Dynasty Dugout: Top-10 Prospects – AL Teams
It’s been a little over a month since we wrapped up my top-100 rankings series. Just one month is all it takes for me to start having prospect withdrawals. So, what better way to feed my addiction than nearly 3,000 words about the fantasy prospects in each American League farm system? Yes, I’m a prospectaholic. Is that so bad? I don’t think so.
There are a ton of stocked farms systems in the American League. Houston is still producing elite fantasy prospects as quickly as McDonald’s produces Big Macs, while Detroit could put together a decent Major League rotation by just using their pitching prospects. Meanwhile,Kansas City, one of the worst teams in the Amercian League, likely won’t be getting better anytime soon. Make sure you have a barf bag ready when looking at their top-10 below.
Alright, enough with the intro. Let’s get down to business.
Top 10 Fantasy Prospects for Each American League Team
|1||Austin Hays (26)||OF||22||2018|
|2||Ryan Mountcastle (48)||SS||21||2019|
This is what a typical Orioles farm system looks like. They have a few decent bats at the top, a decent catching prospect, and some moderate pitching depth that likely won’t produce many stars. Both Hays and Mountcastle cracked my top-50, and each has top-100 fantasy upside thanks to their four category upside. Sisco is a hit-first catcher with moderate power who will likely settle into the .280/15 range.
The rest of the farm system lacks high fantasy upside. Harvey, Hall, and Scott all project as mid-rotation starters long-term, with Scott and his 80-grade left-handed cheese being the most intriguing of the trio. If he can harness his control, Hall could become a decent fantasy pitcher.
Boston Red Sox
|1||Jay Groome (49)||LHP||19||2020|
|2||Michael Chavis (55)||3B||22||2018|
This is the type of system you get when trading maestro, Dave Dombrowski, is at the helm. After being one of the top systems for much of the past decade, the Red Sox now have only two top-100 caliber fantasy prospects. Both Groome and Chavis have high-upside, but neither is a sure-fire bet to become a star at the Major League level.
One player to watch is Danny Diaz, whom the Red Sox signed as an international free agent last summer. Diaz has a good blend of hit tool and power, similar to current Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers. Diaz doesn’t quite have the upside, though. A natural shortstop, Diaz will slide over to the hot corner this year.
Chicago White Sox
|1||Eloy Jimenez (2)||OF||21||2018|
|2||Luis Robert (5)||OF||20||2019|
|3||Michael Kopech (9)||RHP||21||2018|
|4||Dylan Cease (57)||RHP||22||2019|
|5||Jake Burger (67)||3B||21||2020|
|6||Alec Hansen (81)||RHP||23||2019|
Now, this is what an elite system looks like. The White Sox have three fantasy prospects inside my top-10, all of which have the potential to be top-25 overall fantasy players in time. Jimenez arguably has the most raw power of any prospect in the minors and gave us a small glimpse of that power in spring training when he cranked two homers in just seven at-bats. He’s one of those rare fantasy prospects with legit .300/40-homer upside.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 11, 2018
Admittedly, I’m much higher on Robert than most in the industry. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a sucker for toolsy Cuban hitters. But I firmly stick by my top-five overall ranking for him. Robert has plus power and speed, similar to Yoan Moncada, but he has better plate discipline than his future teammate and Cuban predecessor. There’s a good chance that Robert is the next prospect fantasy owners are fighting over.
After that elite trio of hitters, Chicago has another trio of high-upside starting pitchers that all have #2 SP upside. Hansen, who checked in at #81 in my rankings, has a solid four-pitch arsenal that could carry him to ace status if he can learn to control it better.
|1||Francisco Mejia (37)||C||22||2018|
|2||Triston McKenzie (38)||RHP||20||2019|
|3||Bobbie Bradley (59)||1B||21||2018|
The Indians have two gems in this system followed by a bunch of question marks. There aren’t many catching prospects projected to be fantasy stars, but Francisco Mejia is one of them. He might be the only one, too. He’ll start the season in Triple-A, but it shouldn’t be long before he’s showcasing that .300/20 upside in Cleveland. The other gem in this system is right-hander Triston McKenzie, whom Cleveland snagged at pick 42 back in 2015. That pick looks like it’s going to become a steal, as McKenzie has ace written all over him thanks to his above-average four-pitch mix and solid control.
