Finishing off this series breaking down five prospects from each level of the newly expanded Top 500 Prospect Rankings we dive into names you should know from rankings 401 to 500. There are still some solid names for shallow dynasty leagues (10-15 teams) to watch here but I’m trying to build these rankings up to help in deep 30-team dynasty formats as well. In this range, we are targeting the upside for long-term sustainability or as I like to say “Riding The Stocks.” Every season I see prospects that are deep in my personal rankings skyrocket into the top 200 and even into the top 100. Let us get ahead of the curve and dive into five prospects I believe could move up in 2024.
Prospects Who Could Be On The Rise
Johnathan Rodriguez, OF CLE- Ranked 403
(135 GP, .286/.368/.529, 29 HR, 74 R, 88 RBI, 3 SB)
Cleveland is in dire need of power and I believe some of the solutions to this power outage could come from Johnathan Rodriguez in 2024. The now 24-year-old Rodriguez put together a solid season in Double-A Akron and finally in Triple-A Columbus. While in Double-A Akron with the Rubber Ducks (80 grade logo by the way) Rodriguez slashed .289/.364/.512 with 18 home runs, 42 runs scored, 55 RBIs, and stole 3 bases. Across his 363 plate appearances, Rodriguez walked 9.4% while striking out just 26.7%. The Guardians then promoted Rodriguez to Triple-A Columbus where he continued to hit slashing .280/.376/.560 with 11 home runs, 32 runs scored, and 33 RBIs in 47 games played. The walk rate ticked up to 12.4% while the strikeout rate skyrocketed up to 32.7% in 202 plate appearances.
⬆️Cleveland OF Johnathan Rodriguez has been promoted to +A Lake County. In 21 Rodriguez is slashing .314/.363/.450 with 33 RBI and 3 SB in 59 GM #TheWeeklyStreamer #MustBeTheHawk @LCCaptains @LynHillcats @MiLB @Indians @indiansPro @CLEsportsTalk @TWSBiscuit @WeeklyStreamer pic.twitter.com/CLbyeflEBu
— Richard Haake (@Mustbethehawk) August 24, 2021
For dynasty managers, this is a prospect that has been “under the radar” though I suspect that will be changing soon. The bat-to-ball skills are solid with Rodriguez but the high strikeout rate at Triple-A gives me slight concern. Regardless you can’t complain with a close to 30 home run outfield bat that has shown he can hit for average this close to the major league level. I would expect to see Rodriguez start the season back in Triple-A Columbus before getting his opportunity around the all-star break if he continues to perform at a solid level.
Mitch Bratt, LHP TEX- Ranked 411
(16 GS, 61 IP, 73 K, 10.8 K/9, 3.54 ERA)
Texas has turned their organization around in a hurry which has resulted in a Word Series win in 2023. But the goal is to win multiple championships and buying them with high-cost free agents is just not sustainable, especially with pitching. One pitching prospect who should be on the dynasty manager’s radar going into the 2024 season should be Mitch Bratt. The left-hander missed two months in 2023 with an “unspecified injury” ultimately coming back in August to finish the season before heading off to the AFL. While with the Low-A Down East Wood Ducks Bratt started in 16 games striking out 73 batters in 61 innings pitched good for a 10.8 K/9 while only walking 2.5 batters per nine innings and finishing the season with a 3.54 ERA.
While in the AFL Bratt was primarily deployed as a reliever though he did make one start with the Surprise Scorpions. Across six appearances Bratt struck out 17 batters in 15 innings pitched but struggled with his command walking 5.9 BB/9 and finishing with a 6.46 ERA. Mitch Bratt has a four-pitch mix in a low 90s fastball that has been effective because of Bratt’s ability to locate it effectively. The slider is a new addition this past season that could become his best offering coming it at 82 MPH with a solid sweep to it. The low 80s change-up has solid fade and tumble to it and has been effective off the fastball. The cuveball has great shape and depth coming in at 76 MPH.
Prior to the injury, Bratt had a knack for being a pitcher with solid to above-average control hopefully he will get back to that in High-A Hickory in 2024.
