Over the last couple of months, I’ve been digging through each MLB team’s farm system to provide the top dynasty fantasy baseball prospects that should be on your radar. Today, we’ll break down the top-25 Pittsburgh Pirates prospects.
When it comes to developing prospects, the Pittsburgh Pirates are about as cautious as you can be. Rarely, if ever, do they hand out aggressive assignments or promote a prospect earlier than they would like to. You won’t see any Juan Soto type of promotions from this front office, that’s for sure.
While this system lacks the flashy name-brand elite prospects, there’s still a ton of talent here. From a potential ace, to a 6’6″ shortstop, to an outfielder with Andrew Benintendi comparisons. This system has a little bit of everything.
Overall System Grade: C
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Indianapolis – International League
Double-A: Altoona – Eastern League
Single-A (Advanced): Bradenton – Florida State League
Single-A (Full): Greensboro – South Atlantic League
Short-season Single-A: West Virginia – New York-Penn League
Rookie: Bristol – Appalachian League, One team in the Gulf Coast League, two teams in the Dominican Summer League
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
Also, make sure to check out the Fantrax Dynasty Podcast on the Fantrax Podcast Network with Nathan Dokken, Van Lee, and Ron Rigney.
New Top-25 Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects
1. Oneil Cruz, SS, Bats: L, DOB: 10/4/98, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (A): .286/.343/.488/.831, 25 2B, 14 HR, 11 SB, 7.7 BB%, 22.6 K%, 402 AB
If you like 6’6″ shortstops, let me introduce you to Oneil Cruz. Wait, did he just say 6’6″ shortstop? Yes, yes I did. The first thing that might come to mind when people see a 6’6″ shortstop is the likelihood that the shortstop ends up having to move off the position and over to third base or a corner outfield spot. But with Cruz, I don’t envision that happening any time soon. At least, not due to his defensive abilities.
Cruz moves well for someone his size and has a strong throwing arm. Maybe he moves off the position due to Pittsburgh wanting to roll with one of the other solid defensive shortstops in this system, but that’ still a couple years away from being an issue as Cruz just finished the season in the Single-A South Atlantic League. Now, I didn’t rank Cruz 2nd due to his defensive abilities. It certainly helps and him staying at short would be ideal for dynasty owners, but you’re going to want to be rostering Cruz due to his offensive upside, regardless of his long-term defensive home.
While he’s still filling out that 6’6″ frame of his, Cruz possesses plus raw power and his swing generate plenty of hard contact and natural loft. That swing can get a little long though due to a deeper hand coil, but Cruz can make up for that with quick wrists. He’s still barely 20 years old too, so it’s logical to expect more bulk to be added. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain and hopefully shorten his swing as he develops. And though he might lose a step or two if he adds bulk, Cruz still has the quickness to be an annual double-digit speed source.
2. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bats: R, DOB: 1/28/97, ETA 2019/2020
2018 Stats (AA): .293/.375/.444/.819, 31 2B, 7 HR, 12 SB, 11.2 BB%, 16.5 K%, 437 AB
There’s a wide range of rankings in the industry when it comes to Ke’Bryan Hayes. Wide enough to drive a semi through. I’ve seen him as high as the top-25 and as low as a borderline top-100 prospect. Me? I’m more on the lower end of the spectrum. Now, that’s not to say Hayes isn’t a damn good prospect. He is, and will likely have a long Major League career. He’s just a better real-life asset than fantasy for me. Here’s why.
First, let’s start with Hayes strengths. As of now, I’d slap three 60’s on his tools. Those being his hit tool, defense, and throwing arm. There’s no doubt in my mind that Hayes not only has what it takes to remain at the hot corner long term, but also be one of the top defenders there for years to come. There might even be a gold glove or two in his future.