The duo of Bobby Bradley and Will Benson presents the two best power options in this system, though it remains to be seen if they can hit for respectable batting averages. Don’t sleep on Shane Bieber, either. The 22-year-old righty doesn’t blow you away, but he has perhaps the best control in the minors and posted a 0.5 BB/9 last season. There’s also no relation to Justin, which is a plus.
|1||Christin Stewart (58)||OF||24||2018|
|2||Matt Manning (70)||RHP||20||2020|
|3||Franklin Perez (84)||RHP||20||2019|
Outside of the Braves, the Tigers might have the best batch of starting pitcher prospects in the minors. Two pitchers (Matt Manning and Franklin Perez) cracked my top-100, while two more (Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows) just missed. All four throw in the mid-90s and possess above-average arsenals. None of them has ace upside, but they should settle in as #2 or #3 type starters.
You won’t see him high on any prospect list, but Christin Stewart leads the way for fantasy prospects from this system thanks to his above-average raw power from the left side of the plate. He should get the call to Detroit later this summer. Keep an eye on Daz Cameron, as well. The son of former Major League outfielder, Mike Cameron, Daz has tools that could turn him into a poor man’s Carlos Gomez in time.
|1||Kyle Tucker (10)||OF||21||2018|
|2||Forrest Whitley (16)||RHP||20||2019|
|3||Yordan Alvarez (66)||1B/OF||20||2019|
|4||J.B. Bukauskas (87)||RHP||21||2020|
Hey, Royals fans. Just hope your team can rebuild like the Astros did. Houston stunk for several years, stocked the system with guys like Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Alex Bregman, and now are the defending World Series Champs. They’re not done pumping out elite fantasy prospects, either. Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley are right on the cusp of both the Major Leagues and fantasy stardom.
Tucker should be the first one to reach Houston and is one of the few prospects in the minors with legit 30/30 upside to go along with a decent average. He dazzled us in spring training with four home runs, two steals, and a .425 average in 40 at-bats. The Whitley suspension sucks. No other way to put it. But that doesn’t for a second drop his value or upside. He’s still a star in the making.
Yordan Alvarez and J.B. Bukauskas are the other two in my top-100, but don’t sleep on Freudis Nova. He’s a country mile away from helping out in Houston, but the 18-year-old shortstop has plus tools across the board with .280/20/30 upside down the road.
Kansas City Royals
If you’re a Royals fan reading this, my condolences. It’s going to be a long rebuild for this organization. There were only four Major League organizations without a prospect in my top-100, and the Royals were the only one that resides in the American League. At this point in time, there are only three players that I can see having fantasy relevance and they all have their fair share of concerns at the plate.
Khalil Lee has above-average power and speed potential, but a more than questionable hit tool with a 30.2% career strikeout rate. Pratto might end up being the best player out of this current system, though his fantasy upside isn’t overly intriguing as a first baseman that prioritizes contact over power. In the end, he should have some value as a .280/20 type of player. Hopefully, a bunch a few years of mediocrity/top-five draft picks will re-stock this system some.
Los Angeles Angels
|1||Shohei Ohtani (6)||RHP/DH||23||2018|
|2||Jo Adell (22)||OF||18||2021|
|3||Kevin Maitan (39)||SS||18||2021|
|4||Jahmai Jones (51)||OF||20||2019|
|5||Brandon Marsh (85)||OF||20||2020|
Remember when this farm system stunk like raw sewage? That system was a far cry from this offensively loaded system that the Angels currently have. It all starts with everyone’s favorite conversation starter, Shohei Ohtani. The two-way Japanese phenom is the most hyped player ever to come out of Asia due to his ace upside on the hill and plus raw power at the plate. He’s struggled mightily in both areas this spring but still projects to be a star in this league, at least on the mound. After watching more and more of him at the dish, I question his overall hit tool and ability to catch up to higher velocity.
If you’re looking for a prospect to make the jump into the top-10 next season, Jo Adell is near or at the top of the list. The 18-year-old outfielder silenced critics that questioned his hit tool by slashing .325/.376/.532/.908 during his pro debut in 2017. He likely won’t continue to hit .325 every season, but Adell should hit in the .280-.300 range to go along with 25/35 upside at the dish.
