This week’s list is my favorite to-date. It’s not that every name on the list produced a tremendous stat line, but instead, it’s a collection of interesting names. Some that might be able to help their respective big-league team this year and others who might be flying under-the-radar.
Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.
Bobby Dalbec (Bos, 3B, Double-A)
With Michael Chavis making the Major Leagues look easy (although a 26% strikeout rate suggest there could be some regression), Bobby Dalbec is starting to warm up. In May, he’s hit .342 with a .444 OBP and 5 home runs. As with Chavis, there is tremendous raw power but also a ton of swing and miss. The profile is a full-time regular with 30 home run potential but with significant pressure on the batting average.
Seth Beer (Hou, OF, High-A)
While he might ultimately be a designated hitter, one thing Seth Beer can do is hit. In 102 games since being selected in the first round by the Astros, he’s slashed .312/.396/.531 with 21 home runs. Since May 1st, he’s really turned it up hitting .417 with five home runs. The Astros think he will be adequate in left or even at first. If so, the bat could make him more than just a full-time regular.
Bobby Bradley (Cle, 1B, Triple-A)
With the recent promotion of Oscar Mercado, perhaps the Indians are concluding that they need to give some of their young kids a chance. After all, they are batting .219 as a team and only four teams have scored fewer runs. Bobby Bradley is starting to make his case for a promotion. He’s batting .306 with seven home runs and is batting over .400 in May. There will always be swing and miss in his game, but he’ll turn 24 later this month and looks about ready.
DJ. Stewart (Bal, OF, Triple-A)
The Orioles are in a significant evaluation period to determine exactly who can produce in the big leagues. DJ Stewart is making a strong claim for a promotion after hitting .458 so far in May with three home runs. He has good power and is fast enough to play all three outfield positions, although he is best suited for a corner.
Nolan Jones (Cle, 3B, High-A)
Nolan Jones continues to show an advanced approach but to-date, his game is lacking power. In 33 games in 2019, he’s hitting .312 with a .442 OBP but is also sporting a .376 SLG without a home run. I do believe the power will come as he has good size, showing excellent raw power in batting practice. However, the swing lacks loft and over time, I believe the Indians will fix that to unlock the 20 plus home run potential.
Jorge Mateo (Oak, SS, Triple-A)
Jorge Mateo was once a top prospect when he was with the Yankees, but a poor approach ultimately caught up to him once he was promoted to the upper minors. He’s still swinging at everything (5% walk rate) but he is making better contact this year and therefore, his stat line looks much better. He still has great speed with a little pop and if he gets the call, he could provide some stolen bases for your fantasy team.
Jarren Duran (Bos, OF, High-A)
Jarren Duran graduates from our hidden five that is exclusively provided on our podcast to make the big boy list. The Red Sox outfielder is batting .412 so far this season with 13 stolen bases. He doesn’t have much power but makes good contact with plenty of plate patience. His ceiling is likely a fourth outfielder, but the plus hit-tool and 70-grade speed should put him on the radar for all deep Dynasty Leagues.
Trevor Larnach (Min, OF, High-A)
When I wrote about Trevor Larnach last winter, I suggested he would have future double-plus home run potential, but his 30-grade speed would limit his upside as a fantasy asset. So far, my write-up is spot-on. Er…in 34 games in High-A, he has as many stolen bases as home runs – 2. While I think the power will come and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t gotten faster, his hit-tool appears to be more advanced than I originally thought. The swing works and his 18% strikeout rate is showing he’s making very good contact. That might rise as he adds loft, but if he can keep the strikeout rate under 25%, he could become a very interesting prospect.
Jake Rogers (Det, C, Double-A)
Jake Rogers makes our list again as he continues to show improvement on the offensive side. Already a plus defender, Rogers is hitting .302 in 27 games in Double-A to begin the 2019 season. While his .356 BABIP and 23% strikeout rate indicate there will be batting average regression, if he can hit .250 with 15 to 20 home runs as a plus defender, he could become one of the better catchers in the league.
Terrin Vavra (Col, SS, Low-A)
Drafted in the third round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Terrin Vavra has done nothing but hit since debuting in Boise last season. As we’ve lamented many times, it’s hard to get a handle on Rockies prospects as so many of the ballparks in their system are extreme hitters parks and both Boise and Asheville, where Vavra has spent his 2019 season are both hitter’s parks.
Vavra can really hit with an advanced approach and feel for hitting. He’s got good bat speed which leads to louder contact than you would think out of a kid his size. While he’s stealing bases, he’s more of a 55 runner and not a burner. Defensively, he’s playing short, but in speaking with evaluators who have seen him more, his arm strength will likely dictate a move to second base.
The skills are intriguing and the reports on his makeup and work ethic are very strong. If it all comes together, he could be a .280/.360 hitter with 20 home run upside with double-digit stolen base potential early in his career.
Zac Gallen (Mia, RHP, Triple-A)
Zac Gallen has been one of the most dominating pitchers in the PCL in 2019. In eight starts, he’s pitched to a 1.16 ERA striking out over 10 per nine while walking nine batters. He hasn’t yet hit some of the scary ballparks of the PCL, but it’s hard to deny his strong start. That said, the arsenal is good, not great. His fastball sits in the low-90s with low-spin rate and his breaking pitch also lacks hard bite. But, he’s learned to pitch and is getting guys out.
Tyler Ivey (Hou, RHP, Double-A)
Tyler Ivey is excelling for the Astros in Double-A. In 21 innings, he’s pitching to a sub-one ERA while striking out 31 and walking six. While he’s not a flame thrower, his fastball will scrape 95 MPH with two solid breaking pitches. He’s also developing a feel for his change-up. It’s the profile of a number four starter, perhaps higher…kind of in the mold of Joe Musgrove.
Luis Gil (NYY, RHP, High-A)
Luis Gil doesn’t always know where the ball is going, but he’s got a huge fastball and a curveball that, when he can throw it for strikes, gets plenty of swings and misses. Everything was working in a start over the weekend where he struck out nine in five innings while giving up only two hits. He likely will move to the bullpen where he has the stuff to work in high-leverage situations.
Jordan Balazovic (Min, RHP, High-A)
Jordan Balazovic was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 MB Draft as 17-year-old prep out of Ontario Canada. Since he was only 17, the Twins decided to take it slow with him, limiting him to Rookie ball in both 2016 and 2017. He did pitch 61.2 innings in Low-A in 2018 but 2019 has been his breakout.
During his slow roast, he’s put on weight and has improved his stuff. His fastball now sits in the mid-90s and will scrape 97 with a slider that has tight rotation. The best part is he’s able to throw strikes, walking only four batters in 20.2 innings in Low-A prior to his promotion. Since his promotion, he has continued to show excellent control.
The Twins have done right by Balazovic and he has responded. He only turns 21 in September and given his draft age, is still pitching as one of the younger pitchers at each level. If it all comes together, his upside is a number three starter.