At the plate, Hayes looks like a .300 hitter in the Majors waiting to happen. He remains incredibly balanced with a clean right-handed swing that generates plenty of bat speed and hard contact. The only thing is, the swing path is quite linear and doesn’t generate much loft. It wouldn’t shock me to see Hayes among the league leaders in doubles at some point, but I can’t project him for more than 15 homers or so. Same can be said about his speed. Hayes is quick and athletic but has never been a major stolen base threat outside of a 27 steal season for high Class-A Bradenton in 2017. Still, he should be able to add 15-plus steals annually with some seasons in the low-20’s.
I really like Hayes as a prospect overall and would be excited about having him as my third baseman of the future if I was a Pirates fan, but with the lower power/speed ceiling, I can’t rank him in the top-50 overall prospects.
3. Mitch Keller, RHP, DOB: 4/4/96, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 142.1 IP, 3.48 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, 8.5 K/9, .242 AVG
When people discuss the best pitching prospects in the game, Mitch Keller’s name rarely gets brought up. Sure, he’s not as flashy as other arms ranked around him, but Keller has a rock-solid three-pitch repertoire, plus command, and a very high floor. Keller operates in the mid-90s consistently and can touch 98 at times with arm side run on his heater. The delivery is clean, effortless, and repeatable from a high 3/4 arm slot and Keller is able to maintain his velocity deep into his starts.
Keller’s secondary offerings consist of a plus curveball with hard downward break and he’s shown good feel for a fading changeup. All three of Keller’s pitches grade as above-average or better and play up due to his plus command that has been there throughout his entire minor league career. His walk rate did rise as the season wore on last season, but that’s not something I’m worried about moving forward. This is a borderline ace-caliber pitcher with the floor of a strong No. 2 starter.
After experiencing some struggles at Triple-A Indianapolis, Keller is likely to return to the level to start 2019 with a mid-season debut likely. He’ll likely never be a huge strikeout pitcher, but Keller should be good for strong ratios and a strikeout per inning.
4. Travis Swaggerty, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 8/19/97, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A-/A): .239/.322/.383/.705, 10 2B, 5 HR, 9 SB, 9.6 BB%, 25.3 K%, 201 AB
Are you tired of my Swaggerty nicknames yet? No? Good. The dread pirate Swaggy doesn’t wow in any one area but profiles as a good Major League starting outfielder thanks to a plethora of average or above-average tools. That sound all-around skillset made him a top-10 overall pick in the 2018 June Amateur draft and a perfect fit for this Pittsburgh system full of solid floor prospects.
If one of Swaggerty’s tools could be considered plus, it’s his speed. He swiped 48 bases in 171 games for the University of South Alabama, but was only successful on 68.6% of his attempts. That rate got a little better in the NY-Penn League with Swaggerty converting on nine out of his 12 attempts (75%) in 36 games. While we’re talking about his collegiate stats, Swaggerty finished his three-year tenure with a .319/.457/.504/.961 slash line and more walks (143) than strikeouts (130).
Here’s a look at new No. 5 @PerfectGameUSA #mlbdraft prospect Travis Swaggerty. Lots of tools and showing off the plus raw during BP for @WeAreSouth_BSB. pic.twitter.com/Z2Q0dhjaZD
— Vinnie Cervino (@vcervinoPG) March 23, 2018
That swing is a thing of beauty really. Balanced setup with moderate rear leg load and hand coil. Swing path is smooth with some natural loft and plus bat speed. He likely won’t wow anyone with high power totals, but with this swing and raw strength, I can see him settling in as a 20-25 homer threat with around the same speed projection. I’ve seen some Andrew Benintendi comps thrown around for Swaggerty, and honestly, those aren’t too far off. Grabbing some dynasty stock now is highly advised.
5. Calvin Mitchell, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 3/8/99, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (A): .280/.344/.427/.771, 29 2B, 10 HR, 4 SB, 8.3 BB%, 22.0 K%, 443 AB
A 2nd round pick in 2017, Mitchell has the type of all-around skill set that dynasty leaguers will be clamoring over once he puts it all together. From the left side, Mitchell has displayed a sound all-fields approach and an advanced feel for hitting. He starts with a balanced setup, hands shoulder height, and uses moderate load. Once he gets moving forward there’s not much lower half usage, but he’s still been able to hit for a little power thanks to his strong upper half. More lower half incorporating in his swing should allow Mitchell to unlock more of his plus raw power. Ultimately, he should be able to hit for both power and average moving forward. Just don’t expect more than 5-10 steals to go with it as Mitchell is a below average runner.
