Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers that you should be stashing on your team. Unlike dynasty content focusing on who to own for their production years down the road, these rankings will be done solely for the 2018 season (there will be discrepancies). Players that will be called up sooner will be ahead of players with more talent who might only be called up late in the year — we want to give you an edge. Prospects are a great way to stay ahead of everyone else rather you are in a dynasty league or a 10-team league.
1. Vlad Guerrero Jr., 3B, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Early September
Vlad Guerrero Jr. makes baseball look like a laughable sport. Since his call-up to Triple-A, Guerrero Jr. is hitting .444/.535/.853 with 4 home runs (more than he has strikeouts) in 43 plate appearances. For most, this would seem like an overinflation of stats due to such a small sample size, (and while it is to some extent) but for Guerrero Jr. this is in line with his otherworldly Double-A numbers from earlier in the season. Guerrero Jr. should be set for a promotion in September, missing the first few weeks of the spring, then get called up to be the Superstar he’s destined to be. Own him now if he is not owned.
2. Eloy Jimenez, OF, (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Early September
In any other season, Eloy Jimenez would be the clear number one on this list, now hitting .365/.409/.683 in Triple-A this season with 10 home runs in 137 plate appearances. In many regards, Jimenez has done better in Triple-A than Double-A. He made it to 10 home runs faster, he has cut his strikeout rate, and despite a lower walk rate is getting on base more frequently. Jimenez is a must own prospect as well and is expected to be called up in September.
3. Francisco Mejia, C, (San Diego Padres) – ETA Late August
Francisco Mejia, after 56 plate appearances with El Paso, is nearly exactly on the same pace he has been on throughout 2018. He has one home run, a mid-teens strikeout rate, and a .280-ish batting average. Mejia struggled to start 2018, but after a strong July was catapulted back into the discussion for a call-up – gaining more steam after a trade to San Diego where Mejia is able to play his natural position of catcher. On a lackluster San Diego offense, Mejia would be a great fit to hit in the middle of the lineup as the offensively minded catcher could have top-10 value ROS once called up – even in a timeshare with Austin Hedges.
4. Alex Verdugo, OF, (Los Angeles Dodgers) – ETA Early September
Alex Verdugo has not missed a beat since returning to Triple-A after a week and a half with the Dodgers. In Triple-A this season, Verdugo has hit .341/.392/.481 with eight home runs and six stolen bases. Despite his above average ceiling compared to the above Vlad Guerrero Jr. or Eloy Jimenez, should be a consistent contributor in the MLB. The Dodgers did not move him at the deadline and clearly have plans for his future, of which should include a September call-up and a shuffling around the outfield as needed to ensure bats.
5. Christin Stewart, OF, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Early September
The Detroit Tigers do not actually have an outfielder listed as a left fielder by position on their roster with Leonys Martin gone and JaCoby Jones covering center field now. The Tigers are getting by with a combination of Mike Gerber and Victor Reyes – to little success.Despite a promising breakout earlier in the season, Christin Stewart has regressed into the player he was in 2017, which while that player will still find success – he doesn’t look like the budding superstar that had made gains across the board. Stewart is one of the best power hitting prospects at his level and walks an incredible amount given his depressed batting average. Stewart should get the call if he string together a decent week – he would be rosterable in deeper leagues or those in desperate, desperate need of an outfielder (Detroit has the 4th least runs in the MLB this season).
6. Frank Schwindel, 1B, (Kansas City Royals) – ETA Early September
Frank Schwindel hit his 20 home runs on the season and will look to match his 23 from last season. His walk rate is up 4% and his strikeout rate down 3.5%. His .282 batting average is likely closer to what to expect than the .321 he hit in 2017, but should be a solid contributor in the middle of a terrible Kansas City Royals lineup and heir to Eric Hosmer despite starting in the Majors at 26 years old.
7. Peter Alonso, 1B, (New York Mets) – ETA Early September
To get called up, Peter Alonso needs to have a great August after struggling for most of July in Triple-A. Since August 1, Alonso is hitting .394 with 4 home runs. While this only brings his time in Triple-A up to a .254 batting average, August-Alonso is the Peter Alonso that many expected would soar through Triple-A as he had Double-A earlier in the season. If Alonso keeps up (or even slows down a little) he should be in line for a September call-up and bat near the middle of a weak Mets lineup.
8. Victor Robles, OF, (Washington Nationals) – ETA Mid September
Washington is 4.5 games behind in their chase for the final wild-card spot – an attainable goal with the team’s talent, but the team also has six other teams between it and a playoff berth. Victor Robles was already called up last fall and was expected to join the Nationals much earlier in the season, before going down with an injury for most of the season. Juan Soto took that opportunity and ran with it, now becoming one of the most successful teenagers in the Majors. Although the outfield is stacked, Washington will want to give Robles more reps in the outfield in the event Bryce Harper leaves and Robles naturally assumes a role.
9. Luis Urias, 2B/SS, (San Diego Padres) – ETA Early September
Luis Urias offers a high floor and low ceiling to fantasy managers. He will scrape to hit 10 home runs in any given season and has the speed for 10 stolen bases, but expecting 5 is more realistic. He will hit for an above average batting average and if the Padres’ farm system turns out could be given a boon by the surrounding talent. In 2018, Urias could be expected to his near the top of the lineup and make for an effective middle infielder for a team in need.
10. Matt Thaiss, 1B, (Los Angeles Angels) – ETA Late August
Matt Thaiss continues to cruise along this season despite a consistent drop in his on-base percentage (now .326). This is largely contributed to his near 10% drop in walk rate since 2017, but resulting in an increase in power output and a consistent .280 batting average that he has carried for most of his minor league career. There is a small roadblock in the form of Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani, but Thaiss should get the call as a platoon player or if either gets injured.
Brandon Lowe: Lowe has not hit the ball once in 5 games since he was called up. Lowe was absolutely crushing Triple-A baseball this season and has a high power ceilling for a middle infielder.
Danny Jansen: Jansen got the call yesterday and is expected to platoon the role. Jansen has the offensive talent to end the season as a top-10 catcher in the month of September, even is splitting time. Snap him up if you have a below average catcher.
Alex Verdugo (he’s back, ya’ll)
Peter Alonso (he’s also back, ya’ll)
Evan Gattis or Danny Jansen? I know the answer but I’m trying to talk myself into getting the kid.
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