(Photo by /Icon Sportswire)
New to Pitcher List, we are going to be doing a weekly prospect roundup that is designed to keep you informed on what is happening down in the minor leagues that is relevant for your dynasty leagues. I’ll be talking about who is hot, which top prospects are struggling, underrated guys that are producing to keep an eye on, or anything that may have caught my eye in general. So here is the first of many Prospect Rundowns that will be appearing every Saturday afternoon.
Sixto Sanchez (SP, Philadelphia Phillies) Age: 19, Level: A+
Sanchez was one of the breakout stories of last season after dominating as an 18-year-old in full-season ball, and he’s continued his strong performance this year including a gem of a start last Friday. He went 6 innings, giving up just 3 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 10 batters against 0 walks. This strong performance pushed Sanchez’s season ERA down to 2.95, and he has 40 strikeouts against just 9 walks along with that ERA in 39.2 innings pitched this year. It’s great to see that Sanchez’s swinging-strike rate is way up from 11.8% in A ball last year to a well above-average 13.1% in A+ this year which ranks 6th best in the Florida State League. The combination of swing and miss stuff and quality control at such a young age is what will likely push Sanchez even higher up mid-season top prospect lists.
Drew Waters (OF, Atlanta Braves) Age: 19, Level: A
A 2nd round pick last year, Waters has been on fire this week posting a hit in each game, including 3 multi-hit efforts, and has pushed his season batting average from .270 on Sunday to .288 today. Waters has been showing an interesting power/speed mix this year with 6 HRs and 6 SBs to go along with the .285 batting average and a .340 on-base% in 151 PAs. He’s walking at just a 5.3% rate, and striking out at a 22.5% clip and is supporting that with a slightly below average 12.8% swinging-strike rate. His 153 wRC+ ranks as the 7th best in the South Atlantic League which is impressive considering he’s just 19 in his first year of full-season ball. He could be a riser on mid-season prospect lists!
Caleb Ferguson (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers) Age: 21, Level: AAA
A former 38th round pick from 2014, Ferguson has done nothing but perform the last 3 years and is now at the highest level of the minors where he made his debut this week. He promptly dominated going 5 innings without giving up a run, and striking out 10 batters against 3 walks. Ferguson earned his promotion after putting up a 1.38 ERA with 40 strikeouts against 10 walks in 39 innings pitched, and supported that with a slightly above-average 11.1% swinging strike rate. As perhaps the best left-handed pitching prospect in the Dodgers system and the owner of a polished 3 pitch mix, Ferguson could find himself in the majors as early as September and has the upside to be a good #4 pitcher giving him value in deeper dynasty leagues.
Jahmai Jones (2B, Los Angeles Angels) Age: 20, Level: A+
A top 100 prospect as a CFer, Jones made the transition to 2nd base this year due to the Angels depth at the CF position and unfortunately Jones hasn’t been able to carry over his previous success to this year yet. He’s currently hitting just .236/.335/.401 with 5 HRs and 6 SBs in 209 PAs, and is supporting that with an 11.5% walk rate and a 21.5% strikeout rate. His .288 BAPIP may be low considering his skill set, but he’s also struggling to make contact as well as last year at the same level with his swinging-strike jumping up nearly 2% to 14.1%. The good news is, he may be starting to find his game again as he hit a HR on consecutive days on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Look for him to fall slightly on mid-season prospect lists, but don’t forget about him because his combination of power and patience is intriguing fantasy wise.
Pablo Lopez (SP, Miami Marlins) Age: 22, Level: AA
Acquired from the Mariners last July in the David Phelps trade, Lopez has been downright incredible this year at AA. His latest start was a 6 inning gem, with 9 strikeouts against just 1 walk while allowing 2 earned runs. That start actually raised Lopez’s ERA to 0.62, and he now has 51 strikeouts against just 8 walks in 43.2 innings pitched. He’s supporting those numbers with an impressive 12.9% swinging-strike rate which ranks 6th best in the league. His batting average against, as well as his FIP and xFIP all lead the Southern League which shows how truly dominant that he has been. He’s not on many radars I would think, but he could be a sleeper worth picking up in deeper leagues, especially if he continues this sort of dominance.
Brendan Rodgers (SS, Colorado Rockies) Age: 21, Level: AA
The former 3rd overall pick from 2015, Rodgers continues to do what he’s always done which is hit! Rodgers notably had a big day on Wednesday, going 3 for 4 with a HR. His season line now sits at .281/.324/.521 with 11 HRs and 6 SBs in 211 PAs. He’s continued to walk at a below average pace this year with just a 6.2% mark, but he’s also kept his strikeout rate reasonable at 20.4% and is supporting that with a roughly average 10.6% swinging-strike rate. Overall he’s been worth a 130 wRC+ this year which ranks in a tie for 16th best in the Eastern League. His power and contact skills at a premium position are what drives Rodgers prospect buzz, and the thought of his skills playing at Coors Field should have fantasy owners excited!
