They’ve got Betts in right field who can do everything imaginable. They’ve got Jackie Bradley Jr. in the midst of a breakout season, who can also do everything. And they also have Andrew Benintendi who has yet to hit his first dinger, but talent wise he can still do just about everything.
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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, AA)
Stats: 33 PA, .290/.273/.484, 1 HR, 0 SB, 27.3% K rate, 0.0% BB rate
ETA: Late August
Gurriel was recently promoted to his last step before the big leagues: Double-A. It has been a slow start, but he will get it going after a little while. He is a 32-year-old slugging third baseman who figures to receive the bulk of playing time at the hot corner with struggling, young superstar Alex Bregman likely to shift to the outfield to help out following the injury to Colby Rasmus. Gurriel will spend a couple more days at Double-A before reaching the big leagues. He should be owned in all leagues already and figures to be a stud in the middle of one of the best lineups in baseball.
2. Jose De Leon (SP, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 64.2 IP, 3.20 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 10.86 K/9, 2.78 BB/9, 1.11 HR/9, 1.08 WHIP
ETA: Late August
Since an awful outing on July 25 when he lasted only 1.1 innings and gave up seven runs, De Leon has been extremely sharp. He has gone seven innings twice and six innings once in his three starts and has given up a total of eight runs with only four earned runs. Meanwhile he also has only four walks and has struck out 13 in that time span. With the Dodgers pressing hard for the wild card, they could really use De Leon as an upgrade in their rotation. Fantasy owners should expect to see the right-hander debut some time before September and if he does not arrive before the roster expansions, he will certainly take a few starts in September. He is talented enough to warrant owning in all leagues.
3. Josh Bell (1B/OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 460 PA, .305/.391/.485, 14 HR, 3 SB, 14.8% K rate, 11.7% BB rate
The Pirates are 1.5 games out of a wild card spot in the National League and if they are going to snag that spot, they are going to need all the help they can get. Their rotation is starting to get healthy as Tyler Glasnow is almost back and now they just need to give their offense a boost. Bell would be a tremendous replacement over the Buccos’ duo of John Jaso and David Freese and he could even be an upgrade over a lot of other first basemen from a fantasy perspective. At this point, it does not appear likely he will be promoted at any point before September as the team really wants him to continue to improve defensively, but once up, Bell will be worth owning in all leagues.
4. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 460 PA, .292/.415/.499, 18 HR, 0 SB, 18.5% K rate, 16.7% BB rate
Vogelbach has seen his batting average take a huge dip since arriving in Seattle, but there are some positives. Though he is currently batting only .181, he has a 23.2% walk rate and only an 18.9% strikeout rate. Meanwhile his batting average has also been plagued by an extremely unlucky .212 BABIP, very low for someone who owned a .362 BABIP before arriving in Seattle. The Mariners have not always been super successful after acquiring bat-first prospects, but Vogelbach appears to be too solid to be a complete bust. He has plate discipline and a lot of power which already make him a valuable asset to fantasy owners. He will reach Seattle in September and with Adam Lind providing well below-average production at first, Vogelbach should have no trouble securing enough plate appearances to warrant owning in all 10+ team leagues.
5. Manuel Margot (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 476 PA, .311/.358/.447, 6 HR, 24 SB, 9.2% K rate, 6.3% BB rate
The Padres decided not to promote either of their top outfield prospects despite dealing away both Melvin Upton and Matt Kemp, but both will receive some time in September. And if Margot is able to translate what he has done in Triple-A to the big leagues, fantasy owners are in for a real treat. He has shown himself to have tremendous plate discipline, decent pop and an ability to hit for a very solid batting average. Though he will probably have to fight a little bit more for playing time than most originally presumed he would, Margot is talented enough to run away with the position after only a little bit of time. Once promoted, he should be owned in all 10+ team leagues.
