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Fantasy Baseball Stash List: Prospects Ready to Make a Splash (Week 2 Updates)

Joey Loperfido - Fantasy Baseball, Prospects, Rankings

Winning in a fantasy baseball redraft league requires a nice blend of high-floor players and upside shots. While prospects do present more risk in a one-year setting like a redraft league, if they hit, they pay big dividends. The reward could be huge if these players get adequate playing time and perform.

Throughout the season, there will be plenty of prospects who will get promoted and make an impact on their respective MLB teams and fantasy teams. Getting ahead of the curve on these players can play huge dividends when it comes to FAAB bids. You can save money and have your league mates question how you are already in on that player so far in advance.

This bi-weekly article will dive deep into three players who could make an impact sooner rather than later.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:


Heston Kjerstad, OF, Baltimore Orioles

Kjerstad is hitting the cover off the ball right now in an attempt to force his way back onto Baltimore's roster. After another home run on Thursday, Kjerstad is up to five home runs in the last three games. While it is a small sample of six games that we are talking about at this point, Kjerstad is hitting .571 with an insane 1.795 OPS.

While Norfolk's lineup looks like it could compete with some MLB teams, Kjerstad has been by and far the best hitter in the lineup to this point, and it is not just based on the box scores. The underlying data is highly impressive, too.

While there are just 26 batted ball events, an average exit velocity of 96.2 mph is highly impressive, and there have been a ton of batted balls north of 105 mph. Kjerstad has always hit the ball hard and been a power threat, though. His major improvement in 2024 has been his contact rate. Last season, Kjerstad posted a 73 percent contact rate on the year, but so far this year, that number has jumped to an impressive 87 percent.

While it is still early, Kjerstad is mashing and if the contact improvements stick, he could be a huge contributor in Baltimore very soon.


Jack Leiter, RHP, Texas Rangers

Leiter was one of the most recognizable names in recent memory when it came to his draft year. Being the son of former MLB pitcher Al Leiter, Jack has always been in the spotlight and had an illustrious career at Vanderbilt. He struggled out of the gate as a professional but has put in the work to make changes he needed to do in order to succeed.

The Rangers placed Leiter on the development list last season to work on mechanics, and the strike-throwing improved significantly. Before hitting the development list, the strike rate sat at 60 percent with a 15 percent walk rate, and after returning, the strike rate jumped to 65 percent and the walk rate fell to just 7.2 percent.

Those changes seemed to carry over to Leiter’s first outing of 2024, as he struck out nine batters across five innings with just two hits and two earned runs allowed. Most of the damage came on a home run he gave up.

Leiter threw strikes at a 71 percent clip in the start while his fastball sat 95.7 mph with a ton of life up in the zone. In fact, Leiter averaged 21 inches of IVB, which is just crazy to even see, while getting nearly 10 inches of horizontal movement. The secondaries looked good, as well as Leiter missed bats with his slider at a higher clip, which sat near 90 mph, and his curveball showed nice depth.

While it was just one start, the Rangers showed confidence by placing Leiter in Triple-A to begin the year and he responded. If Leiter strings together a month worth of starts like his first, he could be in Texas sooner than later.


Joey Loperfido, OF/INF, Houston Astros

While it seemed to be that Loperfido had an outside chance to break camp with the Astros, he found himself in Triple-A, and apparently, that was a big motivation. While the slash line does not look great to this point, he does have an .810 slugging percentage largely due to having four home runs in five games.

His most recent home run left the bat with an exit velocity of 110.3 mph, which was his hardest hit ball in Triple-A since he joined Sugar Land late last season. The average exit velocity currently sits at 91.4 mph, with a 90th percentile exit velocity near 107 mph. Loperfido's power is legit and after coming off a 2023 season in which he hit 25 home runs and stole 27 bases, it seems like he is hungry for more.

Loperfido’s versatility, plus his bat, only helps his case of making the Astros roster soon. Last season, he played center field (43 games), first base (19), right field (20), second base (21), and left field (14) while showing a good bat. All three games this year, he has played center field, where the Astros are currently starting Jake Meyers. Between three levels in 2023, he slashed .278/.370/.510 with 25 home runs and 27 stolen bases. Yes, he can mash and will be a solid fantasy contributor when he comes up.

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