It’s draft season! PitcherList has been cranking out some unbelievable content for you all to use heading into your drafts, and our new dynasty team is all over the minor leaguers you should be looking at in keeper or dynasty formats.
But what about prospects who those of you who play standard 10 or 12 team redraft leagues should be looking at? Never fear, I have compiled the 25 most notable hitting prospects to keep an eye on in re-draft formats. So while Wander Franco is the consensus best prospect in baseball, and a really notable asset in dynasty leagues, he is not yet on the radar in redraft leagues, as I don’t expect him to debut in the majors until 2021.
These 25 hitters are all likely to hold fantasy relevance in redraft leagues this season, some right off the bat and some potentially not until the summer.
Regardless, here is who I like the best, when I believe they will debut, and how you should handle each of them on draft day and beyond. Enjoy!
1. Luis Robert, OF, CWS – ETA Opening Day
Robert is a consensus top-four prospect in all of baseball, and while three of those four players will almost certainly see at-bats in the big leagues in 2020, Robert is the only one who is a lock to begin the year with a starting spot on Opening Day. Plus, his elite combination of power and speed should make him an instant fantasy darling, with STEAMER projecting him for 26 home runs and 23 stolen bases in his rookie year.
Robert was an absolute monster last year. Across three levels, he mashed 32 home runs with 36 steals and a combined .328/.376/.624 slash line. He has 70-grade speed and 65-grade raw power, and he looks like an annual threat to challenge for 30/30 with a good batting average.
However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his plate discipline, which resulted in a manageable 23.4 strikeout rate but just a 5.1 percent walk rate last year. That’s perhaps his biggest red flag, and one that could hurt him out of the gate in the big leagues (a la his teammate, Eloy Jimenez, who hit .228/.279/.402 through June 1 in 2019).
Still, I’m more than willing to snag Robert in the middle rounds, probably the 10th to 12th round in 10-teamers, based on his potential alone.
2. Gavin Lux, 2B/SS, LAD – ETA Opening Day
Lux is another consensus top-five prospect in all of baseball, and it is looking more and more likely that he will begin the 2020 season as LA’s starting second baseman – which gives him immense value not only in dynasty leagues but in redraft formats as well.
Lux’s first taste of big-league action didn’t go great last year, as the 22-year-old slashed just .240/.305/.400 with a pair of home runs and a pair of steals in 23 games played. However, he was an absolute monster in the PCL, hitting a blistering .392/.478/.719 with 13 home runs and a 14.2 percent walk rate in 49 games played, making it extremely necessary for him to get promoted.
Lux’s left-handed stroke is gaining loft and is already equipped with plus bat-speed, making him a true 25-30 home run threat. Blessed with 25 stolen base potential as well, it’s not hard to see why many Dodgers fans balked at including him in a potential deal for Francisco Lindor – they think they already have him.
Lux is penciled in as LA’s starting second baseman for now, but with Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez on the bench, not to mention Max Muncy an option to move over, his playing time is not nearly as guaranteed as someone like Robert. For that reason, I’d be more cautious drafting him at this point, although he’s still a viable pick in the 15-16 round range.
3. Austin Hays, OF, BAL – ETA Opening Day
At this point, if you are looking for prospect-eligible players for 2020, you just want guys who are going to play. Austin Hays is the no doubt starting center fielder in Baltimore, and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him hit near the top of the order right out of the gate.
Hays had a very nice big league debut in 2019, slashing .309/.373/.574 with four home runs and two steals in 21 games played.
A third-round pick back in 2016, Hays finished 2019 with 21 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 108 games played, split between a whopping five different levels.
A true center fielder with 60-grade raw power and 55-grade speed, Hays is a consensus Top-100 guy and someone who I expect to put together a 20/10 season with a decent slash line – numbers that put him squarely on the radar in 12+ team leagues.
I’m not sure I’m drafting him in 10-teamers, but he should definitely be picked in the final few rounds of 12-teamers, and could be an early-season pickup in shallower redraft formats as well.
4. Shogo Akiyama, OF, CIN – ETA Opening Day
Akiyama, unlike Robert, Lux, and Hays, isn’t showing up on too many top 100 prospect lists. However, he still projects to have quite a bit of fantasy relevance in 2020 after coming over from the NPB league to join the Reds as their leadoff hitter and center fielder.
