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Top 30 Impact Prospects for Redraft Leagues (Week 7)


Another week, another whack of promotions from the Top 30 list. In his eighth pro season, outfielder Harold Ramirez finally earned a shot with the last-place Marlins after hitting .355 in 31 Triple-A games. The Indians have finally turned to Oscar Mercado for help with their beleaguered outfield.

With Collin McHugh struggling to a 6.37 ERA in eight starts, he’s been shifted back to the bullpen. Prospect Corbin Martin has been recalled from Triple-A after leapfrogging over the more highly-touted Forrest Whitley, who has also been throwing poorly.

Starters Kyle Wright (Braves) and Jon Duplantier (D-Backs) earned promotions last week to act as long men in the bullpen for their respective organizations. They have both been sent back down. Sean Reid-Foley has fallen off the list for now. Although Toronto is desperate for pitching help, the right-hander has been far too inconsistent with both his command and control to be of value at the MLB level. The rebuilding club instead turned to 35-year-old journeyman Edwin Jackson to help out. The Jays may have to seriously consider a move to the bullpen for the young pitcher.

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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (The Top 10)

1. Yordan Alvarez, 1B/OF, Astros (AAA) (ETA: June)

Alvarez has “cooled down” over the past 10 games after hitting .378 with just three home runs, causing his overall batting average to slip below .400 to .395. All joking aside, the Astros prospect has sustained his success for a month and a half now at the minors highest level. He appears big league ready and continues to wait for an opportunity. Perhaps with Jose Altuve on the shelf, the club will be tempted to promote him but veterans George Springer and Michael Brantley have been carrying the offense.

2. Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers (AAA) (ETA: June)

Hiura continues to perform well with hits in nine of his last 10 games and a BB-K of 10-8. The improved patience is key as he had just five walks in his first 27 games. The strikeout rate is also down significantly, although the Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) is still unsustainably high at .405. It’s about time for the Brewers to start working on ways to shoehorn Hiura onto the 25-man roster. *As this piece was being prepared, news broke that Hiura was likely being promoted.

3. Luis Urias, 2B, Padres (AAA) (ETA: June)

Urias continues to hit with new-found power but, more importantly, his BB-K has settled down over the past 10 games at 6-7. His success has always come from consistently putting the ball in play and getting on base so he needs to continue to do that and the power output is just gravy. With Ian Kinsler still struggling and Greg Garcia possessing modest potential, Urias should earn another opportunity before too long.

4. Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies (AAA) (ETA: July)

It looked like Rodgers might be headed for the injured list after taking a pitch off the head last week but he quickly returned and had four hits, including two homers, in his first game back. Rodgers is hitting for power while making a lot of contact and showing a willingness to take a walk. There is not much else he has left to prove in the minors. Struggling infielder Garrett Hampson was sent down on Monday but the club was expected to recall perennial spare part Pat Valaika rather than Rodgers.

5. Zac Gallen, RHP, Marlins (AAA) (ETA: June)

Gallen has now gone seven innings or more in his last three starts. During that stretch of 22 innings, he’s allowed five earned runs on just seven hits and four walks with 24 strikeouts. In total, he has a BB-K of 8-55 in 47.1 innings. With the inconsistencies shown by the Marlins’ young pitching staff, Gallen should soon join the recently-promoted Harold Ramirez in Miami.

6. Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, Rays (AAA) (ETA: July)

Lowe managed a .257 batting average in nine games but was unable to produce much pop (plus he had limited defensive value) so he finds himself back in Triple-A for now. The hulking first baseman doesn’t really fit into the Rays MLB roster with Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Diaz at first base and multiple players spending time at DH. He may need an injury to happen to Diaz or Choi or maybe even Avisail Garcia to get another shot.

7. Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals (AAA) (ETA: July)

Kieboom’s first taste of The Show ended after 11 games. He got off to a great start with two home runs in his first three games but that might have actually worked against him. He tried a little too hard to hit every ball out of the park after that and needs to focus more on just making good, hard contact.

8. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros (AAA) (ETA: July)

Tucker is now officially on fire. He’s hitting everything in sight and even stole home plate on Monday night. He has hits in his last five games, has a .343 average in the past 10 games and has increased his overall batting average to .234. He’s also walked six times in the last 10 games after taking just six free passes in his first 24 games. Seventeen of Tucker’s 29 hits have now gone for extra bases. Like Yordan Alvarez, he just needs an opportunity.

9. Cavan Biggio, 2B, Blue Jays (AAA) (ETA: June)

Biggio continues to maintain a 1.000 OPS while playing multiple positions at Triple-A. His BB-K of 27-21 remains impressive but he’s not hitting with as much power as of late. Still, with Toronto’s offense struggling badly, it may be difficult to keep him down for much longer. The big concern is the 40-man roster crunch with quite a few bodies on the injured list.

10. Austin Riley, 3B, Braves (AAA) (ETA: June)

Riley’s arrival in The Show may be coming soon. His hot streak with the bat has continued and he’s hitting .351 in his last 10 games. He’s also hit four home runs in the last five games. And perhaps most importantly, he’s spent the last four games playing left field rather than his natural third base. The added versatility will help him fit into the MLB roster - either filling in for the hobbled Josh Donaldson or the ineffective Ender Inciarte*As this piece was being prepared, news broke that Riley was also likely being promoted.

 

Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (11-20)

11. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves (AAA) (ETA: June)

Like Wright, Toussaint has found himself riding the MLB/Triple-A shuttle while spending time as both a starter and a long-man in the bullpen. The inconsistency and up-and-down can be tough on even the most advanced pitcher and it certainly hasn’t helped Toussaint deal with his command issues. In his most recent start, he allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks over the span of 4.2 innings.

12. Jon Duplantier, RHP, Diamondbacks (AAA) (ETA: June)

As mentioned above, Duplantier has been on the AAA-MLB shuttle a lot lately and it might be starting to wear on him. He allowed three runs in three innings of work over the weekend while battling his command.

13. Kyle Wright, RHP, Braves (AAA) (ETA: June)

Wright occupied a 25-man roster spot for five days but didn’t make it into a game. He likely needs some consistency to get back into a groove to truly be of value to the Braves but it appears as though he and Touki Toussaint are the favorites to act as the club’s No. 6 starters/long men out of the bullpen.

14. Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates (AAA) (ETA: July)

The Pirates are sliding down the standings in the National League Central and the club’s starting pitching has been inconsistent lately as it looks for someone to step in for the injured Chris Archer. Keller has also been inconsistent in Triple-A since throwing an excellent 10-strikeout game on April 27. His last start on May 8 was a dud when he allowed three runs in three innings and really struggled with both his command and control.

15. Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox (AAA) (ETA: July)

Cease threw 80 pitches and struggled to get out of the fourth inning in his most recent start. In six starts, he’s failed to get through five innings three times now. When his command is on, he’s shown swing-and-miss stuff with 33 strikeouts in 28 innings. Cease is going to need to be more economical with his pitches and show increased durability to succeed at the MLB level.

16. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros (AAA) (ETA: July)

As mentioned in the intro, Whitley was passed over for a big league promotion due to his struggles at Triple-A this year. He allowed five runs in two-thirds of an inning on May 3 and then followed up that performance with another five runs allowed in just 3.2 innings on May 10. He’s not given up seven home runs in 18.1 innings. He allowed just seven home runs between 2017 and ’18 combined (albeit during injury-shortened seasons).

17. Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers (AA)  (ETA: July)

Mize is human! Facing the Altoona Curves for the second time in two weeks (He no-hit them the first time), the right-hander allowed seven hits — which resulted in two runs. He obviously didn’t have his best stuff — and the opposing team had a good scouting report — but he was still able to minimize the damage. He allowed just two extra-base hits (both doubles).

18. Justus Sheffield, RHP, Mariners (AAA) (ETA: July)

Sheffield has only allowed more than two runs once in his last six Triple-A starts but he continues to struggle with his command and control. Overall, he’s allowed 26 hits and 25 walks in 31.1 innings. That’s far too many base runners allowed, especially for a hurler that’s been prone to the long ball (five homers allowed) this year.

