Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report: September is Coming
Tick tock tick tock. Here we are with three days left in August just sitting here waiting for September roster expansions and the prospectmania that will ensue. We only had two noteworthy MLB promotions over the past week that warrant fantasy consideration, but there has been plenty of news and trends in the minors that we’ll be going over in this, the latest Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report. Included is an FYPD update and Arizona Fall League rosters and notable players. I’ll be shifting this report to Monday next week as well to hit on all the notable prospect promotions that happen after rosters expand. Get ready, there’s a storm a-brewin’.
Before we get into the report, I wanted to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to Blake Bivens, a Tampa Bay pitching prospect who tragically lost his wife and daughter the other day.
If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Eric Cross’ Top-250 prospects, Top-300 Dynasty League Rankings, & 2019 FYPD/J2 Rankings.
Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report
Gavin Lux Coming Up Soon?
If recent rumors are any indication, it’s sounding like star shortstop prospect, Gavin Lux, is going to get the call to Los Angeles on Sunday. The 21-year-old has terrorized the Double-A Texas League and Triple-A Pacific Coast Leagues this season to the tune of a .349/.422/.610/1.032 slash line with 58 extra-base hits, 25 home runs, 10 steals, 75 RBI, and 96 runs scored in 444 at-bats. Even more astonishing is his clean .400 average in 185 Triple-A at-bats. Either Gavin Lux is on the longest hot streak in the history of mankind, or he’s about to open a can of whoop-ass on the National League. Well, slam those beer cans together and give me a hell yeah because Lux is coming and the injury to Max Muncy opens up a convenient opportunity for playing time down the stretch.
Who wants to guess how far Gavin Lux hit this ball? pic.twitter.com/6kaKqY2tfs
— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) August 13, 2019
Luis Robert Joins 30/30 Club
Regardless of what level you’re currently at or were at before, 30/30 is a damn impressive feat. When you factor in the entire statistical package, you can make a strong argument that Luis Robert has had the best season of any minor leaguer in 2019. In addition to his 30 dingers and 36 steals, Robert also has accumulated 31 doubles, 10 triples, 88 RBI, 103 runs, and a .332/.382/.628/1.011 slash line. While there’s still a chance he comes up in 2019, an early-2020 debut is most likely. Robert is one of the favorites, if not THE favorite to be the top offensive rookie of the 2020 season along with Lux and Jo Adell, amongst others.
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) August 25, 2019
Kyle Tucker Likely Up After Rosters Expand
File this under, “Wonderful, but where/when will he play?” Just because it’s rumored that Kyle Tucker is going to be called up to Houston after rosters expand on Sunday doesn’t magically clear a spot for him to get every day playing time. He’s still thoroughly blocked in the outfield with George Springer and Michael Brantley playing at a high level, and Josh Reddick playing just well enough to hold down the starting right field gig. DH? Nope, that’s Yordan Alvarez’s turf now. Tucker has proven that he’s too good for the Triple-A level and would likely be starting right now on at least 25-28 other MLB teams right now.
Although he’s been in a slight slump, Tucker joined the 30/30 club last weekend and is pushing both 100 runs and 100 RBI as well. Maybe, just maybe, he steals a few starts per week from Reddick in the outfield, but it’s hard to see him playing every day without an injury to one of the starting outfielders. That makes it tough to roster him in redraft leagues right now, although, I wouldn’t fault anyone in deeper leagues for stashing him due to his immense upside.
Casey Mize Shut Down
This was needed. During this season, I had the chance to see two of Casey Mize’s starts live. The first, back in late-May in Hartford, was a six-inning masterpiece. The second was a couple of weeks ago and he couldn’t make it out of the 5th inning. Not only was his command way off from his usual pinpoint ways, but his average fastball velocity was also down 1.5 mph from his late-May start.
Mize hasn’t really looked the same since returning from a shoulder injury that cost him nearly a month in June and early-July. In eight starts since the layoff, Mize has allowed 23 earned runs, 38 hits, and 11 walks in 31.1 innings of work. There’s no need for the Tigers to push Mize and potentially cause further injury so this shutdown makes perfect sense. I’d expect Mize to open 2020 with Triple-A Toledo and reach Detroit by mid-season.
Julio Rodriguez on Fire, Shooting Up Rankings
Man, is this Julio Rodriguez fellow a special talent or what? I mean, just look at the stats in my tweet below. Rodriguez is on a rampage right now, demolishing any California League pitcher that stands in his way. When I was making my midseason prospect rankings, I really wanted to put J-Rod higher. It took great will power to keep him at #29. But no more. The proverbial kid gloves are off. Rodriguez is now currently firmly inside my top-20 and threatening top-10 status in my spring top-250 update. All thanks to an above-average to plus hit tool and plus-plus raw power. It’s still early, but it’s hard not to get excited when we could be looking at a .300 hitter with 35-plus home runs at peak.