Both Kevin Maitan and Jahmai Jones have high offensive upside, but are also very raw and carry a considerable amount of risk, too. One to jump on now is Brandon Marsh. He’s not on any top-100 lists now, beside my top-100 fantasy prospects list (#85), but Marsh is an offensive dynamo that should be a hot commodity in the very near future on the strength of his above-average hit tool and power, and 40+ steal wheels.
|1||Royce Lewis (11)||SS||18||2021|
|2||Akil Baddoo (53)||OF||19||2020|
|3||Nick Gordon (82)||SS||22||2018|
|4||Stephen Gonsalves (83)||LHP||23||2018|
|5||Lewin Diaz (88)||1B||21||2020|
This is one of my favorite farm systems in the American League. The Twins have five fantasy prospects in my top-100 and five more just outside it. The #1 pick in 2017, Royce Lewis, is the crown gem of this loaded system. Lewis has a plus hit tool, elite speed, and enough power to hit 15-20 homers annually. He’s already nearing top-10 overall prospect status and will continue to climb higher if he continues to play at a high level.
Outside of Lewis, Minnesota has a nice blend of talent, both at the dish and on the hill. Brent Rooker is an intriguing dynasty target for his 40+ homer upside and should climb the ladder quickly to Minnesota. Both Nick Gordon and Wander Javier have decent tools across the board but lack elite upside like Lewis. They’ll likely have to move to different positions or be traded to a different organization to get a chance at short in the Major Leagues. The trio of Stephen Gonsalves, Fernando Romero, and Brusdar Graterol all have mid-rotation upside at the very least, with the latter two potentially topping the Twins rotation one day.
And then there was Akil Baddoo. He has “bad” in his last name because he’s a bad, bad man at the plate. I’m probably one of the highest, if not the highest, on Baddoo in the industry and am currently in a custody battle over him with Ralph Lifshitz of Fantrax and Razzball. Baddoo is a future All-Star leadoff man with .300/40 SB upside and likely will add 15-20 home runs annually.
New York Yankees
|1||Gleyber Torres (15)||SS||21||2018|
|2||Estevan Florial (31)||OF||20||2020|
|3||Miguel Andujar (60)||3B||23||2018|
|4||Chance Adams (61)||RHP||23||2018|
|5||Justus Sheffield (73)||LHP||21||2018|
Let me get this out of the way: I’m in the camp that Gleyber Torres isn’t going to be a fantasy stud like most believe. Don’t get me wrong, I still think he’s going to be a very good fantasy asset, but more in the .280/25/15 mold. He’s still a top-20 overall fantasy prospect with a relatively high floor that will debut in 2018 alongside slugging third base prospect, Miguel Andujar.
The man that could end up being the best fantasy player from this current system is Estevan Florial. His left-handed swing is quick through the zone and generates hard contact and good loft. Basically, it’s a swing made for Yankee Stadium. His hit tool is still developing, but he should hit at least .260, though he’ll have to cut down on that 31% strikeout rate. Oh yeah, he has 70-grade speed, too, which should translate into 30+ steals annually.
Outside of Luis Severino, the Yankees haven’t developed a lot of good pitching prospects over the last several years. Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, and Albert Abreu are ready to change that. All three have the upside of #2 starters in the Major Leagues.
|1||A.J. Puk (30)||LHP||22||2018|
|2||Franklin Barreto (56)||2B/SS||22||2018|
|3||Jesus Luzardo (68)||LHP||20||2020|
|4||Dustin Fowler (75)||OF||23||2018|
|5||Jorge Mateo (77)||SS/OF||22||2018|
The Athletic have two of my favorite left-handed pitching prospects. A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo are different in skillset and approach, but both possess ace upside. Puk is the wild flamethrower with a wipeout slider and subpar control. Luzardo, on the other hand, also has a mid-90s heater, but pairs that with a plus-changeup and can control his arsenal well. I can easily envision these two men at the top of Oakland’s rotation within the next few years.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 9, 2018
Outside of that duo is a quintet of hitting prospects that should all become fantasy relevant assets; however, none have elite upside. Franklin Barreto has 20/20 upside, but his approach and swing-and-miss tendencies should cap his average at around .260 or so. Behind him in center is Dustin Fowler, who has an above-average hit tool, but merely average power and speed. Jorge Mateo is the best bet out of this crop of hitters for fantasy stardom with a skill set similar to Elvis Andrus.
|1||Kyle Lewis (34)||OF||22||2019|
Basically, this system is Kyle Lewis and not much else. Some questioned his upside after playing his collegiate career at Mercer University, but Lewis has shown that his offensive upside is for real. It starts with 30-homer pop that should be accompanied by a .280 average and 15-20 steals. If only he could just stay healthy.
