Talk about some serious promotions lately. Andrew Benintendi! Orlando Arcia! And that is just naming two of them. Unfortunately, it is unlikely we shall see another week like that again. At least, not until September.
There aren't any real clear promotions on the horizon except for a few names. With that said, it is still important to find the guys most likely to have a big impact when September comes around. Fantasy teams in the playoffs will still need that help and there are a few names who could help out with that.
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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 Gurriel (3B, HOU, A+)
Stats: 23 PA, .381/.348/.667, 1 HR, 0 SB, 21.7% K rate, 0.0% BB rate
ETA: Late August
I’m sure, given Alex Bregman’s surprising struggles, most people are going to be overly concerned seeing an Astros’ rookie at the top of this list. Between A.J. Reed and his earlier issues to Bregman, owners have had enough expecting too much from young Astros’ studs. But this is different because Gurriel is an old Astros’ prospect. He has been playing baseball for a long time and most figure it will not take him too long to get adjusted to Major League pitching. Odds are, the 32-year-old will spend a week or two at High-A, maybe some time at Double-A and reach the big leagues before September. And with his impact power bat, he is worth owning in most fantasy leagues already.
2. Jose De Leon (SP, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 57.2 IP, 3.75 ERA, 4.16 FIP, 11.08 K/9, 2.97 BB/9, 1.25 HR/9, 1.13 WHIP
De Leon was considered for a spot start on Saturday, but was ultimately passed up. Does that mean you should be down on him? Absolutely not! De Leon will get his chance and when he does it will be something to be excited about. One start removed from the worst outing of his career, De Leon spun seven solid innings of three hit, three run ball. Though he had only one punchout, he still showed signs of improvement. Safe to chalk that rough outing up as a lone clunker. He is the last true 2016 impact arm remaining in the minors this season and should be viewed as a great addition for anyone in need of starting pitching help. And with his innings total only at 51.2 on the season, De Leon should be not a risk for an innings-limit.
3. Josh Bell (1B/OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 445 PA, .306/.393/.482, 13 HR, 2 SB, 15.1% K rate, 11.9% BB rate
The Pirates were somewhat quiet at the deadline, especially as it pertains to corner infield veterans John Jaso, David Freese and Sean Rodriguez. This writer in particular believed that at least one of those three would be moved. Of course, they can still be moved before September, but it is unknown at this point how inclined the Buccos are to make such a move. Regardless, fantasy owners should expect to see Bell reach the big leagues again in September and they should be ready to have him owned and started as soon as the regular season’s final month rolls around. Bell has continued his domination at Indianapolis and looks ready to take over as the full-time starting first baseman of the Pirates as they look to make the postseason for the fourth straight season (presumably as a Wild Card for the fourth straight time as well).
4. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 444 PA, .296/.412/.508, 21 HR, 7 SB, 23.0% K rate, 10.2% BB rate
Vogelbach’s slow start to the Mariners’ Triple-A has probably been the main issue in a potential promotion this season, but he should still be expected to start on a near regular basis in September. Though the .207/.343/.345 slash is a slow start to his Mariners’ career, Vogelbach does have two home runs and more walks than strikeouts which should be somewhat promising. Throw in Adam Lind’s issues this season and you’ve got a recipe for a starting first baseman or DH come September. He should be able to hit enough to warrant owning at least in 12+ team leagues.
5. Robert Stephenson (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 109.2 IP, 4.10 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 7.88 ERA, 4.84 BB/9, 1.07 HR/9, 1.30 WHIP
ETA: Late August
On July 29, Stephenson had arguably his worst start of his season. He lasted a season-low 3.2 innings, gave up a season-high seven runs while issuing a season-high four walks. If there was a bright side, it was that he didn’t get hurt. But he followed it up with a very solid start. Two runs across six innings with five hits and two walks allowed while racking up six punchouts. That’s not outstanding, but it is far from terrible. Bob Steve is not going to be a phenomenal arm in 2016 and he could be in danger of a potential innings limit, but he looks like the second-most likely arm on this list guaranteed to receive multiple starts. Concerning is that only one out of 19 starts this season has he not walked a batter, but if his good strikeout stuff is working, he could generate enough whiffs to make up for that. He would be worth a speculative glance in 12 team leagues and an own in 14+ team leagues.
