Now that the Minor League regular season has ended and teams have made their most important September callups, we're shifting the focus of our weekly look at the top fantasy prospects in the Minor Leagues.It's extremely unlikely that any prospect not currently in the Majors will help fantasy teams in
Now that the Minor League regular season has ended and teams have made their most important September callups, we're shifting the focus of our weekly look at the top fantasy prospects in the Minor Leagues.
It's extremely unlikely that any prospect not currently in the Majors will help fantasy teams in the final three weeks, so we're going to rank them based on expected 2019 fantasy production. That's in contrast to MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects list, which reflects long-term value in all phases of the game.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays
Josh Donaldson has departed and Guerrero is coming off a season in which he led the Minors in hitting (.381), slugging (.636) and OPS (1.120) while advancing to Triple-A at age 19. Service-time considerations may preclude him from making the Opening Day roster, but the Blue Jays won't be able to leave him on the farm for much longer.
2. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox
Guerrero's closest competition as the best offensive prospect in the Minors, Jimenez faces the same service-time issues but also is obviously ready for the Majors. He batted .337/.384/.577 with a career-high 22 homers this year despite battling minor injuries, and his .996 OPS in Triple-A at age 21 was his best at any level in his career.
3. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros
Tucker has more Triple-A and big league experience than Guerrero or Jimenez, though the Astros also have a less obvious opening for him and he'll have to produce to keep his spot on a World Series contender. He's coming off his second straight 20-20 season and topped the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in slugging (.590) and OPS (.989).
4. Brendan Rodgers, INF, Rockies
With their payroll rising to franchise-record levels and former All-Star DJ LeMahieu slumping, it would make sense to let the veteran depart as a free agent and hand second base to Rodgers. He has more offensive upside than most infielders and could replicate or exceed his 2018 line (.268/.330/.460 with 17 homers and 12 steals, mostly in Double-A) as a rookie.
5. Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets
The Mets have many problems, including a lack of power in the lineup, something Alonso could rectify after topping the Minors with 36 homers and 119 RBIs while posting a .975 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A. Wilmer Flores shouldn't be much of an obstacle in front of him.
6. Nick Senzel, INF, Reds
Senzel's two best positions are third base and second base, where the last-place Reds have received admirable production from Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett. It's unclear where Senzel will fit, but one of the Minors' best pure hitters is ready after batting .310/.378/.509 in Triple-A before his season ended with a torn tendon in his right index finger in late June.
7. Logan Allen, LHP, Padres
A sleeper choice as our top fantasy pitching prospect for 2019, Allen gets that nod because he has built up enough innings (148 2/3 this year) to handle a full big league workload next year and will benefit from a pitcher-friendly park in San Diego. With a three-pitch repertoire, the southpaw recorded a 14-6 record, a 2.54 ERA, 151 strikeouts and a 1.08 WHIP between Double-A and Triple-A in '18.
8. Justus Sheffield, LHP, Yankees
Sheffield should have the opportunity to grab a 2019 starting spot with the Yankees, who have three impending free agents (J.A. Happ, Lance Lynn, Carsten Sabathia) in their current rotation. As with Tucker on the Astros, Sheffield won't get cut a lot of slack on a contender, but he logged a 2.48 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP and 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings this year, mostly in Triple-A, and has the potential to wield three plus pitches.
9. Austin Riley, 3B, Braves
Johan Camargo has had a nice year for the Braves, but Riley is their future at the hot corner. He has been a consistent power threat throughout his pro career and put up 19 homers with an .882 OPS this season, with the bulk of his time coming in Triple-A.
10. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Athletics
The surprising A's will need some rotation help next year, and Luzardo should be able to provide it after speeding from Class A Advanced to Triple-A at age 20. He could have three plus pitches and the control to match once he's fully developed, and his 2.88 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings give a glimpse at his upside.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.