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Hot Fantasy Prospects To Watch For Week 8

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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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C.J. Abrams - SS, San Diego Padres

Level: Triple-A
2022 stats: 16 G, .257/.321/.459, 4 HR, 20 R, 18 RBI, 5 SB, .288 BABIP, 93 wRC+, 6.2 BB%, 22.2 K%

Abrams opened the season in the majors but was optioned to Triple-A on May 10. The talented shortstop ranks first among San Diego prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. Drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft, Abrams is a gifted athlete who can both put the ball in play and field the shortstop position like a pro. However, running is Abrams' best trait. He has 80-grade speed, making him a threat on the basepaths and at the shortstop position. A true testament to his running ability, Abrams even found himself playing center field in Triple-A this past week.

Speaking of this past week's production, Abrams has gone 10-for-22 with one homer, one triple, eight RBI, and two stolen bases over his last five games. He has found his groove in the minors once again, making it hard for the Padres to keep him away from their MLB club. However, there isn't a glaring need for Abrams from a depth standpoint. Ha-Seong Kim has seen the bulk of the action at shortstop and is playing fine, not to mention Fernando Tatis Jr. represents the future of the team at the position. It will be interesting to see if the Padres pencil Abrams into center field or perhaps second base upon Tatis' return. One thing is for certain, though: Abrams' electric offense and phenomenal baserunning will make him a key fantasy weapon the instant he returns to the majors.

 

Connor Jones - SP, Seattle Mariners

Level: Double-A
2022 stats: 8 GS, 43.1 IP, 2-2, 3.32 ERA, 4.33 xFIP, 71.0 GB%, 8.52 K/9, 4.98 BB/9, .243 BABIP

Don't look now, but Jones is making a case to be promoted to Triple-A. He has now been featured in this article for two consecutive weeks after stringing together three great outings. Here's what we said about the 27-year-old right-hander last Tuesday:

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. [...] 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.

It's safe to say that the aforementioned "bad outings" haven't plagued Jones as of late. This past week, during a doubleheader clash, he threw a seven-inning complete game. He walked just three batters while striking out eight. Oh, and the icing on the cake? Jones didn't allow a single hit. Perhaps he'll make his third consecutive appearance on this list when the calendar turns to June. Only time will tell.

 

Vinnie Pasquantino - 1B, Kansas City Royals

Level: Triple-A
2022 stats: 46 G, .303/.396/.667, 14 HR, 36 R, 51 RBI, .288 BABIP, 174 wRC+, .445 wOBA, 12.7 BB%, 15.2 K%

Pasquantino ranks fourth on MLB Pipeline's list of top Royals prospects. The big-bodied left-hander is considered a diamond in the rough after Kansas City committed a mere 11th-round pick to him in the 2019 draft. Since then, all he has done is mash the baseball, logging 52 homers and 127 extra-base hits through 219 pro games. Definitely a hit-first player, Pasquantino runs well below-average, meaning he'll be stuck at first base for his entire career. To his credit though, the 24-year-old has significantly improved at the position over recent years. He has grown more athletic and improved his fielding, all while being viewed as an invaluable leader in the clubhouse.

The Old Dominion product finds himself on this list after an impressive week at Triple-A, perhaps forcing the Kansas City brass to consider promoting him to the majors. Over his last five games, Pasquantino is 11-for-22 with four homers, seven extra-base hits, and 11 RBI. The first baseman has made impressive strides through just two-plus pro seasons, and it seems like he might get the bump to Kansas City soon. As soon as he does, he'll garner some fantasy intrigue thanks to his low strikeout rate and phenomenal offensive production, specifically against right-handed pitching.

 

Grayson Rodriguez - SP, Baltimore Orioles

Level: Triple-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

The Orioles' No. 2 prospect (and their No. 1 minor leaguer now that Adley Rutschman is in the majors), Rodriguez has consistently turned heads ever since being drafted in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft. He is viewed as a top-tier prospect with a pair of highly-graded pitches in his arsenal: a nicely-commanded fastball that touches triple-digits while boasting spin and life, as well as a mid-80s changeup that deceives batter and complements his heater quite well. Rodriguez also throws a slider and curveball, both of which can be quite effective late in counts.

This past week, Rodriguez earned his fifth Triple-A win of the season. Taking on Gwinnett, he allowed just two hits, zero walks, and zero runs while striking out 10 batters over seven innings of work. It was the second time over his last three outings that he was responsible for zero runs and at least 10 strikeouts. With high strikeout rates and an ability to keep his ERA down, Rodriguez should continue to impress once he reaches the majors. It's only a matter of time until he gets that call, and when he does, fantasy managers will scramble to benefit from his dominance. It might be wise to add him now — you know... before it's too late.

 

Elijah Dunham - OF, New York Yankees

Level: Double-A
2022 stats: 33 G, .266/.345/.531, 7 HR, 17 R, 22 RBI, 11 SB, .376 wOBA, 135 wRC+

The Yankees seem to have gotten lucky with Dunham, a left-handed outfielder who is a well-rounded prospect and solid athlete. Originally drafted by the Pirates in the 40th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, Dunham declined to sign with Pittsburgh. He raised his stock over the next year, but the unfortunate timing of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a shortened draft and meant that Dunham went undrafted. He signed with New York for $20,000 and quickly ascended to High-A midway through his first pro season. He is a disciplined hitter who provides hard contact and above-average power, yet he won't sacrifice strikeouts for pop. Defensively, Dunham will likely stick in left field given his respectable defense but merely average arm strength. Finally, there's a lot to like about his baserunning upside, especially considering he has already swiped 39 bags through 126 games in the minors.

Dunham took his offensive production to a whole new level this past week. Over his last five games, the 25-year-old has gone 10-for-20 with three homers, five RBI, one walk, one strikeout, and three stolen bases. He still has some time before he reaches the majors, and even when he does, fantasy managers might hesitate to add him to their rosters. He doesn't add a lot of value in the power department, and he could be stuck in a bench role with New York for a few years before becoming a true impact player.

 



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