In doing prospect lists for now over five years, this is the first year that four out of the top five players are Latin-born. If Ronald Acuna and Juan Soto would have had slightly fewer at-bats in the major leagues, it would have been six of seven. Sure, there are a ton of Latin stars playing in the major leagues, but in the age of Fantasy Dynasty Leagues, owners MUST pay more attention to the J2 signing period every year and start to gamble on some of these players. I understand there is not a ton information out there and while we will try our best to profiles these players as they are signed, one easy way is to invest as the major league teams are doing. There is already a tremendous amount of risk acquiring a 16-year-old on your dynasty league, why not let the major league teams do the work for you. If a team is investing millions of dollars in a 16-year-old, shouldn’t you acquire him for your team?
As shared last week when we posted number 26 through 50, our goal will be to do a Top 100 list next season.
Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3B, Tor) – If it weren’t for an injury there is no telling what kind of numbers Vlad Jr. would have put up. Regardless, he’s the best prospect and the game and has that Miggy Cabrera combination of power and hit-tool.
2. Victor Robles (OF, Was) – Juan Soto has made everyone forget about Victor Robles. I still think the upside is still higher than Soto, particularly from a fantasy standpoint as he’ll add 20 plus stolen bases annually. He just needs to get back on the field.
3. Fernando Tatis Jr. (OF, SD) – After a slow start, Fernando Tatis has been hot since the first of June. There is both speed and power but the hit-tool still needs work as he strikes out too much and is very aggressive at the plate. But at 19 years old and already in Double-A, the Padres will take it.
4. Nick Senzel (3B, Cin) – Nick Senzel hasn’t played much this year and after tearing a tendon in his finger, will not play the remainder of the year. Hopefully, he’ll be in the Arizona Fall League so that the Fantasy hype machine can restart. He has all the tools and reminds me a lot of Anthony Rendon with a half grade better in speed. But, he needs to stay healthy…kind of like what we said about Rendon.
5. Eloy Jimenez (OF, CHW) – Eloy Jimenez started the year of the DL as we get to our midseason list, he’s back on the DL. In between, he’s hit over .300 with 14 home runs. There’s easy power in his bat with a chance to hit for a .280 plus average. There’s no speed but other than that, he’ll be an impact player for a long time.
6. Kyle Tucker (OF, Hou) – I’ve written about Kyle Tucker a lot and while I like the speed/power combination, I still worry about the hitch in his swing. However, not enough for me to rank him out of the Top 10 on any list. If there is one organization I trust, it’s the Astros and if they are good with him proceeding with his funky swing, well, I guess I am too…sort of…
7. Brendan Rodgers (SS, Col) – I continue to view Brendan Rodgers as an elite prospect. Yes, I wish he was more patient at the plate and yes I wish he had more speed. But, he has plus power that will play even bigger in Coors Field. Don’t be surprised if he develops in a gulp, Nolan Arenado level player and perhaps at third if the Rockies are not able to sign Arenado long-term.
8. Forrest Whitley (RHP, Hou) – After serving a 50 game suspension for violating the minor league substance abuse policy, Forrest Whitley returned in fine fashion posting a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings with 25 strikeouts. Unfortunately, he left his July 5th start with an oblique injury with no estimate given on how long he’ll be out. The stuff is premium and even at 6-foot-7, he’s able to repeat his delivery and throw strikes. While the injury and suspension are disappointing, he could still join the Astros at some point in the second half. If not, he’ll be a nice backfill when the Astros are not able to resign one of their aces.
9. Royce Lewis (OF, Min) – Royce Lewis can really play. He controls the strike zone very well and has double-plus speed and power that should develop once he fills out. Since he is only in Low-A, he has all the makings of eventually being the number prospect in the game.
10. Bo Bichette (SS, Tor) – While all the talk has been about Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette has hit .273 with eight home runs and has stolen an impressive 25 bags. The Blue Jays continue to play him at shortstop, but long-term, I see him at second or third. Regardless, he has a chance to be a top offensive performer with 20/20 not out of the question particularly early in his career.
11. Alex Reyes (RHP, Stl) – I’m not sure what to say about Alex Reyes. He returns from Tommy John Surgery to put up video game numbers in the minor leagues. He’s promoted on May 30th and pitches four innings against the Brewers leaving with a torn oblique that ends his season. Ugh…in fact, double Ugh! Look, the stuff is electric and if he can control it, he’s an ace. Let’s hope we see it next season.
12. Jo Adell (OF, LAA) – If you read our weekly “Hot Prospect” report, you know that Jo Adell has been a mainstay. It’s been for good reason as he’s absolutely shoved it. The tools are just crazy with a chance to develop 25 plus home run potential with 20 plus stolen bases. The question, of course, is the hit tool. He does strikeout a lot (25%) and is only walking 6% of the time. But, he’s also only 19-years-old, so I’m betting he figures things out and at worse is a .260 hitter.
