Welcome back RotoBallers. This will be last Top 30 fantasy prospect rankings columns before rosters expand, and will likely be one of the last article series formatted like this until the offseason.
As I mentioned in the last article, there are some players who definitely have September value and most of these guys will be valuable to owners in some kind of format. Right now, I would really only say that the top six guys are going to have value in all leagues, but everyone on this list would have some value, even if the league is a bit deep.
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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. Yoan Moncada (2B, BOS, AA)
Stats: 476 PA, .299/.413/.517, 14 HR, 44 SB, 25.0% K rate, 14.9% BB rate
The Red Sox (and the Sutelans of Swing) dodged a major bullet when it was revealed that Andrew Benintendi had no structural damage in his knee. But what it reminded the Red Sox of is the fact that anything can happen and an injury to any of their stars could really cost them a shot at a title. That is why I believe at this point it is extremely probable that Boston will promote Moncada. Moncada has been electric this season and though strikeouts have plagued him in his first full season, but he has been great in every category including home runs, walks, stolen bases and hits. If promoted, he can be counted on to be the official starter at third base for the BoSox and he should absolutely be stashed/owned in all leagues. He could be an extremely important player for the fantasy baseball playoffs.
2. Jose De Leon (SP, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 78.2 IP, 2.86 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 11.21 K/9, 2.29 BB/9, 1.03 HR/9, 0.98 WHIP
De Leon’s name keeps popping up as a possible spot starter and it keeps going away shortly after being brought up. But make no mistake, he will be starting for the Dodgers in September. At least, that’s what the smart money would be on (granted, the Dodgers are not always known for making the smartest moves). De Leon put together one of the best starts of his career in his last outing when he produced seven shutout innings, allowing one hit and no walks while punching out 10. He is really the last must-own arm sitting in the minors and would be an absolute strikeout machine for fantasy owners if the Dodgers decide he is worthy of starting in their injury-ridden rotation.
3. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 530 PA, .297/.419/.509, 21 HR, 0 SB, 17.5% K rate, 16.8% BB rate
Well, Vogelbach went from struggling in batting average despite solid peripherals to absolutely crushing it in every category with continued outstanding peripherals. In his last 14 games, Vogelbach has two home runs and a ridiculous .340/.446/.547 slash line and still more walks than strikeouts. Compare that to the .181/.379/.292 over his first 22 games and you will start to feel a bit reassured. With the Mariners only two games out of a Wild Card, they need all the help they can get. That likely means replacing struggling veteran Adam Lind (owner of a sad .231/.269/.430 slash line) with Vogelbach, giving fantasy owners a chance to own a potentially explosive bat. First base may be a loaded bat, but with his patient approach and well above-average power, Vogelbach should still be able to contribute enough to help owners in most leagues.
4. Roman Quinn (OF, PHI, AA)
Stats: 340 PA, .298/.370/.444, 6 HR, 34 SB, 20.6% K rate, 9.1% BB rate
So Roman Quinn will be promoted when rosters expand and for those of you who don’t know much about him, let me give a quick recap of his skillset and history. Injuries, hits, stolen bases, injuries, more stolen bases and more injuries. Quinn has yet to play a full season of professional baseball, surpassing 100 games played just once since being drafted back in 2011. But he is healthy right now and that is a great thing for fantasy owners. He is one of, if not the fastest player in the minors and has a chance to be an elite stolen base contributor in September. Even if he struggles to hit when he is up, the Phillies may just use him as a pinch runner like the Reds used Billy Hamilton in his first taste of the big leagues and even that could be huge for fantasy owners in the playoffs (keep in mind Hamilton stole 13 bases in 13 games played). Of course, Quinn can hit a bit more than Hamilton and I trust him to receive more starts than just simply being used as a pinch runner. He would be worth owning in most leagues as a legitimate stolen base threat.
5. Manuel Margot (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 535 PA, .303/.351/.426, 6 HR, 28 SB, 10.8% K rate, 6.4% BB rate
Margot may not have the exciting speed of the man before him on the list and he may not have the power of the guy after him, but he possesses one thing neither of those aforementioned two have: the potential to hit for average. He may not be able to blast more than 10 home runs over a full season or steal over 35 bags, but he will provide a little bit of both while hitting at the top of any lineup with an outstanding batting average. And for those fantasy owners who may be concerned he is just a batting average guy, have no fear. Margot should not have too much of an issue stealing bases and he will occasionally clear the fences. Of course most of his value hinges on him getting regular playing time which could be a bit tough, but most expect Margot to eventually establish himself as the starting left or center fielder for the Padres after only a few games.
