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Hot Prospects to Watch Week 17: Gonsolin, Ray, Rutherford

It's getting closer to the trade deadline and we're starting to see prospects finding new teams as star players go on the move.

Francisco Mejia is the biggest name prospect to have been traded already, heading to San Diego in the deal that netted Cleveland Brad Hand and Adam Cimber. The Dodgers sent a package of prospects headlined by Yusniel Diaz to the Orioles for Manny Machado, and the Yankees acquired Zach Britton for a trio of pitching prospects. There are several teams in contention looking to make a playoff push, so we could be seeing some more big name prospects on the move here shortly.

With more trades sure to come, it's a good idea for dynasty owners to keep an eye on some of these hot prospects who could either find a new home or have a path to the majors open up for them over the next week.

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Gon(solin) with the Wind

SP Tony Gonsolin — Tulsa Drillers (Double-A: Los Angeles Dodgers)

Projected starts: at Arkansas 7/26, at Springfield  7/31

After spending his first two seasons in the minors as a late-inning reliever, the Dodgers moved Gonsolin into the starting rotation this year where he has thrived in what is becoming a career-year for the 24-year-old. Over 19 starts between Single-A Advanced and Double-A, Gonsolin has compiled a 6-2 record with a 2.73 ERA and 11.4 K/9 over 95 2/3 innings. Gonsolin has been on a particularly hot streak over his last six starts, allowing only seven earned runs over 33 innings while striking out at least seven batters in each start. Having recently made the jump to Double-A, Gonsolin has continued to put up similar numbers to the beginning of the season, albeit his only two starts with Tulsa so far have come against two of the worst offenses in the Texas League. His upcoming start against Springfield will be a game fantasy owners will want to monitor closely, as the Cardinals have the third-highest scoring offense in the league,


OF Blake Rutherford — Winston-Salem Dash (Single-A Advanced: Chicago White Sox)

Upcoming games: vs Frederick 7/26, at Salem 7/27-29

Rutherford's production dropped off in the second half of last season following his trade to the White Sox, but he seems to have rebounded from that in his first year in the Carolina League. Over nearly 100 fewer plate appearances, Rutherford is within two hits of matching his 2017 total, as jumped from two home runs to six and has improved from 10 steals to 13. He has also increased his batting average by 40 points to .304 — sixth-best in the Carolina League — and his on-base plus slugging percentage by 130 points. While his walk rate has dipped slightly from 8.6 to 6.4 percent, his strikeout rate has remained virtually the same while all of his other stats have gone up this year. At 21 years old, Rutherford still has time to develop into a solid fantasy outfielder who can provide a high average with about 15 home runs and 20 steals per year.


OF Corey Ray — Biloxi Shuckers (Double-A: Milwaukee Brewers)

Upcoming games: at Jackson 7/25-27, at Pensacola 7/28-8-1

After the Brewers sent Monte Harrison and Lewis Brinson to the Marlins this off-season, Ray quickly jumped to the top of the team's outfield prospect rankings. The former first round pick for the Brewers has put together the best year of his career in his third season in the minors. In almost 50 fewer at-bats, Ray has nearly tripled last season's home run total with 20 this year while also increasing his stolen base total from 24 to 32. Ray's production spike has been helped by the hot streak he has been riding over the last two weeks, as he is hitting .351 with a 1.290 OPS while hitting eight home runs and stealing 11 bases over 63 plate appearances. While all those numbers look good on paper, what looks even better for the 23-year-old is his improvements to his walk and strikeout rates this year. Making the jump to Double-A this season, Ray has raised his walk rate from 9.5 to 11 percent while lowering his strikeout rate from 31 to 27.2 percent. Ray doesn't appear to be destined to hit for a high average, as this year's .258 average is just slightly over his career ,246 average, but he can still provide value in fantasy as a potential 20-25 or 20-30 player outfielder once he reaches the majors.


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