6. Yoan Moncada (2B, BOS, AA)
Stats: 445 PA, .299/.405/.520, 13 HR, 44 SB, 24.3% K rate, 13.7% BB rate
The Red Sox are so loaded with young talent, that for fans of other teams it can be kind of sad that their team missed out on all this talent. Why couldn’t my Reds sign Moncada? That would’ve been nice . . . but anyways, back to why Moncada has value in 2016. He has started taking reps at third base where the Red Sox have received mixed results with Travis Shaw and terrible results from Pablo Sandoval. With Pedroia at second, there really is only third base for Moncada, but Moncada can shift over to the hot corner and still provide well above-average offensive production at the position. He has above-average power, well above-average speed and a bat more than capable of batting over .300 in the big leagues. Many have speculated he will get a shot at starting playing time when September rolls around and if that is the case, he would be worth owning in all leagues.
7. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 473 PA, .261/.377/.461, 15 HR, 36 SB, 28.8% K rate, 14.0% BB rate
The oft-injured Michael Brantley was recently shut down for the season after requiring yet another shoulder surgery. The Indians have been able to survive his absence for much of this season, but the fact he will not be rejoining them at all this season is certainly a downer. But luckily for Cleveland, they have a potential superstar waiting in the wings. He has a promising .309/.415/.400 with a dinger and three steals since arriving at Triple-A and while his strikeout rate of 31.5% strikeout rate is a bit high, his 15.2% walk rate helps a little bit to ease the worries of many others. Zimmer recently hurt his finger, but he will be fine and should be ready to provide his explosive offensive ability to the Tribe and to fantasy owners in September. Once September rolls around, he has a skill set that warrants owning in all 12+ team leagues and possibly all leagues if he is able to receive enough starts.
8. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 472 PA, .320/.350/.591, 27 HR, 4 SB, 19.9% K rate, 3.8% BB rate
Renfroe is a much higher risk player to own than Margot, but he should still produce enough to warrant owning. Issues with plate discipline lead many to believe he could take some time before hitting for a decent batting average, but he has plenty of power and could really make a difference in the home run and RBI departments. The risk is certainly a bit concerning, but he would warrant a look in 12+ team leagues if promoted and 10 team leagues if he hits for a decent average to go along with solid starting time.
9. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 372 PA, .308/.398/.403, 4 HR, 0 SB, 12.9% K rate, 12.9% BB rate
That total of four home runs has not changed in a long while. In fact, it is made even worse when you consider that two of those four home runs came in a rookie league rehab stint so Winker only has two dingers at Triple-A. But fantasy owners should be optimistic with a couple of things. First, he has shown excellent plate discipline. At Triple-A, he has 46 walks and only 44 strikeouts. Most scouts believe that Winker should have no issue continuing that into the big leagues. Second, he has a quick enough bat that he should have no issue hitting for a solid average in the big leagues. And lastly, Winker will play in Great American Ballpark where his raw power could get a chance to flourish. Scott Schebler has not performed well since a sparkling return (when he walked off the St. Louis Cardinals) which will likely correlate into plenty of starting time for Winker when September rolls around. He is worth a speculative own in 12+ team leagues.
10. Anthony Banda (SP, ARI, AAA)
Stats: 122.2 IP, 2.93 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 9.02 K/9, 2.79 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9, 1.31 WHIP
Banda had a rough start to his Triple-A career, giving up 17 hits and 15 runs (nine earned) over his first two starts (nine innings). But since July 6, he has been outstanding. In seven starts, he has a 2.70 ERA, 3.52 FIP carried by his 8.52 K/9, 1.87 BB/9 and 0.62 HR/9 rates. And after throwing 151.2 innings last season, Banda should not be a victim to an innings limit unlike most of the guys on this list. And with guys like Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley struggling and nearing innings-limits, Banda could find himself in a position to snag some starts in September.
11. Lucas Giolito (SP, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 99.1 IP, 3.35 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 8.97 K/9, 3.90 BB/9, 0.63 HR/9, 1.39 WHIP
Giolito ran into a pretty brutal stretch in two of his past three starts. Though his last time out he delivered six innings of one-run baseball with three hits, one walk and five punchouts, he had previously gone 8.2 innings in his two previous outings with eight runs and seven earned with six walks, 12 hits, two dingers and 11 strikeouts. All-in-all on the season, Giolito has been outstanding and has continued that in to Triple-A, but with 110.1 innings this season (season-high 117 innings last year), he could be reaching an innings limit sometime in September. My guess is that soon he will be promoted to serve as bullpen help with an occasional spot start, but for the most part his most valuable time has really passed.
12. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 462 PA, .324/.420/.453, 8 HR, 11 SB, 16.2% K rate, 14.3% BB rate
Diaz was great at Double-A. He slashed .286/.445/.381 with eight more walks than strikeouts, two home runs and six stolen bases. Yet somehow, he is doing even better at Triple-A. Though his plate discipline numbers are not quite as sharp (11.9% BB rate and 16.8% K rate), everything else is great as Diaz owns a .334/.411/.474 slash with six dingers and five successful steals. Jose Ramirez has done well manning third this season, but Diaz has enough talent to siphon away enough plate appearances at third to make himself fantasy relevant in 12+ team leagues.
13. Jharel Cotton (SP, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 112.1 IP, 4.33 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 10.90 K/9, 2.64 BB/9, 1.44 HR/9, 1.07 WHIP
It would be very surprising to me if the Athletics did not give Cotton a look at some point during September. Though he is already at 112.1 innings on the season, he has thrown at least 110 innings twice in his MiLB career. Not to mention the 24-year-old right hander has looked very sharp during his time at Triple-A this year. Home runs have been an issue for him, but he has shown promise with limiting walks and has been prolific at striking batters out. Oh and his last time out: complete game, one-hit shutout with no walks and 12 strikeouts. He will probably be used primarily as a reliever where he could be dominant especially in the strikeout department, but an occasional spot start could give him some added value.
14. Robert Stephenson (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 115.2 IP, 4.36 ERA, 4.75 FIP, 7.70 K/9, 4.75 BB/9, 1.17 HR/9, 1.34 WHIP
Another guy affected by a potential innings limit, Stephenson could be simultaneously affected positively and negatively by innings limits. On the plus side for him, Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed are both nearing potential innings limits and could be shifted to the bullpen. On the down side, Bob Steve is nearing his own innings limit and will probably be limited to two or three starts in Cincinnati if they call him up soon. For fantasy owners, don’t worry too much about the low strikeout number as he has brought his K/9 rate up to 8.13 K/9 over his past three outings. If it does look like he will have a few starts, he would be worth owning in 12+ team leagues. If not, he can probably be avoided.
15. Hunter Dozier (3B, KC, AAA)
Stats: 468 PA, .306/.376/.545, 21 HR, 7 SB, 22.9% K rate, 10.0% BB rate
Dozier has had an absolutely explosive season this season and he almost certainly will get plenty of looks in September. The biggest advancement has been seen in his plate discipline where he is walking 1.4% more than last season and striking out 6.0% less than last season. Now Cheslor Cuthbert has been putting together a great season in his own right at the big league level, but Dozier has received playing time at third, first and in the outfield in the minors and could play all three of those positions and DH in the big leagues. Once September rolls around, Dozier could be worth the investment to fantasy owners in the playoffs looking for some extra thump at the third base position.
16. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 454 PA, .269/.341/.455, 14 HR, 13 SB, 23.1% K rate, 9.5% BB rate
So it was not Frazier who received the first promotion, rather it was Aaron Judge who certainly started off his big league career with a bang. Part of the reason for Judge reaching the bigs before Frazier would almost certainly be Frazier’s slow start to his Triple-A career. Though he does have a home run, he owns a slash line of .230/.254/.377 with an atrocious 30.2% strikeout rate and 3.2% walk rate. The 21-year-old still has plenty of upside, but if he can’t start to perform at Triple-A, he may not receive much playing time if any in September.
17. Harrison Bader (OF, STL, AAA)
Stats: 432 PA, .272/.338/.454, 15 HR, 9 SB, 24.3% K rate, 6.5% BB rate
With Matt Holliday recently placed on the 15-day DL, the Cardinals are in need of a new outfielder. And though they have been linked to Carlos Gomez via trade rumors, it is more likely that they just wait it out until September when they will be able to give Harrison Bader an opportunity to steal the spotlight. Bader has done very well in Triple-A and though his plate discipline numbers are a bit concerning, he has enough pop and speed to make up for what could be a slow start to his batting average numbers. If he is in fact given the opportunity in September to start, he would be worth owning in 12+ team leagues.
