We have yet to play two full weeks of the Major League Baseball season but we’ve already witnessed a great many things in 2020 — some good, some not so good. But, on the plus side, this crazy season — and its 30-man rosters — has afforded quite a few opportunities to MLB rookies, especially on the pitching side.
We’ve seen an exciting mix of promising arms and potent bats reach the Majors so far in 2020. Some clubs, like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros, are well-placed in the standings because of contributions from their young players. Other teams are perhaps doing better than expected due to contributions from their young players, such as the Chicago White Sox and the Seattle Mariners.
This list will keep you apprised of all the news you need to know regarding the young players in the Majors. The pace of key player promotions has seen an uptick over the past week and should continue throughout this shortened season as more and more teams play with urgency (and health issues continue to spike).Editor's Note: Love the strategy of season-long fantasy sports? Live for the short term gratification of DFS? Try Weekly Fantasy Sports on OwnersBox - a new weekly DFS platform. Sign up today for a FREE $50 Deposit Match. Offer expires Thursday night! Sign Up Now!
The Top 50 Redraft Prospects for 2020
Notes on Prospects 1-10
1. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox: Robert been as good as advertised and ended the week with a 178 wRC+. His otherworldly bat speed has generated a 30% line-drive rate and he’s regularly displayed his game-changing speed. Just brace yourself for his first extended slump, as he was a very streaky hitter in the minor leagues. Robert is owned in 94% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues so you’re not going to pick him up on the waiver wire but you might still be able to find an owner to trade with that doesn’t fully appreciate the valuable player they possess.
2. Kyle Lewis, OF, Mariners: Even with a slow start by the Seattle Mariners, Lewis has been the talk of the baseball world. Through his first 10 games on the season, the young slugger was flashing a wRC+ of 225. But he also had a BABIP of .700 (not a typo) through the weekend. Rub that up against his strikeout rate of almost 40% and you know that regression is coming for this talented player so brace yourself. Lewis is up to 75% owned in Yahoo Fantasy so your window to cash in is quickly narrowing.
3. Nate Pearson, SP, Blue Jays: Pearson has made just one start so far in his brief MLB career but he showed why everyone is excited about his potential. And I would argue he wasn’t even at his best when he held the Nationals to two hits over five shutout innings. He’s going to provide innings and strikeouts moving forward. Pearson is owned in 71% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues so you may have a chance to get a big upgrade if you act quickly.
4. Dustin May, SP, Dodgers: May has been as good as advertised early on. His average fastball velocity of 97.5 mph has him among the hardest-throwing starting pitchers in the Majors. Unfortunately, he’s been a little more hittable than expected because he’s struggled with the command of his secondary offerings. I think he’ll iron things out soon and be even more dominant. May is owned in 68% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues so, like Nate Pearson above, you may still have an opportunity to cash in.
5. Carter Kieboom, 3B, Nationals: What does a young player have to do to earn playing time? After a sluggish MLB debut in 2019, Kieboom has looked good in 2020. However, he’s also been given opportunities in just three games while the club has favored veteran Asdrubal Cabrera (.732 OPS). It’s a curious managing decision given the value that Kieboom has in the long-term future of the club and possesses a much higher upside. I’m expecting him to get an extended run going shortly given his BB-K of 3-3 and 1.028 OPS. Along with the return of Juan Soto, Kieboom could help jumpstart this club. He’s owned in only 11% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues and could soon have dual-position eligibility (SS and 3B).
6. Jesus Luzardo, SP, Athletics: Luzardo opened the year in the bullpen to build up arm strengths but now the reigns are off and he’s going to be a starter for the A’s moving forward. The young lefty has seven strikeouts through his first 6.1 innings with many more to come. Keep an eye on the command, though, as he hasn’t been as sharp as expected. At 92% owned in Yahoo Fantasy leagues, you’ll likely need to work a trade to grab him.
7. Nico Hoerner, IF, Cubs: Hoerner has been given an opportunity to play every day in this veteran-heavy lineup, which is great news for his fantasy owners. The bad news is that, aside from his empty .292 batting average, he hasn’t offered much additional value. Hoerner continues to show that he’s a solid complementary player but likely lacks star power. He’s owned in just 7% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues so if he heats up, he could be some help at second base and/or shortstop.
8. Gavin Lux, 2B/SS, Dodgers: Surprisingly, Lux opened the season at the alternate training site rather on the big league roster. Once Enrique Hernandez slows down (and/or has to move to cover an injury somewhere else on the field), I expect Lux to be up. If he does get the call, you’ll have to act quickly as he’s already owned in 62% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues.
9. Jo Adell, OF, Angels: Off to an ugly start and now without Shohei Ohtani due to injury, the club has turned to Adell for an offensive spark. Expect some peaks and valleys with a significant number of strikeouts, especially early on, but Adell has really started to tap into his raw power over the past year. Adell is owned in just 45% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues so, if you need outfield help, now is the time to jump on him.
10. Brady Singer, SP, Royals: The Royals’ aggressive promotion of Singer has looked like a shrewd move given how well he’s pitched through his first two MLB starts. His second start of the year built upon his solid debut. Singer has shown an ability to both miss bats and generate ground balls. Keep an eye on the splits, though, as he’s issued three of his four walks to left-handed batters and lacks a true swing-and-miss weapon against them. Singer is criminally-under-owned in Yahoo Fantasy leagues at 32%.
Notes on Prospects 11-30
11. Sam Hilliard, OF, Rockies: Hilliard has a frightening 50% strikeout rate through five games but he’s actually been almost an average hitter based on wRC+. The young slugger may have only three hits but two of those have gone for extra bases and he’s walked three times in 19 plate appearances. And eventually, he’ll start running, too. Owned in just 19% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues, Hilliard could be a good buy-low candidate if he starts to heat up.
