The Trade Deadline tends to bring new opportunities for prospects, as many teams are eager to promote their top young players to fill the vacant roster spots caused by trades.Rebuilding organizations aren't alone in this practice, however, as there also will be many contending teams who, over the final two
The Trade Deadline tends to bring new opportunities for prospects, as many teams are eager to promote their top young players to fill the vacant roster spots caused by trades.
Rebuilding organizations aren't alone in this practice, however, as there also will be many contending teams who, over the final two months of the regular season, turn to their farm systems for reinforcements, perhaps after failing to land a desired player in a Trade Deadline deal.
Meanwhile, with September callups now a month away, it's never too soon to begin speculating over which prospects -- especially those already on a 40-man roster -- could receive a big league audition down the stretch.
Below are our updated rankings of the top 10 fantasy prospects presently in the Minors. As always, they're based solely on expected 2018 fantasy production in the big leagues, while our Top 100 list reflects long-term value in all phases of the game.
1. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox No. 1/No. 3 overall (Previous rank: 2)
Jimenez has laid waste to Triple-A pitching since returning from the disabled list, producing a .433/.453/.850 line while hitting safely in 13 of 15 games. He's batting .376 for Charlotte, with eight home runs in 27 games. Though the White Sox have said that they will continue to remain patient with the 21-year-old outfielder's development, it's increasingly clear that Jimenez has nothing left to prove in the Minor Leagues.
2. Francisco Mejia, C/OF, Padres' No. 3/No. 21 overall (Previous rank: 1)
Mejia's fantasy stock is back on the rise after he recently was dealt by Cleveland to the Padres, who plan to keep Mejia behind the plate. His defense lags well behind Austin Hedges', but Mejia's potent bat is ready for a true audition in the Major Leagues.
3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays' No. 1/No. 1 overall (Previous rank: 3)
Guerrero's situation mirrors Jimenez's in that he's ready to make an impact in the Major Leagues, but won't necessarily have an opportunity to do so given the state of the big league club. Now with Triple-A Buffalo, the 18-year-old third baseman is batting .347/.411/.633 in 14 games since returning from a left knee injury. Overall, Guerrero has produced a .398/.450/.661 line with 14 homers, 23 doubles, 63 RBIs and more walks (31) than strikeouts (30) across four levels.
4. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros' No. 2/No. 8 overall (Previous rank: NR)
Tucker's first trip to the Majors … didn't go as planned. The 21-year-old outfielder was optioned back to Triple-A after batting .156 with 10 strikeouts in 16 games with Houston. For that reason, there might not be a better time to buy low on a 21-year-old outfielder.
5. Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers' No. 1/No. 28 overall (Previous rank: NR)
In his most recent stint in the big leagues, Verdugo -- with his new and improved swing -- went 5-for-16 with a booming home run to straightaway center field. The 22-year-old lacks a path to regular playing time in the Dodgers' outfield, but he's ready to step in and rake should the opportunity arise.
6. Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox No. 2/No. 13 overall (Previous rank: 6)
Kopech, 22, has recovered from a shaky midseason stretch to post a 2.25 ERA with 32 strikeouts and four walks over his past 24 innings (four starts) in Triple-A. The improved control should be enough for Kopech to convince the White Sox that he's ready for a big league audition, though it would surprise no one if the organization held both Kopech and Jimenez in the Minors for the duration of the year.
7. Victor Robles, OF, Nationals' No. 1/No. 5 overall (Previous rank: 9)
The enormous success of 19-year-old Juan Soto has made it easy to forget about the 21-year-old Robles' potential as a five-category fantasy contributor. After a three-month stint on the disabled list for a hyperextended left elbow, Robles owns a .281 average with one home run, six runs scored and four steals in seven games since returning to Triple-A Syracuse's lineup.
8. Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates' No. 1/No. 14 overall (Previous rank: 8)
The results haven't been there for Keller with Triple-A Indianapolis (7.99 ERA in 23 2/3 IP), but the dynamic stuff he showed during his SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game start highlights why he could still have success even if the Pirates pushed him to the Majors ahead of schedule. That could happen should the club continue to climb back into the playoff picture.
9. Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers' No. 1/No. 26 overall (Previous rank: 4)
Hiura's chances of receiving a callup took a hit when the Brewers acquired Jonathan Schoop at the Trade Deadline, though that quickly could change with an injury. The 2017 first-rounder has done his part to stay in the mix by hitting .293/.357/.442 with 19 extra-base hits and nine steals in 46 games with Double-A Biloxi.
10. Luis Urias, 2B/SS, Padres' No. 4/No. 22 overall (Previous rank: 10)
While Padres fans will have to wait until 2019 for their first look at a Fernando Tatis Jr.-Urias middle infield, the latter should at least should receive a September callup and help in the batting-average, on-base percentage and runs departments.
Dropped out:Tyler O'Neill, OF, Cardinals (Previous rank: 7); Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, Orioles (Previous rank: 7)
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.