Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
News and Alerts

Prospects to Know in 2021 - AL Central

fantasy baseball prospects MLB prospects rookies call-ups

The Super Bowl is over and we are officially on to baseball season! So what better way to celebrate the new baseball year than by talking about prospects?

Last week, I took a look at the prospects to know in the NL Central. This week we're switching leagues and taking a look at five prospects to know in the AL Central. Last year saw Luis Robert break out with a monster rookie season for the White Sox, Willi Castro put up a good second half for the Tigers and James Karinchak emerged as the closer of the future in Cleveland. This year we've got a bunch of former first-round picks who could be ready to make an impact in fantasy — including a former No. 3 overall pick.

Can they live up to their draft positions and match or exceed what we saw out of the AL Central rookies in 2020? Let's find out.

Featured Promo: Get any full-season MLB and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Team Sync platform, Premium articles, daily Matchup Rating projections, 15 lineup tools, DFS cheat sheets, Research Stations, Lineup Optimizers and much more! Go Premium, Win More!


Chicago White Sox: Andrew Vaughn, 1B (ADP 310)

Highest Level: A+
2019 stats: 55 G, .278/.384/.449, 6 HR, 36 RBI, 15.5 K%, 12.2 BB%

The hype is growing around the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft. After splitting time between Rookie League, Single-A and High-A in 2019, Vaughn was receiving much praise for his hitting ability and power while playing at the White Sox alternate site last year. Much of the speculation now has Vaughn competing this spring for the designated hitter role in the Opening Day lineup, and even if he doesn't get the role right away he'll likely be getting the call very early into the season according to MLB.com writer Scott Merkin.

Vaughn played three games in the Arizona League before splitting the rest of his time between Kannapolis and Winston-Salem in his debut year. He showed consistency at the plate with nearly identical numbers between Single-A and High-A:

Winston-Salem (A+) 29 .252 .349 .411 3 21 13.5 12.7
Kannapolis (A) 23 .253 .388 .410 2 11 17.5 13.6

The on-base percentage and walk rate took a slight dip following his promotion to High-A, but he also improved his strikeout rate at Winston-Salem. Vaughn is looking like he could be a good, power-hitting first baseman with a solid average, and he could end up being one of the better value picks in late rounds. Managers should keep an eye on how he performs during Spring Training, but he could be a good player to draft and stash on the bench until he gets a full-time role — as it appears to be a matter of when he gets it and not if he will.


Cleveland Indians: Triston McKenzie, RHP (ADP 186)

Highest Level: MLB
2020 stats: 8 G, 6 GS, 2-1, 3.24 ERA, 0.900 WHIP, 33.1 K%, 7.1 BB%, 33.1 IP

With the departures of Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger, McKenzie could end up being the second-best pitcher in the Cleveland rotation this year. Despite missing all of 2019 due to lat and pectoral muscle strains, McKenzie looked sharp in his major league debut last year with a 10-strikeout performance over six innings of one-run ball against the Tigers. He continued to put up great strikeout numbers to the tune of a 33.1 percent strikeout rate, which ranked him 11th in the majors among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched. And those strikeout numbers don't appear to be a fluke, as he only has one season in the minors where he didn't post at least a 30 percent strikeout rate and 12 percent swinging strike rate. In 2018, he only recorded a 24 percent strikeout rate and 10.1 swinging strike rate at Double-A.

Looking into some of his numbers a little deeper it appears he did get slightly lucky at times, but not significantly so as his .205 xBA and .422 xSLG were higher than his actual marks by only 26 and 54 points respectively. His 3.64 xERA was also only a slight tick up from his 3.24 ERA. Something to keep an eye on though is how will McKenzie respond to working more innings this year. It appears that Cleveland kept him on somewhat of a pitch limit last year, which seems appropriate after missing all of 2019 plus the lack of Spring Training or a minor league season. Out of his six starts, only three saw McKenzie pitch at least five full innings as he appeared to have a limit of somewhere around 80 pitches or so. But even with some potential regression McKenzie will still be a great source of strikeouts in fantasy this year, and managers might want to consider drafting him a round or two earlier than he's currently going — even as high as picking him ahead of Frankie Montas who currently has an ADP of 155.


