“Another week, another waiver wire article.” I know that’s what a lot of you are saying, but we dig deep to find the best names for you to consider on your fantasy teams. I know, there isn’t a name that can replace Strasburg or Ohtani, boy do I know, but nonetheless, the game is won through small and strategic plays throughout the year. That’s what we aim to provide.
To celebrate the annual MLB Draft, we have included a number of former top draft picks, who just so happened to have had really good weeks. Royce Lewis and Keston Hiura continue to impress after going number one and number nine overall from last year’s draft and Mickey Moniak, the 2016 number one overall pick makes our list after having a terrific week. Included also in the list is Sixto Sanchez, who is quickly climbing the ranks of the best pitcher in minor league baseball and one of my breakout players this year, Jonathan Loaisiga.
I could go on and on, but why when you can simply read the capsules below.
Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.
Royce Lewis (SS, Min, Low-A) – Royce Lewis took the honor of being selected 1:1 last year and has been making the most of his opportunity this year. Even with a rough start to June, he’s still batting .292 with a .341 OBP while stealing 15 bases and slugging 3 home runs. He’ll likely spend the majority of the year in Low-A as he just turned 20 on Tuesday and is one of the younger positional players in the Midwest League.
Keston Hiura (2B, Mil, Double-A) – After posting a .925 OPS in High-A, the Brewers finally promoted Keston Hiura to Double-A to start the month of June. He picked up right where he left off in High-A, hitting .353 so far in June. We all knew he could hit and that’s playing out and with a little pop and speed, he could see Milwaukee sometime in 2019. The best news is he’s finally playing the field. Since May 16th, he’s seen most of his playing time at second base.
Mickey Moniak (OF, PHI, High-A) – It’s been a tough go so far for Mickey Moniak, the 2016 first overall pick. He struggled mightily last season in Low-A as well as the first part of this season in High-A. But over the past couple of weeks, he’s hit .357 with a home run. Sure, it’s a small sample size and I will admit, a somewhat contrived sample size at that, but hey I wanted to include him in the list; and, he’s been better. Still, there is a lot of work to do. He’s still striking out too much and never walks. In 46 games this year, he has a 49K/6BB strikeout-to-walk ratio. Will he make it? At this point, I’m not sure.
William Contreras (C, ATL, Low-A) – I know this one will play tricks on you, but Willson Contreras has a younger brother and just like the Molina clan, he’s a catcher. William Contreras plays for the Braves and is off to a nice start to the 2018 season and has been red-hot over the past week. He’s showing a nice ability to control the strike zone and while he doesn’t have the same kind of pop as his brother, should develop at least average power. He’s still three years away, but there is a lot to like with the younger Contreras.
Brandon Marsh (OF, LAA, High-A) –Brandon Marsh was promoted in mid-May to High-A and after an adjustment period has been on fire over the past week, going 11 for 26. He’s got size, speed, and power and while the stat line is still kind of ugly, if it all comes together, the tools could make him an all-star.
Braden Bishop (OF, Sea, Double-A) – After batting only .176 in April, Braden Bishop hit .315 in May and a robust .421 through four games in June. He has plus speed but is starting to show some pop this year with six home runs, While the profile is likely a fourth outfielder, if the power continues to develop, he could get regular at-bats at the highest level.
Sixto Sanchez (RHP, PHI, High-A) – Pitching at the ripe age of 19, Sixto Sanchez has pitched extremely well in the Florida State League this year. In eight starts, he’s posted a 2.51 ERA, striking out nearly a batter an inning while limiting his walks to two per nine. The best news is his stuff is nasty. With a fastball that he can run up to the upper nineties and a curveball that continues to improve, he has everything to pitch along with Aaron Nola at the top of the Phillies rotation very soon..
Jonathan Loaisiga (RHP, NYY, Double-A) – Somebody asked me who the next Yankees call-up might be once the Domingo German experiment is over. The easy answer is Chance Adams, maybe Josh Rogers who has pitched well, or even the Yankees top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield. But, none of those guys are on the 40-man, but you know who is? Jonathan Loaisiga. Sure, he’s only had four starts in Double-A, but in 18 innings, he’s struck out 20 while only walking three. This included a five-inning gem he threw this week where he struck out eight and did not walk anyone. It’s a long shot, but don’t be surprised if you see Loaisiga in the big leagues at some point this year.
