Top AL Central Prospects for 2017 Dynasty Leagues: Midseason Update

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Welcome to the first of RotoBaller’s six-part midseason dynasty league prospect update! Today I am looking at the American League Central Division, analyzing which prospects are going to be the best long-term assets for fantasy owners in dynasty leagues.

Just to be clear, this is an overview of the entire division, meaning prospects from all five teams will be discussed here. I am not going to delve into the value of each prospect in the teams’ respective Top 10 lists and only focusing on the elites of the elite, but we’ll do a more advanced look into each of the teams’ prospects during the offseason. And of course, if at any point you have any prospect related questions, you can hit me up @EdwardSutelan on Twitter.

By the way, if you are interested in more MLB prospects columns, head on over to our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. Throughout the offseason, you will find the rest of our team prospect breakdowns, fantasy baseball prospect rankings, tiered positional rankings, keeper values articles, and more - all in one easy place.

Editor's note: Get a free one-week MLB Premium Pass including our famous Lineup Optimizer/Generator, Premium Matchup Ratings, DFS Lineups, Cheat Sheets, and 10 other tools. Sign Up Now!

 

AL Central Top Prospects for Dynasty Leagues

Today I am continuing my list of prospect systems in the AL divisions. I have already addressed the AL East. Later, I will delve into the AL West and all three divisions in the National League. To read more about my prospect coverage, click here.

Top Overall Talent: Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, CWS)
Top Prospect to Debut in 2017: Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, CWS)
It should not be all that surprising that the top fantasy prospect in baseball is also the top in this division. There are few prospects who can match Moncada’s power/speed combination, fewer still who play up the middle. And especially now that the White Sox have used him exclusively at second base, it is clear he will call one of the shallowest fantasy positions home for years to come, which will only be a big boost to his fantasy value. His strikeouts are concerning, but he balances them out by taking a ton of walks. Even if his batting average never reaches .300, he should be an annual 25/25 second baseman who also contributes in on-base percentage, runs scored and RBI.

Top Prospect who won’t Debut in 2017: Francisco Mejia (C, CLE)
Some were probably expecting to see Luis Robert here, and while he certainly has a ton of upside, Mejia is no slouch in his own right. While Robert plays the deep position of outfield, Mejia plays the shallowest fantasy position in baseball in catcher and has proven his bat is no joke. He has followed up last season’s breakout campaign with an outstanding .339/.382/.546 slash line at Double-A with nine home runs in just 59 games. He is also sharp defensively behind the plate, so owners don’t have to worry about him switching to first base. Few catchers have the bat Mejia does, which makes him a potentially game-changing fantasy asset.

Biggest Boom or Bust: Zack Collins (C, CWS)
Speaking of catchers who can hit, Collins’ bat may actually be better than Mejia’s. Where Mejia is a contact-first guy, Collins has a ton of thump in his bat, and could one day be a 25+ home run bat in the majors. Combine that with an elite eye at the plate (19.4 percent walk rate at High-A this season), and you’ve got a really exciting prospect. Unlike Mejia, however, he is a potential candidate to move off catcher and over to first base. And though that move would not be detrimental to his value, it would mean that a potentially elite prospect goes down to another run-of-the-mill first baseman whose bat is solid, but not probably not Top 10 in the majors. If he can stay behind the dish, he will be an annual Silver Slugger at the catching position. But a move to first base is very possible, and could drag down his fantasy value.

Biggest Sleeper: Fernando Romero (SP, MIN)
The first pitching prospects that inevitably are brought up when discussing the Minnesota Twins’ farm system are Stephen Gonsalves, Tyler Jay and the now-MLB stud Jose Berrios. But Romero is doing everything he can to add his name to that list. Romero dazzled at both Class-A and Class-A Advanced last season, posting a sub-2.00 ERA and 2.30 FIP between the two levels. He has impressed even more in 2017, carrying over that success from last season into Double-A where he now owns a 2.94 ERA and 3.02 FIP. His fastball has always been his top weapon, but his slider is really starting to come along and could be the missing piece in the puzzle that establishes him as a front-of-the-rotation starter. If he keeps pitching like this, expect to see his name start to climb up prospect lists before he debuts next summer.

 

Top Prospect Hitters

Best Power Hitter: Bobby Bradley (1B, CLE)
Bradley has turned in arguably his most impressive season of his professional career thus far at Double-A. He has improved his batting average to .258 after .235 last season at High-A. And though his walk rate has dipped about two percent, his strikeout rate is down to only 23.1 percent after striking out nearly 30 percent of the time a season ago. But you didn’t come here to read about his rebound, you came to read about his power. And boy oh boy does he have a lot of that. Scouts almost all project him as a 25+ homer bat, as he has carried his boomstick with him to every level of the minors thus far. He hit 27 homers in 2015, 29 in 2016 and 19 already in 80 games at Double-A this season. Even if the strikeouts come back and his batting average is kept relatively low, owners can count on him raking in the homers.

Most Likely to Hit over .300: Francisco Mejia (C, CLE)
Mejia does everything you want in a guy you project to hit for a high average. He takes walks (usually around 7 percent), he consistently keeps that strikeout rate down (13-17 percent strikeout rate) and racks up a ton of hits. The switch-hitting backstop makes solid contact from both sides of the plate, and his quick bat will make sure he can catch up to most pitches. The power is still limited for now, but owners will be able to expect a .300+ batting average on annual basis with 10-15 homers soon to come. That’s not too shabby for a catcher.

