Last week I posted my personal midseason updated top 10 prospects in baseball. This week I decided to apply my prospect knowledge more to the fantasy realm and am giving you my midseason top 10 Fantasy prospects. This list is basically a ranking of value in a dynasty or deep long- term keeper league that incorporates (talent, upside, team and proximity among other key features). By adjusting it in this way, this is the exact order I would trade or try to acquire these guys in a dynasty format. Enjoy and as always comments, questions, and criticism is always appreciated.
1. Miguel Sano 3B Minnesota Twins
Sano beats out a host of other top prospects for the top spot on this list for several reasons. First and most importantly, Sano has prodigious current and future power that is unmatched in the minor leagues. He is also a very hot July away from a September call -up to the big leagues which is what differentiates him from other top prospects such as teammate Byron Buxton, Javier Baez and Archie Bradley. Sano has the potential to consistently hit forty or more home runs on a regular basis — something only one or two guys are doing in the big leagues right now. Sano’s elite power potential, lightening fast bat speed and position make him leaps and bounds ahead of every other prospect in the minors and I would add him in all leagues 16 teams or deeper for the home stretch.
2. Oscar Taveras OF St. Louis Cardinals
Taveras does not have the same mammoth power as Sano but he does posses a superb hit tool and at least above average power. Despite playing at a very deep position, Taveras should offer plenty of fantasy potential and he could end up winning a batting crown or two. Taveras should follow in the footsteps of top prospects Will Myers and Gerrit Cole and arrive in the majors in the next month or so. I would look to pickup Taveras in the next few weeks in ALL leagues.
3. Billy Hamilton CF Cincinnati Reds
Billy Hamilton, better known as Flash Gordon, is on this list for one reason – his blinding speed. Hamilton set a minor league record with 155 steals last season and his on pace to steal about 100 again in what is considered by most to be a down season. Hamilton has struggled with the bat thus far this season but still retains the potential to hit at least .275 in the big leagues. I expect Hamilton to be up by September and he will probably lead the major leagues in steals from the day that he is called up. Add him accordingly.
4. Christian Yelich OF Miami Marlins
Yelich doesn’t quite have the bat speed of Taveras but his swing plane and hip rotation are so clean and fluid that I would be shocked if he doesn’t hit for a high average at the big league level. He also possesses above average speed and great instincts on the base paths that will allow him to steal at least 20 bases annually. Yelich may be a September call-up but I don’t see him being fully effective in the big leagues until the beginning of next season for the lowly Marlins. I would pick him up in all keeper leagues but leave him on the table in 1 year re-draft formats.
5. Byron Buxton OF Minnesota Twins
Despite being three seasons away from making any real impact in the major leagues Buxton finds his way onto the list due to his immense talent. Buxton possess plus -plus bat speed, running speed and above average power. He has the true potential to be a superstar player in the major leagues. Buxton is a must add in any long term dynasty leagues and a player to keep your eye on in any short term keeper leagues.
6. Archie Bradley SP Arizona Diamondbacks
Although it may be a shock to some people that a pitcher who is so young is this high on the list. Bradley still hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in a start this season, though he did permit a season-high four runs on Sunday. He continues to overpower Double-A hitters despite being only 20 years old, and his fastball/curveball combination might be the best in the minors. If Bradley pitches as strong as he has for the next few months the Diamondbacks will have no choice but to promote him to the big leagues. Once he gets there he will be a dominating force and is a must add in all leagues 16 teams or deeper.
7. Tyler Skaggs SP Arizona Diamondbacks
Although Skaggs lacks the ace ceiling of his future teammate Archie Bradley, he has already dipped his toes in the big league water. Skaggs will never be an ace in the major leagues but he does have a very promising fastball, curveball, changeup combination that projects him to be at least a number 3starter in the major leagues. The best news for Skaggs is that he has recently re-found his form in AAA and should replace Randall Delgado in the rotation in the next few days. Pick up Skaggs in 12 team leagues and deeper.
8. Jameson Taillon SP Pittsburgh Pirates
Jameson Taillon has a great combination of upside and polish and features as a back end number 1 or high end number 2 starter in the big leagues. While the Pirates maintained a strict innings limit on Taillon in his first two seasons, nothing happened to dampen the excitement for his future. He has the potential to have four above-average or plus pitches — fastball, curve, slider and changeup — and can throw all of them for strikes. Taillon is dominant at times and if he learns to throw more “quality strikes” he should be in the big leagues no later then early next season. Taillon is a must add in all keeper and dynasty leagues.
9. Xander Bogaerts SS/3B Boston Red Sox
Bogaerts despite his size (hes almost 6-5) has a growing chance to stick at shortstop at the big league level thanks to improved instincts and actions. Bogaerts’ calling card however is his massive power that he gets through a very quick swing plane and hip rotation. Bogaerts should hit 30 home runs on a regular basis at the big league level. Bogaerts should hit for enough contact for the power to play. While I think there is very little chance that he makes the big leagues this year, I could see the young shortstop starting next season in the Red Sox starting lineup.
10. Robert Stephenson SP Cincinnati Reds
Stephenson may be the biggest surprise of this list but he may be one of three pitchers in the minors with ace potential. Stephenson has dominating stuff, upside and has had fantastic results thus far with a 2.97 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 66.1 innings at low A Dayton. He gets his fastball up to 97 on a regular basis and shows the potential of at least a plus curveball and above average changeup. I absolutely love the upside that Stephenson presents and would add him in all dynasty and long term keeper leagues.
Charles Kurz is a co-founder of RotoAnalysis and scouting “aficionado.” Look for his work all season long regarding prospects and follow him on Twitter @NoLimits16423!
Photo Credit: http://espn.go.com/photo/2013/0318/mlb_u_yellich_600.jpg