat should give him legitimate fantasy baseball value.

 

Logan O'Hoppe - C, Philadelphia Phillies

Level: Double-A
2022 stats: 33 G, .304/.420/.583, 8 HR, 23 RBI, .325 BABIP, 177 wRC+, .438 wOBA, 12.3 BB%, 17.4 K%

O'Hoppe has made an impressive rise from 23rd-round pick in 2018 to No. 5 Phillies prospect on MLB Pipeline's latest list. The backstop, who initially signed an over-slot deal to lure him away from college, made noticeable strides during the 2020 season when COVID-19 allowed him to train at Philadelphia's alternate site. He has trimmed down his strikeout rate significantly, all while adding to his raw power. Defensively, O'Hoppe moves around to block baseballs with ease and uses his quick reaction time and strong arm to throw out runners.

The backstop has been busy at the plate as of late, going 11-for-20 with five homers and eight RBI over his last six games. During this stretch and the season as a whole, he has exhibited a walk-to-strikeout rate that has steadily increased throughout his time in the Phillies' system. Now, all eyes are on his rise to the majors. Once he reaches the show, expect his bat to give him strong fantasy upside at such a volatile catcher position.

 

Hunter Gaddis - SP, Cleveland Guardians

Level: Double-A
2022 stats: 7 G, 6 GS, 32.0 IP, 4-1, 2.53 ERA, 1.88 FIP, .315 BABIP, 12.66 K/9, 2.25 BB/9

There's a lot to like about Gaddis, a right-handed starter who continues to post impressive numbers at the Double-A level. Drafted out of Georgia State in the fifth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, Gaddis boasts a mid-90s fastball and an impressive 12-6 curveball with lethal looping action. His slider is equally effective, generating swings and misses with its horizontal break. Gaddis's fourth and final pitch is his changeup, and while it's probably the weakest of his four offerings, it works nicely off the heater.

Gaddis's numbers were lethal as he flirted with perfection in his last outing. On May 19, the hurler lasted six innings, walking just one batter and striking out 11. He didn't quite notch the perfect game, but he did earn his fourth win of 2022. With strikeouts being such a big part of pitchers' value in fantasy baseball, expect Gaddis to have some appeal once he reaches the majors.

 

Connor Jones - SP, Seattle Mariners

Level: Double-A
2022 stats: 7 GS, 36.1 IP, 1-2, 3.96 ERA, 4.67 xFIP, 67.0 GB%, 8.17 K/9, 5.20 BB/9, .277 BABIP

A second-round draft selection of the Cardinals back in 2016, Jones was released this past April after a tough year at Triple-A. He signed with the Mariners organization in no time and has since demonstrated strong outings on the mound at Double-A. This past week, on May 19, the hurler struck out eight batters over eight scoreless innings. Although he gave up three hits and one walk while plunking two batters, his ability to keep the scoreboard empty and earn the win was commendable. Moving forward, Jones's biggest obstacle will be his age. 27 years old and playing on his second team, Jones is still treading on thin ice. If he has a bad outing, Seattle will be far less forgiving with him than one of its other younger, flashier options.

 

Jorbit Vivas - 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers

Level: High-A
2022 stats: 33 G, .302/.375/.605, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 6 SB, .400 BABIP, 155 wRC+

Vivas signed with the Dodgers for $300,000 back in 2017. The Venezuelan prospect has long been regarded as a talented hitter with great contact and an elite knack for putting the ball in play. Just 5-foot-10, Vivas has a good feel for the zone and his overall presence at the plate. He produces a quick swing and might just be the best pure hitter in the Dodgers system. However, his running and defensive abilities are less intriguing. Vivas is merely average defensively, explaining why he's destined for second base rather than a role on the left side of the infield.

The Los Angeles organization can always count on Vivas to log base hits, but this was especially true during the last week of minor-league action. The 21-year-old went 14-for-25 with eight RBI, three walks, and a whopping zero strikeouts. His lack of power is a con from a fantasy baseball perspective, but there's still a lot to like about his sound approach and tendency to log base hits.

 

Matt Gorski - OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

Level: Double-A
2022 stats: 33 G, .294/.377/.754, 17 HR, 37 RBI, 9 SB, .278 BABIP, 184 wRC+, .470 wOBA, 11.6 BB%, 26.7 K%

Gorski is a physical, athletic outfielder with a defense-first skill set. The strong 24-year-old is known for his ability to cover all of the outfield positions like a champ, using his reliable glove and surprising speed to make plays all across the outfield grass. While he has shown no problem playing up the middle in the minors, his arm is likely best suited for right field when he reaches the majors. Offensively, though, Gorski has been underwhelming. The 2019 second-round pick has poor batting mechanics, causing him to produce a swing with minimal launch angle and no leg kick. As a result of his poor offensive approach, Gorski has struggled in the power category, too.

For as bad as Gorski has historically been while hitting, he turned things around this past week by going 10-for-23 with a whopping eight homers and 11 RBI over the course of just six games. For now, it's impossible to project his fantasy value. At times, he lacks talent and merely looks like someone who will ride the bench in the majors. But on the other hand, during stretches like this past week, there are plenty of reasons to get excited about his development and future impact.



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