Seager claims top fantasy prospect spot
Every week, the MLBPipeline.com crew will rank the top 10 fantasy baseball prospects in the Minor Leagues. These rankings are based solely on expected 2015 fantasy production in the Major Leagues, in contrast to the MLBPipeline Top 100 Prospects list, which reflects long-term value in all phases of the game.
If you haven't seen all the talk about prospects being called up and rookies making major contributions in 2015, you're either not a baseball fan or you've been living under a rock.
Everyone has seen what Joc Pederson, Kris Bryant and Addison Russell can do at the plate, and what electric arms like Noah Syndergaard's have been able to accomplish in a short period of time in the big leagues. Those, of course, are the big names -- the high up on the Top 100 prospects types.
An argument can be made, however, that one of the most productive rookies -- or at least the most surprising -- has been the Oakland A's Billy Burns. At the start of the season, Burns was No. 21 on the A's Top 30, and he's been nothing short of a revelation. He's hitting .315, and his 16 stolen bases are second-best in the American League, despite the fact that he wasn't called up this year until early May.
Whether or not Burns can keep this up remains to be seen. But players who can single-handedly help you win a category aren't easy to find, so Burns could be well worth your while.
1. Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (last rank: 3) Seager continues to sit atop the "When will he get called up?" list, hitting .285/.339/.458 as a 21-year-old in Triple-A. The Dodgers didn't seem eager to bench veteran Jimmy Rollins to make room for Seager. With the veteran showing some signs of life -- .295 over his last 11 games -- Seager might have to continue to be patient.
2. Brian Johnson, LHP, Red Sox (last rank: unranked) The Red Sox continue to have problems with the big league rotation, their collective 4.81 ERA is the worst in the AL. Johnson continues to be consistent in Triple-A, standing fourth in the International League in both ERA and strikeouts, while his 1.08 WHIP tops the circuit.
3. Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies (last rank: 6) The Phillies' first-round pick from 2014 is showing that he can handle Triple-A hitters just as well as he dealt with Double-A during his first full season. In his first three starts since his promotion, he's given up just three earned runs (1.53 ERA), missed a lot of bats (9.2 K/9) and won all three decisions. Could he get a shot if or when the Phillies clean house at the big league level?
4. Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (last rank: 2) Here's the bad news first: the not-so-good numbers for Norris in Triple-A? His 4.2 BB/9 and his 9.5 H/9 ratios. The good news? Over his last six starts, his walk rate has dropped to 3.15 per nine. If his command continues to improve, he might earn himself another shot in Toronto.
5. Dalton Pompey, OF, Blue Jays (last rank: 5) It might've taken a move back down to Double-A to right the ship, but Pompey is once again doing it all, with a .389/.440/.656 line to go along with 10 extra-base hits, and five stolen bases in 21 games. He still has the chance to be a dynamic fantasy player in the big leagues.
6. Joe Ross, RHP, Nationals (last rank: unranked) Ross made the jump from Double-A to the big leagues, and showed everyone what he's capable of. He was sent back down to Triple-A when Stephen Strasburg returned, and is now in Triple-A. Although he's clearly the Nats' first choice should another need arise.
7. Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (last rank: unranked) Well, that was fun, wasn't it? Gallo showed glimpses of his considerable raw power, with five homers in 25 games and a .230 ISO. He also showed his weaknesses, striking out in 43.9 percent of his at-bats. He just made his Triple-A debut, and will have to wait for another opportunity, be it at third or in a corner outfield spot.
8. Luis Severino, RHP, Yankees (last rank: 1) The Yankees rotation continues to struggle at times, its 4.37 ERA is 12th in the AL. Severino, meanwhile, continues to dominate Triple-A hitters, holding them to a .190 average over seven starts. His heat should play just fine at the big-league level.
9. Kyle Schwarber, C, Cubs (last rank: unranked) Based on his ability to hit at the highest level, Schwarber belongs higher on the list. But he's not ready to catch in the big leagues, and he's yet to get any playing time in left field, which means he's really only ready to DH for Chicago in Interleague games.
10. Jose Peraza, 2B, Braves (last rank: 5) Peraza continues to hit well and steal bases in Triple-A as one of the youngest regulars in the International League. The guy Peraza is after, big league second baseman Jace Peterson, soared in May and cooled off a bit in June, but has been fairly productive overall. He's not giving up his spot any time soon, so Peraza will have to be patient.
Dropped out: Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (last rank: 4/promoted); Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins (last rank: 8/promoted); Hector Olivera, 3B/2B, Dodgers (last rank: 9); Cody Anderson, RHP, Indians (last rank: 10/promoted).