12. Nick Solak, IF/OF, Rangers: Solak has gotten off to a relatively slow start to the year. His BB-K of 4-3 is promising but none of his five hits have gone for extra bases — a surprising development given that he’s coming off of a 32-home run season. But then it also seems like the balls may not have quite as much juice this year. Like Sam Hilliard above, Solak could be a great candidate to snap up once he starts to heat up. He’s owned in just 20% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues despite being eligible at second base and third base.
13. Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals: Carlson opened up the year at the club’s alternate training site but he may not be there for much longer. The club is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak which could force the club’s hand and open up an opportunity for Carlson and his potent bat. Owned in 22% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues, now might be the time to snap him up.
14. Nick Madrigal, 2B, White Sox: Madrigal struggled through his first two MLB games but the third game was a whole different story. The young hitter’s all-fields approach was on full display as he went 4-for-5. Get used to seeing him on base once he settles in.
15. Sean Murphy, C, Athletics: It’s been an ugly start to the year for Murphy, who has a strikeout rate above 41% in seven games. I remain bullish on this young catcher, though, and there isn’t much catching depth on the club. Murphy is owned in just 25% of Yahoo Leagues so if you need catching, he could be an excellent option if/when he starts to heat up.
16. Daulton Varsho, C/OF, Diamondbacks: Varsho has gotten the call from the alternate site but the club has yet to entrust him with regular playing time. The versatile player deserves a shot to play regularly and help spark this floundering franchise. He’s currently owned in just 3% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues but that could spike quickly once he starts playing and adds positional versatility.
17. Evan White, 1B, Mariners: Kyle Lewis’ hot start has distracted from White’s poor start. The walk rate of 12% cannot distract from a .139 batting average or 39% strikeout rate. The gap between Double-A and the Majors is looking quite large right now for White. He could start to sink like a rock on this list if he doesn't perk up quickly.
20. Jose Urquidy, SP, Astros: Urquidy is working his way back after his COVID-19 diagnosis and should be back before too long. His presence will be a welcomed sight for a club that has seen its already-thin pitching depth hit by repeated injuries. Urquidy is owned in just 58% of leagues. He’s getting closer to being activated so now is the time to buy as he could provide a lot of key innings for the Astros once he’s healthy.
22. James Karinchak, RP, Indians: Karinchak has been showing why he’s considered one of the most promising relief prospects in baseball with eight strikeouts in five innings. He’s been commanding his fastball well and is averaging more than 97 mph with the heat.
23. Mauricio Dubon, IF, Giants: Dubon has gotten off to a slow start with the bat thanks in part to a BB-K rate of 2-7 through eight games. The good news is that he’s been versatile with appearances at second base, shortstop and in the outfield.
24. Casey Mize, SP, Tigers: There was some talk of Mize coming up to make a start in Sunday’s doubleheader but that move never materialized. Still, it shouldn’t be long before Tigers fans get a look at this pitching phenom. Now might be the time to jump on Mize and stash him. He’s owned in just 29% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues.
25. Randy Dobnak, SP, Twins: Dobnak was supposed to be holding a spot warm in the starting rotation for injured pitchers but it might be tough for the Twins to shift him to the bullpen. He’s allowed just one run on six hits through two starts (nine innings).
26. David Peterson, SP, Mets: Peterson has more than held his own through two MLB starts. The former first-round pick has struggled a bit with his command but he’s had some mechanical issues. Long-term, he’s more of a No. 4 starter but he could chew up some innings for the Mets in 2020.
29. Cristian Javier, SP, Astros: Javier has looked good early on for the pitching-starved Astros but he’s more of a ‘control and deception’ pitcher than a true overpowering arm. When his command is off, he’ll get hit hard.
30. Nick Burdi, RP, Pirates: Burdi has always been loaded with potential but has never been able to stay healthy. He’s looked good early on — albeit in only two games — and has been averaging 98 mph on his heater. If you need some relief help he might be a solid option as he’s owned in just 14% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues.
Notes on Prospects 31-50
31. Tony Gonsolin, SP, Dodgers: Gonsolin is fully MLB ready and has a higher ceiling than most realize… but he’s also on the Dodgers and the club’s incredible depth means that he’s riding the shuttle between the alternate site and the big league roster. He wasn’t as sharp as normal in his spot start but he still got the job done.
33. Kyle Wright, SP, Braves: Wright has been battling his control early on in 2020 with a K-BB of 8-7 in 6.0 innings over two starts. Still, he’s getting some strikeouts when he can find the plate and appears to be a slow starter. Don’t give up on him just yet.
34. Bryan Abreu, RP, Astros: The loss of Roberto Osuna to injury could open up some high-leverage innings for Abreu — if he can find a way to throw strikes. However, the K-BB of 2-4 in 2.2 innings is not going to get it done.
37. Monte Harrison, OF, Marlins: The COVID-19 outbreak on the Marlins could be just what Harrison needs to finally get an extended opportunity in the Majors. He has an intriguing power-speed mix and appears to have made some strides with his swing-and-miss tendencies. Harrison is owned in just 4% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues.
41. Thomas Hatch, P, Blue Jays: Hatch has looked good for the Blue Jays through two relief appearances. A former starter, he’s allowed just one hit in five relief innings while averaging 94.5 mph on his heater and showing potential with his secondary offerings.
43. Luis Patino, P, Padres: In a shocking bit of news, it was reported Tuesday that San Diego was promoting the 20-year-old phenom to work out of the bullpen. It’s also surprising that Patino made it to the Majors before fellow stud pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore. This young pitcher could zoom up this list over the next few weeks if he finds his way into the starting rotation. Patino is owned in 8% of Yahoo Fantasy leagues and climbing.
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