6. Cole Tucker, SS, Bats: S, DOB: 7/3/96, ETA 2019/2020
2018 Stats (AA): .259/.333/.356/.689, 21 2B, 5 HR, 35 SB, 9.3 BB%, 17.7 K%, 517 AB
The Pirates have a glutton of middle infielders that they’re going to have to figure out what to do within the very near future. Both Kevin Kramer and Kevin Newman got time with Pittsburgh last season, Oneil Cruz is progressing, and Cole Tucker isn’t far behind them, having played the entire 2018 season with Double-A Altoona in the Eastern League. Tucker is a contact and speed type of prospect with a solid feel for hitting. He’s quick on the bases and at shortstop with plus range and a good throwing arm. If the Pirate decide that he’s the winner of their shortstop of the future sweepstakes, Tucker is more than capable of being an above-average defensive shortstop.
That plus speed has become more and more apparent on the bases over the last couple years, with Tucker swiping a career-high 35 bags this season while adding six more in 20 Arizona Fall League games. There’s very little power here and with his contact over power type of swing and linear swing path, I highly doubt he ever gets into double-digit homers. But if he can add 30-plus steals and a respectable batting average, Tucker can still carve out enough value to be a viable fantasy shortstop and a solid Major League regular.
7. Lolo Sanchez, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 4/23/99, ETA, 2021
2018 Stats (A): .243/.322/.325/.650, 18 2B, 4 HR, 30 SB, 9.3 BB%, 16.3 K%, 378 AB
This ranking honestly could be too low by the end of the season if Sanchez improves with the bat. Signed during the stellar 2015 J2 period, Sanchez possesses arguably the best speed in the system and finally put that on full display this season with 30 steals in 114 games in the Sally. Though, he also got caught 13 times and only has been successful on 63.2% of his attempts in his career which shows he’s still quite raw as a base stealer. The plus speed is there though, so if he can improve on the bases, 30-plus steals annually is realistic.
At the plate, Sanchez has been a mixed bag so far in his career, although, he’s been young at every level so far so I’m giving him a pass. And for a 19-year-old as raw as Sanchez is, he’s shown quite the advanced plate approach. After his two years in rookie ball, one in the Dominican Summer League and the other in the Gulf Coast League, Sanchez had more walks than strikeouts.
While the approach is sound, the setup at the plate needs some work. Sanchez starts with his hands down by his ribs and coils up before starting his swing. The whole process creates length in his swing and leaves him susceptible to high heat. The hope is that with a cleaner setup and swing, more contact will come, which will benefit his speed as well. Like I said to start, if the hit tool improves, Sanchez could really take off and make some noise as a top-level prospect in this system.
8. Jared Oliva, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 11/27/95, ETA 2020/2021
2018 Stats (A+): .275/.354/.424/.778, 24 2B, 9 HR, 33 SB, 8.8 BB%, 20.2 K%, 396 AB
If you’re looking for a sleeper in this system outside of that top tier, Oliva is one to monitor. A 2017 7th rounder out of the University of Arizona, Oliva has showcased his plus speed in both the NY-Penn League (A-) and Florida State League (A+) with 48 combined steals in just 60 attempts. That’s a tidy 80% success rate for those wondering. There’s no doubt in my mind that 30-plus steals annually is going to be the norm for Oliva.
The more I watch #Pirates Jared Oliva, the more impressed I am. This guy really has no weakness in his game. pic.twitter.com/8Ea8EuU5As
— Peace, love, and dirty feet (@mufuhkajones) July 8, 2018
He’s much more than just a potent set of legs too. Oliva has a clean right-handed swing and routinely generates hard contact. There’s some loft to his swing too due to a slight uppercut swing path, so don’t be surprised if he begins showing more power in the upper minors, especially if he can incorporate his lower half more in his swing. Grab some Oliva dynasty stock now or regret it later.