Best Burner on the Bases: Derek Hill (OF, DET)
There are a lot of flaws in Hill’s game as of right now, and his stock has plummeted over recent years, but his speed still stands out as one of the best tools in the minors. He has twice set Class-A afire with his legs, swiping 25 bags over 53 games in 2015, and then again in 2016 when he tallied 35 bases over 93 games. His bat has a long way to go, and could really hold him back, but his glove will help get him to the majors and his speed will make sure he makes the most of his time there.

 

Top Prospect Pitchers

Strikeout Machine: Michael Kopech (SP, CWS)
If you didn’t catch the Futures Game, you missed seeing Kopech make some really solid pitchers look really silly. He dazzled in his inning of work, and with his high-octane stuff it should not be all that surprising that he garners this superlative. Routinely touching triple-digits is a good start, but the thing that arguably makes Kopech the best strikeout artist in the AL Central is the combination of that lights-out fastball with a lethal 90-mph slider. He also has a heavy-sinking changeup that is developing into a third out-pitch for him. Kopech’s elite repertoire of pitches already makes him a pitching prospect worth owning, and even if he does not develop solid control, his strikeout stuff should help him remain relevant in most dynasty leagues.

Best Command: Spencer Adams (SP, CWS)
Adams does not have the strikeout stuff of his teammate in Birmingham, but his control is truly pinpoint. It has been two years since Adams walked more than 4.5 percent of opposing hitters, and has continued that trend into Double-A this season, walking only 3.9 percent of hitters. His stuff is mediocre, with his slider representing the only above-average offering, but with his elite control, he should at least become a back-of-the-rotation in the South-Side of Chicago sooner rather than later.

 

Top 10 Overall Dynasty Prospects for the AL Central

1. Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, CWS)
ETA: 2017

2. Francisco Mejia (C, CLE)
ETA: 2018

3. Luis Robert (OF, CWS)
ETA: 2020

4. Michael Kopech (SP, CWS)
ETA: 2018

5. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN)
ETA: 2018

6. Zack Collins (C, CWS)
ETA: 2019

7. Bobby Bradley (1B, CLE)
ETA: 2018

8. Triston McKenzie (SP, CLE)
ETA: 2019

9. Royce Lewis (SS/OF, MIN)
ETA: 2020

10. Lucas Giolito (SP, CWS)
ETA: 2017

 

Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Chicago White Sox

1. Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, AAA)
ETA: 2017

2. Luis Robert (OF, ROK)
ETA: 2020

3. Michael Kopech (SP, AA)
ETA: 2018

4. Zack Collins (C, A+)
ETA: 2019

5. Lucas Giolito (SP, AAA)
ETA: 2017

6. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, AAA)
ETA: 2017

7. Luis Alexander Basabe (OF, A+)
ETA: 2019

8. Zack Burdi (RP, AAA)
ETA: 2017

9. Dane Dunning (SP, A+)
ETA: 2019

10. Alex Hansen (SP, A+)
ETA: 2019

 

Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Cleveland Indians

1. Francisco Mejia (C, AA)
ETA: 2018

2. Bobby Bradley (1B, CLE)
ETA: 2018

3. Triston McKenzie (SP, A+)
ETA: 2019

4. Greg Allen (OF, AA)
ETA: 2018

5. Yandy Diaz (3B/OF, AAA)
ETA: 2017

6. Will Benson (OF, A-)
ETA: 2020

7. Yu-Cheng Chang (SS, AA)
ETA: 2018

8. Willi Castro (SS, A+)
ETA: 2019

9. Brady Aiken (SP, A)
ETA: 2020

10. Nolan Jones (3B, A-)
ETA: 2020

 

Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Detroit Tigers

1. Christin Stewart (OF, AA)
ETA: 2018

2. Matt Manning (SP, A-)
ETA: 2020

3. Alex Faedo (SP, NA)
ETA: 2020

4. Beau Burrows (SP, AA)
ETA: 2019

5. Kyle Funkhouser (SP, A+)
ETA: 2019

6. Michael Gerber (OF, AA)
ETA: 2018

7. Joe Jimenez (RP, AAA)
ETA: 2017

8. JaCoby Jones (OF, AAA)
ETA: 2017

9. Reynaldo Rivera (1B, A-)
ETA: 2020

10. Derek Hill (OF, ROK)
ETA: 2019

 

Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Kansas City Royals

1. Hunter Dozier (3B/OF, AAA)
ETA: 2018

2. Nick Pratto (1B, ROK)
ETA: 2020

3. Josh Staumont (SP, AA)
ETA: 2018

4. Khalil Lee (OF, A)
ETA: 2019

5. Chase Vallot (C, A+)
ETA: 2019

6. Ryan O’Hearn (1B, AAA)
ETA: 2018

7. Jake Junis (SP, AAA)
ETA: 2017

8. Scott Blewett (SP, A+)
ETA: 2019

9. Kyle Zimmer (SP, AAA)
ETA: 2018

10. Marten Gasparini (SS, AA)
ETA: 2018

 

Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Minnesota Twins

1. Nick Gordon (SS, AA)
ETA: 2018

2. Royce Lewis (SS/OF, ROK)
ETA: 2020

3. Stephen Gonsalves (SP, AA)
ETA: 2018

4. Zack Granite (OF, AAA)
ETA: 2017

5. Fernando Romero (SP, AA)
ETA: 2018

6. Brent Rooker (1B/OF, ROK)
ETA: 2019

7. Alex Kiriloff (OF, NA)
ETA: 2020

8. Tyler Jay (RP, AA)
ETA: 2018

9. Travis Blankenhorn (3B, A)
ETA: 2019

10. Landon Leach (SP, NA)
ETA: 2021