6. Tom Murphy (C, COL, AAA)
Stats: 298 PA, .331/.359/.669, 19 HR, 1 SB, 24.2% K rate, 4.4% BB rate
A catcher with power?! Playing at Coors Field?! Sign me up!! It looks pretty likely that Murphy will receive the promotion once rosters expand and he could be doing something similar (though likely not quite as extensive) as Gary Sanchez. Murphy will likely have to fight for playing time, but with the Rockies out of playoff contention, it appears they would be more likely to give playing time to the rookie. Murphy has a lot of issues with strike outs and his plate discipline all-in-all is appalling, limiting his upside in dynasty leagues. But for redraft leagues who just need a spark at the catcher position, Murphy could provide some solid home run totals. And that is something playoff fantasy teams will take even at the cost of a lower batting average.
7. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 530 PA, .307/.340/.559, 28 HR, 4 SB, 20.6% K rate, 4.2% BB rate
You could make a very strong case that Renfroe has put together the most impressive season at Triple-A this season of any ball player. He has hit for a high average while also demonstrating his major power upside. Now his walk rate is not great for a middle-of-the-order power bat, but he has done a fair job of keeping the strikeouts down. The big concern is how his discipline will play at the big league level where many scouts believe he will struggle to hit for a high average, but most believe he will show no problems hitting for average. Renfroe will in all likelihood be used as a platoon bat for a while with a guy like Alex Dickerson, but he could eventually force the Padres’ hand and establish himself as a starter out in right field for the club. Until he is assured a starting role, his value is limited. But if he emerges as a starting outfielder, Renfroe could provide oodles of RBIs and home runs for fantasy owners, always a welcome sight for teams in the playoffs looking for a little extra oomph.
8. Jharel Cotton (SP, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 130.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 10.32 K/9, 2.49 BB/9, 1.38 HR/9, 1.07 WHIP
Cotton continues to thoroughly dominate Triple-A since joining Nashville. After becoming the victim of too many home run balls in Oklahoma City (1.57 HR/9), Cotton has lowered that rate to just 0.83 HR/9 and has subsequently lowered his ERA from 4.90 to 3.31. Meanwhile, he is still showing some nice strikeout upside and has done an excellent job keeping the walks in check. Many speculate that despite the high innings total, the Athletics will elect to use him as a starting pitcher in September which would make him a very valuable asset to fantasy owners in need of some solid starting pitching help.
9. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 424 PA, .306/.394/.399, 5 HR, 0 SB, 13.4% K rate, 12.7% BB rate
Just how good has Winker been in the month of August. I’ll tell you how good. He has a .341/.427/.420 slash line with as many strikeouts as walks (13.6%) and a home run (which has been quite a rarity for him in this rough season). The biggest question mark is no longer whether or not he will be promoted, but rather how much playing time he receives when he promoted. Scott Schebler has started to hit a bit for the Reds and obviously there is no removing Adam Duvall from the lineup, but the Reds will most likely find some way to fit Winker’s bat into the starting nine a couple days a week. His lack of power production this season has been a bit concerning, but Winker should be expected to hit for more power in Great American Ballpark. Owners in 14+ team leagues who need some more production in runs scored and batting average could most certainly find some value in adding Winker.
10. Anthony Banda (SP, ARI, AAA)
Stats: 140.2 IP, 2.82 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 9.21 K/9, 3.01 BB/9, 0.64 HR/9, 1.31 WHIP
Banda has slowly started to turn around his rough start at Triple-A. Though he has had some control issues of late (nine walks over the last 18.0 innings), he has also struck out 21 batters in those three starts and has allowed only four runs. In fact in his last nine outings, Banda owns a 2.77 ERA and 3.53 FIP. And at this point there is little doubt that he would represent an upgrade over many of the other starters in the Diamondbacks’ struggling rotation. With some solid strikeout upside and an ability to provide a quality start with every outing, Banda is worth a look in most 14+ team leagues, particularly where starting pitching depth is stretched thin.
11. Josh Hader (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 123.0 IP, 3.22 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 11.41 K/9, 3.73 BB/9, 0.37 HR/9, 1.21 WHIP
Boy, what a rough outing last time out for Hader. He lasted four innings, issued three walks and only got two punchouts while allowing five runs on four hits including a home run. And unfortunately for Hader, this was not a home game so he does not have that to fall back on. But as good as he has been lately, this can really just be chalked up as a rare clunker. Before that rough start, he had a 2.88 ERA and 2.04 FIP over his past 34.1 innings, spanning six starts (three of which came in hitter-friendly Colorado Springs). At this point, the expectation is that Hader will be used as a starting pitcher as soon as rosters expand. Hader provides some serious strikeout upside and could start to show Brewers’ fans and fantasy owners alike why scouts are raving about his upside.
