The Pacific Coast League is the most power-happy league in the minor leagues. Out of the top ten teams in home runs in the minors, the PCL had seven teams and the top six teams. Those six teams had 220 or more home runs. If you went to a PCL game, you were going to see a home run.
Sure, the numbers might be inflated. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t good prospects. The PCL is loaded with top prospects, primed to make a major league impact in 2020. Just last year, we saw Fernando Tatis Jr., Keston Hiura, Yordan Alvarez, and more all made a huge impact. There are more players in the PCL that are knocking on the door, waiting to make a huge impact in your dynasty fantasy baseball leagues.
Gavin Lux, INF, Dodgers
Gavin Lux was one of the biggest risers of the 2019 season. He tore through the Texas League for 64 games, hitting .313 with 13 homers and a .896 OPS. After getting promoted to the Oklahoma City Dodgers, he was one of the best hitters in all of the minor leagues. In just 49 games, he had a .392/.478/.719 slash line with another 13 home runs, 25 doubles, and a 1.197 OPS. He also had a 33/42 strikeout to walk ratio. He’s hit for average and power over the past two seasons and just seems to be getting better.
He got some major league time in 2019 with 82 plate appearances. While he didn’t hit like he did in the PCL, with a .240 average and .705 OPS, he will get a lot of major league time in 2020. Currently, he is the top second baseman for the Dodgers, according to their official depth chart. He should be expected to be the top PCL prospect in 2020, and the first one off the board in re-draft leagues.
Jo Adell, OF, Angels
Adell has been one of the top prospects in baseball since he was drafted. He’s screamed through the Angels system, already in Triple-A after being drafted in 2017. He didn’t get any major league time in 2019, but he played in Double and Triple-A in 2019. Most of Adell’s time was spent with the Angels’ Double-A team, the Mobile BayBears. In 182 plate appearances, he slashed .309/.390/.553 with eight homers.
He played in 27 games in the PCL, and only had a .676 OPS. It’s a small sample size, so there shouldn’t be any concerns. In the limited time I saw him, he hit every ball hard. His hands are fast, and he can hit it to all fields. While he struck out a lot in 2019, 94 strikeouts to 30 walks, he is still an elite prospect. He should be considered as such in re-drafts. He will get major league time, the question is when. If the Angels want to contend, he could be up sooner than later, but he will get time regardless.
Joey Bart, C, Giants
Bart was the second overall pick in the 2018 draft and came out hot. He played six games in rookie ball before being promoted to Salem-Keizer for short-season ball. In 45 games, the catcher hit .298 with 13 home runs and 14 doubles, reaching a .983 OPS and showing why he was the second overall pick.
He dealt with some bad injury luck in 2019, missing six weeks with a broken hand after being hit on his non-throwing hand in April. Then, while playing in the Arizona Fall League, he was again hit, this time in his thumb, causing him to miss the entire Fall League schedule but avoiding surgery.
Despite the injuries, Bart had another stellar year. In High-A, he only hit .265, but hit 12 home runs and showed power. After being promoted to Double-A, he continued to hit. With a .316 average, four homers and .912 OPS in 22 games, he has given the Giants no reason to slow him down.
Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals
Carlson was a first-round pick out of high school as a switch-hitting outfielder in 2016. His first two years were a bit of a struggle at the plate, hitting .251 and .240, respectively, in Rookie Ball and Single-A.
In 2018, he took a step forward in doubles (22) and home runs (11), both career highs. Then, in 2019, he took another step forward and had a breakout year. Most of his at-bats came in Double-A, where he hit .281 with 24 doubles and 21 home runs. He also had his highest slugging percentage, at .518. He got on base at a good clip in Double-A, a .364 OBP, with 52 walks to 98 strikeouts.
He got 18 games in Triple-A and had 79 plate appearances. he hit five home runs on his way to a .381 batting average and 1.098 OPS. While it was a small sample size, it gave a taste of what he could do in the PCL.
If he continues to hit like that, it will be very likely that the switch hitter could get at-bats with the Cardinals. He has a lot of power and at just 20-years-old, he could make an impact in 2020.
Jazz Chisholm, SS, Marlins
Chisholm was acquired by the Marlins in a trade with the Diamondbacks that sent Zac Gallen to Arizona at the 2019 trade deadline. It was an odd deal at the time due to the prospect for prospect nature of it, but Chisholm has a lot of upside. He’s a shortstop who can hit for a ton of power, 25 home runs in 2018 and 21 in 2019, and looks like he will stick at short.
He was terrific in 2018, hitting .272 with 23 doubles and 17 stolen bases to go along with the 25 homers. In 2019, he struggled a bit before the trade, hitting just .204 with 18 home runs and only six doubles. After the trade, though, he hit .283 with three homers and four doubles in 23 games. He also stole 16 bases between Jackson and Jacksonville.
Chisholm has the potential to be a 20/20 shortstop in the very near future. With a good spring, he could start the season in Triple-A. The PCL is a hitters league, and if Chisholm does his thing, he could be up sooner than people expect.
It’s a weird time of year to be projecting some other guys, who could be fast risers in 2020, but are young and haven’t made it to the PCL yet. Guys like MacKenzie Gore, Jarred Kelenic, Taylor Trammell and even Brady Singer could all definitely make an impact, but it’s hard to tell without the true assignments we get after Spring Training.
Kevin Cron, INF, Diamondbacks
Here’s your sleeper. Not many people know about Kevin Cron, but those who don’t, should. He’s the younger brother of the Tigers’ CJ Cron and son of the Reno Aces manager, Chris Cron. This might seem like too much of a sleeper, given that he struggled, with a .211 batting average in his stint with Arizona in 2019. However, even with that low batting average, he still had six home runs and four doubles in 39 games, which lead to a .521 slugging percentage. Christian Walker is manning first base for now, since the trade of Paul Goldschmidt, so why Cron?
Well, the main reason is, it seems there is going to be the universal DH if and when the season starts and Cron was one of the best power hitters in the minors last year. In 82 games in Triple-A last year, Cron hit .331 with 38 homers and 105 RBI, not to mention a 1.226 OPS over that span. If the universal DH is in fact implemented, Cron could be a very cheap option that pays off in the long run because of his power and great plate discipline in the minors.
(Feature Graphic Designed by James Peterson (Follow @jhp_design714 on Instagram & Twitter)