(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
Today marks the fourth day of an 11 article special that is designed to help get you all caught up and informed on MLB prospects for your fantasy baseball leagues. I am a day late on my articles, but will work them into a revised schedule. My colleague Adam Garland and I are going to be releasing mid-season top prospect lists for every position and we will release our lists on the following schedule:
Top 30 Catchers
Top 30 1st Basemen
Top 30 2nd Basemen
Top 30 Shortstops
Top 30 3rd Basemen
Top 25 Outfielders
Top 50 Outfielders
Top 150 Overall Hitters
Top 150 Overall Pitchers
Adam’s Disagreements – July 23rd
Brennen’s Disagreements – July 24th
We have included a rough prime projection for each player as well as an estimated ETA. We tried not to include players that have cemented roles in the majors at the time of this writing, so guys like Juan Soto and Mike Soroka will not be included. Note that we place an emphasis on upside, namely power and speed guys, while also prioritizing closeness to the majors when the value is close. Feel free to ask questions or drop a comment, we are always happy to discuss! Without further ado, onto the list!
|1.||Jake Bauers||Tampa Bay Rays||MLB/AAA||22||.270 AVG / 15 HR / 15 SB||Now|
|2.||Peter Alonso||New York Mets||AAA||23||.300 AVG / 30 HR / 1 SB||2019|
|3.||Yordan Alvarez||Houston Astros||AAA||20||.290 AVG / 20 HR / 5 SB||2020|
|4.||Chad Spanberger||Colorado Rockies||A||22||.280 AVG / 30 HR / 15 SB||2020|
|5.||Matt Thaiss||Los Angeles Angels||AAA||23||.280 AVG / 18 HR / 2 SB||2018|
|6.||Pavin Smith||Arizona Diamondbacks||A+||22||.310 AVG / 13 HR / 2 SB||2020|
|7.||Brendan McKay||Tampa Bay Rays||A||22||.260 AVG / 10 HR / 1 SB||2020|
|8.||Josh Naylor||San Diego Padres||AA||21||.275 AVG / 20 HR / 5 SB||2019|
|9.||Evan White||Seattle Mariners||AAA||22||.290 AVG / 15 HR / 4 SB||2020|
|10.||Frank Schwindel||Kansas City Royals||AAA||26||.285 AVG / 22 HR / 0 SB||2018|
|11.||Edwin Rios||Los Angeles Dodgers||AAA||24||.275 AVG / 19 HR / 0 SB||2018|
|12.||Lewin Diaz||Minnesota Twins||A||21||.265 AVG / 22 HR / 1 SB||2020|
|13.||Nick Pratto||Kansas City Royals||A||19||.270 AVG / 20 HR / 10 SB||2021|
|14.||Ryan Costello||Seattle Mariners||A||22||.270 AVG / 18 HR / 1 SB||2021|
|15.||Kevin Cron||Arizona Diamondbacks||AAA||25||.275 AVG / 26 HR / 1 SB||2019|
|16.||Roberto Ramos||Colorado Rockies||AA||23||.280 AVG / 24 HR / 2 SB||2020|
|17.||Brent Rooker||Minnesota Twins||AA||23||.260 AVG / 16 HR / 1 SB||2020|
|18.||Bobby Bradley||Cleveland Indians||AA||22||.245 AVG / 28 HR / 1 SB||2019|
|19.||Nathaniel Lowe||Tampa Bay Rays||AA||22||.275 AVG / 15 HR / 1 SB||2019|
|20.||Darick Hall||Philadelphia Phillies||AA||22||.260 AVG / 21 HR / 0 SB||2020|
|21.||Triston Casas||Boston Red Sox||R||18||.265 AVG / 20 HR / 2 SB||2022|
|22.||Ibandel Isabel||Cincinnati Reds||A+||23||.230 AVG / 30 HR / 0 SB||2020|
|23.||Will Craig||Pittsburgh Pirates||AA||23||.260 AVG / 15 HR / 2 SB||2019|
|24.||Seth Beer||Houston Astros||A||21||.260 AVG / 28 HR / 0 SB||2020|
|25.||Josh Ockimey||Boston Red Sox||AA||22||.250 AVG / 10 HR / 0 SB||2019|
|26.||Garrett Cooper||Miami Marlins||AAA/MLB||27||.270 AVG / 10 HR / 0 SB||2019|
|27.||Luken Baker||St. Louis Cardinals||TBD||21||.255 AVG / 19 HR / 0 SB||2020|
|28.||Brian Mundell||Colorado Rockies||AA||24||.280 AVG / 9 HR / 0 SB||2019|
|29.||Zach Green||Philadelphia Phillies||AA||24||.265 AVG / 13 HR / 0 SB||2019|
|30.||Josh Fuentes||Colorado Rockies||AAA||25||.275 AVG / 10 HR / 8 SB||2019|
- While most prospect first baseman do not always turn out as such given the MLB propensity to slide an aging veteran to the corner, but the few that make it to the MLB at the position are generally something special.