9. Bryan Reynolds, OF, Bats: S, DOB: 1/27/95, ETA 2019/2020
2018 Stats (AA): .302/.381/.438/.819, 18 2B, 7 HR, 4 SB, 11.2 BB%, 19.1 K%, 331 AB
Reynolds is a prospect that largely flies under the radar due to his limited power and speed upside. And while he is capped in the 12-15 range for power and speed right now, Reynolds contact skills and advanced plate approach give sneaky good value and a safe floor to project.
Reynolds is a switch hitter with an easy, clean swing from both sides of the plate. His wrists are quick which generates good bat speed but Reynolds has a tendency to get out on his front foot at times which takes away from his power. Even if he stayed back and got behind the ball more, he’s capped in the teens for homers due to his linear swing path and lack of loft in his swing. Still, you’ll take the 12-15 homers if it comes with a batting average in the vicinity of .300 (he’s hit above .300 at every minor league level) and double-digit speed.
10. Kevin Newman, SS/2B, Bats: R, DOB: 8/4/93, ETA 2019 (Debuted in 2018)
2018 Stats (AAA): .302/.350/.407/.757, 30 2B, 4 HR, 28 SB, 6.5 BB%, 10.5 K%, 437 AB
2018 Stats (MLB): .209/.247/.231/.478, 2 2B, o HR, 0 SB, 4.1 BB%, 23.7 K%, 91 AB
Hello Newman. Hello Jerry. Sorry, I grew up in the 1990s. If you want to flip-flop this 25-year-old Kevin with the next 25-year-old Kevin, be my guest. Long-term, they probably provide pretty similar overall value, just in different ways. I personally lean towards Newman due to the better plate discipline and additional speed upside. Newman was the Pirates first-round pick back in 2015 and has held his own at every level thus far including a phenomenal 2016 when he hit .320 between advanced Single-A and Double-A with more walks than strikeouts. The low strikeouts have been a common theme throughout his minor league career with a 10.1% strikeout rate to date.
Newman keeps a simple approach at the plate, puts the ball in play, and utilizes his speed. The setup is quiet with a lower set-up, quick hand coil, and compact swing. Barely any power comes from it, but Newman makes consistent contact and should hit for average with 20-plus steals to go along with it. His defensive home is still up in the air, but his range and throwing arm are better suited for second base in my opinion.
11. Kevin Kramer, SS, Bats: L, DOB: 10/3/93, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (AAA): .311/.365/.492/.856, 35 2B, 15 HR, 13 SB, 7.2 BB%, 24.1 K%, 476 AB
2018 Stats (MLB): .135/.175/.135/.310, 0 2B, 0 HR, 0 SB, 5.0 BB%, 50.0 K%, 37 AB
So many Jerry Seinfeld references can be made in this top-25. First Newman, then Kramer, and Jared “Jerry” Oliva to follow. The one thing that has been constant for Kramer since being taken in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft has been his contact skills. He’s never hit below .277 at any level and sits at .293 for his career. However, over the last two seasons, his approach has gotten more aggressive which has led to more power, but in turn, more strikeouts.
The change in approach started during the middle of 2017 when he was promoted to Double-A. Up until that point, Kramer had never surpassed a 26.8% flyball rate at any level. Since then, he’s recorded a 40.3% flyball rate in Double-A to finish off 2017 and 40.1% last season at Triple-A Indianapolis. As the flyball rate has gone up, so has his strikeout rate which jumped from 12.3% in 2016 to 21.1% in 2017 and finally 24.1% in 2018. That’s still not a ridiculously high amount, but it will be interesting to see if this approach continues in the Majors.
