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For those who play in dynasty leagues, checking minor league box scores and league leaders can become a daily routine. But it's not just the guys knocking on the door who are worth a look.

There are plenty of enticing players in the lower levels of the minor leagues who could hold value in many dynasty leagues-- whether they are long-term projects or project as quick risers.

In this recurring series, I will be discussing players who could be worth monitoring despite not yet reaching Triple-A. Here are five guys who began the season in High-A and are off to hot starts.

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Minor Leaguers to Watch in Dynasty

Hudson Potts - 3B/SS, San Diego Padres (A Adv)

Potts has flown under the radar a bit throughout his first couple of years in professional baseball. This may have something to do with the fact that when the Padres plucked him off the board in the late first round back in 2016, he was going by the name Hudson Sanchez. It could also be because he belted just a single home run across 267 plate appearances in that 2016 season. Potts found his power stroke in 2017 -- 18 long balls from June 1 through the end of the year -- and appears to be putting it all together in High-A this season. The 19-year-old right-hander is slashing .354/.400/.600 with three homers and a massive .441 wOBA through 70 plate appearances for Lake Elsinore. None of his tools are off the charts, but he makes consistent hard contact and possesses raw power that remains untapped. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias hog all the attention, but Potts should be able to join them in the big league infield before long.

Khalil Lee - OF, Kansas City Royals (A Adv)

Lee may still be a couple of years away, but Royals fans are hoping he is the guy to make them forget about Lorenzo Cain skipping town. The former third-round pick possesses a strong power/speed combination, but neither tool is very refined-- he registered a 32.1 percent strikeout rate and was caught on 18 of his 38 stolen base attempts in 2017. He is coming off a 17 HR/20 SB age-19 season, however, and has already racked up two homers and five steals in his first 72 plate appearances this year, managing a .953 OPS and .441 wOBA. With this kind of raw talent, some discipline, both at the plate and on the basepaths, can turn the Royals’ top prospect into a truly special fantasy player. While it is early, it’s worth noting that Lee’s walk rate and strikeout rate are currently miles better than they were last year, and he has yet to be thrown out on the bases.

Joe Dunand - SS/3B, Miami Marlins (A Adv)

When Dunand was drafted by the Marlins in the second round of the 2017 draft, he was widely referred to as “A-Rod’s nephew.” However, the North Carolina State product has begun making a name for himself in his brief time in professional baseball. He spent just five games in rookie ball before jumping to High-A late last season, slashing .370/.471/.667 in 34 PA (yes, tiny sample size) across the two levels before a season-ending finger injury. The 22-year-old has continued to torment A-ball pitchers, posting a .913 OPS (.402 wOBA) and driving in 19 runs on two homers through 72 PA. Dunand, who has obvious power and a solid hit tool that could become above-average as he gains experience in the higher levels, projects to be a four-category contributor within a couple of years.

Griffin Canning - RHP, Los Angeles Angels (AA)

Canning only lasted until the second round in 2017 because of concerns regarding his medial history, but there was clear first-round talent. The soon-to-be 22-year-old was held out of games during the 2017 season, but didn’t miss a beat to begin 2018. He was promoted to Double-A just 8.2 innings into his professional career, and while he has yielded five earned runs in his first eight innings with Mobile, he should have no problem adjusting to any level of competition. Canning has a strong arsenal of pitches -- highlighted by a back-breaking changeup -- all of which he mixes and commands well. He is more of the more advanced arms in the lower levels, and should work his way up fairly quickly.

Dane Dunning - RHP, Chicago White Sox (A Adv)

Perhaps the forgotten man in the blockbuster deal that sent Adam Eaton to Washington two offseasons ago, Dunning might just end up being the best of the three pitchers on the other end of the trade. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez likely have better raw stuff -- both can reach the upper 90s -- and a higher ceiling, but both have inconsistent in the big leagues. Dunning employs a plus sinker that helps him induce better than a 50 percent groundball rate year in and year out, and he has impeccable command that not only prevents him from walking many batters (6.3 percent walk rate last year), but also allows him to put hitters away without overwhelming velocity (27.8 percent strikeout rate). The 23-year-old owns a 2.59 ERA in 24.1 IP in High-A, and it’s just a matter of time before he makes the jump to Birmingham. He’s a mature pitcher who is already old for his level, so don’t be surprised if Dunning flies up the pipeline and lands on a big league roster by next season.

 

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