MLB Ready Prospects: Top 30 Fantasy Rankings for Impact Rookies (Week 17)

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Talk about some serious prospects reaching the majors. In one week, Tyler Glasnow, Lucas Giolito and Alex Bregman (finally) were all promoted to the big leagues. Of course, Glasnow made one start and promptly found himself on the 15-day DL, but still it is incredible to see so many top guys promoted. Everyone knew Bregman was going to be promoted, but no one was quite sure when it would come. I can tell you I already had this article totally written up when I got the news that he was going to be in the big leagues and had to do some shifting around with the list.

I would be remiss if I did not congratulate Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr. on being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two of the greatest players ever at their respective position and two of the greatest hitters ever to suit up. In particular, Ken Griffey Jr., the reason I am a baseball fan and a Reds fan today. I first saw him play when he was a member of the Reds and it truly was an absolute treat to watch him play. So for me to see him inducted into Cooperstown is a very special moment.

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Top MLB Prospects - Fantasy Baseball Power Rankings

To be clear, this list is not the top 30 prospects in baseball. This is a list of the top 30 prospects who are likely going to rise to the major leagues and provide fantasy baseball value this season. The qualifications are simple: a player must not be on an active roster, they must have a clear path to the majors, and while they may have played in seasons prior to 2016, they must still have rookie eligibility. If a player is moved to the active roster of their team, they will be removed from this power rankings list and replaced.

1. Yulieski Gourriel (3B, HOU, NA)
Stats: NA
ETA: Early August
Another Astros’ prospect (if you can call a 32-year-old a prospect) who is not far off from a promotion, Gourriel is not going to require much time in the minors before he is promoted. The plan is to get him some time at rookie ball, Double-A and possibly Triple-A, though even then he could skip AAA if he is dominant enough. Gourriel is already in the prime of his career and should have little trouble adjusting to big league pitching. He could be one of the biggest impact bats remaining who has not yet received a promotion. Once he is made available in leagues, he should be stashed in preparation for his promotion.

2. Jose De Leon (SP, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 43.1 IP, 2.49 ERA, 3.07 FIP, 13.29 K/9, 2.91 BB/9, 0.83 HR/9, 1.02 WHIP
ETA: Next week
Talk about a tough break, the Dodgers not only received news that Clayton Kershaw’s injury could be more serious than initially expected, but then the team loses Hyun-Jin Ryu to an injury. They used Julio Urias for a spot start, but they now have a hole in their rotation that needs to be filled. The team does have an off day which can delay his promotion, but Jose De Leon should be the guy expected to fill that hole. He has absolutely dominated Triple-A since returning from an early season injury and would probably be an upgrade over just about any arm available on the trade market with a few notable exceptions. For fantasy owners, De Leon is a guy who could provide near-ace production while racking up gaudy strikeout totals. He should already be stashed and would be worth owning in all leagues upon his promotion.

3. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS, AA)
Stats: 389 PA, .304/.373/.510, 7 HR, 15 SB, 10.05 K rate, 9.5% BB rate
ETA: Early August
The Red Sox have a hole in left field that has only been filled by Brock Holt and Bryce Brentz. Benintendi started his first game in left field a couple days ago in Double-A. Coincidence? I think not. The Red Sox gave up a king’s ransom for Craig Kimbrel earlier in the season and gave up one of their top pitching prospects for Drew Pomeranz and would probably be reluctant to spend heavy on a left fielder when they have an in-house option available like Benintendi. Owners should expect him to spend a few more days in Double-A, but he stands a very solid chance of reaching the big leagues before the middle of August.

4. Jose Berrios (SP, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 97.1 IP, 2.31 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 9.52 K/9, 3.05 BB/9, 0.55 HR/9, 1.00 WHIP
ETA: Early August
Berrios’s last outing: incredible. He gave up one run on three hits and one walk over eight innings while he struck out nine. Before that, he threw six shutout innings where he walked only two and gave up six hits and again, struck out nine batters. In his last seven starts, Berrios has thrown 49.2 innings (averaging roughly seven innings per start) with an ERA of 1.09 and a FIP of 2.42. Meanwhile, he has a strikeout rate of 9.42 K/9 and a BB/9 of 2.36 in that time. He has not walked more than three batters in any of those starts. Any control issues should be nearly out of the mind of fantasy owners at this point and he looks ready to take over for the struggling Tommy Milone. When he returns to the majors, he should be counted on to produce ace-level values of production and could be one of the biggest pitching adds remaining this season.