All Rodriguez has done since the below tweet was go 1/3 with two walks on Tuesday and 5/5 with three extra-base hits, two runs scored, and four RBI last night. No big deal.
Julio Rodriguez has destroyed both the Sally & California Leagues in August.
August: 92 AB, .457/.490/.707/1.196, 8 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR
Season: 301 AB, .326/.385/.532/.917, 23 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) August 27, 2019
Logan Gilbert Dominating
As I said yesterday on Twitter, Logan Gilbert is quickly developing into one of my favorite pitching prospects in the minors. After a rough first two outings for Double-A Arkansas, Gilbert has allowed just four earned runs over his last six starts while striking out over a batter per inning. This recent hot stretch has dropped his ERA down below two to 1.86 to pair with a stellar 0.91 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, and 11.0 K/9. I’d highly recommend all your dynasty leaguers out there to heavily invest in the 22-year-old Stetson product. Armed with a plus mid-90s fastball with life, plus slider, above-average changeup, and a serviceable curveball, Gilbert has future frontline starter written all over him.
Logan Gilbert has been dominating lately for Double-A Arkansas.
Last 6 GS: 35.0 IP, 1.03 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 10.0 K/9
Season (25 GS): 130.2 IP, 1.86 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, 11.0 K/9
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) August 28, 2019
2019 FYPD/J2 Update
My full update will be posted in October, but with the minor league season coming to a close in the next few days, I just wanted to hit on a few quick changes in my 2019 FYPD/J2 rankings.
Arizona Fall League Rosters Announced
For the full rosters, click the links above. And keep in mind, there will be some additional assignments in the next few weeks before the season starts in mid-September. I’ll be out at the fall league in mid-October, including the Fall Stars game, so expect plenty of footage. Here are some of the notables playing in the AFL this season. We have a decent offensive crop this year, just with a little less star power than in 2018. Still, Jo Adell, Jarred Kelenic, Royce Lewis, and others will look to shine out in the desert. The pitching side of things, on the other hand, leaves a little to be desired. It will be interesting to get a look at Forrest Whitley, however, after the rocky 2019 season he’s had.
And yes, I’m as disappointed as you that Wander Franco wasn’t sent out to the AFL.
Royce Lewis, MIN | Luis Garcia, WAS | Colton Welker, COL | Geraldo Perdomo, ARI | Taylor Walls, TB | Nico Hoerner, CHC | Jahmai Jones, LAA | Nolan Jones, CLE | Isaac Paredes, DET | Alec Bohm, PHI | Andres Gimenez, NYM | Greyson Jenista, ATL | Kevin Smith, TOR | C.J. Chatham, BOS | Oneil Cruz, PIT | Owen Miller, SD | Hudson Potts, SD | Jonathan India, CIN | Elehuris Montero, STL
Jo Adell, LAA | Alex Kirilloff, MIN | Seth Beer, ARI | Victor Victor Mesa | Bubba Thompson, TEX | Jake McCarthy, ARI | Kyle Isbel, KC | Brandon Marsh, LAA | Heliot Ramos, SF | Mickey Moniak, PHI | Jarren Duran, BOS | Jarred Kelenic, SEA | Jared Oliva, PIT | Julio Rodriguez, SEA | Dylan Carlson, STL | Blake Rutherford, CHW
Luis Campusano Trending Up
I’ll be the first one to admit that I never rank catchers too high unless they have the upside of an Adley Rutschman or Joey Bart. However, what Luis Campusano has been doing this season out in the San Diego system has certainly been piquing my interest. Across 418 at-bats in the Class-A Advanced California League, Campusano is slashing .325/.395/.512/.908 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles. On top of that, he’s nearly walked (51) as many times as he’s struck out (56). With an above-average hit tool and raw power to go along with a sound plate approach and a strong arm, Campusano carries considerable upside and is firmly on the rise in dynasty leagues. He’s one I’m especially excited to see out in the AFL in October.
— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBroz) July 5, 2018
Jay Groome Returns
Remember that scene in the original Jumanji when Robin Williams goes up to the cop and asks him what year is it? It made for a great meme/gif and also accurately depicted my reaction when seeing that Groome had returned to the mound in an actual minor league game. It seems like forever ago that the Red Sox drafted Groome 12th overall but it was just back in 2016. His long absence even caused me to make the joke on Twitter that he was making his first appearance in a game since 1946, even though it was just 2017.
