Good Morning, everyone. Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers you should be stashing on your team. These rankings are done solely for prospects with the potential impact the 2019 season. Their ranks are predicated between when they will be called up and raw talent — we want to give you an edge in building your team throughout the year. Prospects are a great way to stay ahead of the curve once the most notable prospects are called up. Not all prospects need to be stashed in every league as not all league compositions are made equally.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Mid April
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was a public example of service time manipulation in 2018 and the trend should continue until Post-Super 2, at which point he should take the MLB by storm. Guerrero Jr. slashed .381/.437/.636 with 20 home runs across four levels of the minors in 2018. He started the year on the IL and while Toronto President, Mark Shapiro, stated that Guerrero Jr. will be up once healthy, his timetable is starting to mesh pretty handily with his service time. Guerrero Jr. is currently the only must-own prospect in the minor leagues.
2. Nick Senzel, 2B/3B/OF, (Cincinnati Reds) – ETA Early May
Nick Senzel was ready to make the Opening Day roster after an excellent Spring Training until a rolled ankle forced him back into the minors. Injuries have not been kind to Senzel, who missed most of the 2018 season because of a finger injury. Senzel has an elite hit tool and should hit for some power, with a slight boost from hitting in Cincinnati. While Senzel is not a must-own prospect in every league, he should be owned in nearly all leagues.
3. Nate Lowe, 1B, (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA Mid June
Poor play in Spring Training tanked Nate Lowe‘s chances of an Opening Day roster spot, but with the trade of Jake Bauers, he is now the team’s first basemen of the future. Lowe broke out in a big way in 2018, slashing .330/.416/.568 and 27 home runs across three levels of the minors. If Lowe can string together a hot streak this spring and Ji-Man Choi seriously struggles, Lowe should be in line for a call-up.
4. Luis Rengifo, 2B/SS, (Los Angeles Angels) – ETA Late May
Luis Rengifo is an injury away from the Majors or if he hits well enough, could hit his way into the starting second base position currently manned by Tommy La Stella and David Fletcher. Rengifo is a patient hitter, walking nearly as often as he strikes out, with an elite OBP (.399 across three levels of play in 2018) – allowing him to run freely on the bases (41 stolen bases in 2018). Los Angles is without a true leadoff man and Rengifo can be that guy.
5. Oscar Mercado, OF, (Cleveland Indians) – ETA Early June
A defense-first player with some speed Oscar Mercado was left off of Cleveland’s Opening Day roster after slashing slashed .400/.415/.750 with three home runs and only one stolen base. Mercado gets on base at an above-average clip (.346) and stole 37 of 49 bases in Triple-A last season. Leoyns Martin, who is returning from a life-threatening bacterial infection that cost him a good chunk of 2018, is blocking Mercado for now. If Martin struggles and Mercado continues to demonstrate his value, Mercado could get the call.
6. Bo Bichette, 2B/SS, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Mid June
Bo Bichette had a sterling Spring Training, hitting .417 with four home runs and two stolen bases in 36 at-bats. Bichette has been a difference maker at every level of the game and has been attached to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as the two have risen together for most of their careers. Bichette has yet to play above Double-A, so Toronto will want to give him a more extended look this spring – but a late spring/early summer call up could be in the cards if Bichette continues to hit.
7. Yordan Alvarez, OF/DH, (Houston Astros) – ETA June
While Kyle Tucker will likely be locked out of the outfield for most of the season, Yordan Alvarez may be able to play himself into a full time designated hitter spot. Houston’s designated hitter is a veritable lazy Susan with Tyler White likely getting the majority of at-bats after an excellent fall. Alvarez still needs time to develop after an average performance in Triple-A last season and a powerless Spring Training, but when he hits his groove would fit in well with this Houston team.
8. Carter Kieboom, SS/2B, (Washington Nationals) – ETA July
Washington did not sign Brian Dozier to replicate his .217 batting average from a year ago, but if he does just that the team will be looking to his successor Carter Kieboom. Kieboom is coming off of a solid Spring Training and set to replicate his success in 2018 where he slashed .280/.357/.444 and 16 home runs with 9 stolen bases. Kieboom is blossoming into a superstar and with Washington not shy about calling their young talent up, could be up by the summer.
9. Kevin Cron, 1B, (Arizona Diamondbacks) – ETA Late May
I have lived and died on this Kevin Cron shaped hill in the past, but as a firm believer of good performances being rewarded time – Cron has nothing left to prove in the minors slashing .309/.368/.554 with 22 home runs. Year in and out Cron has been the pinnacle of consistency, but is currently blocked by Jake Lamb. If Lamb gets injured or falls into one of his trademarked slumps, the door could open for Cron to finally prove himself in the Majors.
10. Yu-Cheng Chang, SS, (Cleveland Indians) – ETA TBD
With Francisco Lindor seeking a second opinion on an ankle injury and out indefinitely, an unfavorable opinion could force Cleveland’s hand to promote their top shortstop prospect Yu-Chen Chang. A favorable opinion would take Chang off the list entirely. Chang has a shaky bat that comes with quite a bit of power for the shortstop position. Chang would not be rosterable in most leagues, but could make for an interesting option as most rosterable shortstops are just that at this point in the season… rostered.
no Kyle Tucker?
Between a poor spring and an otherwise packed outfield – I think it is too difficult to predict if/when Tucker would get the call. I would argue that Myles Straw would deserve the call before Tucker and as long as Houston is doing well they will not feel rushed to get Tucker on the field. Tucker will definitely be up in 2019, but whether that is the summer or fall is too murky to predict.
thank you for the quick response. In a vacuum, would you prefer Luis Rengifo over Tucker in my Yahoo NA spot?
In a vacuum I’d say Rengifo – I think he sees MLB action sooner and has a better chance of hitting the ground running than Tucker. Tucker has the higher ceiling – but I am wary of what he’ll produce in 2019 although predictions can change rapidly if an injury occurs.
isn’t walker next in line after lamb? I think walker could be a deep sleeper here if they move Lamb back to third.