Kramer has never profiled as a hitter with much raw power, so with this new approach, I still can’t see him cracking 20 home runs. But hey, if he can continue to hit for average and keep the strikeouts in check, the double-digit power will be more than welcomed to stay. Like with Newman above, Kramer isn’t a stellar defender, so playing shortstop longterm likely isn’t in the cards. The Pirates could turn him into a high-leverage utility infielder, though, he really only has the throwing arm for second base.
12. Steven Jennings, RHP, DOB: 11/13/98, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (R): 65.1 IP, 4.82 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, .260 AVG
Man, when’s the last time we talked about a pitcher in these rankings? Been a while. The Pirates dipped into the prep ranks for each of their first four selections in the 2017 amateur draft with Jennings sandwiched between Shane Baz and Calvin Mitchell. The results have been so-so during his two rookie league seasons, but I believe in the arsenal. Jennings sits in the low-90s consistently with riding life and can add a tick or two when needed. His secondary offerings consist of a tight slider with two-plane break and a serviceable curve and changeup. The slider is easily the best of the bunch, flashing plus at times. With a repeatable delivery from a high 3/4 arm slot, I don’t expect command to ever be an issue for him. If Jennings can continue to refine his off-speed stuff, the strikeout rate should climb and further cement his mid-rotation ceiling.
13. Conner Uselton, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 5/20/98, ETA 2021/2022
2018 Stats (R): .225/.280/.250/.530, 2 2B, 0 HR, 0 SB, 6.9 BB%, 17.7 K%, 160 AB
Zero homers and zero steals in 160 at-bats? Get outta here with that weak sauce Eric. Hold on, I’m going to make a Connor Uselton believer out of you before this section is over. And remember, stats aren’t everything, especially in the magnificent world of prospects. What if I told you that Uselton has the best raw power in this top-25. Interested now? Uselton can drive the ball to all fields with a swing tailor-made for power. There’s some length to that swing though and his overall contact skills are below average, so the batting average potential is limited for now. Uselton would greatly benefit from shortening his swing and I think he can do so without sacrificing much, if any, raw power.
Uselton fits the corner outfielder mold well with a strong throwing arm and adequate or better defense. He’s also quite athletic and could develop into double-digit steals. His hit tool will determine just how good of a player he ultimately becomes.
14. Braxton Ashcraft, RHP, DOB: 10/5/99, ETA 2022/2023
2018 Stats (RK): 17.2 IP, 4.58 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 6.1 K/9, .242 AVG
Now here’s an arm to dream on. A 6’5 prep arm taken in the 2nd round this past June, Ashcraft work out of a 3/4 arm slot with a repeatable delivery There’s plenty of extension in that delivery, which coupled with his height, creates a good downward plane and solid run/sink on his 89-92mph fastball. Even with the lower velocity, that plane and movement have made the pitch quite effective and Ashcraft could even add some velocity as he fills out.
Ashcraft has shown some feel for his changeup, but his slider is his bread and butter out pitch. Though the velocity is a little lower than most sliders, he’s able to get plenty of break on it and miss bats. If Ashcraft continues to command his arsenal well and add some strength and velocity to both his fastball and slider, the upside here is a #2 or #3 starter with around a K per inning.
RHP Braxton Ashcraft (Robinson HS) goes 51st overall to the #Pirateshttps://t.co/Vayw9LUjWU pic.twitter.com/W9uhpVzPE8
— Prep Baseball Report (@prepbaseball) June 5, 2018
15. Luis Escobar, RHP, DOB: 5/30/96, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+/AA): 128.1 IP, 4.14 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9, 7.7 K/9, .225 AVG
Making this ranking gave me inner turmoil. Okay, that’s a bit much, but I did struggle with where to rank the 22-year-old Colombian right-hander. When you look at just Escobar’s arsenal, it’s impressive. A low to mid-90s fastball, potential plus slider, and a serviceable changeup make a pretty good arsenal. But then there are the command issues that have been there throughout his minor league career. I just can’t help but envision him as a bullpen arm down the road instead of a starter. With that being said, I think his fastball/slider combination would be highly effective in the 8th or 9th inning.
