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Top 30 Impact Prospects for Redraft Leagues (Week 18)


This was, without a doubt, the most challenging Top 30 list of the year to write. It takes about three days to craft each list so the preparation and execution occurred during the most tumultuous time of the year for any prospect… or prospect writer.

And much more will likely have changed by the end of the day that this piece is published - which just happens to fall on trade deadline day in Major League Baseball. No, the players themselves don’t change but a move from one organization to another can quickly change a player’s MLB ETA — usually for the better, but not always.

Last week’s No. 3 prospect on the list, Will Smith, recently — and very suddenly — went from Triple-A player to the Dodgers’ No. 1 catcher. And then last week’s No. 2 prospect, Bo Bichette, was promoted a couple of days ago when Toronto traded the versatile Eric Sogard to Tampa Bay. The Blue Jays then traded pitchers Marcus Stroman and David Phelps, which brought Sean Reid-Foley, who was in the latter half of the list, back to the Majors.

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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (1-10)

1. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros (AAA) (ETA: August)

It’s been a rough month for Tucker who had an OPS above 1.000 in both May and June. His OPS was sitting at .657 for July just a couple of days ago but then he hit two home runs over the past two days to push it up to a modest .700. He’s now enjoyed two not-so-good months and two very good months. So who is the real Tucker? Given that this is his second full season in Triple-A, the young outfielder should be providing more consistent results. Of course, it’s also possible that he could be playing through a minor injury that’s impacting him at the plate. The trade deadline is not yet over as of the writing of this piece so we don’t have any clarity on his chances of impacting the Majors this year.

2. Isan Diaz, 2B, Marlins (AAA) (ETA: August)

Diaz is hitting just .231 with 12 strikeouts over his past 10 games. But he also added another two home runs to give him 24 through 98 games. You have to be interested in any second baseman projected to hit more than 30 home runs in a full season - while also showing a solid BB-K (47-92) and hitting near .300. The 23-year-old infielder’s return to prospect prominence this year has been sorely under-hyped.

3. Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals (AAA) (ETA: August)

July has easily been Kieboom’s worst month of the year but he’s looking to head into August on a hot streak. Although his OPS is down around .700 for the month, after being above .930 every other month, he’s on fire over his last 10 games with a .349 average and just four strikeouts. The improved contact brings his BB-K to 50-72 for the year, through 83 games. Like Isan Diaz above, Kieboom’s patience makes him even more valuable in leagues that reward walks.

4. Junior Fernandez, Cardinals (AAA) (ETA: August)

Fernandez recently threw about two shutout innings and has some impressive numbers since his promotion to Triple-A. In 10 games, he has a 0.59 ERA with 18 strikeouts and is inducing ground-ball outs at an above-average rate through 15.1 innings. He still has yet to allow a home run this season in 56 combined innings.

5. Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates (AAA) (ETA: August)

After a stretch of three games with just four total runs allowed, Keller had a rough game on July 27 when he allowed five earned runs on six hits a walk over 4.2 innings. His command issues continue to be a problem, even though he’s mostly solved his control issues and hasn’t allowed more than three walks in a minor league start since mid-April.

6. Kyle Wright, RHP, Braves (AAA) (ETA: August)

Wright has been much-asked-about during trade discussions but the Braves aren’t overly likely to part with the talented hurler while his value is down after an inconsistent season. With that said, he’s on a strong streak of allowing three or fewer earned runs in seven straight starts at the Triple-A level.

7. Gavin Lux, SS, Dodgers (AAA) (ETA: August)

Teams have been pressuring the Dodgers to part with Lux but Los Angeles has, to date, resisted the urge despite being unable to acquire the pitching help that they seek. Lux continues to tear the cover off the ball on a nightly basis and is hitting .419 over his past 10 games with a BB-K of 10-8. Overall through 24 Triple-A games, he has 47 hits, including eight home runs. His BB-K is 17-20.

8. A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics (AAA) (ETA: August)

Oakland has already been active on the trade market and should continue to seek help right up until the deadline. However, Puk appears to be getting comfortable in his new relief role as he returns from Tommy John surgery and could be a secret weapon for the A’s in the waning weeks of the 2019 regular season and into the playoffs. Since being promoted to Triple-A, he’s thrown three innings without allows a run or a walk. He’s allowed just one hit and has struck out three batters.

