We are a little late getting our list out this week due to an extensive scouting trip. But, hopefully, you will enjoy the list. We continue to try and dig deeper for players and hope we have hit the mark.
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1. Marco Luciano (SF, SS, Rookie)
First, there was Vlad Jr., then Wander, and now there just might be Marco. One of the big international bonus babies last year, Marco Luciano has gotten off to a strong start to the season batting .345 with three home runs and a stolen base. He’s a great athlete with double-plus speed and good bat speed, but he doesn’t have that natural bat-to-ball skills of Vlad or Wander. That doesn’t mean he won’t be special. He’s a long way off but he’s a talent in which to invest.
2. Jo Adell (Ari, OF, Double-A)
Jo Adell started the season on the Injured List but is making up for lost time batting .418 in 19 games in Double-A. It’s coming very easy for the dynamic outfielder with some now whispering he could see Los Angeles in the second half. If the Angels are in it, I think that could happen. The question of course is will they be in it?
3. Jhailyn Ortiz (Phi, OF, High-A)
In a Dynasty League, I picked up Jhailyn Ortiz with a high draft pick in a rookie draft and it hasn’t panned out. While he’s got tremendous raw power, the strikeouts and poor approach has stalled his progression. Over the past week, he’s shown why the Phillies spent $4 million dollars on signing him. He hit five home runs in a week but still managed to strikeout once a day without a walk. He’s still a hold for me.
4. Alec Bohm (Phi, 3B, Double-A)
Drafted as the third overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Alec Bohm had a difficult inaugural season batting .224 in the New York Penn League while posting a dismal .290 SLG. 2019 has been a different season. In Low-A, he hit .368 with a .592 SLG which got him a promotion to High-A where he continued to hit and show power. This week he was promoted to Double-A and while he didn’t hit the ground running, it’s been a great season so far for the 22-year-old third baseman. Fantasy owners can breathe a little easier.
5. C.J. Abrams (SD, SS, Rookie)
The Padres 2019 first round draft pick, C.J. Abrams, signed his contract a week ago and has torn up the rookie league. In six games, he’s hit .464 with a .714 SLG hitting a home run and stealing a base. He has 80-grade speed and should also develop some power. The question is will he be able to hit. So far, so good.
6. Bo Bichette (Tor, SS, Triple-A)
The Blue Jays are just not a very good team. Vlad Jr. has been good but has been outplayed by Tatis Jr. and even Air Yordan. Perhaps he needs his minor league teammate Bo Bichette to make him feel comfortable. It sure looks like Bichette is ready, hitting .396 since returning from a stint on the Injury List with two home runs and five stolen bases. I’ll say it again. Vlad has more power and is a slightly better hitter, but if you told me Bichette is the better fantasy player, in the end, I would not be surprised. He can hit with plus speed and well above-average power.
7. Cal Stevenson (Tor, OF, High-A)
For a $5,000 investment in 2018, Cal Stevenson is already paying dividends. He has a .880 OPS in 123 professional games with six home runs and 29 stolen bases. This season, he’s handled High-A just fine and has really started to show off his speed by stealing four bases so far in June. He’s likely a fourth outfielder, but he can hit with good speed and a little pop. He’s one to watch.
8. Brent Rooker (Min, OF, Triple-A)
Brent Rooker’s carrying tool is his plus power, but after striking out 150 times in 130 games last season, there have been concerns whether he will hit enough to get to his double-plus raw. He’s not doing much to answer that this year as he’s struck out 70 times in 48 games in Double-A. The power is real though as he went back-to-back-to-back-to-back (that’s four, right) last week.
9. Brandon Howlett (Box, 3B, High-A)
I had a chance to see Brandon Howlett on a recent scouting trip and came away impressed. The swing works and I think he’ll add some power as he develops. In 18 games in June, he’s hit .357 with 21 strikeouts and 13 walks. He’s always struck out a lot, but the walks can make up for that – somewhat. He’s a kid to watch.
10. Alexander Canario (SF, OF, Rookie)
We were very high on Alexander Canario last season ranking him fifth on the Giants Top 15 list last winter. This season, he’s gotten off to a great start hitting .400 in six games in the AZL with four home runs and a stolen base. At this pace, he won’t be there long.
1. Deivi Garcia (NYY, RHP, Double-A)
Deivi Garcia is only 5-foot-9, but after seeing him pitch this week, I’m almost willing to look past the obvious. On June 18th, he struck out 15 in six no-hit innings and then followed that up with a five no-hit innings and nine strikeouts. How is he doing it? His fastball sits 92 to 94 MPH with some 95s mixed in, but his out pitch is a double-plus curveball that he can throw for strikes. The change-up also got plenty of swing and miss when I saw him. However, it’s hard not to be skeptical when you see him. He’s short and home runs will likely be a problem (although they haven’t been so far). For me, I’d bring him up. I think he’s ready and he sure isn’t going to get any taller. Let’s see how it plays.
2. Dustin May (LAD, RHP, Double-A)
Dustin May is pushing very hard for my minor league Mount Rushmore of pitchers. After a tough May stretch, he’s gotten it back together to pitch to a 2.70 ERA in June with 23 strikeouts and four walks. The stuff is really good, but the command is not yet consistent. If he catches too much of the plate, he can hit. Fortunately, there hasn’t been too much of that this year.
3. Justus Sheffield (Sea, LHP, Double-A)
I’m sure Justus Sheffield expected to be a mainstay in the Seattle rotation by now. But, he got beat up in the PCL which has delayed in arrival. The Mariners moved him back to Double-A, in part to get his confidence back and it’s work. In two-start (12 innings), he’s given up two runs, striking out 16 and walking two.
4. MacKenzie Gore (SD, LHP, High-A)
Sure, Casey Mize is hurt and can’t defend himself, but if you told me that MacKenzie Gore is the best pitcher in the minor leagues, I think I can be convinced. It’s still an odd delivery, but it works for the athletic lefty. He has tamed the California League (no easy feat) with a 1.23 ERA and over 12 strikeouts per nine and two walks per nine. He’ll likely receive a promotion to Double-A in the next week or two and could easily see San Diego next season.
5. Kyle Wright (Atl, RHP, Triple-A)
After tearing through the minor leagues, Kyle Wright hit a wall in 2019. I’m sure a lot of it had to do with the MLB ball in Triple-A, but a 6.08 ERA in 11 starts, coupled with three ineffective starts in Atlanta have slowed him down. The stuff and control are still there, he just needs to locate better as he’s getting hit hard when he misses. The last two games prove this out. On June 14th, he was dominate (7.2 IP with 10K and 2 walks). On June 20th, he gave up three earned runs in four innings with six strikeouts and two walks.