Top Prospects to Stash for 2019 Fantasy Baseball Leagues
The 2019 season has been another big year for top prospects at the Major League level. Starting with Chris Paddack, Fernando Tatis Jr, and Pete The HR King Alonso making their respective clubs opening day rosters, to Yordan Alvarez going all beast mode on the American League, to our latest big promotion, Luis Urias, and all the others in between. Yes, it sure has been one hell of a ride, hasn’t it? Spoiler alert, this ride isn’t over. Oh no, not by a long shot. There are still several other high upside players that will likely make their Major League debuts in the next two months, with some of them potentially making sizeable fantasy impacts. Today, I’m going to go over the top prospects you need to be stashing in re-draft leagues for the stretch run. The below is a combination of ETA and potential impact.
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 (Updated 7/1), Top-300 Dynasty League Rankings (Updated 7/15), & Top-50 2019 FYPD/J2 Rankings (Updated 7/5).
Top Prospects to Stash for Re-Draft Leagues – Hitters
1. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
Call-Up Probability: 100% | ETA: Who freaking knows. Likely early-August
When will Kyle Tucker be back up? That has been a popular question on Twitter and is a difficult question to answer. Firstly, there’s really been no dire need for him in Houston at any point this season. And when Houston did need a bat, Yordan Alvarez got the call instead of Tucker. On the surface, Tucker’s 25 home runs and 21 steals scream that he’s too good for Triple-A. And while that might be true, it should be noticed that consistency has escaped Mr. Tucker this season. His performance in May and June was phenomenal, hitting over .300 each month with 19 home runs and 15 steals combined. April and July, on the other hand, has brought a combined .194 average, six home runs, and six steals.
Kyle Tucker is 🔥 💪 🚀 lately.
The #Astros' No. 2 prospect smacked a 3-run homer in the 1st for @RRExpress. It's his 22nd on the season and extends his hitting streak to 7, including 4 multihit games.@astros Top 30: https://t.co/9C1DApJNnxpic.twitter.com/YVDtrVYe9v
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 15, 2019
With Tucker currently in a little funk and no spot for him in Houston, it’s tough to project an ETA, but his power/speed upside could be a major asset once he’s up, making him a strong stash candidate for the rest of the season. There’s also a chance that he might get dealt before the deadline for pitching help. If he does get traded, Tucker would likely hop into that team’s starting lineup and return immediate value.
2. Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
Call-Up Probability: 90% | ETA: mid-August
If it wasn’t for a month and a half layoff, we might be seeing Bo Bichette right next to his old buddy Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on the left side of the Toronto infield. Damn that broken hand! As it is, Bo has been tearing up Triple-A since his return, raising his average from .245 to .320 in a month while running wild on the bases. For the season, Bichette is hitting .308 with eight home runs and 15 steals in just 55 games. The Blue Jays have actually gotten some surprisingly steady production out of guys like Eric Sogard and Freddy Galvis, but neither player fits into Toronto’s long-term plans. Bo does. He’s the caliber of prospect that you make room for. And once he’s up, Bichette has the potential to hit for a high average with plenty of speed and some power mixed in.
3. Gavin Lux, SS/2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Call-Up Probability: 85% | ETA: mid-August
It’s been 19 games since Gavin Lux was promoted to Triple-A. And in those 19 games, magical things have happened. Since being promoted to Triple-A, Lux has slashed .481/.548/.963/1.511 with 20 extra-base hits and eight home runs. Nobody on the planet is as hot as Gavin Lux has been over the last few weeks, regardless of league. Like with Tucker, there’s not really an opening for Lux at the moment in Los Angeles, but there’s a lot of durability concerns at the Major League level with guys like Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and A.J. Pollock. Once there is a need for a position player, Lux will likely get the call to Hollywood and his combination of a plus hit tool, above-average speed, and plus raw power makes him mighty enticing for fantasy leagues. Stashing a player with this much offensive upside is a LUXury for your fantasy team. Sorry, had to.
Dodgers SS Gavin Lux says 3rd deck BP taters only pic.twitter.com/q4p8xZtBN2
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) July 7, 2019
4. Carter Kieboom, 2B/SS, Washington Nationals
Call-Up Probability: 90% | ETA: early-August
So what if his first taste of the Majors left a sour taste in all of our mouths? Forgive and forget, right? With a prospect like Carter Kieboom, the answer to that question is always a resounding yes, each and every time. With the Nationals, Kieboom only recorded five hits in 39 at-bats before returning to Triple-A, although he did crank a pair of home runs during that stint. Still, a .128 average isn’t going to cut the mustard in the real world or the fantasy world. Cut the cheese maybe, but not the mustard. Those struggles aside, Kieboom has put together a solid campaign at Triple-A Fresno, slashing .319/.416/.556/.972 with 19 doubles and 15 home runs in 78 games. Take one didn’t go according to plan, but we should see take two before the end of the season.
