Written by: Adam Ehrenreich (@mel_reich)
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March seems like an eternity ago, but in that month of this year, I highlighted 24 prospects who would potentially take 2019 by storm. Well, the month of April and first few days of May have passed, and a slew of these guys are either knocking on the door or have completely ripped it off the hinges. The list has changed drastically since the start of the season, and that’s more in part because these guys are no longer waiting for their time to shine, that time is now.
Players who have graduated from the March list (aka ‘have appeared in at least one big game’:
Eloy Jimenez (1) – a IL stint is in progress but the early returns show the potential we were all excited about. Stats to date: .241/.294/.380 with 3 HR and 8 RBI.
Pete Alonso (2) – the early front runner for NL ROY, he’s been ridiculously good.
Stats to date: .275/.353/.587 with 11 HR and 31 RBI
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3) – 41 plate appearances is obviously too small a sample size, but he’s batting .162 early on. Don’t panic.
Fernando Tatis Jr. (4) – Another youngster on the IL a this point of the season, but early returns are very exciting. Stats to date: .300/.360/.550 with 6 HR, 13 RBI and 6 SB. He’s been better than advertised so far.
Nick Senzel (6) – Three home runs in his first six games is all we could have asked for. He’s going to be really good for a really long time.
Chris Paddack (7) – Paddack has lived up the hype and then some.
Stats to date: 3-1 record with a 1.55 ERA, 0.69 WHIP and 30.7 K%
Carter Kieboom (12) – called up a few weeks after Trea Turner’s injury. Showed flashes of brilliance, but was ultimately demoted mostly thanks to defense inefficiencies and lack-of-contact versus the fastball. 37.2 K% in 43 plate appearances. He’ll be back.
Jon Duplantier (18) – has been up and down for Diamondbacks, and in a relief role, but has gotten the job done despite an inadequate walk rate so far.
Fransisco Mejia/ Danny Jansen (9/10) – Both of these guys have disappointed, plain and simple.
Cole Tucker (NR) – The Pirates took the plunge and promoted the stud shortstop. The speed output hasn’t produced as advertised, but at least he’s seeing everyday playing time.
Griffin Canning (NR) – Canning jumped on the scene very quickly, moving through three levels last season and continuing his success early in 2019. The Angels have some weak spots in the rotation and are hoping Canning succeeds in a big way; so far, he has.
The Watch List – 10 Players to stash or keep your eye on
1. Yordan Alvarez (13) – Alvarez is about to burst on the scene and it would be a shame if the Astros don’t make the necessary moves (adding him to the 40-man) to make it happen. Through 110 at-bats, Alvarez has 14 HR, 40 RBI an is slashing an obscene .391/.481/.873. The 21-year-old could be an impact fantasy player before the end of the big league regular season.
2. Brendan Rodgers (16) – an all time favorite of mine, Rodgers is finally showing us the elite bat skills that made him such an exciting prospect. A .339/.409/.603 slash with 7 home runs and 18 RBI in 31 games (I know it’s the PCL) is as exciting as it gets, unless you’re Alvarez, of course. Ray actually wrote about him in this week’s Ramblings.
3. Oscar Mercado (NR) – The Indians currently have a rag-tag group of outfielders, and as a team whose contention window is open but beginning to dwindle, the time is coming for a boost from Triple-A. Mercado is an elite speedster, with 14 SB in 28 games this season. Couple that with strong on base skills (.392 OBP) on top of a .288 batting average and other, sneaky counting stats (three home runs and 14 RBI), and we have a potential stud fantasy asset.
4. Keston Hiura (14) – once the opportunity comes, Hiura will be ready to step in. Mike Moustakas has been solid at second base, but Travis Shaw has posted a minuscule 48 wRC+ in 144 plate appearances. The Brewers are giving their slumping bats plenty of opportunity to break out, which dampers Hiura’s timeline, but the 11 HR, 25 RBI and 3 SB counting stats to pair with a .336/.395/.741 slash is certainly hard to ignore.
5. Casey Mize (15) – promoted to Double-A after four amazing starts in the warm confines of Lakeland in the Florida State League, Mize debuted in Erie with a no-hitter. Can’t make that up. He’s going to be elite. So far through six total starts, Mize has compiled a 0.23 ERA (1 ER in 40 innings), 0.28 WHIP and 36:2 K:BB; it’s been absurd.
6. Matt Manning (NR) – Manning may beat Mize to the majors based on experience, but it will be deservedly so. Through six starts in Double-A this season, the right-hander has a 2.27 ERA and 0.70 WHIP with a ridiculous 38.2 K%. The future of the Tigers’ rotation is trending up.
7. Cristian Pache (21) – Pache might be my favorite prospect on this list due to his elite defense in centerfield. Starting Double-A with a .319/.366/.540 slash with 3 homers, 19 RBI and 5 SB in 30 games has me jumping for joy. The Braves are likely to accelerate his timeline if he keeps this up.
8. Cavan Biggio (NR) – the hot start has Biggio shooting up the ranks. .344/.475/.573 with 6 HR and 21 RBI along with 4 SB is certainly an exciting line. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is off to a very slow start, so a swap of the two cornerstones could happen sooner than later.
9. Jesus Luzardo (11) – the shutdown period is coming to a close before you know it. Luzardo will be in the A’s rotation when he’s ready. My unplugged prediction is the second week of June.
10. Dylan Cease (8) – Cease has had his ups-and-downs in Triple-A, but he’s still among my better bets to be a useful fantasy asset this season. The White Sox have no on-field reason not to see what their big name prospects can do in the show.
Agree? Disagree? Who did I miss? Hit me up on twitter (@mel_reich).
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