Lewis Thorpe (LHP, Min, Double-A) – Lewis Thorpe was my emerging prospect for two years. Once was before TJ Surgery and once was after. He’s now in Double-A and having a nice season. In 10 starts, he’s pitched to a 3.74 ERA, striking out 10 per nine while walking three per nine. Last week, he pitched 11 shutout innings, striking out 14 while walking four.
Hunter Greene (RHP, Cin, Low-A) – I loved Hunter Greene entering last year’s draft – athleticism, great makeup and character, and oh yeah, a fastball that can hit triple-digits. He got off to a rough start to the season but has improved as the season has progressed. His last outing was his best. In five innings, he struck out eight, didn’t give up a walk with only one earned run allowed. Perhaps it’s time to go to a fellow owner and talk up his 6.32 ERA and see if you can get him on the cheap. I know I’m going to give it a shot.
This is the first week that our waiver wire does not include several high-end prospects making their way to the major leagues. Well, I guess you could call Ronny Rodriquez still a prospect but at 26, he’s barely one. That said, there are still a number of great names for you to chose from. Some surprising names for guys who were once good and could be once again.
BREAKING…Vlad Guerrero Jr. went 0-4 on May 30th. It doesn’t happen very often but the best prospect in baseball who is still batting nearly .450 for the month of May can have an off-night. Since he didn’t make our list, so many of our readers love seeing his name, I thought I would oblige.
So with Vlad in a one-game funk, I turned to Fernando Tatis as our lead player this week. While he’s not Vlad, he’s very good and a .342 batting average with a .632 SLG in the month of May reminded the baseball world what he can do on a baseball diamond. There are a ton of good names on the list this week, including a Buddy, a Daz, and a Cionel.
Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.
Fernando Tatis (SS, SD, Double-A) – After batting a lonely .177 in April, Fernando Tatis has turned things around nicely in May, hitting .342 with a .632 SLG. He also hit six home runs during the month of May for a total of nine and added five stolen bases. While it’s easy to be a little disappointed in Tatis production to-date, given what Vlad Jr. and Juan Soto have done this year, remember he’s only 19 and is already playing in Double-A. The future continues to be very bright with a chance to hit for power with above-average speed on the base paths.
Eloy Jimenez (OF, CHW, Double-A) – Eloy Jimenez continued to rake and finished up the month of May with a .379 batting average and a .650 SLG. He still doesn’t walk a ton but his power is for real and he makes enough contact to put him into a Khris Davis type of category. That should be translated as a 40-home run bat with a .250 to .260 batting average and a low .300 OBP.
Daz Cameron (OF, DET, High-A) – Daz Cameron had a nice month of May where he slashed .324/.418/.544 in 68 games. The most important aspect is he cut down on his strikeouts, something that has plagued him since the Astros drafted him 37th overall in 2015. He has plus speed and enough power to be a regular performer at the highest level. If he can learn to control the strike zone better, his tools give him the upside of an all-star performer.
Buddy Reed (OF, SD, High-A) – In a stacked Padres system, Buddy Reed is having a very nice season playing for Lake Elsinore in the California League. He’s batting .348 with a .587 SLG and eight home runs. He is already 23-years-old and is coming off a poor season in Low-A, but he has plus speed (23 stolen bases) and some pop. He has altered his swing to try and find a more consistent swing path; so far, it seems to be working.
Seuly Matias (OF, KC, Low-A) – At the ripe age of 19, Seuly Matias leads the Sally League in home runs at 14. The approach is aggressive and there is length in his swing, but clearly, the raw power is for real. But, the 36% strikeout rate will have to improve in order for that power to play as he moves through the minor leagues. As stated, he’s only 19 and will play the entire season at that age so he has time on his side.
Evan White (1B, Sea, High-A) – When I wrote about Evan White last fall, I wasn’t sure what to make of him. After two months this season, I’m still perplexed. There is a lot to like. He’s a double-plus defender at first, runs well enough to steal double-digit bases, has always been able to hit but his swing doesn’t project a ton of power. The problem is he’s a first baseman or perhaps a corner outfielder – usually positions in which you want to see power. He could develop 15 to 18 home run power but I don’t see much more unless he changes his swing. He was on fire last week, going 9 for 24.
