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Hot Prospects to Watch - Season Recap

It's the final week of the regular season. It feels like it's gone by in a blur, doesn't it?

At this point in the season, you're either already done or any prospects that will make an impact this week are already owned. So in this week's list we're going to do a quick-hit, season-in-review to start planning for next season. We'll be taking a look at some of the prospects that made this list throughout the season and what their potential impact will be for next year. For this list, I will only be including who have not lost their rookie eligibility (less than 130 at-bats or fewer than 50 innings pitched), so players like Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna will not be on here. Despite that, there are some players we'll look at who could have the potential to make a significant impact in 2019.

So one more time this season, let's take a look at some hot prospects to watch.

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Same Great Taste, Zero Keller-ies

Francisco Mejia - C, San Diego Padres

Since getting the call-up this month, Mejia has been showing promise of becoming a solid fantasy catcher. Over 11 starts with San Diego, Mejia is hitting .244 with three home runs and eight RBI while posting a .853 OPS. Mejia is showing some issues with plate discipline with a 15:5 K:BB ratio, but he still has the potential to be one of the higher end catching options in NL-only leagues. The Padres still have Austin Hedges behind the plate, so it will be a battle for the starting job out of Spring Training next season, but if Mejia wins out he'll be a must-own in NL-only leagues and worth considering in 14-team mixed leagues.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

The superstar prospect that everyone was hoping to see this year, Guerrero should almost certainly (hopefully) be playing in Toronto in 2019. Despite dealing with an injury during the middle of the year, Guerrero continued to rake all the way up until the final game of the season as he posted a .381 average with 20 home runs and a 1.073 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A. Until we see what happens in Spring Training it's hard to say if or where Guerrero should be drafted, but for now plan on trying to draft him in the middle rounds of 12-team mixed and AL-only leagues. If Guerrero is named the starter at third out of Spring Training he should be considered one of the top-15 third basemen to be drafted.

Sean Reid-Foley - SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Over six starts in August and September, Reid-Foley is making a case for a spot in the starting rotation for 2019. His chances at making the team out of Spring Training will be improved this off-season with the Blue Jays unlikely to re-sign 35-year-old Marco Estrada. Reid-Foley has been somewhat inconsistent in his starts, with a couple of great performances and a couple of ugly starts. In two of his last four starts, he recorded 10 strikeouts over at least five innings with one or fewer runs allowed. In those other two starts though, Reid-Foley allowed a combined 10 runs — eight earned — over 8 2/3 innings while posting an 8:9 K:BB ratio. He'll be one of the more interesting young pitchers to watch out of Spring Training, and he could be a valuable late-round starter in AL-only and 12-team mixed leagues.

Mitch Keller - SP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Out of the four players on this list, Keller has the most hurdles to jump in order to make it to the majors in 2019. Pittsburgh currently has a full rotation with no signs of any of their starters getting bumped out. A good spring could find Keller in the rotation to start out the year, where he can be a good value starter in later rounds of drafts. He threw a career-high 142 1/3 innings in 2018 with 135 strikeouts, while posting a 4.11 ERA and 1.300 WHIP between Double-A and Triple-A. The one concern fantasy owners will need to watch is Keller's declining strikeout rate, as his K/9 has dropped in each of his last four seasons from 11.4 in 2015 to 8.5 this year. Keller can still provide solid fantasy value, just maybe not at the superstar level some people may have hoped for a few years ago.

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