Last week we spoke about the crème rises to the top. This week, we could say the same thing. Akil Baddoo was one of the players I really liked entering the season and after a tough spring, is starting to put things together. The same thing could be said with two more famous prospects, Fernando Tatis Jr., Francisco Meija. Both are really starting to heat up with Mejia having a good chance to see the big leagues later in the summer.
Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.
Akil Baddoo (OF, Min, Low-A) – One of my picks to click this year was Akil Baddoo. In short-season ball last year, he showed an ability to control the strike zone with some speed and pop. Over the first 50 games this year though, Baddoo performance aligned with his name. As the weather warmed in June, so did his bat as he’s hit .300 since mid-June and .412 since the beginning of July. He’s cut down his strikeouts and is walking 16% of the time. I continue to be very bullish on Baddoo and could see him sneak into the back half of my Top 100 list going into 2019.
Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, SD, Double-A) – Fernando Tatis early season troubles seem fully in his rearview mirror. He finished the month of June with a flurry, batting .301 with eight home runs and eight stolen bases for the month. He still strikes out too much and has an ugly 102:37 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 358 plate appearances. But, he’ll play the entire season as a 19-years-old, making him the second youngest player in the Texas League. Net-net, Tatis could and should develop into an All-star performer.
Francisco Mejia (C, CLE, Triple-A) – On June 1st, Francisco Mejia was hitting below the Mendosa Line. For a lifetime .300 hitter in the minor leagues, it was a hard stat to wrap your head around. But June arrived and so did Mejia’s bat. In 22 games he hit .467 with a .739 SLG including four home runs. The best news for fantasy owners is that he is getting a lot of time in the outfield. Assuming he stays catcher eligible, which I think he does, the extra plate appearances should be a major benefit to fantasy owners.
Royce Lewis (OF, Min, Low-A) – Royce Lewis makes our list again. That happens when you hit over .300 in each month showing power and speed. He’s clearly showing why the Twins made him the number one overall pick in last year’s draft. He’s likely ready for a promotion, but don’t be surprised if they do not promote him to High-A until the end of August or even next year. The quick ascension of Byron Buxton must still be very fresh in their mind and the challenges that have been presented once he was promoted to the Big Leagues.
Julio Rodriguez (OF, Sea, DSL) – I’ve been intrigued with Julio Rodriguez since the Mariners signed him last year for a cool $1.75 million dollars signing bonus. He still has yet to make his US Debut but is hitting .340 in 25 games in the Dominican Summer League, walking nearly as many times as he’s struck out. For dynasty league owners, you need to embrace what is happening. Many of the elite players are coming through Latin America and while you have to grab them and hold on to them for sometimes five or more years, the payoff can be huge. I like to look for guys who can hit with power upside. That defines Rodriguez and why I’m starting to add him to my Dynasty Leagues in which he is still eligible.
Kevin Cron (OF, Ari, Triple-A) – Kevin Cron, C.J.’s little brother has had a nice season-to-date. In 52 games, he’s posted a .928 OPS with 14 home runs. He crushes lefties but does struggle against right-handed batters. That’s clearly not what you want to hear as it might suggest a platoon player long-term. But he has clear pop with a bit more plate patience than his older brother.
JoJo Romero (LHP, Phi, Double-A) – It’s been an uneven season for JoJo Romero. I aggressively ranked the 6-foot lefty #68 entering this season and while he’s shown flashes, he’s lacked the consistency that we saw last season in Clearwater. Part of the problem is Double-A is a big jump and the other part is Reading is a difficult place to pitch, especially for left-handers. To emphasize the point, he owns a 3.49 ERA on the road and a 5.65 ERA at home. His last outing at home against Erie was dominating though. In six innings, he gave up four hits, one run while striking out eight and walking only two.
Hunter Greene (RHP, Cin, Low-A) – As the summer wears on, Hunter Greene is rounding into the pitcher the Reds thought when they selected him number two overall in last year’s draft. In his last two starts, he’s pitched 13 innings, giving up five hits, allowing one run while striking out 17 and walking two. He’s got that unique combination of athleticism, premium stuff and makeup that should give him every opportunity to pitch at the top of the Reds rotation in three years.
Ian Anderson (RHP, Atl, High-A) – With all the pitching depth in the Atlanta system, Ian Anderson sometimes gets overlooked. The Braves surprised the industry by selecting him number three overall in the 2016 draft, but he’s done nothing to contradict that he was actually worth such a high pick. In 14 starts in High-A, he’s pitching to a 3.13 ERA, striking out over 11 per nine. His control is still not where the Braves want it as he’s walking nearly four per nine. However, the results are still impressive. In his last start early this week, he pitched six shutout innings giving up three hits while striking out 11 and walking just one.
Jhonathan Diaz (LHP, Bos, Low-A) – While the Red Sox system is down compared to just a few years ago when Betts, Benetendi, and Boagarts were making their way through. However, there is still talent and Venezuelan lefty Jhonathan Diaz could emerge as one of them. He throws a heavy fastball that gets plenty of ground balls with a curveball and change-up that have both improved this year. The results are impressive. In 15 starts, he’s pitched to a 3.66 ERA, striking out over a batter an inning while walking 2.4 per nine. He’s really picked it up since June pitching to a 2.50 ERA in five starts, striking out 28 while walking four.