Andres Gimenez (SS, NYM, High-A) – At 19 and playing in the Florida State League, Andres Gimenez has more than held his own. He’s hitting .270 with a .344 OBP and a .401 SLG. He also has 14 stolen bases. With his plus speed, he’s got the profile of a top-of-the-order bat. While he’s blocked by Amed Rosario at short, he could move to second and be just fine. Then again, Rosario has not been very good, much to my chagrin, so perhaps he could become the future shortstop for the Mets.
Cionel Perez (RHP, Hou, Double-A) – Cuban émigré, Cionel Perez is having an impressive season at Corpus Christi for the Astros. He’s striking out over 11 batters per nine which have led to a microscopic 1.88 ERA. He doesn’t have premium stuff but relies on extreme command and control. That said, he can run his fastball to 93 to 94 when he needs something extra. Another mark against him is his size. He’s 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds. The Astros believe they have something here and given the success, they’ve had in developing pitchers, it’s hard to argue with them.
Ryan Helsley (RHP, STL, Triple-A) – As I write this article, the news of Alex Reyes having a “significant” lat injury is crossing the wires. As an owner, I’m bummed as I missed the call-up this week and of course, I’ll miss him for what, 4-6 more weeks? Gotta love this game. Anyway, Ryan Helsley could be a candidate down the road to fill-in for the Reyes. He’s had three excellent starts at Triple-A, including seven shutout innings, 10 strikeouts against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox this past week.
Logan Allen (LHP, SD, Double-A) – I invested heavily in Logan Allen in the off-season and was dismayed when he got off to such a rough start to the season. At the end of May, he’s shown flashes of being the guy I thought he was when he struck out 12 batters over six innings two weeks ago but then followed up that gem with a five earned runs in 5.1 performance last week. He’s got very good stuff with above-average control. If you are an owner, hang in there. If he’s on your waiver wire, you might want to consider adding him to your roster.
Enjoy our waiver wire list. There are a ton of great names. The list can be found here.
I didn’t want to do it, but I just had to. Vlad Guerrero Jr. makes our list. It’s been just ridiculous for the 19-year-old. Let me repeat…he’s 19. He walks more than he’s striking out, he’s hitting everything in sight and with power. How long will it be? Well, nobody knows, but my colleague Tim McLeod decided not to partake in the Juan Soto sweepstakes last week and put a small bet instead on Vlad Jr. I thought it was a brilliant move that could very well pay dividends this year. Hint…it’s time to invest.
Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. (TOR, 3B) – Vlad Guerrero is slashing .425/.479/.694 as a 19-year-old in Double-A. He’s only struck out 18 times in 41 games while walking 17 times. He’s the best player in the minor leagues and if it weren’t for my lack of creative ways to write about him, would likely appear on this list each and every week. When does he arrive in the major leagues? I’m not sure, but the Super-2 date passes in about a month and that feels like the right time.
Jo Adell (LAA, OF) – Jo Adell lasted all of 24 games in Low-A, but after posting a .979 OPS the Angels had seen enough and promoted him two days ago to Inland Empire of the California League. He’s only 19 and a young 19 at that, he still needs some work on developing a solid approach at the plate. However, his combination of speed and power is very intriguing with a potential impact player profile at the highest level.
Daulton Varsho (ARI, C) – When a catcher steals 11 bases in the first six weeks of the year, it gets your attention. Arizona catcher Daulton Varsho has done just that. He can hit with a little bit of pop and obviously good speed, particularly for a catcher. The problem is he might not be a catcher long-term as he has an average arm at best. However, he is athletic enough to move to the outfield or even second base.
Kevin Smith (TOR, SS) – The Blue Jays drafted Kevin Smith last year in the fourth round and he’s had little trouble with Low-A. In 41 games, he’s posted a 1.081 OPS with seven home runs and 10 stolen bases. As a highly drafted college player, it’s reasonable to expect him to move through the level quickly. However, he came in with an average at best hit tool showing poor contact and an aggressive approach. So far, he seems to have corrected that. If it’s sustainable, the Jays might have found a gem.