At age 31, Akiyama has enough power and speed to make an impact in nearly all fantasy leagues. RotoChamp predicts 19 home runs and nine steals, along with a .283 average. Roster Resource is a bit less enthusiastic, although they still have him hitting .273 with 13 home runs and seven steals.
Hitting atop an order that has a lot of oomph, Akiyama could be a great source of runs and batting average in 12-teamers, and it sounds like he’ll add at least a little in each of the power and speed departments. He’s not a bad option in the later rounds of 12-team leagues, and could easily play his way onto 10-team rosters as well.
5. Nick Madrigal, 2B, CWS – ETA May
White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal made extremely quick work of the minor leagues last year, advancing from High-A to Triple-A while posting absolutely elite, I mean elite, elite, contact rates. He also displayed potentially fantasy-relevant speed on the base paths, along with the easy potential to hit .310 or .320 in the show.
Madrigal has no power to speak of, which severely damages his fantasy appeal, but the main thing that will curb the enthusiasm on the 2018 first-rounder is his potential call-up date.
For some reason, the White Sox are expected to go into 2020 with either Danny Mendick or Leury Garcia as the starter at the keystone. Both those guys are bad, and minor league signee Andrew Romine is worse, so in all reality, this job should be Madrigal’s to lose. He could end up being one of the final victims of service time manipulation, but it’s hard to imagine any of those players preventing Madrigal from starting for Chicago by May at the latest.
Once he’s up, he’s worth a look in 12 team leagues and possibly 10-teamers as well, although he will primarily function as a batting average stabilizer. His ability to steal bases in the big leagues will be a massive hinge on his fantasy relevance, and until we know if that translates he is hard to peg down. Still – in 14+ team leagues and AL-only formats, he should be drafted right away, and he’s not a bad late-round flyer in those shallower formats either – especially if promising results come down in spring training.
6. Sam Hilliard, OF, COL – ETA Opening Day
Okay, so I love Sam Hilliard. Big deal. I picked him in the draft/stash challenge we did a while back, and I was the high-man on him in the PitcherList Top 100 prospect rankings – so this is the third time I’ve written about him in like two weeks.
What else is there to say?
I mean, the dude mashed 42 home runs last year, 35 in the PCL and seven with the Rockies, while also swiping 24 bases and posting an excellent .273/.356/.649 in his 27 big league games. That kind of production borders on elite fantasy territory, and while the hitting environment in the PCL should be taken with a grain of salt, we are talking about a power-hitting outfielder playing his home games in Coors, so the inflated production shouldn’t be discounted too much.
Hilliard is not as highly regarded as many of the prospects to follow on this list, but he gets this spot because of the allure of instant playing time. Right now, Roster Resource has the 25-year-old penciled in as Colorado’s starting right fielder, with his primary competition coming from the corpse of Ian Desmond and the quiet whispers of potential long gone that was Raimel Tapia.
Steamer only likes Hilliard for 362 plate appearances, but they also peg him for 14 home runs and 11 steals. If that kind of production is over 480 plate appearances or more, you’re looking at a rosterable fantasy asset in 12-team leagues and beyond.
7. Carter Kieboom, 3B, WAS – ETA Opening Day
If Kieboom’s playing time were more secure, he’d almost certainly be top-five on this list. And while Roster Resource does have him penciled in as the starting third baseman for the Nationals, this team also re-signed both Howie Kendrick and Asdrubal Cabrera this offseason, making me hesitate to assume full-time at-bats for Kieboom right out of the chute.
If he plays well in spring training and seems locked into the starting role, he’s definitely worth a late-round flyer in 12-teamers, and possibly for bold owners in 10-teamers as well.
Kieboom struggled massively in his first taste of big-league action last year, hitting a dismal .128/.209/.282 with a pair of home runs in just 43 plate appearances. He fared much better at AAA, hitting .303 with 16 home runs and five steals in 109 games, while boasting a strong 13.8 percent walk rate.
