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Hot Prospects To Watch: Hot Hitters and Hurlers

Perhaps there's nothing more tantalizing in fantasy baseball than drafting an up-and-coming prospect or rushing to the waiver wire to bid on a Triple-A call-up. With no minor leagues this year, our favorite prospects are now playing on taxi squads, making it difficult for us to fantasize about since we can't get eyes on their progress. However, that doesn't mean we don't know who's on the cusp of making the big leagues.

Last week we finally saw number two overall prospect Gavin Lux receive the promotion to the majors after the Dodgers held him at their alternate site for the first half of the season. After costing a mid-round draft pick in the preseason, many impatient owners have dropped the 22-year-old earlier this year despite his allure as a potential superstar. He's not the only top prospect to disappoint managers this season, making it important to remember that even the brightest youngsters aren't locks to impact fantasy rosters in any given season.

Today's focus won't look at high-end prospects, however, as we'll analyze some rookies who are pitching like veterans and others who are hitting like All-Stars. These players still have low ownership despite starting their careers off on the right foot, and we shouldn't sleep on any of them for the remainder of the season. 2020 is providing us with a plethora of rookie call-ups, and many of them are already proving to be difference-makers for fantasy teams.

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Hot Hitters

Ryan Mountcastle - 1B/SS/OF, Baltimore Orioles

Since the Orioles recalled their fifth-ranked prospect Ryan Mountcastle, all he's done is hit in the big leagues. He bashed his first two homers on Sunday and is now slashing a superb .364/.432/.606 with four runs and five RBI through nine games. The 23-year-old is picking up where he left off after he slashed .312/.344/.527 with 25 bombs in 127 games at Triple-A last season, which helped him take home the International League MVP. With a disciplined approach at the plate so far in the majors, he can undoubtedly flirt with the .300 mark for the remainder of the season and provide appealing counting stats the rest of the way.

Sam Haggerty - OF, Seattle Mariners

Although Kyle Lewis is stealing the spotlight in Seattle with his play as a rookie, Sam Haggerty deserves some attention since receiving the call-up on August 19. The switch-hitter has recorded a hit in 11 of 12 games while stuffing roto categories with six runs, six RBI, and four thefts as the everyday two-hole hitter in the M's lineup. He's spanked one big fly to date, but we can't expect more than a handful of homers from his bat after he hit just 15 over his four-year minor league tenure. However, we can rely on Haggerty's speed after he averaged 44 stolen bases per 162 games played over his final two years in the minors. Haggerty can help close the gap in the SB column for managers looking for steals over the last month of the year.


Hot Hurlers

Devin Williams - RP, Milwaukee Brewers

Devin Williams has carved out a role for himself as a high-leverage reliever for the Brew Crew after beginning the year at the bottom of the pecking order. The right-hander surrendered his only earned run of the year on July 27 as he sports a salivating 0.64 ERA to pair with a 0.71 WHIP with 29 punchouts in 14 IP. Williams has picked up five holds to lead the club, utilizing a fastball/changeup combo that has generated the second-highest Whiff% (51.1%) of all hurlers this season. With Josh Hader around, Williams is blocked from ninth-inning duties, but his ratios and strikeout numbers can undoubtedly help out any fantasy squad.

Matt Foster - RP, Chicago White Sox

White Sox reliever Matt Foster has also worked his way into the back-end of the bullpen after beginning the season as an opener and early-relief option. He finally allowed his first runs of the season after Jorge Soler took him deep on Friday, but the 25-year-old is still impressing with a 1.13 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and 20 strikeouts in 16 IP (35.1 K%). The right-hander has done a terrific job of neutralizing left-handed bats to a 0.87 BA with no extra-base hits thanks to a devastating changeup that's caused batters to whiff 50.0% of the time. Foster is still looking for his first hold in the majors, but with 31 career saves in the minors, it's only a matter of time before he works more high-leverage situations.

Dane Dunning - SP, Chicago White Sox

In just his second big-league start, Dane Dunning dazzled tossing five no-hit innings with seven strikeouts and one walk versus the Royals on Sunday. His previous start against the Tigers also saw him strike out seven through 4 1/3 before his night ended abruptly after serving up a three-run homer. With two solid starts after missing the entire 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, the team's eighth-ranked prospect should be on fantasy watchlists at a minimum. He'll face the same Royals team later this week where he makes a viable streamer, and with another productive outing, he'll become an even more popular waiver add.

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