Oscar Mercado (STL, OF) – Oscar Mercado makes a repeat appearance on our Hot Prospect list by going 15 for 24 over the past week. For the year, he’s hitting .329 with a .491 SLG, six home runs and 10 stolen bases. If that line feels a little like Tommy Pham, you’re thinking what I am. The problem of course is he’s blocked by a plethora of outfielders in St. Louis. However, if he continues to hit, he’ll get the chance to play.
Jeter Downs (CIN, SS) – The Reds drafted Jeter Downs last year in the first round and at 19-years-old, he has more than held his own over the first six weeks of the season. He’s shown plenty of speed, stealing 14 of 17 bases while belting six home runs; three over the past week. If it all comes together, he could be a dynamic top-of-the-lineup bat in three to four years.
MJ Melendez (KC, C) – MJ Melendez, the Kansas City young catcher, had a terrific week going 10 for 27 with three homes in Low-A. He’s already a fairly advanced backstop who has good power but currently needs to work on controlling the strike zone. In 138 plate appearances, he has a 31% strikeout rate while only walking 10 times.
Michael Kopech (CHW, RHP) – Since we included Vlad Jr. in the list, I decided to remind everyone that Michael Kopech, one of the best pitchers left in the minor leagues is also having a terrific season. His stuff was on display last week when he pitched seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts and two walks against Columbus. He followed that up with a solid outing against Norfolk yesterday. He still walks too many but has elite stuff with an upper nineties fastball and a slider that is his primary swing and miss pitch. The change-up is still not there and with below-average control, he still could profile as a reliever. But, he’s an exciting arm that should see Chicago sometime in the second half.
Jonathan Loaisiga (NYY, RHP) – Everywhere you turn, the Yankees seem to have a hard-throwing pitcher that is moving through their system quickly. Jonathan Loaisiga is the latest. He started the year off in High-A and after dominating in four starts (26K/1BB), he was promoted to Double-A where he’s had little trouble. In three starts, he has pitched to a 2.08 ERA with 14 strikeouts and three walks. He has a nice three pitch mix with a fastball that can touch the upper nineties and a nice curveball that looks like he has finally harnessed this year. He is 23 already with TJ surgery on the books, but he is a kid that bears attention.
Jonathan Hernandez (Tex, RHP) – Jonathan Hernandez has been quietly having a terrific start to the 2018 season. In seven starts, he’s struck out 51 while walking 15. In his last two starts, he did not give up a hit; striking out 10 in his start on the 23rd in only six innings. He’s shown better control than he has in the past, but given his violent delivery, he’ll likely never have plus control. However, he has really good stuff with a nice fastball/slider combination.
As we approach Memorial Day, it’s past time to do some soul searching on your fantasy teams. We present some fine options for you to explore that can help your fantasy team…NOW…and a few in the future.
Power seems to be in full supply in the minor leagues this year with several players being on pace to hit 40 or more home runs. Two of them, Dan Vogelbach and Tyler O’Neill make our Hot Prospect list with candidly, Austin Riley not far behind. All three have swing and miss in their game and in Vogelbach’s case, has had three chances to stick in the majors and has yet to turn the corner.
Dan Vogelbach (1B, Sea) – Since his demotion back to Tacoma, Dan Voglebach has been on fire. In 20 games, he’s posted a 1.187 OPS with eight home runs and nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts. After three less than stellar stints in the major leagues, it’s easy to label him as a Four-A player, but I see more. However, the question is: do the Mariners see that? I’m not sure and that could be a real problem.
Tyler O’Neill (OF, STL) – Tyler O’Neill has been mashing since the beginning of the season and is now up to 13 home runs with a .333 batting average. He did get called up for a brief 10-day stint where he got a total of seven at-bats, but after only one hit, he was sent packing. The power is real but so is the aggressive approach. It makes for a dicey profile and an uncertain major league career.
Forrest Wall (OF/2B, COL) – Forrest Wall continues to be one of my under-the-radar prospects in the minor leagues. He has an interesting combination of power and speed and a decent approach at the plate. His biggest problem to-date has been staying healthy. Playing only 22 games last season due to a shoulder injury, Wall repeated High-A and has taken full advantage of the hitting environment of Lancaster. He’s hitting .307 with two home runs and 16 stolen bases. He’s struck out 39 times while walking 20 times. Wall has also moved to center field and while his arm is below-average, it should be enough to translate at the highest level.