9. Bryse Wilson, RHP, Braves (AAA) (ETA: August)

Wilson’s hot-and-cold stretches at Triple-A continue. After a dud performance on July 11, he threw seven innings on July 21 without allowing an earned run. He gave up just four hits and did not issue a walk. The Braves are known to be in the market for pitching but are through to be focused more on relievers so Wilson, Kyle Wright, and other young pitchers could continue to see key innings.

10. Jon Duplantier, RHP, Diamondbacks (AAA) (ETA: August)

Duplantier has now thrown four times since returning from an injury. He was roughed up in the first appearance but has now gone three straight games without allowing an earned run. He’s also walked just one batter to go along with eight strikeouts in 7.1 innings. With the Diamondbacks now looking like sellers, and Robbie Ray expected to be dealt, it could mean more innings at the MLB level for Duplantier in the final two months of the season.

 

Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (11-20)

11. Dustin May, RHP, Dodgers (AAA) (ETA: August)

May is another prospect that teams are trying to pry away from the Dodgers. The 21-year-old hurler recently threw six shutout innings with just three hits and one walk allowed. He has a 2.53 ERA through four Triple-A starts since being promoted from Double-A but neither his control nor his command has not been as sharp.

12. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox (AAA) (ETA: August) 

Robert is having a quiet stretch - but it’s one that most prospects would covet as a hot streak. Over the past 10 games, he’s hitting .302 with a BB-K of 4-11. He’s now hitting .356 through 17 Triple-A games with five home runs and five steals. Overall, he has 21 home runs and 34 steals at three different minor league levels.

13. Jordan Romano, RHP, Blue Jays (Injured) (ETA: August)

Romano continues to be sidelined by an injury but he’s expected to soon return to game action and could see some high-leverage innings in the final two months of the year with Toronto’s veteran relievers in high demand as the deadline nears. Ken Giles isn’t likely to be dealt now that he’s dealing with an elbow injury, but he also might not pitch much in the final months of the season if this keeps up. Toronto has also already traded David Phelps with more names continuing to be mentioned in rumors.

14. Deivi Garcia, RHP, Yankees (AAA) (ETA: August)

Garcia continues to be one of the most sought-after prospects by teams discussing deals with the Yankees. The 20-year-old has pitched at three levels so far this season but has been inconsistent at the Triple-A level. In his most recent start, he allowed four earned runs in six innings but also displayed improved control with just one walk. All combined, he has 128 strikeouts in 82.2 innings this season.

15. Willi Castro, SS, Tigers (AAA) (ETA: August)

The rebuilding Tigers club has been quiet so far leading up to the trade deadline so this second base prospect remains in line for a late-season promotion, although Castro isn’t doing himself any favors. He’s hitting just .225 with a BB-K of 0-9 over his past 10 games. Overall, he’s hitting .287 with 17 steals in 98 games.

16. Adbert Alzolay, RHP, Cubs (Injured) (ETA: August)

Alzolay remains on the Triple-A injured list but it’s not expected to be a long-term injury.

17. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/3B, Orioles (AAA) (ETA: August)

Mountcastle seems to know it’s trade deadline time. He’s looking for his organization to make a big splash and open up some playing time for him. He’s hitting .442 over the past 10 games with 19 hits, including three home runs. He’s now one long-ball away from 20 for the season. His BB-K remains ugly at 14-98 in 95 games.

18. Nick Solak, 2B/OF, Rangers (AAA) (ETA: August)

Solak has had a mostly all-or-nothing approach since moving from the Rays to the Rangers. In 11 games in his new organization, four of his nine hits have gone over the outfield fences. But he’s only hitting .220 with 10 strikeouts. He now has 21 home runs in 96 games this season, which is good pop for someone that should end up qualifying at both second base and in the outfield.

19. Jo Adell, OF, Angels (AA) (ETA: August)

The Angels are still within striking distance of a wild card spot but they also have a number of teams to jump over so they remain stuck in an unenviable position. Adell is also stuck in a rut at Double-A with a .162 batting average over his past 10 games so his chances of getting a late-season promotion to try and spark the club are getting slimmer.

20. Keibert Ruiz, C, Dodgers (AAA) (ETA: September)

With the Dodgers wadding into the pitching market, it’s widely expected that one of the two top catching prospects in the organization could be used as bait. It’s probably not going to be Will Smith, who was recently named the Dodgers’ No. 1 catcher and he clearly separated himself from Ruiz earlier in the year. But after struggling early in the season — perhaps due somewhat to the disappointment of returning to Double-A for a second season — Ruiz has enjoyed a recent rejuvenation. That, in turn, earned him a promotion to Triple-A where he’s hitting .333 through four games.