12. Aaron Wilkerson (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 137.2 IP, 3.46 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 9.81 K/9, 2.42 BB/9, 0.78 HR/9, 1.17 WHIP
Unlike Hader, Wilkerson has run into a string of bad luck, spanning more than just one outing. He has found the strikeouts (17 strikeouts over past two starts) and has done a fine job limiting the walks (only two over the past two outings), but he has been hit hard with nine hits and five runs coming across over those 12.1 innings. It is not necessarily as much of a lock as it used to be that Wilkerson would jump right into the rotation, but I would still bet that he gets a chance to make one or two starts. If he performs well in those, maybe he makes a few more. But at this point, he should not be stashed and he should be monitored day-by-day.
13. Raul Alcantara (SP, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 130.2 IP, 3.58 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 7.09 K/9, 2.07 BB/9, 0.83 HR/9, 1.24 WHIP
Alcantara has not exactly torn the world apart in Triple-A. And by that I mean he does not have a lot of strikeouts. But by just about every other way of looking at Alcantara’s numbers, he has been tremendous at Nashville. The right-hander has walked only three batters across 40.2 innings of work (seven starts) and has allowed only five runs (four earned). He did have a tendency to strike out more batters at Double-A, but even then his swing-and-miss numbers were still a little less than stellar. Instead owners in deeper leagues should just be happy to settle with a low ERA and plenty of innings from the 23-year-old.
14. Hunter Dozier (3B, KC, AAA)
Stats: 528 PA, .297/.366/.534, 23 HR, 7 SB, 22.7% K rate, 9.8% BB rate
Dozier has been very solid to this point and there are few who doubt that he will be given a chance to start at the big league level this season. He already has 23 home runs and has proven that he can add a solid batting average on top of all that power. And with the Royals close to a Wild Card spot, they could use some extra offensive firepower especially in the corner outfield positions (where Dozier has recently started practicing). For fantasy owners, Dozier would be a reliable source of home runs and RBI, especially considering that he would likely be planted around the heart of their lineup.
15. Zack Burdi (RP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 33.0 IP, 2.73 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 13.09 K/9, 4.36 BB/9, 0.82 HR/9, 1.06 WHIP
Why is a relief pitcher on this list?! I’ll tell you why, it’s because he has a chance to see some save opportunities in September. Of course his fantasy value in shallow league hinges on one thing: a trade of David Robertson. Many believe Robertson will still be dealt, but if he is on the team on September 1, Burdi will have very limited value. Let’s say that he is traded. Then Burdi has a very possible chance of being promoted to serve as the team’s closer with the idea that he will be the full-time closer in 2017. Let’s say that Robertson stays or that Burdi is not the closer. Then fantasy owners will still have a chance to snag one of the most dominant relief pitchers in the Minor Leagues who is more than capable of providing two to three strikeouts per inning while keeping a sub-2.00 ERA. Yes, I know he is a reliever, but Kelvin Herrera is owned in a lot of leagues and Burdi has higher strikeout upside than Herrera and would absolutely be worth owning in 14+ team leagues if he is given the call up.
16. Ozzie Albies (SS, ATL, AA)
Stats: 582 PA, .288/.356/.402, 4 HR, 27 SB, 15.5% K rate, 8.4% BB rate
There has been some rumors going around that Albies could be a candidate for a September promotion. Though he scuffled at Triple-A, Albies has done very well at Double-A, slashing .322/.304/.446 with two dingers and 18 swipes. If he gets a chance at playing, he has plenty of stolen base upside and could hit for a pretty decent average while likely batting towards the top of the Braves’ lineup. In all likelihood, he would be the starting second baseman for much of the remainder of the season. He would be much higher if he were guaranteed a promotion. But if he is given the call, he could be a great option for fantasy teams in the playoffs.
17. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 523 PA, .258/.374/.438, 15 HR, 38 SB, 29.8% K rate, 14.0% BB rate
Zimmer’s name is going to be an interesting watch over the next couple of days because he is arguably one of the biggest high risk/high reward plays on this list. The talented outfielder was off to a scorching start at Triple-A before an injury to his finger sidelined him for a few games. Since then, he has been ice cold, slashing .233/.340/.233 with a 40% strikeout rate. More concerning is the fact that to this point in his Triple-A career, he has just one game without a single strikeout. If he was promoted, his power/speed combination alone makes him an intriguing own and one probably worth snagging in some 14+ team leagues, but questions about strikeouts and a dreadfully low batting average could limit his playing time which in term would limit his fantasy value.
18. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AA)
Stats: 530 PA, .269/.369/.433, 11 HR, 12 SB, 20.8% K rate, 13.0% BB rate
The shortstop class is deep this year, surprisingly deep considering the fact that the past couple of seasons have been pretty weak for the position. But even Adames would have the potential to make a substantial impact in this year’s class. Adames has a solid power/speed combination, capable of reaching the upper double-digit in both home runs and stolen bases. Now Matt Duffy is currently locked in at short for the Rays, but Adames could move around, playing some DH or some outfield if the Rays wanted to get him a chance to play before likely receiving a starting role in 2017. He may not be the greatest shortstop prospect out there (though he is still considered a top-10 shortstop by most websites)
19. Robert Stephenson (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 129.2 IP, 4.58 ERA, 4.75 FIP, 7.84 K/9, 4.72 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9, 1.39 WHIP
Another guy who has been struggling of late, Stephenson has yet to go a single outing without giving up a run since June 6 (13 starts). In that time span, he has made an out in the seventh inning just once. He is really struggling and it would not surprise me too much to see him either used as the bullpen in Cincinnati or just sent home to prepare for 2017. The only leagues he should currently be owned in are deep dynasty leagues.
20. Carson Fulmer (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 92.0 IP, 5.18 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 9.20 K/9, 5.28 BB/9, 0.78 HR/9, 1.55 WHIP
I did not think the White Sox should have called up Fulmer when they did, but at this point it does make sense for them to give him a shot to pitch in September. His innings total is only 3.2 innings above the century mark and he could benefit from at least getting close to 120 IP in his first season. And with the White Sox out of the playoff picture, they may opt to see what he can do out of the rotation as opposed to using him in the bullpen. Fantasy owners absolutely have to approach Fulmer with caution as he has not been overly sharp this season, but he has plenty of upside and has the stuff to be a great starting pitcher and fantasy owners would be remiss to completely pass up on him. At the very least, he should be monitored and used as a potential streaming option.
21. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 409 PA, .265/.304/.470, 15 HR, 17 SB, 18.8% K rate, 5.1% BB rate
22. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 511 PA, .313/.405/.441, 9 HR, 11 SB, 16.6% K rate, 13.5% BB rate
23. Ben Lively (SP, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 159.2 IP, 2.82 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 6.88 K/9, 2.31 BB/9, 0.62 HR/9, 0.98 WHIP
24. Harrison Bader (OF, STL, AAA)
Stats: 480 PA, .268/.333/.446, 16 HR, 11 SB, 24.4% K rate, 6.5% BB rate
25. Jordan Patterson (OF, COL, AAA)
Stats: 455 PA, .300/.385/.495, 13 HR, 10 SB, 23.5% K rate, 9.9% BB rate
26. Jaime Schultz (SP, TB, AAA)
Stats: 126.2 IP, 3.48 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 11.37 K/9, 4.69 BB/9, 0.78 HR/9, 1.37 WHIP
27. Renato Nunez (3B, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 523 PA, .233/.281/.426, 23 HR, 2 SB, 21.2% K rate, 5.5% BB rate
28. Zach Lee (SP, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 136.1 IP, 5.88 ERA, 5.16 FIP, 6.54 K/9, 2.38 BB/9, 1.39 HR/9, 1.53 WHIP
29. Alec Mills (SP, KC, AAA)
Stats: 113.2 IP, 3.56 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 8.79 K/9, 2.30 BB/9, 0.79 HR/9, 1.25 WHIP
30. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 515 PA, .264/.336/.443, 15 HR, 13 SB, 23.1% K rate, 9.3% BB rate
MLB Rookie Rankings
1. Corey Seager (SS, LAD)
2. David Dahl (OF, COL)
3. Gary Sanchez (C, NYY)
4. Willson Contreras (C, CHC)
5. Trea Turner (2B, WAS)
6. Alex Bregman (SS, HOU)
7. Nomar Mazara (OF, TEX)
8. Michael Fulmer (SP, DET)
9. Blake Snell (SP, TB)
10. Travis Jankowski (OF, SD)
11. Max Kepler (OF, MIN)
12. Steven Matz (SP, NYM)
13. Edwin Diaz (RP, SEA)
14. Seung Oh (RP, STL)
15. Tyler Naquin (OF, CLE)
16. Yoan Moncada (2B, BOS)
17. Yulieski Gurriel (3B, HOU)
18. Aledmys Diaz (SS, STL)
19. Tommy Joseph (1B, PHI)
20. Jon Gray (SP, COL)
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