Detroit Tigers: Matt Manning, RHP (ADP 377)

Highest Level: AA
2019 stats: 24 GS, 11-5, 2.56 ERA, 0.980 WHIP, 28.1 K%, 7.2 BB%, 133.2 IP

Detroit saw top pitching prospects Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal make their big league debuts last year, and Manning was all set to join them until he was shut down due to a right forearm strain. Manning was able to avoid surgery though, and now he's set to make his debut some time in 2021. Current speculation has Manning as unlikely to make the Opening Day roster, but he'll likely get a call up early on in the season after the Tigers can secure another year of control for him. Manning brings a lot of strikeout potential to the table, as he owns a career 30.3 percent strikeout rate over four years in the minors and has never recorded a rate below 28 percent. On top of the strikeout rates, Manning has also shown better control in each stop while climbing through the minor leagues. Since posting an 11.5 percent walk rate and 1.294 WHIP between Low-A and Single-A in 2017, Manning watched those numbers improve to a 7.2 percent walk rate and 0.980 WHIP at Double-A in 2019.

Manning reached the 100 innings pitched mark in both 2018 and 2019, so in theory he would be able to dive right in for a full season's workload in 2021. But that forearm strain that shut him down — despite reports that he is healthy and it is no longer an issue — could end up having Detroit take things slow with him. Fellow Tigers pitching prospect Alex Faedo was shut down around the same time as Manning with a forearm strain as well, and Faedo ended up having to undergo Tommy John surgery — something Detroit will be looking to avoid with Manning. Assuming that Manning is fully healthy and there are no limits placed on him this year, he could end up being one of the top rookie pitchers in the American League in 2021. Manning should be a top target to acquire in dynasty formats, and in deeper leagues he is a good late-round pick to stash on the bench until his call up. In shallower leagues managers should wait until he officially gets promoted, at which point he should be the number one target off the waiver-wire.


Kansas City Royals: Jackson Kowar, RHP (ADP 693)

Highest Level: AA
2019 stats: 26 GS, 7-10, 3.52 ERA, 1.240 WHIP,  23.2 K%, 6.9 BB%, 148.1 IP

Kowar threw 148.1 innings across 26 starts between High-A and Double-A in 2019, marking his highest single-season total in both his collegiate and professional careers. And even with an increased workload while jumping up two levels, Kowar managed to show improvement from his debut performance in 2018. He saw his strikeout rate improve from 20.6 percent in 2018 to 23.2 percent, while his walk rate dropped from 11.2 to 6.9 percent. Between High-A and Double-A, Kowar's numbers were better at Double-A as he posted a 25.2 percent strikeout rate and a 6.8 percent walk rate at Northwest Arkansas to go along with a 3.51 ERA and 1.265 WHIP.

If there had been a minor league season in 2020 Kowar would have probably had a good shot at cracking the Opening Day roster, but instead he is one of the numerous prospects who have had their potential major league arrivals delayed because of it. As it stands now, Kowar will likely start off the year back in the minors, although he will get a chance to show his stuff this spring as he is one of the Royals non-roster invites to Spring Training. All that being said though Kowar could still make his way to Kansas City sooner than later this year, as the Royals don't exactly have the most solidified rotation right now. Managers in dynasty formats should start looking into stashing Kowar for when he finally gets the call, but managers in redraft leagues shouldn't bother drafting him now, barring a stellar Spring Training performance. Once he gets called up though managers should look at him as a solid streaming option, and if he can string together a couple of good starts in a row he could quickly become rosterable in most formats.


Minnesota Twins: Alex Kirilloff, OF (ADP 274)

Highest Level: AA
2019 stats: 94 G, .283/.343/.413, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 7 SB, 18.5 K%, 7.1 BB%

One of the most heralded hitting prospects in the Minnesota system, Kirilloff has been hampered by injuries in the minors. His first season in 2016 ended early when he suffered a torn UCL which required him to undergo Tommy John surgery and forced him to miss all of 2017. He shone at the plate in 2018 during his first year of full-season ball, where he slashed .348/.392/.578 with 20 home runs and 101 RBI in 130 games between Single-A and High-A. But he started off 2019 on the injured list at Double-A with a wrist injury, which was likely a contributing factor to the drop in his triple-slash line down to .283/.343/.413 in 94 games. He also saw his strikeout rate increase to 18.5 percent in 2019, which was up from his 15.3 percent mark in 2018.

Reports out of the Twins alternate site last year said that Kirilloff was putting on a hitting clinic, and he eventually made his major league debut in the Twins' Wild Card Game against the Astros where he finished 1-for-4 at the plate. Now with Eddie Rosario signing with Cleveland, Kirilloff has a good shot at securing a starting role in the outfield in Minnesota out of Spring Training. Assuming he remains healthy he should hit for a good average and be a good source of power, with a floor of 15 homers and a .270 average and the potential to far surpass that. He will probably be the second-most likely guy on this week's list to crack the Opening Day roster as a starter behind McKenzie, and he could be a very interesting late-round flyer in most formats.

Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy baseball app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, sleepers, prospects & more. All free!

More 2021 Fantasy Baseball Advice


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
News and Alerts




Jalen Suggs4 mins ago

Won't Return On Wednesday
Dante Exum8 mins ago

Makes First Start Of The Season
Nick Richards14 mins ago

Starting On Wednesday
Alex Caruso17 mins ago

Available For Wednesday's Game
Taysom Hill31 mins ago

Dealing With Foot, Hand Injuries
Jonathan Taylor43 mins ago

No Practice For Jonathan Taylor Wednesday
Dallas Goedert58 mins ago

Practicing In Full
Zach Charbonnet1 hour ago

Kenneth Walker III, Zach Charbonnet Miss Practice Wednesday
Najee Harris2 hours ago

Optimism That Najee Harris Will Play In Week 14
Juan Yepez2 hours ago

Agrees To Minors Deal With Nationals
Derek Carr2 hours ago

Back On The Field Wednesday
Willie Calhoun2 hours ago

Angels Sign Willie Calhoun To Minor-League Deal
Puka Nacua2 hours ago

Listed As Limited For Wednesday's Practice
De'Anthony Melton2 hours ago

Will Play On Wednesday
Dean Wade3 hours ago

Will Return Wednesday In Limited Capacity
Landry Shamet3 hours ago

Will Not Suit Up Against 76ers
D'Andre Swift3 hours ago

Practices On Wednesday
Anthony Edwards3 hours ago

Has Been Upgraded To Active On Wednesday
Grant Williams3 hours ago

Receives Questionable Tag Against Jazz
Justin Jefferson3 hours ago

"On Track" To Return On Sunday
Mark Williams3 hours ago

Tagged As Questionable On Wednesday
Breece Hall3 hours ago

Unable To Practice Wednesday
Bam Adebayo3 hours ago

Ruled Out On Wednesday
Dawson Knox3 hours ago

Dalton Kincaid Practicing In Full
DeVante Parker3 hours ago

JuJu Smith-Schuster Both Questionable
Kayshon Boutte3 hours ago

Demario Douglas, Kayshon Boutte Won't Face Steelers
Rhamondre Stevenson3 hours ago

Officially Ruled Out For Week 14
Najee Harris4 hours ago

Questionable To Play Thursday Night
Erasmo RamĂ­rez4 hours ago

Erasmo Ramirez Re-Signs With Rays
Aaron Judge4 hours ago

Could Be Regular Center Fielder
Connor Seabold4 hours ago

Rockies Release Connor Seabold
New York Yankees4 hours ago

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Expected To Meet With Yankees Monday
Dylan Cease4 hours ago

