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Hot Prospects To Watch - Trevor Larnach, Isan Diaz And More


We're officially into the second half of the major league season and approaching the dog days of summer. At this point, you should know by now if your team is a contender or pretender in fantasy baseball. If you're still in the running for a fantasy crown in 2019, perhaps a prospect call-up in the second half will make all the difference.

Those that were fortunate enough to swoop on Astros outfielder Yordan Alvarez or Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura know exactly what we're talking about. So who might be next? The second half usually features more youngsters getting a chance at the major league level for the first time, especially when rosters expand.

The No. 6 overall prospect, Rockies infielder Brendan Rodgers, won't be that guy. He's headed for season-ending surgery for a torn labrum in his shoulder. He failed to impress in a small sample size in his first taste of the majors, but his long-term star remains very bright.

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Twins Promote Under-The-Radar Prospect

Trevor Larnach - OF, Minnesota Twins

Minnesota's No. 4 prospect and No. 93 overall, Larnach was promoted to Double-A Pensacola on Tuesday from High-A Fort Myers after leading the Florida State League with a .316 average, an .842 OPS and 26 doubles. He also ranked second in on-base percentage (.382) and was third-best in slugging (.459). The 22-year-old had six home runs and four steals in 84 games for the Miracle.

The former Oregon State Beaver started the year off with a .244/.297/.322 slash line in 23 April games but has hit .343/.415/.513 in 61 games since. The 20th overall pick in 2018 hit .303/.390/.500 with five homers in 42 games in his first professional season in 2018.

Larnach is a corner outfielder -- he's played primarily right field this year -- with an above-average hit tool and power. He has an advanced approach at the plate and should develop more power as he matures in the Twins system. Larnach's bat should carry him quickly to the big leagues, where he could become a regular later on in 2020.

 

Skubal Blossoming At Erie

Tarik Skubal - SP, Detroit Tigers

Talk about under the radar... For a Tigers team with some of the best pitching prospects in the big leagues, including Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Franklin Perez, Alex Faedo, Kyle Funkhouser and Beau Burrows, Skubal is way down the list at No. 17 in the Tigers system. It hasn't stopped him from being one of their most dominant hurlers this year, especially since getting called up to Double-A Erie.

The 22-year-old left-hander has allowed just one earned run on four hits while walking three and striking out 21 hitters in 10 innings over two starts for Erie. In 17 starts for Erie and High-A Lakeland this year, Skubal has a 2.39 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 22 walks and 118 K's in 90 1/3 innings. He had a microscopic 0.40 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 13.3 K/9 in 22 1/3 innings with three teams in 2018 after being taken in the ninth round.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder has a mid-90s heater and complements it with an above-average curveball and average slider. Health will be key, as he already had Tommy John surgery back in 2016 while at Seattle University. Skubal is no sure thing at the next level, but he's looking good right now and could find himself in the big leagues in a year or two. Don't write him off just because his ceiling isn't as high as some of Detroit's other big-name pitchers.

 

Fish Of The Day

Isan Diaz - 2B, Miami Marlins

The 23-year-old Puerto Rican is batting a crisp .353 with three home runs, seven RBI and two stolen bases in nine games in July to raise his season line to .302/.396/.571 with 21 long balls, 71 runs, 59 RBI and four thefts in 87 games (366 plate appearances) with the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes. It's a big improvement after he hit just .232 with 13 homers and 56 RBI in 119 games over two minor league levels in 2018.

Diaz was drafted in the second round in 2014 by the D-Backs. He was sent to Milwaukee in the Jean Segura trade and landed in Miami when the Marlins sent future MVP Christian Yelich to the Brewers. He hits the ball hard to all fields and has impressive raw power with excellent bat speed for a middle infielder. Strikeouts have been his bugaboo in the minors, so he could prove volatile in the average department.

The left-handed hitter has average speed and doesn't impress on defense either. However, his offensive upside from the keystone should be attractive whenever he reaches the majors. Starlin Castro, Miami's current second baseman, could be dealt at the trade deadline, meaning Diaz might be up sooner than later as the team's future at the position. He's listed as Miami's No. 6 prospect.

 

No Bitter Beer Face Here

Seth Beer - OF/1B, Houston Astros

Can the Astros save some top prospects for the rest of the MLB teams? Not only does Seth have an outstanding last name, but all he does is hit apparently. He's batted .333/.517/.619 (7-for-21) with two homers, four RBI, five walks and four strikeouts in the last week and is hitting .324/.421/.574 overall with 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 85 games for High-A Fayetteville and Double-A Corpus Christi.

Beer was selected 28th overall last June after raking in his time with Clemson. There have been questions about his athleticism and mechanics from the left side of the plate, but Beer has silenced the critics and has gone down smooth so far like a fine ale. At least with the lumber.

The 22-year-old has very little speed to speak of and profiles best as either a first baseman or designated hitter at the next level. But if Beer continues to hit and show great plate discipline, he could see his first major league action at some point next year. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder is stout but will likely be a one-dimensional fantasy asset for his bat only.

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