Luke Keaschall, 2B MIN- Ranked 433
(31 GP, .288/.414/.478, 3 HR, 29 R, 15 RBI, 11 SB)
The Twins look like they have continued to stock their farm system with excellent high-floor prospects who have upside. Luke Keaschall was selected in the second round of the 2023 MLB draft out of Arizona State University. The former Sun Devil had a solid Junior year in his lone season at ASU in which he slashed .353/.443/.725 with 18 home runs, 55 runs scored, 58 RBIs, and stole 18 bases in 55 games played. Once in the Twins organization, Keaschall ascended quickly rising from rookie ball up to High-A Cedar Rapids before the season was through. Keaschall hit his stride once he was in Low-A Fort Myers where he slashed .292/.426/.472 with one home run, 20 runs scored, nine RBIs, and stole eight bases in 20 games played. Across the 94 plate appearances in Fort Myers Keaschall walked 16% while striking out 21.3%.
• .288 AVG
• .414 OBP
• 3 HR
• 29 R
• 11 SB
• 15.6% K
• 12.8% BB
— Richard Haake (@Mustbethehawk) February 9, 2024
Minnesota promoted Keaschall to High-A Cedar Rapids to finish off the season and in eight games played he slashed .313/.353/.563 with two home runs, five runs scored, six RBIs, and one stolen base with a 5.9% walk rate and 8.8% strikeout rate in 34 plate appearances. For dynasty managers Keaschall appears to have solid bat-to-ball skills that should allow him to hit for a high average without having high strikeout rates. As for the power and speed, the lone season at ASU was Keaschall’s best home run season by far (Eight the year prior at the University of San Fransisco) so I wouldn’t expect more than 15 until we see more. With speed, there could be a 25-30 stolen base upside making Keaschall a real value in deeper dynasty formats.
Chandler Simpson, OF TBR- Ranked 447
(115 GP, .294/.373/.345, 88 R, 31 RBI, 94 SB)
Most dynasty managers heard about the season Victor Scott II had in the Cardinals organization and rightfully so it was an amazing season in which he stole 94 bases in 132 games played. What if I told you he tied with another player for the most stolen bases and did so playing in 17 more games? I’m referring to Chandler Simpson who had a fantastic season in his own right and is not getting nearly the same attention, This could be a mistake. Simpson played at both Low-A Charleston as well as in High-A Bowling Green. In 91 games played with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs, he slashed .285/.358/.333 with 66 runs scored, 24 RBIs, and 81 stolen bases while walking 9.6% and striking out just 8.8% of his 397 plate appearances.
🏃📝TBR OF Chandler Simpson has got super human speed and is going to be on the 📈 in 24’. Tied with Victor Scott II in SB in 23’ Simpson comes at half the cost in dynasty. In 115 GP he hit
— Richard Haake (@Mustbethehawk) February 9, 2024
Once promoted to High-A Bowling Green Simpson continued to hit for average slashing .326/.429/.393 with 22 runs scored, seven RBIs, and 13 stolen bases with a 15.1% walk rate and 8.5% strikeout rate in 24 games played. For dynasty managers, this is a sneaky under-the-radar speed threat that has the bat-to-ball skills as well as elite defensive abilities that will thrive in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. There really is no power to be had with Simpson who has not recorded a professional home run yet but this is a true table setter who could be as great as Victor Scott II but at a fraction of the price to acquire in dynasty leagues.
Wuilfredo Antunez, OF CLE- Ranked 465
(89 GP, .275/.354/.420, 6 HR, 47 R, 39 RBI, 11 SB)
The Cleveland Guardians continually have one of the best farm systems year in and out. From the MLB draft to the international signing period the scouts and player development help Cleveland stay playoff caliber team each season. Wuilfredo Antunez is a prospect who has yet to get much hype or fanfare since debuting in 2019 but his numbers have been solid each season. In 2023 Antunez played the entire season in Low-A Lynchburg where he slashed .275/.354/.420 with six home runs, 47 runs scored, 39 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases in 89 games played. The solid slash line and stats accrued are just surface for Antunez who walked 10.2% while striking out just 18.8% of his 384 plate appearances with the Hillcats.
For dynasty managers in deeper formats, this is an excellent stash as Antunez will be just 22 years old this coming season and should start the season in High-A Lake County. Long-term Wuilfredo Antunez projects as a 15-20 home run bat with 20 stolen base potential all helped by his excellent walk-to-strikeout rate and above-average bat-to-ball skills.
For more of the great fantasy baseball rankings and analysis you’ve come to expect from FantraxHQ, check out our full 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit! We’re here for you all the way up until Opening Day and then on into your championship run.