With 120 teams and 5,000+ players spread through four levels (not to mention the Dominican Summer League and the Rookie Complex leagues in Arizona and Florida), identifying the next prospect breakout can be difficult. If you wait until end-of-season wrap-ups, a prospect may get too much coverage and no longer be available.
You can scout stat lines all year, but that can be tedious, and it’s difficult to keep an eye on every tweet and post. We may have renamed this column but fear not, intrepid dynasty league manager, this is still THE place to find your potential prospect diamonds in the rough.
For those unfamiliar, this is a weekly column where I’ll select four prospects (typically 2 hitters and 2 pitchers) who performed outstandingly in the prior week. Not only will you get a name, but also we’ll dive into what powered their results and where their future value stands.
“But,” you may think to yourself, “what makes this column so different than any of the countless other blurbs, rundowns, and general prospect lists that are published?” Glad you asked!
First and foremost, this column is dedicated to the deep dynasty manager. If you’re in a 18 team league, or rostering 30+ minor leaguers, then this is your spot.
Secondly, and I don’t want to honk my horn (toot toot) but in year 1, we had a pretty solid track record of recognizing some names that have risen in value entering this season including Kyle Manzardo, Yainer Diaz, Evan Carter, Justin Dirden, and Will Benson.
With that said, let’s get to this week’s prospects…
Player of the Week: C Samuel Basallo, BAL, High A
Stats: (5 games) 9-18, 4 HR, 1 double, 9 RBI, 6 runs, 1 SB
Basallo has slowly pushed his way into the Top 100 discussion by putting up eye-popping numbers across A-Ball levels this season.
6⃣ home runs in 6⃣ games for Samuel Basallo!
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 9, 2023
While Basallo’s defense at catcher is only average, and it’s likely he’ll move to 1B or even full-time DH at a very young age, his bat is so advanced that he could make that profile work. Not only is the game power legitimate, but Basallo has made major strides with his plate discipline, reducing his SwStr from 29% as a 16-year-old in the Dominican to 11% currently at High A as an 18-year-old.
It’s this combination of power, extreme youth, and rapid skill improvement that the Orioles, and dynasty managers, are banking on. Anyone who bet on Basallo to start the season and held on will have an incredibly valuable prospect on their hands come this offseason.
Honorable Mention: 3B Brock Wilken, MIL, High A
Stats: (6 games) 8-20, 1 HR, 1 double, 4 RBI, 6 runs, 1 SB
Another prospect known for major power, Wilken has had a successful start to his MLB career where he’s shown more discipline than perhaps originally expected. Wilken hit a slew of impressive homers at Wake Forest but early in his pro career, he’s shown more hit tool than light tower power.
Most surprising is his 38% Swing rate producing rock-solid 75% contact. It is important to remember that he’s a 3 year college bat from a competitive program so his bar to clear is higher than many prospects.
He’ll need to show if he’s able to marry plate skills and power vs. advanced arms for a full season. But expect Wilken to be selected within the first 20 picks of any standard FYPD this offseason.
Pitcher of the Week: SP Reid VanScoter, SEA, High A
Stats: (1 start) 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 hits, 1 BB, 12 Ks
VanScoter may barely rate as a prospect in all honesty, especially compared to the recent arms produced in Seattle. That said, he’s shown the capability to stay around the zone while limiting home runs.
Reid VanScoter was locked in.
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) September 5, 2023
The age/level seems like a red flag until you see that VanScoter’s college career was bifurcated by the 2020 season being cancelled by his original college team Binghampton before he transferred to Coastal Carolina to finish his eligibility. It’s unlikely his fastball velo gets any higher, at his size he’s pretty much filled out as well.
But lefty strike throwers that can limit hard contact will always get a shot in the majors, and continued refinements of his secondaries could create an under-valued SP5/bullpen ace for the Mariners.
Honorable Mention: SP Jackson Jobe, DET, AA
Stats: (1 start) 5 IP, 2 ER, 4 hits, 0 BB, 6 Ks
Jobe was a divisive 1st round selection in 2021 and even now is a distant fourth in the prospect “Jackson Wars”. But things seem to be clicking for the former #3 overall pick. While stuff was never in question, the command that was suboptimal in 2022 has become sublime in 2023. At 16 Low A innings pitched, Jobe posted a 4.4% walk rate only to reduce that to a 1.9% in 40 AA innings.
If you were wondering about the rarity of that 1.9%: Since 2015, there are only 9 other pitchers 25 and under who’ve logged 40+ IP at a minor league level with a smaller walk rate. Unfortunately for Jobe that list does not seem predictive of future success but it’s an exceptional way to quickly jumpstart your development.
Kudos if you picked up Jobe before August, what once may have seemed like a quick balloon asset to trade now looks like a potential ace you can consider keeping.