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We're now in the second week of the Major League season and Opening Weekend has come and gone for full-season Minor League Baseball. Most of the top prospects have now had at least a couple games under their belts, and there have been quite a few standouts early this season.

Without a doubt, the number one prospect to watch in baseball right now is some guy on the Los Angeles Angels you may or may not have heard of who did alright last week, I guess. While people are watching him though, smart fantasy owners should keep an eye on some lesser known prospects making their way through the minors.

There have been quite a few big performances on the mound to start the minor league season, and we'll take a look at a couple notable pitchers to watch this week. Along with them are also two position players who will be getting their shot at significant playing time in the major leagues.

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Shohei the money!

RHP Travis MacGregor—West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates: Single-A)

Projected starts: at Hickory Crawdads 4/12, at Charleston RiverDogs 4/17

Getting the start for the Power on the second day of their season, MacGregor dominated the Greenville Drive offense, allowing two runs — one earned — on four hits and one walk over 5 1/3 innings while striking out a career-high 12 batters. MacGregor was roughed up last season pitching in the Appalachian League, where he posted a 7.84 ERA and 1.960 WHIP over 41 1/3 innings. Despite that he was able to increase his K/9 from 5.40 to 6.97, and his strikeout rate from 14.5 to 15.3 percent. MacGregor will have a good match-up this week against Hickory, which has 44 team strikeouts so far — fifth-most in the South Atlantic League.

C Jorge Alfaro—Philadelphia Phillies

Upcoming games: vs Cincinnati 4/10-11, vs Tampa Bay 4/13-15

Considered one of the top catching prospects in all of baseball, Alfaro has had a good start to the season so far despite limited playing time. Over five games, Alfaro has hit .286 with one home run and a .912 OPS — the fourth-highest mark among Phillies batters with at least 15 plate appearances. He has the potential to hit 15 to 20 home runs over a full season along with a handful of stolen bases and a .260 average. This next stretch of games for Alfaro should give his numbers a significant boost, as the pitching staffs for Cincinnati and Tampa Bay currently have the highest and third-highest WHIP in the league respectively.

OF Seuly Matias—Lexington Legends (Kansas City Royals: Single-A)

Upcoming games: vs Greenville 4/10-11, at Augusta 4/12-15

Matias was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, and since then he has put up decent numbers over the past two seasons. Something has clicked for Matias at the plate this season though, as he has hit .429 over the first five games while leading the South Atlantic League with four home runs and nine RBI. As a 19-year-old playing in a league where he is two years younger than the average age, this has been a great start to his 2018 campaign. This will be his first full season in pro-ball, and he has the potential to put up double-digit home runs and steals with a .250 average.

RHP Shane Bieber—Akron RubberDucks (Cleveland Indians: Double-A)

Projected starts: at Binghamton 4/10, vs Altoona 4/16

The minor leagues had a bad case of Bieber fever in 2017, as the 22-year-old had 162 strikeouts and only 10 walks over 173 1/3 innings of work. He picked up right where he left off on Opening Day, throwing six shutout innings with nine strikeouts and only two hits. Bieber is the second-highest rated pitching prospect in the Indians system behind Triston McKenzie, and he could be very close to reaching the majors if he puts up another season like his 2017 campaign.

RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani—Los Angeles Angels

Projected starts: at Kansas City 4/15, at Houston 4/23

OK, Ohtani might actually be pretty good. It's still just a small sample size, but it's hard not to get excited about his performance at the plate last week, where he was 6-for-14 with three home runs and seven RBI. Add that to his perfect-game bid on Sunday against the Athletics, where he allowed one hit and one walk with 12 strikeouts over seven innings, and it's no wonder he was chosen as the American League Player of the Week. There is no prospect in the game right now as exciting as Ohtani, and every appearance of his should be watched to see what he can do next. Ohtani will likely be penciled in as the designated hitter over the next two games in Texas and the first two games of the series in Kansas City, and he will be slated to start on the mound Sunday against the Royals.

SS Franklin Barreto—Oakland Athletics

Upcoming games: at Los Angeles (NL) 4/10-11, at Seattle 4/13-15

After a disappointing major league debut last season where he hit .197 over 76 plate appearances, Barreto was called up to Oakland on Saturday after the Athletics placed shortstop Chad Pinder on the disabled list. He played in only one game with Triple-A Nashville before the call, but he made the most of it going 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI. Barreto is arguably the top prospect in Oakland's farm system with the potential to hit .280 with 15 HR and 15 steals. While he will likely head back to Triple-A when Pinder returns, this week will be Barreto's chance to show he's ready to stay in the big leagues.

1B/DH Dan Vogelbach—Seattle Mariners

Upcoming games: at Kansas City 4/10-11, vs Oakland 4/13-15

Despite cracking the Opening Day roster out of Spring Training, Vogelbach has found himself splitting time with first baseman Ryon Healy and designated hitter Nelson Cruz. With Healy landing on the disabled list on Sunday with a sprained right ankle, Vogelbach now has the opportunity for regular playing time at first. So far Vogelbach has hit .267 with six strikeouts and a walk over 16 plate appearances, but given the chance he has the potential to hit 20 home runs with a .285 or better average. Going up against the Royals and Athletics this week should give him a chance to launch his first major league home run, as their pitching staffs are among the bottom-11 in the league in HR/9.





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