16. Travis MacGregor, RHP, DOB: 10/15/97, ETA 2020/2021
2018 Stats (RK/A): 70.2 IP, 3.18 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 10.2 K/9, .237 AVG
After a couple years in the GCL and Appalachian League, the Pirates 2nd round pick got the bump to the Single-A South Atlantic League in 2018 and more than held his own in his 15 starts. MacGregor sits in the low-90s mostly with his fastball but can get up into the 94-95 range with some arm side life. Both his curve and changeup are inconsistent but flashed above-average at times. Unfortunately, his development will be delayed a year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Don’t forget about him.
17. Cody Bolton, RHP, DOB: 6/19/98, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (A): 44.1 IP, 3.65 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 1.4 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, .253 AVG
Drafted in the 6th round out of the California prep ranks, Bolton is a name we could see shoot up these rankings by this time next season. He works with a four-pitch mix, throwing two different fastballs (4-seam and 2-seam) in the low 90s and mixes in a slider and changeup. While the secondary offerings are inconsistent, both have flashed above-average and there’s solid movement on both when he’s throwing them well. If he can develop those two pitches more and continue to command his arsenal, Bolton could develop into a solid mid-rotation arm.
18. Brett Kinneman, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 8/28/96, ETA 2020/2021
2018 Stats (A-): .253/.344/.413/.757, 16 2B, 4 HR, 3 SB, 11.5 BB%, 28.2 K%, 225 AB
While he might not look like it, Brett Kinneman is a slugger. He has a quiet pre-pitch setup, moderate load and coil, and a clean swing with plenty of bat speed and loft to it. Kinneman is much stronger than his frame and has really strong hip torque and rotation. Can you tell I’m a fan of his swing? The contact skills aren’t quite as profound as the raw power, but with no major mechanical flaws and a patient approach, I anticipate the average to rise and the strikeout rate to improve some.
BRETT KINNEMAN OH MY GOODNESS pic.twitter.com/OO1RKQqtL9
— Michael Lananna 🔥 (@mlananna) March 25, 2018
19. Jason Martin, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 9/5/95, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (AA/AAA): .274/.337/.429/.767, 18 2B, 8 3B, 13 HR, 12 SB, 8.6 BB%, 21.6 K%, 468 AB
Hailing from the same high school as 2018 #15 pick Cole Winn, Martin advanced up to Triple-A last season and likely will get a shot with the Pirates at some point this summer. How much of an impact he has is what I question. Martin does a little of anything but all his tools are 50s or below for me. His hands start low at setup and the swing can get long at times. There’s some double-digit pop and maybe 15-20 steals here over a full season, but I question how much he hits at the Major League level. His suspect defense and poor throwing arm aren’t doing him any favors either
20. Will Craig, 1B, Bats: R, DOB: 11/16/94, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (AA): .248/.321/.448/.769, 30 2B, 20 HR, 6 SB, 7.7 BB%, 23.3 K%, 480 AB
We’re firmly in the stage of the rankings where I question whether a player’s hit tool will be good enough at the Major League level. Craig is getting lumped into that group. After not hitting for much power in his first two minor league seasons, Craig decided he’d try hitting more balls in the air in 2018. A lot more. Craig’s flyball rate skyrocketed from 35.7% to 53.7 %, and what do you know, he jumped from six homers to 20. However, the more aggressive fly ball approach rose his strikeout rate and lowered his batting average. If Craig can find that happy medium, he’s a Major Leaguer. If not he’s a backup/platoon/Quad-A type.
21. Stephen Alemais, SS, Bats: R, DOB: 4/12/95, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (AA): .279/.346/.346/.692, 16 2B, 1 HR, 16 SB, 9.5 BB%, 14.9 K%, 402 AB
A 3rd round pick in 2016 out of Tulane, Alemais has four average or better tools and non-existent power. His combination of contact skills and strong defense likely will get him to the Majors, but will it be enough to make him a starter? That remains to be seen, but as of now, he has a good floor as a backup middle infielder.