5. Manuel Margot (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 414 PA, .306/.356/.434, 4 HR, 24 SB, 9.7% K rate, 6.5% BB rate
ETA: Early August
It still awaits to be seen how much the Padres are going to sell, but most believe that at the very least both Andrew Cashner and Melvin Upton will be traded away. And from everything I’ve heard, it appears that Margot’s name is tops on the list of possible replacements for Upton in the outfield. Owners have to be excited about the prospect of Margot reaching the big leagues as he has some serious impact speed, has always posted solid plate discipline numbers and has always hit for a high average. He is likely to be a leadoff hitter for the Padres once promoted. Though he is less of a guarantee as a lot of the other names on this list to receive a promotion upon the trade of a starter, Margot would provide enough value that fantasy owners with the roster space would be wise to stash him in spite of the risk. If promoted, he would definitely be worth owning in all leagues.

6. Josh Bell (1B/OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 386 PA, .317/.404/.521, 13 HR, 1 SB, 15.3% K rate, 11.9% BB rate
ETA: Early August
Bell was up, got on base every time he came to bat and was then sent down. But don’t worry Pirates fans and fantasy owners, he will be back up soon. The demotion was for him to improve on his defense, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he were back up to the majors next week after the trade deadline. John Jaso has struggled after a phenomenal month of April and has been the subject of trade rumors if for nothing else just simply to make room for Bell on the team. The fact that he only qualifies at first base and the outfield hurt his value a bit, but with his power showing through in Triple-A this season, Bell is worth owning in most fantasy leagues. Once he is back up with the big league club, he should be owned in all 10+ team leagues.

7. Jake Thompson (SP, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 117.2 IP, 2.29 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 6.27 K/9, 2.75 BB/9, 0.69 HR/9, 1.10 WHIP
ETA: Early August
Would you be surprised if I told you that Jake Thompson delivered another outing in which he had not allowed a run? I certainly hope not. For the third straight time and fourth time in his last five outings, Thompson refused to allow a run to an opponent. And in his last nine starts, he owns a 0.58 ERA and 3.08 FIP in 62.1 innings pitched. If you’ve been following the trade rumors, you would have heard that Jeremy Hellickson has been found his name in a lot of trade rumors as one of the more reliable starters available by trade (yes, the pitching market is really down). Once Hellickson is dealt away, all signs point to Thompson’s name being the one brought up to the majors. His lack of strikeouts limits his upside, but his reliability to force groundball outs and keep runs off the board allows Thompson to be a reliable arm worth owning in all 12+ team leagues and some 10 team leagues.

8. Robert Stephenson (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 100.0 IP, 3.69 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 7.74 K/9, 4.59 BB/9, 1.08 HR/9, 1.26 WHIP
ETA: Early August
Brandon Finnegan struggled again and is nearing his innings limit. And with Homer Bailey filling in John Lamb’s rotation spot, the Reds are really limited on the options they can turn to for Finnegan’s spot in the starting five. That leads many to believe it will be Robert Stephenson who fills in for the club. Stephenson delivered one of his sharpest outings of the season his last time out, allowing three runs (one earned) over six innings while walking none and striking out eight. And though he still runs into some walks trouble every now and again, he is starting to show the strikeout potential again which greatly increases his value. He has little else to prove in Triple-A and could probably benefit working with a big league pitching coach and manager Bryan Price. Expect him up in early August. Once promoted, he is worth owning in 12+ team leagues.

9. David Dahl (OF, COL, AAA)
Stats: 400 PA, .314/.394/.569, 18 HR, 17 SB, 24.0% K rate, 11.3% BB rate
ETA: Mid-August
One of the riskiest bet on this list simply, Dahl has absolutely destroyed Triple-A. Why is he risky? A lot of signs point to Jordan Patterson receiving the promotion in the event of a Colorado outfielder being traded away. There also has to be a trade for him to be promoted. But with one of the best power/speed combos in the minors and his future home being Coors Field, Dahl could be one of the most explosive players if promoted. If he does get the early promotion, he should absolutely be owned in all leagues.

Update: David Dahl was promoted and will make his debut on Monday

10. Gary Sanchez (C, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 285 PA, .282/.330/.477, 10 HR, 6 SB, 14.4% K rate, 6.0% BB rate
ETA: Early August
There are many paths to playing time for Gary Sanchez that are beginning to open up. Carlos Beltran can be traded and Sanchez will split with Brian McCann at catcher and DH. Mark Teixeira can be released and Sanchez could see time at first base. Or most simply, Brian McCann could be traded and Sanchez will become the new catcher for the Yankees. If promoted, Sanchez will have as much value as anyone especially in this down year for catchers. He is low on this list because there is not a 100% chance he is promoted, but he would be worth owning in all leagues if he has starting playing time available.

11. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 374 PA, .319/.425/.556, 17 HR, 0 SB, 17.9% K rate, 15.0% BB rate
ETA: Early August
The most unsurprising surprise all season: Dan Vogelbach was traded to an American League team. In a move that benefited both the Cubs and Vogelbach, he was shipped off to Seattle for reliever/spot starter Mike Montgomery. The lefty has absolutely crushed Triple-A this season and will get a chance to bring his explosive bat to the majors when he is called up. Adam Lind is on the trade block and would certainly open up a clear hole for Vogelbach to reach the majors, but he will still probably force his way to the big league roster before September regardless of whether or not Lind is traded. With his explosive bat, he would be worth owning in spite of the fact that he only qualifies at first base. Once promoted, he should be owned in all 12+ team leagues.

12. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 412 PA, .330/.354/.602, 24 HR 4 SB, 19.9% K rate, 3.6% BB rate
ETA: Early August
You would probably think because of these numbers that Renfroe would be the first guy promoted from the Padres in the event of a trade. But between the concerns over his plate discipline and the fact that his power does not play as well in Petco as does Margot’s speed, many believe it will be Margot who is the first to reach the big leagues. Of course, this is all a moot point if both Melvin Upton and Matt Kemp are traded away. Renfroe’s power does not play as well as Margot’s speed, but he is a serious slugger capable of blasting some serious bombs even in a place like San Diego. If he gets a chance to take his talents to the big leagues, owners in 12+ team leagues should take a chance on the corner outfielder as he could the closest Minor League, right-handed equivalent to the guy who is next on this list.

13. Joey Gallo (3B/OF, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 291 PA, .250/.388/.559, 18 HR, 1 SB, 29.9% K rate, 18.2% BB rate
ETA: Early August
You probably thought that when Prince Fielder went down with season-ending neck surgery that Gallo would be promoted and start at first base or DH. But nah, the Rangers like Jurickson Profar there more for now. What has been mentioned in numerous trade rumors is that the Rangers are open to dealing away Gallo. At this point, it appears very evident that it will be a trade that gives him fantasy value. He would be worth owning in all leagues due to his awe-inspiring power should he be traded and promoted to the bigs. If he is not dealt, his value will be limited.

14. Orlando Arcia (SS, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 404 PA, .268/.323/.403, 7 HR, 13 SB, 17.6% K rate, 6.9% BB rate
ETA: Mid-August
With Arcia’s batting average now down below .270, there are some legitimate concerns about a possible promotion. The Brewers are obviously in a position to only promote a prospect if there is simply no way to keep him in the minors and Arcia is starting to show some signs of struggles. If he cannot start turning his season around, he may not see time until September of next season. At this point, he may not be worth stashing unless in dynasty leagues.

15. Alex Reyes (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 52.0 IP, 5.02 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 12.46 K/9, 4.50 BB/9, 0.87 HR/9, 1.44 WHIP
ETA: Mid-August
Reyes is still not dazzling as a starter, showing some serious control issues which could be some cause for concern for the St. Louis management. If any starter is injured, it could mean an immediate promotion into the rotation for St. Louis because they seem to be a bit lacking in quality starting options beyond their current five, but it would most certainly require an injury for him to be a starter. Even as a reliever, his immense strikeout upside could give him value equal to guys like Kelvin Herrera which would make him worth owning in 14+ team leagues, but he needs starts to be worth owning in 12 team leagues.

16. Scott Schebler (OF, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 289 PA, .298/.356/.531, 11 HR, 1 SB, 18.7% K rate, 5.5% BB rate
ETA: Early August
Last week, Schebler and the next guy on this list were in the same spot because it was tough to tell who would be given the first shot at playing time, but this week it looks more and more like it will be Schebler. He has flashed power and has hit for a solid batting average. And though his strikeout rate is a bit high, he has enough pop to be able to make up for that. I don’t guarantee that he will be the guy, but I think he should be the one right now fantasy players want most to reach the majors. If promoted, he would be worth owning in 14+ team leagues and could be worth owning in 12 team leagues if he shows legitimate power.

17. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 292 PA, .308/.394/.416, 4 HR, 0 SB, 13.0% K rate, 13.0% BB rate
ETA: Mid-August
Yes, I finally have Winker below Schebler, but that does not mean that I think Schebler is the better long term guy. I think long term, Winker has a much higher upside and appears to be one of the lower risk guys in the minors. But he has not shown the same kind of power that Schebler has shown in the minors and without any speed, Winker’s fantasy upside could be limited this season. Plus with the wrist injury he had and the fact that the Reds may want to see him perform a little better at Triple-A could lead the team to wait on him until September. He will be up this season and could be up when Jay Bruce is traded, but right now my money is on Schebler. If he does win the right field sweepstakes though, his guarantee of a solid batting average would make him worth owning in 14+ team leagues. He would not be worth owning in 12 team leagues unless he shows power.

