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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 beginning the season in Double-A or lower.

Editor's Note: Stay on top of our MLB off-season news and fantasy analysis all year round. Read our daily fantasy columns about MLB prospects, dynasty outlooks, player outlooks and much more. It's always fantasy baseball season here. Let's Go!

 

Minor Leaguers to Watch in Dynasty

Peter Alonso - 1B, New York Mets (AA)

Alonso has broken out in the early-going of 2018, pacing the Eastern League in OPS (1.119) and sitting in the top five in homers (nine), RBI (30) and runs (25), as well as each of the three main rate stats. Alonso is the Mets’ fourth-rated prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and the No. 7 first base prospect in all of baseball. He has always possessed a ton of raw power, but an improved approach has allowed his hit tool to become above average, as well. The 23-year-old owns an impressive 0.83 BB/K this season, and has nearly doubled his line drive rate from a year ago (18.5 percent, up from 10.5 percent). He is a non-threat on the bases, but has enough in his bat to find success in the big leagues. Adrian Gonzalez has not gotten the job done for the Mets through the first six-plus weeks of the season, and management appears hesitant to throw Jay Bruce into a new position beyond the occasional start. If the team decides to promote a first baseman this season, don’t be shocked if it’s Alonso rather than Dominic Smith.

Austin Riley - 3B, Atlanta Braves (AAA)

Riley was just called up to Triple-A, so he may begin to garner more attention in dynasty leagues, but his Double-A numbers should have already put him on some radars. He slashed .330/.394/.635 with six homers and 21 RBI in 31 games before the promotion-- his 1.071 OPS was the best mark among Southern League hitters. After a modest first week with Gwinnett, he belted three homers with eight RBI Sunday afternoon against Norfolk, and now owns a 1.077 OPS across his first 31 PA. Like Alonso, Riley provides next to nothing on the bases, but should hit for both average and power at the highest level. MLB Pipeline gives him an ETA of 2019, but a strong showing in Gwinnett could land the 21-year-old in the bigs by late summer-- especially if the Jose Bautista experiment doesn’t work out.

Brian Miller - OF, Miami Marlins (A Adv)

Miller’s tools may not jump off the charts, but all he’s done at every level is hit:

.322/.419/.453 in college
.322/.384/.416 in Low-A
.326/.364/.383 in High-A

Miller is always a threat on the basepaths, having stolen at least 20 bases in each of his sophomore and junior years at Chapel Hill, as well as his first season in professional baseball-- not to mention he’s already swiped 12 bags through the first month of 2018. It’s unknown how much power the 6’1”, 186-lb outfielder will develop, but his scouting report is eerily similar to that of Christian Yelich-- advanced approach, above-average speed, high ground ball tendencies, line drive power, extensive range in outfield. Yelich is bigger, more athletic and has a better arm, but there’s reason to believe Miller can thrive in the Marlins organization in the same way Yelich did. Even if he’s blocked in center field by Lewis Brinson, Miller, a former walk-on at UNC, can find a way to exceed expectations and reach the big leagues sooner rather than later.

Touki Toussaint - RHP, Atlanta Braves (AA)

Lost in the Braves’ endless abyss of talented, young arms, Toussaint is quietly making a strong case for a future rotation spot in Atlanta. Though he struggled in some of the lower levels of the minor leagues (5.04 ERA across 105.1 IP in High-A), the 21-year-old righty has cleaned up his mechanics a bit over the last year. He currently owns a 3.19 ERA with 48 strikeouts over 36.2 innings pitched for the Mississippi Braves. Toussaint has some of the best pure stuff in the minor leagues -- headlined by a high-90s fastball and a devastating curveball -- and further refinement of his command could set him apart from some of his fellow Braves prospects. Even with a ton of competition, Toussaint is worth keeping tabs on in all dynasty formats. His floor sees him landing in a late relief role, but he maintains the upside to become a front-end starter in the not-so-distant future.

Dennis Santana - RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (AA)

Santana has been in the Dodgers’ organization since 2013, slowly moving up the ladder to Double-A. He leads the Texas League in strikeouts this season, having fanned 48 of the 137 batters he has faced for a massive 35.0 percent strikeout rate. The 22-year-old righty also owns a 2.12 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP, and is coming off an outing against the Memphis Redbirds in which he yielded just one run with 11 strikeouts over six frames. Santana possesses a mid-90s, sinking fastball and a hard slider that can pass as an out pitch, but he still needs to develop at least a third major league offering and improve his command. His best case scenario would be following in the mold of Chris Archer, who mainly utilizes just two pitches and, despite some original concerns surrounding his future as a starter, has managed to find success in Tampa Bay’s rotation. Santana could make his way to Los Angeles at some point next season.

 

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