Even though it’s been as rocky of a start to a professional career as you can have, we need to remember the upside Groome possesses. The type of upside that had him in consideration for the top overall pick in that draft. Before all the injuries/rehab, Groome had a plus fastball/curveball combination with a serviceable changeup as his third pitch. It will be interesting to see how he looks as he continues to build his arm strength back up the fall and into 2020. He makes for an intriguing flier in dynasty leagues that roster 250+ prospects.
Gilberto Jimenez On The Rise
Knowing how Dave Dombrowski operates, I knew as a Red Sox fan that our status as one of the top farm systems was going to go down the toilet. And sure enough, it did, but for good reasons. The Red Sox acquired Chris Sale and others in route to winning the World Series last season. So, you really can’t be mad about trading away Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and others. And even though the system as a whole is down right now, there are some bright spots beginning to emerge, including Gilberto Jimenez.
Jimenez has been tearing up the short-season Single-A New York-Penn League, slashing .368/.398/.486/.885 with 17 extra-base hits, three home runs, and 14 steals (4 CS) in 220 at-bats. There’s not much more than 10-homer upside projection here, but the overall upside is considerable due to an above-average to plus hit tool and truly elite speed. This isn’t just plus speed, or even plus-plus for that matter. We’re talking legit 80-grade speed here with Jimenez. Grab as much dynasty stock as you can right now with him as he’s likely going to be pushing or within my top-100 in my spring update.
Three Noteworthy MLB Promotions
The last week of August acts as the calm before the storm. Countless rumors swirl about who will or won’t be called up on September 1st, while meanwhile, we’ve had a trio of low-key prospect promotions that carry fantasy consideration over the last few days.
Sam Hilliard (OF – COL): Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I’LL NEVER TRUST THE ROCKIES TO PLAY THEIR ROOKIES AGAIN FOR AS LONG AS I LIVE. Calm down, this one actually has a shot a playing time in addition to an intriguing offensive profile. In exactly 500 Pacific Coast League at-bats, Hilliard racked up 71 extra-base hits, 35 home runs, and 22 steals. The average wasn’t nearly as impressive but still sat at a modest .264. The power/speed profile sure is nice, but with below-average contact skills and a sub-par plate approach, I question how much average Hilliard hits for at the Major League level. But with his power/speed upside, Hilliard is worth a look in standard mixed leagues.
Mauricio Dubon (2B/SS – SF): His last Major League game came on 7/12 against the Giants and now Dubon will be suiting up for them. There’s not as much upside here as there is with Hilliard above, but those in deeper mixed leagues would be wise to give Dubon a look, especially with the second base spot his for the taking in San Francisco. Dubon was slashing .302/.345/.477/.822 with 20 homers and 10 steals in the PCL this season, but don’t let the 20 homers fool you. He’s more of an AVG/SB type with below-average power.
Sheldon Neuse (3B – OAK): The last callup of note came from across the bay in Oakland with the Athletics summoning third baseman Sheldon Neuse to the big club. Now, Neuse has been having himself a damn fine season in Triple-A with a .317 average, 27 home runs, 102 RBI, and 99 runs scored, but there’s really nowhere for him to secure regular at-bats once Khris Davis returns from leave. He’s more of a wait and see type for now.
Prospect Stash Rankings
No, these aren’t rankings of what prospect have the best mustaches. These are the prospects currently in the minors that can make the biggest 2019 impact. This is a combination of ETA and potential 2019 impact.
- Gavin Lux, 2B/SS, LAD | Last: 1
- Nate Lowe, 1B, TB | Last: 2
- Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU | Last: 3
- Carter Kieboom, SS/2B, WAS | Last: 4
- Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/3B, BAL | Last: 5
- Luis Robert, OF, CHW | Last: 6
- Drew Waters, OF, ATL | Last: 7
- Jo Adell, OF, LAA | Last: 8
- Willi Castro, SS, DET | Last: 9
- Sean Murphy, C, OAK | Last: 10
- Jesus Luzardo, LHP, OAK | Last: 2
- Ian Anderson, RHP, ATL | Last: 1
- Kyle Wright, RHP, ATL | Last: 3
- Brusdar Graterol, RHP, MIN | Last: 4
- Anthony Kay, LHP, TOR | Last: 5
Photo/Video Credit: Lance Brozdowski, Oklahoma City Dodgers, John Rivera/Icon Sportswire.
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) and a contributor in the best-selling Fantasy Baseball Black Book. For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
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