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Top Prospect News For Week 1

Baseball is back! Opening Day of the 2019 MLB slate came and went last week, but now we have the start of the minor league season to look forward to this week. Fantasy owners, especially those in dynasty/keeper leagues, are always looking for the next young stud prospect that might be a difference-maker at the next level.

That's where we come in! If you aren't already familiar with this year's 2019 top-prospects list by MLB Pipeline, here you go. Many of the top names on this list -- Fernando Tatis Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Victor Robles, Francisco Mejia, Kyle Wright, Chris Paddack, Alex Verdugo, Peter Alonso, Josh James, Danny Jansen, Bryse Wilson -- are already on a major league squad and are making noise on fantasy rosters.

We'll be keeping an eye on the hot prospects on the farm throughout the year once minor league action starts and keep you abreast of top prospects and under-the-radar ones that could get that all-important major league call-up. For now, here's a list of some other top names and where they'll begin the 2019 season with their minor league affiliates. Now on to some important prospect news and some other names to know:

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Key Injuries

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

The consensus top overall prospect in baseball and perhaps one of the best prospects ever suffered a strained oblique in spring training, but he is progressing nicely and could be sent to Triple-A Buffalo soon. If it wasn't for his injury, he had a real shot to open the year as Toronto's starting third baseman.

He's only 20 years old but doesn't have anything left to prove with the bat in the minors, slashing .381/.437/.636 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI in 95 games over four levels. Guerrero has an impact bat that will thrive in the hitter-friendly environment at Rogers Centre. Brandon Drury is merely a placeholder until Guerrero is ready, so expect him to see a regular diet of at-bats at the Major League level once he's healed.

Nick Senzel - 3B, OF, Cincinnati Reds

The No. 6 overall prospect transitioned nicely to center field this spring, but injuries continue to slow him down. He will start the year in the minors and is in a boot for up to two weeks after spraining his right ankle. Senzel might not make his big league debut until sometime in May now, but he should be the team's starting center fielder in 2019 and has the tools to challenge for N.L. Rookie of the Year honors if he can just stay healthy.

Alex Kirilloff - OF, Minnesota Twins

He'll make his 2019 debut with Double-A Pensacola but as a member of the injured list with a minor wrist ailment suffered late in spring training. He shouldn't be out long, though, and is coming off a 2018 slash line of .348/.392/.578 while leading the minors with 71 extra-base hits between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers. Kirilloff, 21, is expected to be a franchise cornerstone in Minnesota.

Jesus Luzardo - SP, Oakland Athletics 

Luzardo should be a member of the A's rotation eventually in 2019, but he'll be out four-to-six weeks with a rotator-cuff strain in his left shoulder. The good news is the team's top prospect had allowed only one run in 9 2/3 innings while striking out 15 in spring action. Luzardo went 10-5 with a 2.88 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in the minors last year.

Hunter Greene - SP, Cincinnati Reds

The No. 36 overall prospect needs Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and is expected to miss all of this season. The 19-year-old struggled early in 2018 at Single-A Dayton (5.53 ERA in 12 starts) but finished strong and posted a 2.93 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings in his last six starts. Greene played in the Futures Game and threw 19 fastballs over 100 mph during the event.


D-Backs Call Up Pitching Prospect

Jon Duplantier - SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona called up their top pitching prospect on Monday from Triple-A Reno and he made his big league debut by tossing three shutout innings (two K's, one hit) against the Padres. He'll only be used in relief in the bigs this time around and could be sent down soon, as he hasn't pitched above Double-A after being selected in the third round in 2016. Duplantier has a four-pitch mix and is 17-4 with a 1.79 ERA, 245 strikeouts and 74 walks in 211 innings in 40 starts.


Jays Make Room For More Youngsters

Anthony Alford - OF, Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto on Tuesday sent outfielder Kevin Pillar to the Giants for infielder Alen Hanson, reliever Derek Law and pitcher Juan DePaula. DePaula was the Giants No. 19 prospect at the time and had a 1.71 ERA and 1.29 WHIP with 46 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings at Short-Season Staten Island in the Yankees system before he was dealt for Andrew McCutchen. He'll likely open 2019 with Single-A Lansing.

The departure of Pillar in center field allowed the Jays to call up Alford, their No. 11 prospect. He's a tremendous athlete with some raw power and speed, but Alford's tools haven't translated to much production in the upper minors or in his short big league stints the last two years. Lower-body injuries have also plagued him. If he can improve his approach at the plate and he gets regular playing time in Toronto this year, he's a name to watch.

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