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Hot Prospects To Watch - Mackenzie Gore, Bo Bichette And More


We hope you're enjoying this week's short break from Major League contests. The action hasn't stopped completely, though, with the Futures Game taking place on Sunday, a wild Home Run Derby on Monday night and the 2019 Midsummer Classic on Tuesday. There's a little bit of everything for the avid baseball fan.

For those playing in dynasty and keeper leagues, the Futures Game is always a must-watch to check out the rising crop of potential superstars. A lot of the young names that played on Sunday at Progressive Field in Cleveland are already worth stashing in dynasty/keeper leagues for their massive upside, even if they may not debut in the big leagues until 2020 or later.

We've already touched on most of the players that were selected to the National League and American League squads for the Futures Game, including guys like Jo Adell, Nate Pearson, Jarred Kelenic, Wander Franco, Jarren Duran, Brady Singer, Matt Manning, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal and Deivi Garcia, just to name a few. Check out the recap of the 2-2 tie. Moving on...

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Top Southpaw Prospect Finally Promoted

MacKenzie Gore - SP, San Diego Padres

Baseball's top-ranked left-hander had a scoreless inning in the Futures Game and was promoted to the Double-A Amarillo Sod Poodles of the Texas League on Tuesday. It was a bit overdue, as Gore was dominating at High-A Lake Elsinore with a 1.02 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, .135 average against and 38.2 percent strikeout rate in his 79 1/3 innings. It was especially impressive in the hitter-friendly California League.

The third overall pick in the 2017 draft is ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect by MLB.com and has a very unique delivery that features a high leg kick that creates deception for the hitter. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound lefty has a four-pitch mix that includes a mid-90s fastball, a curveball and a devastating slider and changeup. Gore also rarely gives hitters free passes, walking only 20 hitters in his time with Lake Elsinore.

It's saying something that Gore was ranked as the top overall left-handed pitcher this year and started the year in Single-A. He's just that good, but the Padres aren't rushing him. He is a front-of-the-rotation arm when he eventually arrives in the majors, so he's definitely worth stashing now in deeper dynasty leagues. If he continues to pitch well at Double-A to close out the year and stays healthy into 2020, there's a chance we could see him as soon as next year in SD's rotation.

 

Junior Blue Jays Making Noise

Bo Bichette - SS, Toronto Blue Jays

If it weren't for a broken hand earlier this year, Bichette might already be in Toronto alongside Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The 21-year-old has hit .320/.380/.520 with five home runs, 25 RBI, 27 runs scored and 12 stolen bases in 38 games (167 plate appearances) for Triple-A Buffalo this season. In the last week he's been heating up, batting .412 with four doubles, two homers, seven RBI and two steals in 34 at-bats.

The son of former All-Star slugger Dante Bichette, Bo is the Blue Jays' top prospect and comes in at No. 8 overall. He's the third-ranked shortstop prospect in all of baseball with pure hitting ability. Bichette was the team's second-round selection in 2016. He led the Eastern League in 2018 at Double-A in hits (154), doubles (43), extra-base hits (61), runs scored (95) and total bases (244). Bichette has already played in two Futures Games.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder packs raw power in his violent but controlled swing and generates line-drive contact to all fields. He's not known for his speed, but Bichette managed to rank second in the Eastern League last year with 32 swipes. He's making progress defensively at the 6, but he could eventually move to the keystone at the next level. There's no guarantee we'll see him with Toronto in the second half, but he'll definitely be up in 2020 at the latest, and he should make an immediate fantasy impact in all leagues.

Griffin Conine - OF, Toronto Blue Jays

The son of former All-Star Jeff Conine, Griffin is doing his best to follow in his dad's footsteps by hitting .336/.418/.664 with 10 long balls, 28 RBI, 27 runs scored and a stolen base in 34 games (146 plate appearances) for Low-A Lansing this year. He missed the first 50 games of the minor league season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Like Bichette, Conine is making up for lost time, hitting .478 with three doubles, two homers and seven RBI in his last 23 at-bats over the last week-plus. Ranked as Toronto's No. 14 prospect by MLB.com, Conine isn't a highly touted prospect like Bichette, but he's making a case for a promotion if he continues to hit like this.

Raw power is the 21-year-old left-handed hitter's calling card, and he also has a plus arm from the outfield. The second-round pick in 2018 could have swing-and-miss concerns as he advances to the higher levels, and his below-average speed for an outfielder will confine him to the corners. Conine must improve his plate discipline, but the power is for real and he obviously has the MLB pedigree. He's a watch-lister in dynasty/keeper leagues for now.

 

Lux Finding Recipe For Success

Gavin Lux - SS/2B, Los Angeles Dodgers

Lux, another Futures Game participant, was promoted from Double-A Tulsa to Triple-A Oklahoma City at the end of June after hitting .313 with 13 home runs, seven doubles, four triples, 37 RBI, 45 runs scored and seven steals in 64 games (259 at-bats) for the Drillers. In his first seven games for OKC in the Pacific Coast League, Lux is 15-for-30 (.500) with a homer, four RBI and five doubles. It's safe to say he's transitioned well.

The 20th overall pick in 2016, the 21-year-old stands at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds and is the team's No. 2 prospect and No. 31 overall. He led all minor league shortstops last season with a slash line of .324/.399/.514 and reached Double-A at just 20 years old. The left-handed swinger has added some power in 2019 and also possesses an advanced approach at the plate with a good knowledge of the strike zone.

Even if he's not hitting for power at the next level, Lux should be able to hit for a decent average due to his knack for making consistent contact. His wheels -- he has the potential to be a 20-20 player in the big leagues -- make him even more intriguing in the middle infield. Lux has the tools to stick at shortstop, but the Dodgers also have the option of moving him to second base in 2020 with Corey Seager at shortstop.

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