19. Logan Allen, LHP, Padres (AAA) (ETA: July)

Allen was on a five-game run of allowing two or fewer earned runs when he entered his start on May 11. But he was hit on his throwing arm by a line drive on the first pitch of the game. He finished the inning but was then pulled from the game after allowing three hits and two walks. There was no news on the severity of the injury as of the writing of this piece.

20. A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics (INJ) (ETA: July)

Puk continues to face live hitters in extended spring training while working back from Tommy John surgery. I would expect him to be assigned to a short-season team shortly after the amateur draft in early June.

 

Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings (21-30)

21. Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays (AAA) (ETA: August)

Bichette is three weeks into the 4-6 week timeframe expected for his recovery from a broken hand.

22. Willi Castro, SS, Tigers (AAA) (ETA: July)

Castro continues to strike out more than you’d like from a player with modest power output but he’s also walked seven times in the last 10 games. Add that to a .322 average and you have a player with a .412 on-base percentage. Outside of a couple of exceptions, the Tigers’ big league lineup is struggling to get on base consistently so Castro may be a welcomed addition for that alone.

23. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox (AA) (ETA: August)

Robert has continued his inconsistent ways as of late. Since going 7-for-10 between May 4 and 5, he’s 2-for-18 albeit with a BB-K of 3-3. He also hasn’t been driving the ball as much lately so perhaps he’s dinged up a little bit.

24. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Athletics (INJ) (ETA: July)

Luzardo continues to slowly work his way back from his serious shoulder injury.

25. Josh Naylor, 1B, Padres (AAA) (ETA: July)

Naylor been a little more inconsistently lately but he’s still just shy of hitting .300 for the year while providing solid pop and an on-base percentage of .375. Still, he doesn’t really fit into the Padres’ roster unless an injury strikes Eric Hosmer or perhaps Wil Myers and he may be one of the most interesting names to watch as the trade deadline approaches.

26. Will Smith, C, Dodgers (AAA) (ETA: July)

The unexpected trade of Travis d’Arnaud gives Smith newfound hope of eventually making his way to the Majors this year, although he remains the fourth option behind Austin Barnes, Russell Martin and, Rocky Gale. Smith’s offense has perked up recently and he’s gone 7-for-17 with a BB-K of 3-2 in his last five games.

27. Jorge Mateo, SS, Athletics (AAA) (ETA: August)

Mateo has seven hits in his last five games but his BB-K has really struggled over that stretch and for the year. He’s one of those players that has just enough power to mess with his head and cause him to deviate from what makes him successful: getting on base and using his plus speed to wreak havoc. He has more stolen bases (11) than walks (nine) through 35 games. Still, he’d provide an element that’s mostly missing from the slow-footed big league club.

28. Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates (AAA) (ETA: August)

Hayes looked like he was in danger of falling off this list but he’s gone 6-for-17 with a 3-2 BB-K rate over the past four games. He seems to be stuck in between approaches right now as he’s not hitting for average or power. But he continues to get on base. His 11% walk rate has helped him maintain a .350 on-base average. With the big league Pirates getting very little offense from its third basemen, a well-timed hot streak from Hayes could earn him an opportunity.

29. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins (AA) (ETA: August)

It’s been a bit of a grind lately for Kirilloff to get back into the swing of things after missing all of April. But he has hits in eight of his 11 games and, outside of a couple of games, he’s done a great job of making consistent contact. Keep an eye on him — he’s going to get hot soon.

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

Bradley has been averaging a 33% strikeout rate since arriving in Triple-A late last year but, when he makes contact with the ball, he hits it a long way as witnessed by his line-drive rate of 28%. And the .429 BABIP masks the holes in his game. Bradley is your basic all-or-nothing slugger but that type of player has become more and more accepted at the big league level in recent years, and with the Indians struggling, he could be the next rookie hitter to be given an opportunity.

More MLB Prospects Analysis