Behind him, there’s not a whole lot to get excited about. Evan White is a polished hitter, but he lacks the power needed to become a fantasy asset at first base. If he can add some loft to his swing, he could end up as a .290/20/15 type of hitter. The wild card in this system is 17-year-old Venezuelan outfielder, Julio Rodriguez. Rodriguez profiles as a power hitting right fielder that should hit for a respectable batting average, too. With a solid pro debut in 2018, Rodriguez could fly up prospect lists next spring.
Tampa Bay Rays
|1||Brent Honeywell (27)||RHP||22||2019|
|2||Brendan McKay (41)||1B/LHP||22||2019|
|3||Jesus Sanchez (42)||OF||20||2019|
|4||Willy Adames (71)||SS||22||2018|
|5||Jake Bauers (89)||OF/1B||22||2019|
We were going to see the Major League debut of Brent Honeywell early in 2018, but Tommy John had other ideas. Maybe it was all those majestic screwballs that he throws. Now we’ll have to wait until sometime in 2019 for the debut of this future top of the rotation starter.
Ohtani is just one of the two-way fantasy prospects in the minors. Brendan McKay has a legit chance of making it work at the plate and on the hill. As a pitcher, McKay works in the low-90s with his fastball and pairs that with a plus curve and an above-average cutter and change-up. He controls all-four pitches well and has the upside of a #2 starter on the mound. Offensively, he profiles as a .300 hitter that should hit 25+ home runs per season.
The man that could end up as the top fantasy asset from this current system is Jesus Sanchez. The 20-year-old outfielder rates as plus across the board and looks like a middle-of-the-lineup force in the making. Adames is another of the top fantasy prospects in this organization but lacks the power and speed to become a fantasy star.
|1||Willie Calhoun (19)||OF||23||2018|
|2||Leodys Taveras (52)||OF||19||2020|
|3||Juan Pablo Martinez||OF||21||2020|
With the addition of Juan Pablo Martinez, the Rangers’ gluttony of high-upside fantasy prospects got even greater. Willie Calhoun is the cream of the crop with his .300/30 upside and should take over in left field before the end of April. Right there with him in terms of upside is Leodys Taveras. He hasn’t posted numbers that knock your socks off, but there’s legit 15/30 potential here.
Now, back to Martinez. If he had signed before I posted my top-100 list, he likely would’ve been in the 60-80 range. His skills remind me of Carlos Gomez, back when he was actually still good. Martinez has 20/30 upside, but he might struggle to hit for a decent average if he doesn’t refine his approach at the plate and learn how to hit high velocity up in the zone and on the outer half of the plate.
Toronto Blue Jays
|1||Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3)||3B||19||2019|
|2||Bo Bichette (13)||SS||20||2019|
|3||Anthony Alford (40)||OF||23||2018|
If you live anywhere near the state of New Hampshire, make the drive over to Manchester to see a Fishercats game this season. If you do, you’ll get to see two of the best fantasy prospects in the game: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. You know what’s scary? Vlad Jr. might end up being just as good or even better than his father, who was just inducted into the Hall of Fame. Guerrero doesn’t have much speed, but that doesn’t matter when you have .320/40 upside at the plate. And similar to his old man, Junior doesn’t strike out nearly as often as most power hitters of this magnitude do. This kid is really freaking special and is going to terrorize American League pitchers for the next 10 to 15 years.
— Peace, love, and dirty feet (@mufuhkajones) March 18, 2018
Bichette should be a terror, too, but in a more contact-oriented way. That’s not to say that Bichette doesn’t have much power or speed, because he does. But it’s his batting-title upside that will make him a fantasy star.
Those two garner a lot of the attention in this system. However, another to keep a close eye on is Nate Pearson. A tank on the hill at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Pearson attacks hitters with a mid to upper-90s heater and plus slider. if he can develop his change-up and control, there’s ace upside here.
Thank you for reading another edition of Dynasty Dugout here on Fantrax. I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a beef with any of my fantasy prospects? Follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and share it there.