- Having found his power stroke, Peter Alonso has rocketed himself from marginally useful to a potential staple of the future Mets offense. Although his true stride is found in his walk rate, which he has raised over 11% since last season, giving him an OBP of .440 in 273 plate appearances in Double-A this season. He was since promoted to Triple-A and although the sample size is small, has carried many of those gains with him.
- As far as “the next Paul Goldschmidt” goes, Chad Spanberger will be giving other first baseman a run for their money. In 76 games this season, Spanberger has hit 21 home runs (second for minor league first basemen), stolen 14 bases, and is currently batting .308. While this is only in Single-A ball, few players have demonstrated the immense upside Spanberger has this season. His 4.8% walk rate does prevent him from getting on base at an elite rate, but he checks every other box. He could be my top first baseman by the start of next season.
- Brendan McKay is the player I will be most likely to drop, while he does have first base eligibility I think this future lies as a pitcher and the notion of a two-way player will cool down by the time he is ready for MLB play.
- Speaking of Paul Goldschmidt, I will be interested to see what the Arizona Diamondbacks do with Kevin Cron who has been nothing short of unstoppable since 2015. Goldschmidt has a club option left next year before he is set to hit free agency. Cron would waste away in Triple-A if the Diamondbacks hold him on the line that long, but would make for a great starter on any team in need.
- Roberto Ramos is another Colorado Rockies prospect and is the only player above Chad Spanberger in first baseman home runs with 22 on the season. Recently promoted to Double-A, Ramos was hitting .304 and sported a .411 OBP in A+.
- I struggle with the notion of that the fly-ball revolution is here to stay and the implications it has on the strikeout/run ratio – Bobby Bradley is living that as a prospect with a 25% strikeout rate (it was in the 30s when I started my rankings), but has hit 16 home runs this season. For fantasy purposes, I do not think Bradley will pan out to be an above-average first baseman, but with his power will find some degree of relevance if he can hit with more consistency.
- Similarly, Ibandel Isabel is striking out at a 34.9% rate, but has 19 home runs. Do I think he’ll be able to translate that above A+? Probably not, but the feat itself is worthy of keeping an eye on his ceiling — and his floor.
- I am skeptical of Seth Beer not for his bat, but because of whether his defense is so atrocious that even first base cannot contain it. He has done well since getting drafted this season and has already earned a promotion. Beer has the pedigree to succeed, being the only freshman ever to win the College Player of the Year, but he has a great chance of moving up this list.
Yordan Alvarez is head and shoulders above the rest of this list – mark it down! 1B specs are generally pretty unrosterable, Alvarez is the only guy here that has much chance of an impact IMO. In this environment, you never know, but they all seem pretty generic to me. Also not a coincidence that YA is playing OF as he is a stud. Rooker has also been pretty hot for the last month. It has snuck up on people after his very poor start. Pavin Smith looks like garbage as does the hitting version of McKay. Polished college bats should be hitting a lot more than they are at that level – its not like there is a lot of development left for guys like that.
Yeah, Yordan Alvarez not being the clear-cut #1 here is a pretty big miss. I’m a huge fanboy of his, but he’s one of the top bats in all of the minors, period. I really think you guys are overestimating Alonso’s hit tool and severely underrating Alvarez’ power projection.
A lot of people are not aware of Yordan… I don’t blame these fellows at all. He had a 2 HR game get rained out… which seems like a silly thing to point out, but when the question is power and he missed over a month, those 2 HR would go a long ways towards inflating his value using simplistic analysis. Underneath the metrics he is a very exciting talent… off to a rough start in AAA in a few games, but I think he is what people think Kyle Tucker is. If he can hit in AAA things will get interesting!
Why Is Nate Lowe at 18? He’s put up eye popping stats between A & AA this year. Just seems like he should be much higher on this list.