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Hot Prospects To Watch - Sheldon Neuse, Abraham Toro And More Padres


Last week we were discussing how some of the big trades at the deadline not only drastically affected the major league landscape as contending teams plan for a postseason run, but also how it changed the outlook of certain minor league prospects. One three-team swap even included Cincinnati's top prospect (outfielder Taylor Trammell) shifting to San Diego.

The biggest immediate beneficiary was outfielder Travis Demeritte, who was shipped off to Detroit in the trades that sent closer Shane Greene and reliever Mark Melancon to Atlanta. Demeritte was called up to the Tigers to make his debut shortly after the trade, and he's had 13 at-bats in four games. The most impactful long-term swap came in the Zack Greinke trade, as Arizona acquired Seth Beer, Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas. All three are top-12 prospects for the D-backs and should have a quicker path to the majors in their new home.

Other trades saw the Tigers land lefty Joey Wentz (their No. 10 prospect now), the Reds acquire outfielder Jameson Hannah (No. 10), the Marlins pick up outfielder Jesus Sanchez (No. 3) and shortstop Jazz Chisholm (No. 4), and the Giants snag infielder Mauricio Dubon (No. 8). The Marlins did especially well to land two high-end prospects that could help them in their rebuilding process in the very near future.

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Friars Youngsters Continue To Impress

CJ Abrams - SS, San Diego Padres

Abrams became the first high school player taken in this year's draft to be promoted on Tuesday, being moved from the Rookie League in Arizona to Single-A Fort Wayne. The sixth overall pick is just 18 years old but hit .401/.442/.662 with 12 doubles, eight triples, three home runs, 22 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 32 games.

It's still early in his developmental process in one of the best minor league systems in baseball, but Abrams could quickly jump onto the radar of those in dynasty/keeper leagues because of his plus speed and above-average ceiling with the stick. He may not stay at shortstop long term, but his skills should allow him to become a fine fantasy middle infielder in years to come.

Abrams is the team's No. 5 prospect and No. 48 overall in baseball. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder won't be known for his power, and he'll also need to perform at a high level if he's eventually going to break into a middle infield that already has Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias at the top level. Stay patient with the 18-year-old.

Ty France - 3B/1B, San Diego Padres

The 25-year-old didn't live up to expectations in his first 34 big league games this year (.235 average, two homers, 25 strikeouts, four walks in 98 at-bats), but he's been one of the best overall hitters this year at Triple-A El Paso. France is slashing a healthy .391/.472/.771 with 26 bombs and 80 RBI in 69 games. He already has two four-hit outings and a three-hit performance with two homers in five games in August.

He's ranked as SD's No. 24 prospect after being drafted in the 34th round in 2015. France has recently started to mature in the power department and has hit 20-plus homers the last two years in the minors. His bat could play at the next level, but the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League is certainly helping his cause right now.

It's good to see France succeeding at Triple-A, but he's also blocked at the hot corner by Manny Machado and at first base by Eric Hosmer. It will probably take an injury ahead of him at the major league level for France to come into any kind of fantasy significance. Still, he's worth monitoring in dynasty leagues as long as he continues to swing a hot bat.

 

Neuse Performing In Las Vegas

Sheldon Neuse - 3B, Oakland Athletics

Neuse, 24, is having a breakout season for the Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators after struggling at Triple-A last year. He's batting .329/.397/.559 with a career-high 21 home runs and 88 RBI in 106 games, including going 9-for-19 with two home runs, three doubles and three RBI in five games to start August. Neuse managed a poor line of .263/.304/.357 with five homers and 55 RBI in 135 games at Nashville in 2018.

The former second-round pick of the Nationals in 2016 came over to the A's in the deal that involved closer Sean Doolittle in 2017. Neuse sprays balls to all fields with his right-handed stroke and has seen his power take the next step in his second full season at Class AAA. It's nice to see his power improve this year, but he still has a tendency to swing and miss too much with 172 strikeouts and 32 walks in 2018.

The big problem for Oakland's No. 8 prospect? He's blocked at third base in the big leagues by one of the best third baseman in all of baseball in Matt Chapman. Neuse would've been one of the players to benefit greatly by being traded to another organization at the deadline. The A's could quickly find another position for him if he continues to hit at their highest minor league level, though.

 

Toro Charging His Way Toward Bigs

Abraham Toro - 3B, Houston Astros

Even after sending three of their top-10 prospects to Arizona in the Greinke trade last week, Houston's farm system remains strong. Toro is helping to prove that by hitting .306/.393/.513 with 16 home runs and 70 RBI in 98 games for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks to earn a recent promotion to Triple-A Round Rock.

The 22-year-old's minor league statistics won't jump off the page, but he continues to make hard contact and is well-regarded for his plate discipline. Houston's fifth-round pick in 2016 has 269 career minor league strikeouts and 164 walks. Toro is also a switch-hitter that consistently works great at-bats and has one of the more advanced hitting approaches in the system.

The Canadian third baseman finished off the month of July by hitting .364/.424/.589 with three home runs, 15 RBI, eight walks and 18 strikeouts in 118 plate appearances over 26 games at Double-A. He'll most likely have to find a new position in Houston with Alex Bregman blocking him, but Toro could easily break in at the majors next year because of his bat. He'd be instantly fantasy relevant in what should continue to be a strong lineup.

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