Kieboom is a well-built infielder with pull-side pop and a balanced swing, which should result in a plus hit tool and plus power in the show. Whether he starts to display that in 2020 remains to be seen, but his rough big league debut has likely soured people on him, which could allow him to be discounted in deeper formats or even upstart dynasty leagues.
8. Nick Solak, 3B/OF, TEX – ETA Opening Day
I’m unflinchingly the low man on Solak – and while I think he’ll begin the season with the Rangers and should get plenty of opportunities, I’m reminded of two things: 1.) the Rangers have a tendency to mess with their prospects, especially ones without a clear position, so it’s entirely possible Solak gets the Willie Calhoun treatment, and 2.) Solak’s advanced stats don’t paint a particularly pretty picture. An 88.3 mile per hour average exit velocity, a 6.3-degree launch angle and a .212 wOBA against breaking balls make me concerned he is not going to be able to repeat his strong performance last year – and that could result in constant trips back-and-forth from AAA and Texas.
Solak played mostly third base for Texas last year, but he has some experience at second base (his natural position) as well as the outfield and designated hitter. All those spots are occupied, although Todd Frazier, Rougned Odor, and Shin Soo-Choo are all injury risks or risks to get benched for poor play, which should open up a spot for the 25-year-old Solak.
He’s worth a late-round flyer in 12-team leagues, although I’d probably pass on him unless it was an OBP league.
Still, in deeper leagues, he’s definitely ownable, and a path to regular playing time could result in 15-20 home runs and a handful of steals, while also wielding strong positional flexibility.
9. Jo Adell, OF, LAA – ETA June
Adell is the third consensus top-five prospect who will almost certainly play in the big leagues in 2020, although his timeline is much murkier than Robert and Lux, which is why he’s all the way down here behind guys with more guaranteed playing time.
If you are the kind of drafter who likes to take risks, you’re almost certainly taking Adell ahead of guys like Solak, Kieboom, and Hilliard. However, at this point, I’m more willing to take players who are settled into regular at-bats from March until September, rather than gambling on a guy who we expect to be up by midseason, but who clearly has players in front of him.
Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Brian Goodwin are the starting outfielders for the Angels, with David Fletcher and Michael Hermosillo in the mix as backups. Factor in Adell’s age (20) and his 67 wRC+ at Triple-A last year, in just 27 games played, and you have a guy who could easily spend months in the minor leagues before debuting.
The best-case scenario has Adell crushing the ball in Triple-A, debuting in May and posting power/speed numbers that make him a top-40 or so outfielder in 2020. But the worst case is low enough that I’m not willing to gamble on him in redraft leagues as high as some of the other safer, more boring, prospects. To each their own.
10. Sean Murphy, C, Oakland A’s – ETA Opening Day
Sean Murphy was one of the toughest players to rank on this list. By NFBC ADP, he should be third or fourth. However, I’m a firm believer in not taking catchers very early in drafts, and would rather gamble on the nine names above before taking Murphy, likely in the last round or two (if he’s still around).
However – it’s hard to ignore any prospect on this list who has a near-guaranteed shot at regular playing time, which is how he still sneaks into the top-ten. The A’s have cleared the deck for Murphy to be their No. 1 catcher, with fellow rookie Austin Allen and veteran Carlos Perez representing little competition.
Murphy is lauded more for his Gold Glove-caliber defense than his fantasy production, but a full 130 or so game season behind the dish could easily result in 18-20 home runs. While he probably won’t hit for a high average, his patience at the plate makes him a nice target in OBP formats as well – and one I’d consider at the end of drafts in 2020.
11. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, OF/DH, TB – ETA Opening Day
Projecting Rays hitters is an incredibly unenviable task, as they tend to mix-and-match so often that even players who are listed as ’starters’ are only getting part-time at-bats.
The team went across the water to snag their latest project, a left-handed hitting designated hitter from the NPB league named Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Tsutsugo is a slugger who could easily hit 25 home runs this year – if he is given enough playing time.
With Ji-Man Choi, Jose Martinez, Nate Lowe, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot and possibly Brendan McKay all in the mix for at-bats at 1B/DH/COF, it’s hard to say exactly how much the 28-year-old will play in 2020.