 

Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (21-30)

21. Jake Fraley, OF, Mariners (AAA) (ETA: August)

Fraley went a stretch of five days without appearing in a game — possibly due to a minor injury — and he hasn’t been much of an impact player since returning (5-for-28). Still, he’s done enough this season to earn a late-season look with the Mariners and he possesses an intriguing mix of speed and developing power. Overall, he has 16 home runs, 21 steals, and a .290 batting average.

22. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates (AAA) (ETA: August)

Hayes just hasn’t had a great season at Triple-A. But the Pirates are also looking toward the future and there is some value in promoting him to see if he looks capable of impacting the club in 2020 — since he has to be added to the 40-man roster this winter anyway. He’s hitting .244 on the year but has some extra-base power and is 11-for-12 in stolen base attempts.

23. Austin Hays, OF, Orioles (AAA) (ETA: August)

Hays is finally healthy but a recent cold streak has hurt his overall Triple-A numbers. He’s hitting just .186 with a BB-K of 1-11 over his past 10 games. On the plus side, he’s still providing some pop and his OPS sits at .774 through 29 games. Of his 30 hits, 13 have gone for doubles and five have gone for home runs. And with a limited minor league system, Hays’ chances of promotion are positively impacted by the lack of depth.

24. Nick Gordon, SS, Twins (AAA) (ETA: August)

Gordon is making a late push for an MLB promotion this year - either with the Twins or perhaps another club, depending on how trade deadline day goes. He’s hitting .378 over the past 10 games and is now up to .301 through 67 games for the season. Of his 85 hits, 28 have been doubles which suggests some raw power potential. He also has 14 successful steals in 18 attempts.

25. Jared Walsh, 1B/JHP, Angels (AAA) (ETA: August)

Walsh’s chances of seeing a return to the Majors this year are solid considering the fact he could have an impact in the bullpen or at the plate. The two-way player is on fire right now in the batter’s box. Over the past seven games, he’s gone 14-30 with seven home runs. He’s hitting .327 with 26 home runs and a BB-K of 50-87 in 77 games. On the mound, his ERA sits at 3.00 and he’s inducing a massive number of ground-ball outs.

26. Justin Dunn, RHP, Mariners (AA) (ETA: August)

Dunn has had three starting excellent starts at the Double-A level. In his last two starts, he’s thrown seven innings each time and has allowed a total of just one run on eight hits with 12 strikeouts. He has a K-BB of 114-28 on the season and looks more than ready for Triple-A and/or the Majors.

27. Peter Fairbanks, RHP, Rays (AAA) (ETA: August)

Although his future is somewhat dependent on what the Rays do by 4 PM eastern today (Wednesday), Fairbanks could be positioning himself well to help sooner rather than later at the big league level. The hard-throwing right-hander pitched two scoreless, hitless innings over the past week. He walked one batter and struck out three.

28. Joshua Rojas, IF, Astros (AAA) (ETA: August)

A former 26th round draft pick, Rojas has quietly turned himself into a prospect. Although he’s not the most fleet of foot, he’s a good base runner and has posted back-to-back seasons with more than 30 steals. And he’s added power to his game this year (partially due to the juiced balls in Triple-A). After hitting a career-high of 10 homers back in his debut season, Rojas is now at 20 for the season. Rojas’ also has an impressive BB-K of 50-61. The prospect's versatility also makes him attractive, as he qualifies at all four infield positions and in the outfield.

29. Tanner Houck, RHP, Red Sox (AAA) (ETA: August)

Houck’s transition from starter to reliever has hit a speed bump in Triple-A. After his most recent outing, he’s now issued five free passes in 4.2 innings with just two strikeouts. It can take some pitchers more time than others to get comfortable with the less structured routine of pitching out of the bullpen. Houck will need to find his comfort level soon if he’s going to have an opportunity to help Boston this season.

30. Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians (AAA) (ETA: August)

The Indians’ trade for Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes hurts Bradley’s chances of finding impactful playing time in the final two months of the season. Bradley is also hitting just .190 over his past 10 games with… wait for it… 22 strikeouts in 42 at-bats. Yuck. He has 27 home runs in total but his BB-K is 27-113 in 77 games.

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