13. Keston Hiura (2B, Mil) – The book on Keston Hiura entering the 2017 draft was he could hit. After 120 games and a .330 average, I think we can conclude…yeah, he can hit. He’s making things look easy and could start to push for playing time in Milwaukee early in the 2019 season.
14. Mackenzie Gore (LHP, SD) – Mackenzie Gore has battled multiple blisters this year but when he’s pitched, it’s been electric. He combines three plus pitches with a great delivery and assuming the blister problem can be solved, he should quickly move through the minor leagues. He has ace potential.
15. Willy Adames (SS, TB) – Willy Adames has been starting for the Rays since early June but still qualifies for our list based on the number of at-bats. While he hasn’t hit all that well, he controls the strike zone well and should be able to hit 20 plus home runs while adding double-digit stolen bases once he is fully acclimated to the big leagues.
16. Mike Soroka (RHP, Atl) – Mike Soroka exploded onto the big league stage with six innings, one earned run win against the Mets. Sure it was the Mets, but he was dealing. Since then, he’s been a little inconsistent, but with a sinking fastball that averages 93 MPH, he has the stuff to be a solid mid-rotation performer if not more.
17. Mitch Keller (RHP, Pit) – Mitch Keller is one of the best pitchers in the minor leagues and nobody is talking about him. While he has premium stuff, it hasn’t resulted in a ton of strikeouts. The reason is the Pirates are having him work on his change-up and fastball command which from just seeing him a couple of weeks ago, is going quite well. But he’s a Pirate, so unless he signs a team-friendly deal, don’t expect to see him on the big league roster until the second half of 2019.
18. Franklin Barreto (SS, Oak) – Could the third time have been the charm, or was it the fourth? Over the past two-years, Franklin Baretto has been bouncing between Oakland and Nashville and I thought he might just stick after batting .282 with three home runs in 12 games. But, he got sent back down. I continue to be a huge fan of Barreto and believe it’s just a matter of time before he’s manning either shortstop or second for many years to come.
19. Francisco Mejia (C, Cle) – 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.
20. Jesus Luzardo (LHP, Oak) – Yes, this is not a misprint. I like Jesus Luardo this much. Quite frankly, what’s not to like? He started the year in the California League and after striking out 25 in 14.2 innings, the A’s promoted him to the Texas League. He’s had equally as much success there, striking out 10 per nine while walking just over two. It’s not command and control stuff either. His fastball sits in the low 90’s and he can reach back for 95 when needed. Oh yeah, he’s good…he’s really good.
21. Brent Honeywell (RHP, TB) – Brent Honeywell has been out all season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Assuming he comes back healthy, he has the stuff to be a quality number two pitcher in the big leagues. The risk has clearly increased and while TJ Surgery is never perfect, the odds are that he will come back to the form that made him one of the best pitching prospects in the game.
22. Hunter Greene (RHP, Cin) – On draft day, I thought the Twins should have drafted Hunter Greene number one overall. After seeing Royce Lewis, I now get their selection, but after some early struggles, Hunter Greene is flashing the stuff that could put him at the top of the Reds rotation in a few years. He lights on the radar gun with a double-plus fastball and has the secondary pitches to miss bats. The ceiling is a one, but he’s still a teenager so a lot of innings are between now and when he finally gets the call.
23. Casey Mize (RHP, Det) – The Tigers made Casey Mize a very rich young man when they drafted the Auburn Tiger number one overall paying him a bonus of $7.5 million dollars. He has premium stuff with a fastball that will hit 95 to 96 MPH with a nasty splitter that will miss a ton of bats. There is concern over his elbow, but you can say that about most pitchers. I doubt he plays this year but assuming health, he should move quickly through the system.
24. Sixto Sanchez (RHP, Phi) – Sixto Sanchez hit the DL on June 3rd with inflammation in his pitching elbow. Uh oh! Reports say he is rehabbing, but we’ve seen this story way too many times. When healthy, he has some of the best stuff in the minor leagues with the chance to pitch at the top of the rotation in a couple of years for the Phillies.
25. Brendan McKay (LHP/1B, TB) – Brendan McKay continues to both pitch and hit as he works his way through the minor leagues. While it would be cool to see him do both one day in the major leagues, he’s a better pitcher than a hitter and I think at some point, the Rays will have him focus on hitting his upside of a number two pitcher. He started the year in Low-A and after posting video game numbers was promoted to High-A. While the ERA is floating near five, the stuff is playing quite nicely. He continues to strike out well over a batter an inning while demonstrating elite control.