His current ADP (according to NFBC) has him off the radar in 10 and 12 teamers, but he has a projected stat line similar to that of Max Kepler. If you’re willing to gamble that he’ll play himself into a nearly every day starting role in Tampa, he’s worth taking in most fantasy formats. But I understand the hesitation.
12. Evan White, 1B, SEA – ETA Opening Day
The Mariners made it clear they believe first baseman Evan White is ready for the big leagues, signing him to a six-year, $24-million dollar contract to buy out his arbitration years. This means, without any concern over service time, he is almost certainly going to begin the 2020 season as the team’s starting first baseman. After all, his primary competition for the role is (checks notes)… Austin Nola? Tim Lopes? Jose Marmolejos?
White has been lauded more for his glove than his bat, but he took a step forward at the dish in 2019 at AA, hitting .293/.350/.488 with 18 home runs in the notoriously pitcher-friendly confines of the Texas League. He has always displayed strong batting averages, and last year saw an increase in fly balls and contact to his pull-side, which should help develop his power stroke.
White is probably not going to be consistent .300|30|90 type first baseman, a la Jose Abreu or Freddie Freeman, but he should get a chance to play every day in Seattle, and hitting .270 with 20 or so home runs doesn’t seem out of the question for the 23-year-old. He’s not worth drafting in 10 or 12-teamers just yet, but in deeper leagues, he’s worth a late-round gamble.
13. Mauricio Dubon, 2B/SS, SFG – ETA Opening Day
Roster Resource has Dubon penciled in as San Francisco’s regular starter at second base, and STEAMER projects him for 490 plate appearances, 12 home runs, and 12 stolen bases.
However – I have my doubts that he sticks as the full-time starter all season long, especially after the team signed Gold Glove winner Yolmer Sanchez. Don’t get me wrong, Sanchez can’t hit worth a lick, but the presence of him, Donovan Solano and Wilmer Flores is enough for me to doubt Dubon’s standing as the team’s top option at the keystone – especially if he struggles out of the gate.
Dubon, 25, saw action in 30 games last year for the Brewers and the Giants, hitting .274/.306/.434 with four home runs and three steals – along with a lowly 4.5 percent walk rate and a solid 18.0 percent strikeout rate.
Even if Dubon does take over as the everyday starter, he is likely little more than a batting average stabilizer with limited power or speed. If he can hit .280 with 10 home runs and 10 steals, he’ll have value in deeper leagues and NL-only formats. Expecting much more than that – even if he plays every day – is foolish. Draft accordingly.
14. Dylan Carlson, OF, STL – ETA June
After a disappointing 2018 campaign, Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson broke out in a big way in 2019, blasting 21 home runs and swiping 18 bases in 108 games at Double-A before tearing apart AAA pitching with a .361/.418/.681 slash line with five dingers and two steals in just 18 games played.
Carlson will almost certainly begin the 2020 campaign in Triple-A, and while the Cardinals have quite a bit of outfield depth in front of him – including Dexter Fowler, Tommy Edman, Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas, Yairo Munoz and possibly Brad Miller – Carlson should get his shot partway through the year, and maybe sooner if he can hit anywhere close to as good at AAA again.
Carlson is a switch-hitter with burgeoning power, particularly from the left side, and continued success against older competition. He is a must-add as soon as he is up in the big leagues – and the only reason he is this low on the list is his timeline’s overall murkiness.
15. Kyle Lewis, OF, SEA – ETA Opening Day
Lewis gets a spot in the top-15 because he’s almost certainly going to start for the Mariners right out of the gate, with nearly every current depth chart slotting him in left field and hitting near the middle of the order.
The reason he’s down here – behind players who are in line for midseason promotions or part-time roles – is because there’s plenty to suggest he might not be a big-time fantasy asset outside of deeper formats.
Lewis was a bright spot for the Mariners last year, blasting six home runs in just 18 games and finally giving the fans a taste of what he is capable of, after missing so much time with injuries in the minor leagues.
However – Lewis is a massive strikeout machine, whiffing 38.7(!) percent of the time in the big leagues and 29.4 percent in Double-A. While he drew plenty of walks in the minors, he had just a 4.0 percent rate in the majors, a pace that won’t do him any favors if he can’t lower the strikeouts.