18. Josh Hader (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 107.0 IP, 3.03 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 11.44 K/9, 3.87 BB/9, 0.34 HR/9, 1.23 WHIP
The millionth prospect on this list whose value hinges on what the Brewers are going to do with his innings, Hader could either be promoted, serve as a bullpen arm and get a spot start or two. Or Hader could finish his season at Colorado Springs and wait to debut until 2017. At this point, it is really anyone’s guess. But with his strikeout upside, he needs to be kept somewhere in the spotlight in the event of a possible promotion. He would not be worth stashing in any redraft leagues, but he would be worth owning in all 12+ team leagues if he reaches the bigs.
19. Aaron Wilkerson (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 125.1 IP, 3.45 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 9.55 K/9, 2.51 BB/9, 0.79 HR/9, 1.20 WHIP
Not your typical prospect, Wilkerson could potentially avoid an innings limit this season. He is 27 years old so he is no spring chicken and he did throw roughly 150 last season. The only problem is that Wilkerson has had some issues in terms of runs allowed since coming to Milwaukee. Now part of that is the fact that he plays in hitter-friendly Colorado Springs, but his peripherals still look pretty sharp all things considered and he could potentially be a solid strikeout guy who will give fantasy owners six innings per start. He is not quite worth owning in 12 team leagues, but guys desperate for innings in 14+ team leagues could benefit from a sleeper with his strikeout upside.
20. J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 472 PA, .260/.365/.353, 6 HR, 12 SB, 13.8% K rate, 14.0% BB rate
Crawford is widely considered to be the top shortstop prospect in all of baseball, but that does not mean this will be his season. He has not done very well at Triple-A (.258/.348/.333) despite solid plate discipline numbers (11.8% walk rate and 14.4% strikeout rate) and Jim Salisbury recently said that Crawford may not reach the big leagues in September. If I was a betting man, I would still put money on him reaching the bigs, but I would not put a lot of money on it. At this point, he is not worth owning in any redraft leagues.
21. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AA)
Stats: 474 PA, .272/.374/.438, 10 HR, 12 SB, 20.5% K rate, 13.5% BB rate
22. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 279 PA, .290/.349/.560, 6 HR, 12 SB, 16.5% K rate, 8.2% BB rate
23. Jordan Patterson (OF, COL, AAA)
Stats: 394 PA, .319/.407/.513, 10 HR, 9 SB, 22.1% K rate, 10.9% BB rate
24. Nick Williams (OF, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 446 PA, .278/.308/.452, 12 HR, 5 SB, 22.9% K rate, 4.3% BB rate
25. Renato Nunez (3B, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 461 PA, .239/.289/.445, 21 HR, 2 SB, 19.5% K rate, 5.6% BB rate
26. Zach Lee (SP, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 121.0 IP, 5.50 ERA, 4.88 FIP, 6.69 K/9, 2.23 BB/9, 1.26 HR/9, 1.52 WHIP
27. Jeff Hoffman (SP, COL, AAA)
Stats: 113.2 IP, 4.20 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 9.11 K/9, 3.40 BB/9, 0.87 HR/9, 1.40 WHIP
28. Alec Mills (SP, KC, AAA)
Stats: 106.2 IP, 3.54 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 8.61 K/9, 2.19 BB/9, 0.76 HR/9, 1.23 WHIP
29. 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
30. Adalberto Mejia (SP, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 118.2 IP, 3.03 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 8.80 K/9, 2.12 BB/9, 0.76 HR/9, 1.10 WHIP
MLB Rookie Rankings
1. Corey Seager (SS, LAD)
2. David Dahl (OF, COL)
3. Nomar Mazara (OF, TEX)
4. Willson Contreras (C, CHC)
5. Max Kepler (OF, MIN)
6. Trea Turner (2B, WAS)
7. Kenta Maeda (SP, LAD)
8. Steven Matz (SP, NYM)
9. Michael Fulmer (SP, DET)
10. Seung Oh (RP, STL)
11. Blake Snell (SP, TB)
12. Tyler Naquin (OF, CLE)
13. Travis Jankowski (OF, SD)
14. Aledmys Diaz (SS, STL)
15. Edwin Diaz (RP, SEA)
16. Jon Gray (SP, COL)
17. Dae-Ho Lee (1B, SEA)
18. Tommy Joseph (1B, PHI)
19. Yulieski Gurriel (3B, HOU)
20. Alex Bregman (SS, HOU)
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