22. Grant Koch, C, Bats: R, DOB: 2/5/97, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (A-): .188/.304/.263/.567, 2 2B, 2 HR, 1 SB, 13.9 BB%, 22.2 K%, 133 AB
The Athletics took drafted Koch in the 5th round out of the University of Arkansas and assigned him to the short-season NY-Penn League to finish out the 2018 season. Koch is an adequate defensive catcher with decent pop times and a patient approach at the plate. There’s some above-average raw power here as well, so if he can make enough contact, Koch could turn into a solid starting catcher.
23. Ji-Hwan Bae, SS, Bats: L, DOB: 7/26/99, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (RK): .271/.362/.349/.711, 6 2B, 0 HR, 10 SB, 9.9 BB%, 10.5 K%, 129 AB
If anyone is happy about the whole Braves international singing violation in 2017, it’s Bae. That allowed him to become a free agent again and sign for four times as much money with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bae got some work in the Pioneer League in 2018 and showed an advanced feel for hitting and some solid wheels. It’s too soon for me to get a good feel for if his swing mechanics (high hands, exaggerated leg kick, etc) will work in the states or not as they have for some Korean players before him, but one thing is for certain; he makes contact. A wait and see prospect.
24. Pablo Reyes, 2B/3B/OF, Bats:
2018 Stats (AA/AAA): .284/.337/.421/.759, 23 2B, 8 HR, 16 SB, 7.2 BB%, 17.0 K%, 401 AB
2018 Stats (MLB): .293/.349/.483/.832, 2 2B, 3 HR, 0 SB, 7.9 BB%, 17.5 K%, 58 AB
Don’t look now, but Pablo Reyes just might grab the vacant Gregory Polanco outfield spot on opening day if he produces in spring training. Something tells me he just might as Reyes has performed well at every level thus far. Not one thing really wows you about Reyes, but he makes consistent hard contact and can add in double0digit pop and speed. Consider him a sleeper NL-Only flier in the end of your draft. Long-term, he’s likely just a utility guy that can play both infield and outfield.
25. Shendrik Apostel, 1B, Bats: R, DOB: 4/24/00, ETA 2023
2018 Stats (RK): .250/.354/.471/.825, 12 2B, 6 HR, o SB, 10.8 BB%, 29.1 K%, 136 AB
The younger brother of former Pirates prospect and current Rangers prospect, Sherten Apostel, Shendrik is a massive human being at 6’5/250 and has the raw power to match. This one requires a leap of faith as there’s little to no video of him out there, but what I was able to find impressed me enough to include him here. He’s still a long way away and strikes out at a high clip, but there’s intrigue here.
A little fun fact about Apostel is that he played in the 2012 Little League World Series. Feel old?
Up – Jared Oliva (OF), Braxton Ashcraft (RHP)
Down – Will Craig (1B)
Other Team Prospect Reports
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
Photo/Video Credit: Jory Dyvig (Main Article Image), Vinnie Cervino, Michael Lananna, Prep Baseball Report, Jason Woodell.
Eric Cross is the lead MLB/Fantasy Baseball writer and MiLB prospect analyst for FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. In the past, he wrote for FantasyPros and FanSided. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
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I think Swaggerty is worse than Benintendi at everything fantasy players value. I think he was overdrafted – drop him back towards the end of the first round and I don’t know how excited anyone is. I don’t like that swing as much as you do – I think he is slappy. That is a “last swing of BP” swing in the GIF if I ever saw one… which is to say that he was just trying to lay into a BP fastball.
I’m not saying he’s Benintendi, but he has that kind of skill set. Could be a 20/25 type of hitter with a .280 average. Contact skills are solid, as is the speed.
Martin’s suspect defense? You obviously haven’t witnessed him hold down center field. His jumps, reads and speed out there shuts down those gaps.
I have seen him a few times and wasn’t overly impressed. Range was okay from what I saw but the arm was not good at all.