Checking In: Top MLB Prospects to Make Fantasy Impacts

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It's hard to believe that the Major League Baseball season is almost a month old. And while it's still very early, and sample sizes are still extremely small, certain trends are starting to develop. In addition, minor leaguers are starting to establish themselves as players worthy​ of call-ups.

Last season, I regularly took a look at minor leaguers that were having noteworthy seasons. A lot of them wound up making contributions at the big league level last season.

In this season's first installment, I look at a quartet of players that will likely be making the jump from minor league buses to big league luxury this season.

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Impact Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

Lewis Brinson, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

Lewis Brinson's major league debut cannot and will not be delayed a whole lot longer. The outfielder was the key piece in the trade that sent Jonathan Lucroy to the Texas Rangers, and the Brewers believe they have a franchise cornerstone in center field.

After coming over from the Rangers last year, the Brewers promoted him to Triple-A immediately, despite some early-season struggles in Double-A. He hit .382/.387/.628 for Colorado Springs in the (hitter friendly) PCL, and that's where he's currently doing his damage. Through 46 at-bats, Brinson is hitting .370/.400/.652. While he needs to improve his strikezone command a bit, Brinson has all the makings of a 20/20 player at the big league level.

Keon Broxton and (to a lesser extent) Domingo Santana don't appear to be long-term everyday options in Milwaukee, and Brinson should get an opportunity soon to prove that he is in fact an option. Expect Brinson to display his five-tool talent as soon as this season.

 

Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Chicago Cubs

Jeimer Candelario's bat earned him a call up last year with the Cubs, but he went just 1-for-11. In the minors, Candelario has done nothing but hit recently. Last year, he hit .333/.417/.542 in Triple-A and he's started 2017 hitting .317/.432/.700 through 60 at-bats at that level.

The big issue for Jeimer is that Kris Bryant currently occupies his natural position of third base. The Cubs have also tried him in the outfield, and he's played first base a couple of times recently. Regardless of where the defending champs move him around, he's going to be hard-pressed to find at-bats on the current Chicago roster. The Cubs could use him as trade bait, and if they do, the 23-year-old could wind up in a situation that will allow him to make a big contribution this year.

If he does get that opportunity, the switch-hitter is a legitimate .300 type hitter, and could even contribute double-digit home runs at the big league level.

 

German Marquez, RHP, Colorado Rockies

It's tough to rely on Colorado pitchers for fantasy production, but pre-injury Jon Gray and rookie Antonio Senzatela have helped calm some of the worries about this new era of young Rockies hurlers. Another one of those potential arms comes in the form of German Marquez.

Marquez entered spring camp with a legitimate shot at earning a rotation spot, but the Rockies opted to go with Senzatela. That wasn't a slight on Marquez, but rather a recognition of how Senzatela performed in spring training. Instead of pouting because of his demotion, Marquez has gone down to Triple-A and blown away hitters. The Rockies have been limiting Marquez' pitch counts and are slowly building him up; they even brought him out of the pen in his first outing. Through 10 IP, the hard-throwing righty has allowed just eight hits and three runs. Oh, and he has an 18/0 K/BB ratio.

The 22-year-old has a middle of the rotation ceiling, and at the worst, he could wind up being a high-leverage reliever. Regardless of where he ends up, he should have an opportunity as a starter first, and will likely wind up in the bullpen if he pitches his way out of that role. Look for him to get that chance at the midway point this season.

 

Yoan Moncada, 2B, Chicago White Sox

Yoan Moncada is the best prospect currently in the minors, and his production in 2017 has matched that. Through 60 at-bats in Triple-A, Moncada is hitting .300/.382/.517. He's chipped in with four home runs while playing all his games at second base.

There isn't a single player the White Sox currently have that will block the soon-to-be 22-year-old from the majors, so expect him to be called up soon and hitting right at the top of the Chicago lineup.

While the outlook and the potential is great, the strikeouts seem to be a legitimate concern. He struck out in 12 of his 19 big league at-bats last year, and his 30.9% K-rate this year also jumps off the page. In order for Moncada to realize his full potential, he'll have to get a better handle of the strike zone. Big league pitchers will be better suited to take advantage of any big holes and weaknesses, as was displayed last year. Moncada has 20-20 potential, but again, the strikeouts must be toned down.

 

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