Garrett Hampson (2B, COL) – Garrett Hampson is having a solid May in Double-A slashing .339/.431/.464 in 14 games. He has double-plus speed with seven bags without being caught stealing in those 14 games. If you combine the seven steals with the 12 he stole in April, it’s easy to get excited about a dynamic top-of-the-order asset.
Austin Riley (3B, ATL) – The Braves are forming a dynamic young team, except at third base where they recently signed the aging Jose Bautista. Austin Riley is doing everything he can to wave his hand to say…”don’t forget about me”. Once Bautista was promoted, Riley took his place at Gwinett and has continued to hit. In eight games, he’s batting .375 with three home runs. There’s going to be swing and miss in his game but he should make enough contact to get to his double-plus raw power. In case you’re wondering, Bautista, is batting .156 through 11 games with a .375 SLG.
Carter Kieboom (SS, WAS) – Carter Kieboom got off to a slow start to the 2018 season, only hitting .198 in April. His fortune changed in May though. In 10 games, he’s hitting .400 with a home run and three stolen bases. He’s currently blocked at shortstop in the Nationals organization but could slide over to second once Washington decides to move on from Daniel Murphy.
Corey Ray (OF, MIL) – When Corey Ray gets hot, he gets hot. Over the past week, he was 11 for 25 with three home runs and a stolen base. His overall stat line for the season is not great, but when you compare it to what he did over the first two years of his minor league career, he’s definitely showing improvement. He has power and speed but still needs to work on controlling the strike zone better.
Griffin Canning (RHP, LAA) – Just a few years ago, the Los Angeles Angles had very little in their farm system, but a couple of good drafts and landing Shohei Ohtani and the farm system looks much, much better. Griffin Canning was drafted last season in the second round but did not pitch in a professional game until this season. After two-starts in High-A, the Angels promoted him to Double-A where he started in a multi-pitcher no-hitter against Birmingham earlier in the week. He has good stuff but doesn’t have the physicality you like to see in a frontline starter in the big leagues. If it all comes together, he profiles as a mid-rotation starter.
Kolby Allard (LHP, ATL) – The Braves minor league factory is working overtime and the next guy to pop-out could be lefty Kolby Allard. In seven starts this season, he’s pitched to a 1.71 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 13 walks. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff but has plus control with excellent pitch sequencing. That was on display earlier in the week when he pitched eight innings of no run ball with eight strikeouts and one walk.
Brendan McKay (LHP, TB) – After six dominant starts in Low-A, the Rays finally promoted Brendan McKay to High-A. The number four overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft clearly had no trouble on the bump, pitching to a 1.09 ERA in six starts with a ridiculous 40K/2BB strikeout-to-walk ratio. I doubt he has little trouble in High-A and could see time late in the season in Double-A. As a hitter, he’s also played well, walking twice as much as he struck out with a home run.
We just passed the quarter-pole mark of the 2018 season and we present a new crop of pickups for your consideration. While we don’t see any players that could transform your team on the waiver wire, but that rarely is the case, there are a number of guys that can help. We do remind fantasy owners of Alex Reyes and Zach Britton, who both should be making their 2018 debut in the next few weeks. Now is the time to move on these players.
This week, we went a little deeper to provide our readers with some names in which they might not be familiar. Sure, we could have put Vlad Jr’s name down yet again as he’s establishing himself as the best player in minor league baseball, but instead, we are introducing Telmito Agustin and Dennis Santana. But, we did have to mention Juan Soto who after being promoted to High-A looks like he might not be there very long. The kid can really play and might be this year’s Ronald Acuna – defined as someone who just blitzes through level after level.
Juan Soto (OF, WAS) – With all due respect to Vlad Jr., the best player in the minor leagues this season has been Nationals right-fielder Juan Soto. Sure, he’s a level behind Jr, but he’s the same age and through 14 games in High-A, he’s posted a 1.289 OPS. Through 16 games in Low-A, he posted a 1.300 OPS and the Nationals promoted him. Could another promotion be far behind? At this rate, it will happen sometime in late June.