Lewis’ power is very real, and he could easily challenge for 25-30 home runs next year, but the speed that he had as a young prospect has all but disappeared thanks to a debilitating knee injury. At this point, Lewis is a power-only corner outfielder with heavy swing-and-miss potential, much like Domingo Santana – who he replaced. That doesn’t make him much of a fantasy asset outside of AL-only and 16+ team leagues, where he should be drafted and started right away.
16. Nico Hoerner, 2B/SS, CHC – ETA May
2018 first-rounder Nico Hoerner became the first player from his draft class to reach the big leagues, playing in 20 games for the Cubs last year and hitting .282/.305/.436 with three home runs. His 13.4 percent strikeout rate was extremely promising, but his 3.7 percent walk rate left quite a bit to be desired.
Hoerner is almost certainly going to get a chance to show what he can do in the big leagues again in 2020, but it’s not clear when or where exactly he will fit in – and while he’s a strong prospect he has yet to display a ton of home run acumen or establish himself as a base-stealing threat, which obviously limits his fantasy appeal.
Starting with the playing time, he is blocked by Javy Baez at shortstop, Kris Bryant at third and new signee Jason Kipnis at second base. Kipnis will be the easiest to unseat, but Chicago also has Daniel Descalso, David Bote and even Robel Garcia on hand as options. Hoerner should get a shot over all of them – and arguably over Kipnis – but he can easily be benched or sent down if he struggles.
It’s hard to read too much into Hoerner’s minor league numbers, as he has only played 89 games, but he has just five home runs in that window, along with 19 doubles and five triples.
I could see Hoerner hitting 10-12 home runs over a full or nearly full season, with maybe 15-20 steals, but I’m not nearly as confident in the tools as many others are. Still, he’s certainly worth nabbing in 14+ team leagues and NL-only formats when he gets called up, and should be on the watch list in other leagues as well.
17. Jake Fraley, OF, SEA – ETA Opening Day
Mitch Haniger’s injury likely frees up toolsy outfielder Jake Fraley up for an immediate starting job in Seattle, and his combination of over-the-fence power, plate discipline, and speed will make him a fantasy contributor in deep leagues in 2020, and could easily push him onto the 12 and even 10-team radar.
Fraley played in 99 games between AA and AAA last year, blasting 19 home runs with 22 steals and a .298/.365/.545 slash line. That was enough for him to get a taste of big-league action, which he admittedly did not take to very well, with a .150 average and a 34.1 percent strikeout rate in 12 games played.
While the poor big-league performance did put a sour taste in my mouth, Fraley’s path to playing time right now is nearly wide open, with the remaining competition including Braden Bishop, Carlos Gonzalez, Jose Siri, Collin Cowgill, and Tim Lopes.
Fraley has a great path to opening day playing time, but he’s a bit lower on this list because of his struggles last year and the distinct possibility he slides into a fourth outfielder role once Haniger returns from the injured list. He’s worth a look in deeper leagues and dynasty formats – but I’d keep him on the waiver wire (and the watch list) in standard 10 or 12 team leagues.
18. Jorge Mateo, 2B, OAK – ETA May
It’s still not clear exactly who will start at second base for the Oakland A’s following the Jurickson Profar trade. The veteran Tony Kemp is who Roster Resource lists, but youngster Franklin Barreto and possibly utility man Chad Pinder are both options as well – not to mention two prospects: Sheldon Neuse and Jorge Mateo.
Mateo spent his second consecutive full season at Triple-A in 2019, racking up 19 home runs and 24 steals with a .289/.330/.504 slash line. The former top prospect in the Yankees system has gone through quite a few ups and downs in recent years, but his combination of power and legitimate, unquestionable 80-grade speed make him a potential fantasy darling.
He’s not without his faults, however, as last year’s strong performance came with a 25.6 percent strikeout rate and just a 5.1 percent walk rate – following a pattern of concerning plate discipline issues. Plus, the 19 home runs were nice but he hit just three in 2018 and may have benefited tremendously from the juiced baseball and the hitter-friendly confines of the PCL.