6. Lucas Giolito (SP, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 93.1 IP, 3.47 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 9.06 K/9, 4.05 BB/9, 0.58 HR/9, 1.44 WHIP
Robert Stephenson and Giolito share one unfortunate distinction between the two: they both have one lone start on the season in which they have not walked a batter. Now in Giolito’s case, he has proven time and time again that he can get the strikeout ball whereas sometimes that does not work for Bob Steve. But where Stephenson holds the advantage is that Giolito has to fight through a ridiculous rotation to get a start whereas Stephenson will likely receive a consistent spot when Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed hit their innings limits. Expect Giolito to receive an occasional start in September, but beyond that he will likely only be used out of the bullpen in the Nationals’ playoff push.
7. J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 468 PA, .260/.366/.354, 6 HR, 12 SB, 13.7% K rate, 14.1% BB rate
Though he is not the most exciting prospect from a fantasy perspective, Crawford still has plenty for fantasy owners to like. He has enough speed to swipe a couple of bags, he has some decent pop and he has one of the best eyes of any Minor League shortstop. Most evaluators consider him to be a somewhat low-risk guy simply because his plate discipline almost guarantees that he will eventually hit for a solid average. Fantasy owners should take advantage of this low-risk profile. Though he may take some time to adjust to the big league pitching, Crawford looks likely to receive plenty of starting time when he is promoted to Philadelphia as Freddy Galvis will certainly not be the guy to slow down the franchise shortstop.
8. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 471 PA, .321/.350/.592, 27 HR, 4 SB, 19.7% K rate, 3.8% BB rate
Sigh. Unfortunately, it sounds as though A.J. Preller would prefer to wait on promoting either of his talented outfield prospects until September. I guess guys like Alex Dickerson and Travis Jankowski have performed admirably to this point in the season, but I wanted more Renfroe and Margot this season. Alas, fantasy owners making a playoff push could still benefit from adding Renfroe if he looks to get consistent starts in the outfield. He would be worth owning in 12+ team leagues upon a potential promotion.
9. Manuel Margot (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 458 PA, .312/.359/.453, 6 HR, 24 SB, 9.0% K rate, 6.3% BB rate
As previously stated, the Padres elected not to promote either of their top outfield prospects and instead have stuck with a couple of bench guys patrolling the grass. But it does seem probable that both Renfroe and Manny Margot will receive an opportunity in September to show the Padres that they deserve to be starters. Margot, the speed to Renfroe’s power, has phenomenal plate discipline and looks like a prototypical leadoff hitter, adding to his fantasy value. Owners looking for some speed help and outfield production would do well to snag Margot for their September playoff run.
10. Yoan Moncada (2B, BOS, AA)
Stats: 437 PA, .299/.403/.512, 12 HR, 44 SB, 24.3% K rate, 13.5% BB rate
How awesome would it be to see Moncada called up and play third base?! Well, unfortunately, fantasy owners should not expect to see the young super star reach the big leagues until September. Though the Red Sox already promoted left fielder Andrew Benintendi to the majors from Double-A, the team is not expected to make a similar decision with Moncada as he has shown himself to have issues swinging and missing too much. With that said, most around baseball expect the Sox to call him up in September to provide production at the hot corner in the club’s quest to win a title. If given a full-time role, Moncada should be owned in all leagues as few can provide the type of production he can while qualifying at a weak position like second base.
11. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 440 PA, .330/.425/.466, 8 HR, 11 SB, 16.1% K rate, 14.3% BB rate
The Indians have plenty of options at third base ranging from recently DFA’d Juan Uribe to super-utility man Jose Ramirez to the streaky Lonnie Chisenhall. But none are quite as exciting as the young Yandy Diaz. Diaz has put together a great season at Triple-A, though he lacks the explosive power numbers I’m sure fantasy owners would love to see in a corner infielder. The bright side to Diaz is that he has one of the more patient approaches in the minors and most scouts believe he will have little trouble hitting at least .280 in his first stint of big league action. He will not be starting every day when promoted and his lack of home runs will certainly limit his fantasy upside, but Diaz would still be worth owning in 14+ team leagues.