Eloy Jimenez (OF, CHW) – After getting a late start to the year, Eloy Jimenez picked up right where he left off. In 20 games in Double-A, he’s slashing .346/.375/.704 with five home runs. In his small sample size, he’s been able to cut down on his strikeouts but at 6-foot-4, he’s just going to have some swing and miss in his game. The White Sox should promote Jimenez to Triple-A sometime in the second half with an anticipated 2019 major league debut.
Keston Hiura (DH, MIL) – After batting only .238 in April, Keston Hiura improved his BABIP and his batting average followed to a robust .358 in May. He also showed his penchant to be very aggressive at the plate as he has yet to walk in the month. That said, he can hit with some pop but concerns still linger as he has yet to play the field. Since he plays for the Brewers, and the last time I looked, they are still in the National League, the situation warrants some level of concern.
Cavan Biggio (2B, TOR) – Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette have gotten most of the attention in the Blue Jays system, and for good reason – they are tremendous talents. Cavan Biggio, son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio is waving his hand to say – “Don’t forget about me”. In May, he is getting on-base at a .424 clip while slugging .654 with 3 home runs. He needs to cut down on his swing and miss, but the power is starting to develop and with his high-baseball IQ, he has a chance to be a solid major league regular.
Franmil Reyes (OF, SD) – Franmil Reyes was signed by the Padres at 16 in 2012 and has always shown double-plus raw power but also a ton of strikeouts. After depositing 25 home runs last year in Double-A, he’s already up to 13 home runs in 32 games in Triple-A. He’s still striking out a ton, 29 times in 32 games, but with a favorable .351 BABIP, he’s posting a .336 batting average. Plus, he’s had the luxury this year of playing in some of the best ballparks in all of baseball. Net…net, there is 25 plus home run potential with Reyes but with obvious pressure on his batting average.
Royce Lewis (OF, MIN) – Royce Lewis is proving that he was indeed deserving of the overall pick in last year’s draft. In 21 at-bats in May, he has 11 hits, all singles with five stolen bases. Overall, he’s hitting .356 with two home runs and 10 stolen bases. At this rate, the Twins could elect to accelerate his path to the big leagues. On the other hand, they might be gun shy given what happened with Byron Buxton. They pushed Buxton hard and even though he responded at each level, once he arrived at the big leagues, he was overwhelmed. I’m cautiously optimistic that it will be a different result with Lewis as he’s just a better hitter. The skills are not nearly as explosive as Buxton, but with his solid approach, I think he could handle aggressive assignments and succeed quickly in the ultimate test.
Telmito Agustin (OF, WAS) – A new name to most prospect watchers is Telmito Agustin. Known primarily for his speed and defense, his bat speed suggested that he could eventually develop into some power. That seems to be happening as he is slugging .641 over the first six weeks of the season. He’s aggressive at the plate but makes enough contact that his secondary skills should be able to play. He’s likely a fourth outfielder at the highest level, but I know a number of scouts who think he could be more.
Chris Paddack (RHP, SD) – Chris Paddack creating a lot of buzz in 2016 as he dominated Low and High-A over nine games striking out 71 while walking 5. Unfortunately, he tore his UCL and needed Tommy John Surgery. He’s back and seemingly healthy with nearly an identical stat line. In two starts, he has yet to give up a run, has struck out 16 while walking one. I think the “stir” could be starting up again.
Dennis Santana (RHP, LAD) – Signed as a shortstop in 2013, the Dodgers converted Dennis Santana to the mound and has been slowly working through the system. Now at 22, the Dodgers have cleaned up his stiff delivery and he’s throwing more strikes while continuing to show a plus fastball and slider. While he’s likely a reliever long-term, he’s made significant progress and the Dodgers believe he can start long-term. He’s a kid to definitely monitor.
Dylan Cease (RHP, CHW) – After two outstanding outings to start May, right-hander Dylan Cease makes our list. In 13 innings, he struck out 18 while walking two and giving up only a single earned run. His secondary pitches are starting to round into shape and with a fastball that can touch the upper nineties, there’s just a lot to like with Cease long-term.