Regardless, Mateo is a name to keep an eye on in deeper redraft leagues and certainly all dynasty formats. While I wouldn’t bet on him being the opening day start at the keystone, I also wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing there regularly starting as early as May – which could give him a chance at a 15/20 type season.
19. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/3B, BAL – ETA May
The Orioles are the most rebuilding team in the league, so it’s no surprise to see two hitters crack this list – as they have little reason to not play their rookies in 2020.
Mountcastle put together a complete season at Triple-A in 2019, mashing 25 home runs with 83 RBI and a nice .312/.344/.527 line. The Orioles moved him around quite a bit defensively, allowing him to gain his first professional experience at first base and left field along with his more natural third base.
That gives him a much higher shot at contributing meaningfully to Baltimore this year, even though he is not currently penciled into a spot on the 26-man roster. Chris Davis, Rio Ruiz, Renato Nunez and Anthony Santander occupy the 1B, 3B, DH and LF roles, respectively, with Dwight Smith, Stevie Wilkerson and Andrew Velasquez all in the mix as well.
However – it goes without saying that none of those names should prevent Mountcastle and his 55-grade hit tool and 60-grade power from taking over a starting job this year.
He probably shouldn’t be rostered in any redraft format just yet (except maybe AL-only) but he’s a name worth keeping an eye on, and one who should be grabbed off the waiver wire in 12+ team leagues once he gets recalled – which may not take all that long.
20. Brendan Rodgers, SS, COL – ETA July
One of the things that has come up a few times when making this list is which players are blocking a certain prospect from playing time. In a case like Dylan Carlson or Jo Adell’s, there is not anyone who should prevent them from taking over once they are ready.
In the case of Brendan Rodgers, there could be. Rodgers is behind Trevor Story at shortstop – a spot he is not taking over unless there is an injury. Second base is a bit trickier, but the combination of Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson is good enough to potentially hold off the team’s number one prospect, at least for a while.
Rodgers is still recovering from a torn labrum as well, which isn’t expected to cost him time but does lower his stock just a bit. Speaking of lowering his stock, his .224/.272/.250 slash line with no home runs or steals in 81 big league plate appearances really soured a lot of people on his long-term potential.
While I wouldn’t say I’m one of those people, I am worried he won’t see as much big league time as he would have had he hit well last year, and unless Nolan Arenado gets traded (which would likely shift McMahon to third and open up a spot at second for Rodgers and Hampson to compete for) then Rodgers may be in line for a nearly full season at Triple-A.
If/when he does come up, he’s worth a look in deeper leagues as long as he is playing every day. I wouldn’t rush to pick him up in 10 or 12 teamers, but as with any notable prospect – he should be watched.
21. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, PIT – ETA July
The Pirates are not a good baseball team, and it looks like they might be getting ready to give a lot of newcomers a chance in 2020. That could very well include third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who hit well – but not great – in AAA last year.
Hayes hit 10 home runs with 12 steals in 110 games, along with a nice 9.0 percent walk rate and 18.0 percent strikeout rate, but his .265/.336/.415 slash line was only good for a 92 wRC+.
He’s almost certainly going to start the year at AAA again, but assuming he improves on those numbers, he is a prime candidate for a midseason call-up – particularly if Pittsburgh sells off at the deadline.
Colin Moran is the team’s incumbent starter at third base, but he has been below average the past two seasons and spent some time moving around the diamond last year. Pittsburgh could look to bench him or trade him to clear room for Hayes – particularly if he’s doing well in the minors.
Don’t draft Hayes in redraft leagues just yet (except maybe deep NL-only) but he is a name to monitor and one who could be helping in most fantasy leagues by September.
22. Alec Bohm, 3B, PHI – ETA July
Bohm was one of the toughest players on this list to slot in. As a pure prospect, he’s probably fifth on this list behind Robert, Adell, Lux, and Kieboom. However, he’s all the way down at No. 22 because his likelihood of making his big league debut this year is less certain, and even if he does it almost certainly won’t happen until midseason at the earliest, giving him a tough-to-predict fantasy outlook for 2020.
Bohm had a nice 2019 campaign, hitting .305/.378/.518 with 21 home runs and six steals split between three levels. However, he only hit .269 in AA, albeit with an unlucky .265 BABIP and a still excellent .231 ISO and 146 wRC+.