White Sox Have High Asking Price For Dylan Cease
Trent Grisham4 hours ago

Expected To Be Shipped To Yankees
Bryce Harper5 hours ago

Hoping To Discuss Another Long-Term Deal
Craig Kimbrel5 hours ago

Orioles Agree To One-Year Deal
Mason Plumlee5 hours ago

Not Close To Returning
Tari Eason5 hours ago

Iffy To Play With Illness
Dalton Schultz5 hours ago

Returns To Practice
Bradley Beal5 hours ago

Suns Optimistic Bradley Beal Could Return Next Week
Cleveland Browns5 hours ago

Browns Undecided On Starting QB In Week 14
Kyrie Irving5 hours ago

Tim Hardaway Jr. Both Active Against Jazz
Dorian Thompson-Robinson5 hours ago

Expected To Practice
Kristaps Porzingis5 hours ago

Fully Practices, Targeting Return Friday
Darren Waller5 hours ago

Hopes To Return Next Week
Dallas Goedert6 hours ago

Sounds Ready To Return In Week 14
Hayden Hurst6 hours ago

Returns To Practice Wednesday
Frankie Montas6 hours ago

Fully Healthy
Michael A. Taylor6 hours ago

Receiving Interest From Reds, Red Sox, Blue Jays
A.J. Puk6 hours ago

To Be Stretched Out As A Starter
Eduardo Rodriguez6 hours ago

Expected To Have Decision By Thursday
Oakland Athletics6 hours ago

Mitch Spence Taken First In Rule 5 Draft
Dylan Coleman6 hours ago

Goes From Royals To Astros
DJ LeMahieu7 hours ago

Is The Team's Starting Third Baseman
Jake Cronenworth7 hours ago

Another Trade Candidate For Padres
Juan Soto7 hours ago

To Yankees "Close To Being Finalized"
Nathan MacKinnon9 hours ago

Extends Scoring Streak With Three-Point Effort
Tomas Hertl9 hours ago

Posts Sixth Career Hat Trick
Vladimir Tarasenko10 hours ago

Shines In Win Over Rangers
J.T. Miller10 hours ago

Grabs Three Points In Loss Versus New Jersey
Jack Hughes10 hours ago

Continues Tear Versus Canucks
Matt Boldy10 hours ago

Notches Three Points In Tuesday's Win
Devin Vassell10 hours ago

Probable For Wednesday
Landry Shamet10 hours ago

Questionable For Wednesday's Game
Dean Wade11 hours ago

Listed As Questionable Wednesday
Caris LeVert11 hours ago

Sits Out Second Consecutive Game
Jonathan Isaac11 hours ago

Questionable For Wednesday's Matchup
Michael Tonkin19 hours ago

Agrees To Big-League Deal With Mets
Luis GarcĂ­a19 hours ago

Angels Sign Luis Garcia To One-Year Deal
Connor Ingram1 day ago

Takes Winning Streak To Five Games With Second Shutout
Clayton Keller1 day ago

Records Hat Trick Of Assists
Travis Konecny1 day ago

Logs Two Assists In Monday's Win
Anthony Cirelli1 day ago

Nets Two Goals As Tampa Bay Ends Slide
Andrei Vasilevskiy1 day ago

Bounces Back In Style On Monday
Nikolaj Ehlers1 day ago

Takes Down Hurricanes
Beneil Dariush2 days ago

Suffers First-Round Knockout Loss At UFC Austin
Beneil Dariush2 days ago

Arman Tsarukyan Knocks Out Beneil Dariush In 64 Seconds
Jalin Turner2 days ago

Gets Back In The Win Column
Bobby Green2 days ago

Gets Knocked Out In The First Round
Punahele Soriano2 days ago

Dustin Stoltzfus Submits Punahele Soriano
Punahele Soriano2 days ago

Loses Back-To-Back Fights
Nathan MacKinnon2 days ago

Pushes Point Streak To Eight Games
Quinton Byfield2 days ago

Pots Two Goals Against Colorado
Alex Tuch2 days ago

Exits With Injury
Artemi Panarin2 days ago

Amasses Four Points In Sunday's Win
Mats Zuccarello2 days ago

Shines As Wild Keep Improving
Brad Marchand2 days ago

Scores First Natural Hat Trick
Clay Guida3 days ago

Falls To .500 In The UFC
Joaquim Silva3 days ago

Gets Decision Win At UFC Austin
Kelvin Gastelum3 days ago

Submitted In Welterweight Return
Jordan Greenway3 days ago

Won't Play On Sunday
Sean Brady3 days ago

Returns To Win Column
Rob Font3 days ago

1-4 In Last Five Fights After Loss At UFC Austin
Deiveson Figueiredo3 days ago

Wins Bantamweight Debut
Cale Makar3 days ago

Out On Sunday
Cole Sillinger3 days ago

To Miss Another Game
Beneil Dariush5 days ago

Arman Tsarukyan A Favorite Over Beneil Dariush At UFC Austin
Beneil Dariush5 days ago

Has A Dangerous Task In Front Of Him
Bobby Green5 days ago

Looking For Third Win In A Row
Jalin Turner5 days ago

A Favorite At UFC Austin
Dustin Stoltzfus5 days ago

In Dire Need Of Victory
Punahele Soriano5 days ago

Looking To Return To Win Column


Taysom Hill - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, Draft Sleepers

Week 14 Half-PPR Tight End Rankings for Fantasy Football: Pat Freiermuth, Isaiah Likely, Taysom Hill, Cole Kmet, more

RotoBallers! Week 14 has arrived. With only one week left until the fantasy playoffs, it's win or go home for some fantasy managers. Tight end has been a very volatile position this season, and for managers playing the streaming game, RotoBaller has you covered with our Week 14 half-PPR tight end rankings for fantasy football.  Fantasy... Read More

Diontae Johnson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Week 14 Half-PPR Wide Receiver Rankings for Fantasy Football: Puka Nacua, Noah Brown, Diontae Johnson, Brandin Cooks

Howdy RotoBallers! The NFL season is flying by, and we are already in the last week of the regular fantasy football season. It's time to lock down that playoff spot and set the most optimal lineup for Week 14. Today, we will review our Week 14 half-PPR wide receiver rankings for fantasy football. Only two... Read More

Week 14 Fantasy Football Start/Sit Analysis: Running Backs, Tight Ends Booms and Busts