18. J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 417 PA, .263/.362/.367, 6 HR, 11 SB, 13.9% K rate, 13.2% BB rate
ETA: Mid-August
Crawford has not torn apart the minors by any stretch of the imagination, but he has shown himself to have one of the most advanced approaches to the plate. And though his overall numbers in the minors aren’t explosive, he has been on fire for about a month now. Since June 15, he is slashing .319/.377/.449 with three home runs and four stolen bases. Defensively, there are no questions that he will stay at short, but the big question is whether or not he will hit enough to be fantasy relevant this season. He should at the very least get a look in September and could be up before that if the Phillies are feeling bold. Once promoted, his overall feel for the game and ability to qualify as a shortstop make him worth owning in 12+ team leagues even if he does not hit for a ton of power or swipe a ridiculous number of bases.

19. A.J. Reed (1B, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 253 PA, .265/.344/.507, 11 HR, 0 SB, 23.3% K rate, 11.1% BB rate
ETA: Late August
Everyone, welcome back to the list A.J. Reed. He had a brief taste of big league action and simply struggled to make contact, striking out 36.5% of the time and only slashing .156/.250/.289. Though he did hit two home runs, he simply did not do enough to stay in the majors. He will be on this list because he could very easily build his confidence back up at Triple-A and reach the big leagues, but with guys like Gourriel and Bregman knocking on the door, there is certainly some risk that Reed will not receive enough playing time to make an impact. As is, I don’t think he will be back until September. A hot surge could prove me wrong though, but it is important to monitor his progress before rating him higher on the list. If he does well, he will stay in the top-20. If he struggles, his value will plummet. At this point, he should only be owned in dynasty leagues.

20. Aaron Wilkerson (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 104.2 IP, 2.84 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 9.97 K/9, 2.49 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9, 1.12 WHIP
ETA: Early August
Replacing the struggling Josh Hader as a Brewers’ starter in the Top-20 is right-hander Aaron Wilkerson. Acquired in the Aaron Hill deal, Wilkerson has quietly been putting together an outstanding season between both the Red Sox and the Brewers’ Triple-A system. He is 27 years old, but he should still be considered a solid potential own in 14+ team leagues. If he shows an ability to strike out batters at the big league level like he has at Triple-A, he could be worth owning in 12 team leagues.

21. Josh Hader (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 90.2 IP, 2.98 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 11.22 K/9, 3.87 BB/9, 0.40 HR/9, 1.25 WHIP
ETA: September

22. Steven Brault (SP, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 54.1 IP, 1.99 ERA, 2.35 FIP, 11.76 K/9, 3.64 BB/9, 0.33 HR/9, 1.18 WHIP
ETA: Early August

23. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AA)
Stats: 395 PA, .279/.373/.456, 8 HR, 10 SB, 20.5% K rate, 12.7% BB rate
ETA: Mid-August

24. Jordan Patterson (OF, COL, AAA)
Stats: 328 PA, .314/.405/.484, 6 HR, 7 SB, 20.7% K rate, 11.5% BB rate
ETA: Early August

25. Alec Mills (SP, KC, AAA)
Stats: 101.2 IP, 2.83 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 8.59 K/9, 2.04 BB/9, 0.71 HR/9, 1.14 WHIP
ETA: Early August

26. Anthony Banda (SP, ARI, AAA)
Stats: 105.2 IP, 2.81 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 9.20 K/9, 2.98 BB/9, 0.60 HR/9, 1.32 WHIP
ETA: Mid-August

27. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 385 PA, .323/.423/.464, 7 HR, 10 SB, 15.1% K rate, 14.8% BB rate
ETA: Mid-August

28. Nick Williams (OF, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 381 PA, .290/.324/.473, 10 HR, 5 SB, 23.1% K rate, 4.7% BB rate
ETA: Late August/Early September

29. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 370 PA, .261/.357/.469, 16 HR, 5 SB, 23.2% K rate, 11.4% BB rate
ETA: September

30. Jeff Hoffman (SP, COL, AAA)
Stats: 102.0 IP, 4.15 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 9.09 K/9, 3.18 BB/9, 0.88 HR/9, 1.36 WHIP
ETA: September

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Corey Seager (SS, LAD)

2. Trevor Story (SS, COL)

3. Nomar Mazara (OF, TEX)

4. Aledmys Diaz (SS, STL)

5. Willson Contreras (C, CHC)

6. Alex Bregman (SS, HOU)

7. Kenta Maeda (SP, LAD)

8. Steven Matz (SP, NYM)

9. Michael Fulmer (SP, DET)

10. Blake Snell (SP, TB)

11. Tyler Naquin (OF, CLE)

12. Jon Gray (SP, COL)

13. Seung Oh (RP, STL)

14. Dae-Ho Lee (1B, SEA)

15. Trea Turner (2B, WAS)

16. Yulieski Gurriel (3B, HOU)

17. Lucas Giolito (SP, WAS)

18. Jose De Leon (SP, LAD)

19. Jameson Taillon (SP, PIT)

20. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS)

 

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