Those 270 plate appearances are his only beyond High-A however, and unless he comes out of the gate firing in 2020 it could be until July/August or even September until we see him in the show.
Bohm is quite possibly going to be the last player on this list to reach the big leagues, but he is an absolute must-add in all formats as soon as he does get recalled, thanks to his prodigious hit tool and power. If you’re in a dynasty league, he’s much, much higher on the radar.
23. Daz Cameron, OF, DET – ETA June
The Tigers, similar to the Orioles and Mariners, are deep in their rebuild and therefore are more likely to play hitting prospects a lot this year. Cameron is one of two Tigers to crack this list, along with Isaac Paredes, and although he is probably going to start the 2020 campaign in Triple-A it may not be long until he is up in the big leagues.
Presently, Detroit is heading into the 2020 season with Cameron Maybin, Victor Reyes, JaCoby Jones, and Christin Stewart expected to be the four outfielders on the active roster. However, they also have Travis Demeritte, Jorge Bonifacio, Jacob Robson, and Troy Stokes in the minors as well.
Still, Cameron is one of the team’s top prospects, and it would behoove them to get a look at him at some point in 2020, especially after he hit 13 home runs with 17 steals and a career-high 11.7 percent walk rate in Toledo last year.
Of course, Cameron has major strikeout issues, not unlike his father, which will hold him back at the next level. His .214 average in AAA is evidence of that and paints Cameron more like a Keon Broxton or Byron Buxton as opposed to his ceiling, which is more like his father Mike Cameron or even Curtis Granderson.
Steamer only likes Cameron for 14 MLB plate appearances next year, a discouraging sign, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him get an earlier call-up that gives him a half-season or so in the big leagues. If that happens, he’ll be worth a look in 14+ team leagues and AL-only formats – particularly those who count OBP instead of BA – for his power/speed combination.
24. Monte Harrison, OF, MIA – ETA June
So much of what was written about Daz Cameron applies directly to Monte Harrison. They are both advanced, toolsy outfield prospects who have the makings of future fantasy darlings, are on bad teams that can afford to play them in 2020, but are blocked by a fair amount of fringey talent ahead of them.
For Harrison, he is looking at an outfield picture that features Corey Dickerson, Garrett Cooper, Jonathan Villar, Matt Kemp, Jon Berti, Matt Joyce, Harold Ramirez, Magneuris Sierra, and Lewis Brinson all ahead of or near him in the pecking order.
So it’s safe to say he’s a risky pick in redraft formats. Even in NL-only leagues, I’m not ready to draft Harrison out of the chute. However, it would make sense for Miami to give him a chance this year, at least at some point, and his potential as both a power hitter and a stolen base threat make him a valuable fantasy commodity even if he plays half, or a quarter, of the year in the big leagues.
Like many others on this list, have Harrison on your watch list or in the back of your mind in redraft leagues. If he gets recalled and is expected to garner consistent at-bats, he’s worth adding in 14+ team leagues right away.
25. Isaac Paredes, 3B, DET – ETA June
At age 21, Paredes is one of the youngest players on this list. However, his recent showing in AA and the Tigers’ utter lack of any good infielders should allow him to reach the big leagues at some point this summer, likely as a third baseman.
Paredes hit well in AA in 2018 in a 39-game sample, and he spent the entire 2019 campaign repeating that level while transitioning from shortstop to third base – a transition that looks permanent considering his strong arm, good hands but relative lack of range.
Paredes isn’t on here for his defensive acumen, however, as he has proven himself a strong all-around hitter with burgeoning power and elite plate discipline – nearly walking as many times (57) and he struck out (61) last year in AA.
Jeimer Candelario is the team’s current third baseman, but he could end up moving over to first base if his defensive woes continue. Brandon Dixon, Dawel Lugo and Willi Castro are all in the mix for at-bats as well, but none of them should hold Paredes back from getting playing time, as long as he proves he is ready.
He’ll likely start the 2020 season in AAA, and with some hot hitting he could be up sooner rather than later – which will make him someone worth owning in 14+ team leagues and AL-only formats.
Adapted by Zach Ennis (@zachennis on Twitter and Instagram)