Check out our top 2023 fantasy football Start/Sit analysis for Week 14 of the NFL season! Matt Donnelly discusses his top Start/Sit decisions at the Running Back and Tight End positions that will have an impact in Week 14. The 2023 fantasy football season is here - win big with RotoBaller in 2023! Be sure... Read More

Panic Mode: Week 14 Fantasy Football Busts, Start/Sit Concerns and Analysis for Justin Herbert, Terry McLaurin, D'Andre Swift, and more (2023

The 2023 fantasy football season continues with our Week 14 "Panic Mode" analysis. Jorden Hill digs into players that have disappointed so far and have some fantasy football managers in "Panic Mode". He analyzes some difficult Cut List Candidates and Start/Sit decisions for Week 14 of the 2023 fantasy football season. Be sure to tune... Read More

Ezekiel Elliott - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, NFL Injury News

Week 14 Half-PPR Running Back Rankings for Fantasy Football: Ezekiel Elliott, De'Von Achane, Jaylen Warren, David Montgomery

Hey RotoBallers, Week 14 is here! We are back with more fantasy football advice. It's crunch time, as it's the last week of the fantasy football regular season. Thankfully, only two teams are on the bye, with the Commanders and Cardinals off this week. It's time to set those winning lineups with our NFL team's... Read More

Week 14 Fantasy Football Start/Sit Analysis: Wide Receiver, Quarterback Booms and Busts

Check out our top 2023 fantasy football Start/Sit analysis for Week 14 of the NFL season! Matt Donnelly discusses his top Start/Sit decisions at the Wide Receiver and Quarterback positions that will have an impact in Week 14. The 2023 fantasy football season is here - win big with RotoBaller in 2023! Be sure to... Read More

Gardner Minshew - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Week 14 Quarterback Rankings for Fantasy Football: Jordan Love, Joshua Dobbs, Gardner Minshew, Mitch Trubisky, more

Week 14 is finally here, the last week of the fantasy football regular season. Injuries continue to hit the quarterback position. Trevor Lawrence (ankle) is dealing with a high-ankle sprain but has yet to be ruled out for Week 14. At the same time, Kenny Pickett underwent successful tightrope surgery to address a right high-ankle sprain and is expected... Read More

Fantasy Football Playoffs Sleepers, Stashes: Tips To Win Your League's Championship (2023)

The fantasy football season is barreling toward the playoffs! Check out our top tips to prepare for the fantasy playoffs and win your leagues! RotoBaller's Troy King discusses three of his favorite playoff tips and shares strategies that fantasy managers should try to deploy ahead of their league's playoffs. The 2023 fantasy football season is... Read More

Minnesota Vikings Defense D/ST Streamers, Rankings, Waiver Wire - Danielle Hunter Fantasy Football IDP

Week 14 Team Defense Rankings for Fantasy Football: Texans DST, Packers DST, Saints DST, Colts DST, Vikings DST, more

Hey, RotoBallers! Week 14 is here, and some fantasy managers have one more shot to make the fantasy playoffs. The Cardinals and Commanders are the only two teams on bye this week. We churn out rankings week in and week out. Streaming the right defense could be the difference between winning or losing your league... Read More

Dak Prescott - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

2023 NFL QB Power Rankings: All 32 Starting Quarterbacks After Week 13

Let's be honest...we've seen some downright ugly quarterback play in 2023. Unfortunately, there was more of the same in Week 13. On the flip side, some NFL QBs have been phenomenal this year, elevating their games -- and their teams -- to different levels. While we certainly have some ugly matchups on tap in Week... Read More

Jaylen Warren - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, Draft Sleepers

Who Should I Start? TNF Fantasy Football Lineup Decisions for Week 14 - Jaylen Warren, Ezekiel Elliott, Chuba Hubbard, Najee Harris, George Pickens, Zack Moss, Raheem Mostert

It's almost time for Thursday Night Football. Who Should I Start? Who Should I Sit? Set you optimal fantasy football lineups for Thursday Night Football and Week 14 of the 2023 NFL season. Our free Who Should I Start? tool will help make your fantasy football lineup decisions. Compare up to four NFL players, and... Read More

DeVon Achane - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL DFS Picks, Injury News

Updated Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

      Fantasy Football Rankings by NFL Position ALL - QB - RB - WR - TE - DEF Above you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings, tiers, player news and stats for your 2023 fantasy football leagues. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's fantasy football rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Fantasy Football... Read More

Isiah Pacheco - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Rookies

Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 14

Week 13 has come and gone. The fantasy football playoffs are starting for some and just around the corner for others. In the coming weeks, fantasy managers will have some tough decisions to make. In this weekly column, we'll be looking at fantasy football players whose arrows may be pointing up and players whose arrows... Read More