Cristian Javier (SP, Houston Astros) Age: 21, Level: A
To say Javier has been dominating his opponents would perhaps be an understatement at this point! He’s currently got a 15.37 K/9 to go along with an incredible 19.2% swinging-strike rate (leads the entire minor leagues) and has a 1.87 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched. Javier had another strong outing on Thursday, striking out 9 batters in 4.1 innings pitched, while allowing just 1 ER and 2 walks. There is some risk in his profile with a higher walk rate and the fact that he’s returned to A-ball for the 2nd time, but he’s performing very well while being age appropriate for the level and could be an upside arm that is worth taking a shot in deeper leagues based on his ability to miss bats.
Seuly Matias (OF, Kansas City Royals) Age: 19, Level: A
Matias has been one of the biggest breakout stories of this season, hitting for tons of power as a 19-year-old in full-season ball has really raised his prospect stock. Matias is currently on a HR streak in which he’s hit a HR in 3 consecutive games, and in the process has raised his season batting line to .252/.323/.640. He now has 15 HRs on the season which leads the South Atlantic League by 2 (while being 4 years younger than the 2nd place HR hitter) and has added 3 SBs as well. With that impressive power comes big contact concerns though as he’s currently sporting a well below-average 36.2% strikeout rate and that’s supported by a very below-average 22.4% swinging-strike rate. His power gives him a high ceiling for fantasy, while his contact skills give him a low floor, and the result is a high risk/high reward type of prospect.
Sean Reid-Foley (SP, Toronto Blue Jays) Age: 22, Level: AAA
Reid-Foley was a 2nd round pick in 2014, and has a very solid bounce-back year in 2018 after a disappointing 2017. He posted an impressive 2.03 ERA with 52 strikeouts against 20 walks in 44.1 innings at AA this season before receiving a promotion to AAA recently. He left the AA Eastern League among the leaders in numerous categories including ranking 1st in ERA, 2nd in batting average against, 8th in FIP, 3rd in xFIP, and 3rd in swinging-strike rate. He has pitched two games in AAA so far including one this week in which he went 6 innings, striking out 10 batters against just 1 walk while giving up 3 ERs. As one of the Blue Jays better pitching prospects in the upper minors, he could be an option for the team late in the year to get some MLB experience.
Elehuris Montero (3B, St. Louis Cardinals) Age: 19, Level: A
Montero is a personal favorite of mine and a guy who I think isn’t getting enough buzz for the strong season that he’s having as a 19-year-old in his first taste of full-season ball. Montero has been one of the hotter hitters in the minors this week, putting together a 10 hit week including 2 HRs and has raised his season batting line to .324/.366/.505. He’s hit 6 HRs on the year now, and also managed to show reasonable contact rates with a 21.6% strikeout rate while being 2.5 years younger than league average. His batting average ranks 5th in the Midwest League, and his 141 wRC+ ranks 11th. Watch for him as a breakout power bat in deeper leagues!
Justin Dunn (SP, New York Mets) Age: 22, Level: A+
Dunn was a 1st round pick in 2016, and may finally be delivering on some of that 1st round promise with his best year to date as a professional. He currently has a 2.79 ERA with 41 strikeouts against 14 walks in 38.2 innings pitched. He had a solid performance this Tuesday with 5 innings of shutout ball, striking out 6 while giving up 2 walks and 4 hits. Unfortunately, he’s been much more hittable than you would like to see this season as he has now given up 41 hits in those 38.2 innings. His 11.6% swinging-strke rate is slightly above average though, and that along with strong 3.19 and 3.35 FIP and xFIP respectively show that his success is legit and he may be figuring out professional hitting now.
Alex Kirilloff (OF, Minnesota Twins ) Age: 20, Level: A
Another 1st round pick from 2016, Kirilloff has been red hot this week with 10 hits including 2 HRs. He had a big day on Friday, going 3 for 5 with a HR. His season line is now up to .326/.379/.589 with 9 HRs and a SB in 211 PAs. That power in combination with solid contact rates of an 18% strikeout rate and a below average 13.6% swinging-strike rate make Kiriloff one of the more interesting lower level power prospects. He missed all of last year after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, but Kirilloff is back and performing well. He could be another big riser on mid-season prospect lists and should be on the radars for most dynasty leagues.