12. Alex Reyes (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 65.1 IP, 4.96 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 12.81 K/9, 4.41 BB/9, 0.83 HR/9, 1.45 WHIP
Now here is a guy with a ton of upside who unfortunately will be limited in fantasy value in 2016. Reyes has been up and down this season with a lot of strikeout and a lot of walks. So far through his 13 starts, he has no outings without a walk. He also has only one outing in which he went into the seventh inning. There is no doubt the upside is high, but this season he appears to be designated for the bullpen in the Cardinals’ final push. His high octane stuff will play well there and he may do well enough to warrant a potential spot start or two. But beyond that, owners should keep their expectations a bit low. Owners in 14+ leagues could potentially snag him for the strikeout upside, but he will only be worth owning in shallower leagues if he is guaranteed a role as a starter.
13. Anthony Banda (SP, ARI, AAA)
Stats: 122.2 IP, 2.93 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 9.02 K/9, 2.79 BB/9, 0.81 HR/9, 1.14 WHIP
This has been a very disappointing season for the Diamondbacks. I could say that it started with A.J. Pollock’s injury, but if we’re being really honest it started with the fleecing of a trade they had with the Atlanta Braves in the offseason in which they redefined the word ‘overpay’ in their acquisition of Shelby Miller (who himself has disappointed). But the season is not entirely lost as they have seen promising breakouts and could potentially see a few more. Southpaw Anthony Banda could be one such pitcher who might receive a look in September as he has put together a very solid season between Double-A and Triple-A. Though his numbers at Reno have not lived up to the numbers he put together at Mobile, he still has done enough to warrant a couple of starts in the Dbacks rotation. If given a start or two, he could be a very solid streaming option.
14. Aaron Wilkerson (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 122.1 IP, 3.09 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 9.71 K/9, 2.35 BB/9, 0.81 HR/9, 1.14 WHIP
Before being traded to Milwaukee, Wilkerson was excellent. He was arguably the sharpest Minor League starter in the Red Sox system and there was a lot of speculation that he might receive a look in their rotation. But since coming over to Colorado Springs, the right-hander has struggled to put together consistent, solid outings. That should not necessarily deter fantasy owners however as it is a well known fact his home ballpark is essentially the Triple-A Coors Field and it is also a well known fact that the Brewers’ rotation is not good. Expect him to get a few trips through the rotation and provide fantasy owners with a solid streaming option and some decent strikeout totals.
15. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 437 PA, .267/.341/.453, 14 HR, 13 SB, 23.1% K rate, 9.6% BB rate
As a fellow ginger, I was in pain when I saw that Frazier was dealt to the Yankees simply because it meant he was going to have to be rid of that flow. But I know fantasy owners must be somewhat relieved by the fact that he was sent over to the Bronx Bombers because it gives him an improved chance of reaching the big leagues this season. Sure Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner are not letting go of center and left (respectively) at any point this season, but I don’t foresee Aaron Hicks keeping right field on lock for the rest of the season. And at this point, I would wager Frazier stands a better chance of receiving a promotion than Aaron Judge.
16. Josh Hader (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 101.2, 2.92 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 11.51 K/9, 3.72 BB/9, 0.35 HR/9, 1.22 WHIP
I know, his numbers at Triple-A are pretty ugly. Bader’s 5.44 ERA and 3.78 FIP: atrocious. But consider this, in his last three starts, spanning 17.0 innings of work, the southpaw owns a 2.65 ERA and 1.96 FIP with an especially promising 4.60 K/BB ratio. Hader has struggled at Colorado Springs (a notoriously hitter-friendly home ballpark), but if he can turn things around, he could still salvage the opportunity to have a few starts in September.
17. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 462 PA, .262/.378/.466, 15 HR, 35 SB, 28.1% K rate, 13.9% BB rate
One of the most exciting names on this list, Zimmer has been mentioned with regards to a promotion to help the team as they go through September and into the postseason. And with Cleveland’s dwindling lead over Detroit now in the low single-digits, the Indians have a real need for an explosive talent. Promoting Zimmer to the big leagues gives them an elite power/speed threat that they lost when Michael Brantley re-injured his shoulder earlier. Of course, Zimmer has to prove that his early hot streak at Triple-A (.357/.449/.476 slash) is real and not just a short stint. Reassuring for owners of the talented outfielder is the fact that he had been swinging a hot bat at Double-A before promoted so it could just be that he is finally starting to figure things out. If promoted, he would be an elite bat even if he starts only four or five days per week.
18. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 350 PA, .300/.389/.393, 4 HR, 0 SB, 13.4% K rate, 12.6% BB rate
As expected, it was Scott Schebler who received the promotion to take over right field for the Reds when Jay Bruce was traded to the Mets, which leaves many wondering what role Winker will have in 2016. What will most likely happen is he will receive a couple of starts in September to spell Adam Duvall against some right-handed pitchers and could get a start over Schebler against some lefties. But it is unlikely he will have a truly electric impact for most fantasy owners, even if he did have playing time.
19. Zach Lee (SP, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 121.0 IP, 5.50 ERA, 4.91 FIP, 6.69 K/9, 2.23 BB/9, 1.26 HR/9, 1.52 WHIP
Lee is considered to be the next name called up if there are any injuries to the Mariners’ rotation this season. As is, he could be used later in the year to help ease the burden on some of the youngsters in that staff. Unfortunately for most fantasy owners, there is not too much to be terribly excited about. Though he has excellent command and will issue few free passes, the righty is far from a strikeout artist and is still more of a back of the rotation guy rather than a Jake Thompson low-ERA groundball artist. He would be worth owning in deeper leagues if promoted simply because he stands a good shot of making a couple of starts at the big league level, but owners in 12 or fewer team leagues can ignore him.
20. Hunter Dozier (3B, KC, AAA)
Stats: 452 PA, .308/.378/.548, 21 HR, 7 SB, 23.0% K rate, 10.2% BB rate
Dozier did not let the promotion from Double-A to Triple-A slow him down any. After slashing .305/.400/.642 in 110 PA at Northwest Arkansas, the 24-year-old slugger is slashing .309/.371/.525 at AAA with 13 home runs in 334 plate appearances. Now rookie Cheslor Cuthbert has done an excellent job manning the hot corner in the absence of Mike Moustakas, but there is always room for potential improvement when a team is looking to win a second consecutive title. Dozier is one of many likely to come up in September, but he could potentially have value in deeper leagues as he takes a few spot starts at third and some swings at DH.
21. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AA)
Stats: 455 PA, .274/.377/.439, 15 HR, 9 SB, 24.0% K rate, 6.7% BB rate
22. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 263 PA, .291/.347/.573, 8 HR, 11 SB, 15.6% K rate, 8.0% BB rate
23. Jordan Patterson (OF, COL, AAA)
Stats: 382 PA, .325/.411/.518, 10 HR, 9 SB, 21.7% K rate, 10.7% BB rate
24. Nick Williams (OF, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 432 PA, .281/.311/.462, 12 HR, 5 SB, 22.9% K rate, 4.2% BB rate
25. Renato Nunez (3B, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 442 PA, .233/.283/.423, 18 HR, 2 SB, 19.5% K rate, 5.7% BB rate
26. Harrison Bader (OF, STL, AAA)
Stats: 421 PA, .277/.344/.464, 15 HR, 9 SB, 24.0% K rate, 6.7% BB rate
27. Jeff Hoffman (SP, COL, AAA)
Stats: 113.2 IP, 4.20 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 9.11 K/9, 3.40 BB/9, 0.87 HR/9, 1.40 WHIP
28. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 394 PA, .265/.358/.474, 17 HR, 5 SB, 23.9% K rate, 10.9% BB rate
29. Alec Mills (SP, KC, AAA)
Stats: 106.2 IP, 3.54 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 8.61 K/9, 2.19 BB/9, 0.76 HR/9, 1.23 WHIP
30. Jaime Schultz (SP, TB, AAA)
Stats: 114.0 IP, 3.24 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 10.89 K/9, 4.50 BB/9, 0.79 HR/9, 1.34 WHIP
MLB Rookie Rankings
1. Corey Seager (SS, LAD)
2. David Dahl (OF, COL)
3. Nomar Mazara (OF, TEX)
4. Aledmys Diaz (SS, STL)
5. Willson Contreras (C, CHC)
6. Max Kepler (OF, MIN)
7. Kenta Maeda (SP, LAD)
8. Steven Matz (SP, NYM)
9. Travis Jankowski (OF, SD)
10. Michael Fulmer (SP, DET)
11. Blake Snell (SP, TB)
12. Tyler Naquin (OF, CLE)
13. Edwin Diaz (RP, SEA)
14. Jon Gray (SP, COL)
15. Seung Oh (RP, STL)
16. Dae-Ho Lee (1B, SEA)
17. Trea Turner (2B, WAS)
18. Tommy Joseph (1B, PHI)
19. Alex Bregman (SS, HOU)
20. Yulieski Gurriel (3B, HOU)
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