5. Isan Diaz, 2B, Miami Marlins
Call-Up Probability: 95% | ETA: Late-July
Lost in Gallen-mania is the highly productive 2019 season for Isan Diaz. As of today, Diaz currently ranks 5th in the Pacific Coast League in home runs and total bases and is 3rd in runs scored. The power is no surprise as Diaz has always flashed above-average to plus raw power, but what has escaped him over the last two seasons is the ability to hit for a solid batting average. After hitting .264 in 2016, Diaz hit just .232 and .222 in 2017 and 2018 respectively. That average has climbed way up to .305 this season while his strikeout rate has come down. It would shock me if the Marlins didn’t give Diaz a look this season to see what they have in him. And once he’s up, his ability to hit for power from a middle infield position can surely provide some value in re-draft leagues.
6. Jake Fraley, OF, Seattle Mariners
Call-Up Probability: 80% | ETA: mid-August
Surprised to see Jake Fraley on this list? Well, if you took a gander at my mid-season top-250 prospect rankings, you’ll know that Fraley is a prospect firmly on the rise that I’m very high on. In addition to his above-average to plus hit tool and speed, Fraley has joined the cool kids power club this season, hitting for more power than he ever has before which has caused his prospect stock to skyrocket all the way up into my top-50 overall. And guess who’s been in Triple-A for nearly a month now? With Fraley excelling this season and a gigantic opening in the Seattle outfield, a promotion in August or September could very well be in the cards. While he might not have the sexy prospect name, Fraley absolutely can make an impact for your fantasy team once he’s called up.
7. Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox
Call-Up Probability: 30-40% | ETA: August/September
Outside of Yordan Alvarez’s Barry Bonds type of assault on the PCL earlier in the season, you could argue that no other position prospect has been as impressive as Luis Robert. Just take a look at those sexy numbers below and try not to drool all over the place.
Those are freaking video game numbers right there. The Carolina League and Southern League were no match for Robert, and so far, neither has the Triple-A International League. It’s not a guarantee that he’ll be called up, but Robert is absolutely worth stashing for his offensive upside. You don’t want to be the person that didn’t stash him and then he comes up and sets the American League on fire for a month or so.
8. Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Call-Up Probability: 30-40% | ETA: August/September
At the beginning of the season, I said that Jo Adell had a chance at making his MLB debut this season if the Angels were in playoff contention and he was raking in the upper minors. Well, here we are nearing the end of July and both of those things are happening. Granted, the Angels are several games back of the 2nd wild card spot and have a bunch of other teams to duke it out with, so it’s not going to be an easy task. But wouldn’t Adell provide a nice little spark to this middling Angels offense come September? You’re damn straight he would.
Now, there’s not currently an open spot for him, but there’s a ton of injury risk on this Angels team, especially in the outfield and at DH. Plus, Kole Calhoun has been incredibly inconsistent and currently sports a .232 average. Meanwhile, Adell is shredding up the Double-A Southern League to the tune of a .333/.411/.574/.985 slash line with 13 doubles, six home runs, and five steals (0 CS) in 34 games.
That knee injury Adell suffered in spring training behind the 8-ball to start the season, but he’s been doing all he can to make up for lost time. If he continues to rake as he has so far, we very well could see Adell up with the Angels before the end of the season. I’d still put it at around 30-40%, but it’s a possibility. You’re going to want this fantasy monster with massive power/speed upside on your team when that happens. So do yourself a favor and stash now if you have deep benches and avoid the frenzy of trying to acquire him when/if he gets the call later in the season.
Okay, I’m rambling about Adell now. Onto the next guy on the list..
9. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/3B/OF, Baltimore Orioles
Call-Up Probability: 90% | ETA: early-August
One of my Adell rants is a tough act to follow, but here goes nothing. Despite my Red Sox best attempts to make the Orioles look like the New York Yankees, it’s been another rough year in Baltimore. The Orioles are on pace for 100-losses and are near the bottom of nearly all offensive and pitching categories. A quick scan of their depth chart will make you want to puke but it does have a silver lining in that there’s literally nothing blocking Ryan Mountcastle from making his Major League debut this season.
Mounty has played mostly first base this season in Triple-A but also has seen time at the hot corner (where he spent all of 2018), and in the outfield as well. For the season, Mountcastle is hitting .303 with 23 doubles and 17 home runs in 91 games. He might not have the shine of the names above, but there’s solid offensive upside here that can provide a boost in fantast leagues.
10. Jorge Mateo, SS, Oakland Athletics
Call-Up Probability: 75% | ETA: early-August
There are a few players that I could list here, but the one with the best combination of opportunity and potential impact is Jorge Mateo. Jurickson Profar has not been good this season and now finds himself in a bench role while the Franklin Barreto experiment is once again floundering. Luckily, Oakland has a prospect in Triple-A hitting .294 with 48 extra-base hits, 13 homers, and 18 steals in 90 games. Oh yeah, Jorge Mateo also has some experience at second base, making 14 starts there this season. Unless Barreto turns things around in a hurry, don’t be surprised to see Mateo get a chance at second base for Oakland down the stretch. And with his ability to chip in across the board, Mateo makes for an intriguing stash in mixed leagues.
Keep an Eye On….
Brent Rooker, OF, MIN | Willi Castro, SS, DET | Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, PIT
Photo/Video Credit: MiLB.com, MLB Pipeline, Cespedes Family BBQ, Prospects Live, David Kirouac/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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