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Hot MLB Prospects to Watch for Fantasy Baseball - Week 16

Carson Palmquist - Fantasy Baseball Prospects, Draft Sleepers, MLB Rookie Rankings

Welcome back, RotoBallers! We're heading into Week 16 of the fantasy baseball season. The minor league baseball season continues to provide us with plenty of big plays and impressive prospect performances.

It's imperative to monitor the top fantasy baseball prospects who have turned heads thus far. The players listed here are not only coming off dominant weeks but have also impressed over the entire season. Don't be surprised when these exact names are painting corners, mashing homers, and swiping bags at the big league level soon.

Savvy fantasy managers looking for an edge in their leagues should certainly keep an eye on these players over the long haul, as they may prove to be excellent adds in no time.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Andres Chaparro - 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks

Level: Triple-A
2024 stats: 
82 G, .328/.407/.572, 17 HR, 68 RBI, 61 R, 3 SB, 11.0% BB%, 19.1% K%, .373 BABIP, .421 wOBA, 140 wRC+

Chaparro developed in the Yankees farm system before hitting free agency last offseason. He ultimately inked a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks and reported to their spring training site, but he retains his prospect status as he's still searching for his MLB debut.

Now 25, Chaparro is hitting the ball better than ever before. His .979 OPS is the best mark of his career, fueled by a whopping 17 homers through his first 82 games in Reno. Subpar in the field, Chaparro will have to prove that he's worth the sacrifice on defense by displaying an explosive bat. He's done that so far and could be pushing for a second-half promotion to the majors.

Last week's outburst certainly helped Chaparro's case. He went 15-for-24 at the dish, launching three homers and driving in 16 runs. He continued to show modest plate discipline, drawing three walks while striking out four times.

 

Carson Palmquist - SP, Colorado Rockies

Level: Double-A
2024 stats:
14 G, 14 GS, 4-3, 65.2 IP, 3.29 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 12.61 K/9, 3.97 BB/9, 0.82 HR/9, .319 BABIP, 32.6% GB%

Palmquist was the Rockies' third-round pick in 2022, and he's made relatively quick progress, earning his promotion to Double-A last season after just 15 appearances in A-ball. The southpaw's three-pitch mix includes a fastball, slider, and changeup. None of the pitches are elite, but they're still average to above-average offerings.

Palmquist locates his pitches relatively well and is capable of missing bats, especially near the outside of the zone. His strikeout rate corroborates this, but his walk rate suggests he could afford to improve his command further.

Last week, he delivered one of the best outings of his young career, striking out 13 batters over seven scoreless frames. He allowed just one walk and one hit along the way. 13 strikeouts is the best mark of Palmquist's career, but he's no stranger to the double-digit club. He has spun at least 10 strikeouts in more than 24 percent of his minor league starts.

 

Nate Nankil - OF, Oakland Athletics

Level: Single-A
2024 stats:
68 G, .286/.408/.465, 8 HR, 47 RBI, 30 R, 2 SB, 13.3% BB%, 18.4% K%, .337 BABIP, .414 wOBA, 138 wRC+

A 2023 seventh-round pick out of Cal State Fullerton, Nankil remains somewhat of an "unknown" as far as prospects go. With that said, there's clear pop and accuracy behind his arm, making him a candidate to stay in right field long-term. At the plate, he has quick hands and makes good contact, so while he isn't necessarily a power hitter, he's still capable of launching baseballs out of the park.

Nankil is also a projectable athlete. The latest measurements have him around 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, but he checked in at 6-foot-3 at a Perfect Game event when he was still a kid in 2019.

Last week, Nankil put on a show at the plate, going 14-for-24 with two homers (five extra-base hits in total), five RBI, three walks, and four strikeouts. As of this writing, he owns an impressive 11-game hitting streak, notching 22 hits and 10 RBI in that span.

 

Jean Cabrera - SP, Philadelphia Phillies

Level: High-A
2024 stats:
14 G, 14 GS, 5-4, 77.0 IP, 3.39 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 10.64 K/9, 2.92 BB/9, 0.70 HR/9, 51.6% GB%, .283 BABIP

Cabrera signed with the Phillies out of Venezuela in 2019. He's had a slow progression through the minors (as is the case for international signings, especially those who were in lower affiliated ball when COVID-19 struck) but is making quite the impact at the High-A level in 2024.

Cabrera's three-pitch mix is headlined by a mid-to-upper-90s fastball that he locates quite well, but his best offering might be his changeup. The off-speed pitch has decent fade and works off his heater quite well. He rounds out his repertoire with a slider, which is merely a tertiary option for him currently but could gain effectiveness as he continues to develop it.

Last week, Cabrera tossed a six-inning gem, allowing zero runs on zero hits. He struck out 10 batters and issued just two free passes (one walk and one hit batsman). It was his first hitless appearance of the year and the fourth in which he surrendered zero runs.

 

George Wolkow - OF, Chicago White Sox

Level: Single-A
2024 stats:
43 G, .297/.397/.576, 10 HR, 25 RBI, 30 R, 3 SB, 12.0% BB%, 42.4% K%, .529 BABIP, .447 wOBA, 165 wRC+

Wolkow is a young but very promising prospect whom the White Sox selected after he finished his senior year of high school in 2023. The 18-year-old is tearing up the minor leagues and already pushing for a promotion to High-A.

Wolkow possesses immense power and could gain even more strength as he gets older and fills out his 6-foot-7 frame. However, he could be a boom-or-bust type of hitter, producing more home runs than his peers, but also more strikeouts. While his 42.4 percent strikeout rate is primed to decrease moving forward, this metric still offers a glimpse into the glaring concerns about his offensive makeup. He'll need to cut down on strikeouts (drastically) while maintaining most of his power in order to ascend as a top prospect in the White Sox system.

Then, of course, there's also the conversation of defense. Wolkow has been fine through the majority of his A-ball games in right field, but his frame suggests he could be destined for first base long-term. This subpar defensive outlook reaffirms the belief that his hit tool needs to improve.

Despite clear concerns about his offensive production, there's no question that Wolkow is generating a lot of buzz right now. After all, he went 10-for-22 last week, slugging three homers, one double, and two triples. He also drove in a whopping 14 runs and drew five walks. However, his strikeout total continued to climb, too, as he went down on strikes 10 times.



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