We're now a little over a sixth of the way through the 2020 MLB season and it's already shaping up to be an interesting year for freshmen players. While the two best rookies have been hitters, we've also seen impressive depth on the mound. Many of the top bats have underperformed or been stuck at the alternate training site. On the pitching side, though, teams have been extra-aggressive with their young arms and many have thrived.
The Top 50 list has also seen some graduations over the past week, with the loss of Kyle Wright (Braves), Mauricio Dubon (Giants), Logan Webb (Giants), Nick Solak (Rangers) and Kyle Lewis (Mariners). Lewis, in particular, has been excellent in 2020. The adjustments he's made over the past year are nothing short of amazing. He's also doing all the little things. For example, with men in scoring position, Lewis is hitting .375 in 15 at-bats. But what's more impressive is the BB-K rate of 5-2 in those situations. This is a player whose meal ticket is his power but when the chips are on the line, he adjusts and thinks about driving in runs.
With Lewis off the list, we're now on the lookout for the next big breakout rookie. There are quite a few interesting bats that we haven't seen the best of yet (Sean Murphy, for example) and some players that could pay immediate dividends if given an opportunity (such as Dylan Carlson). Or perhaps rookie pitching will continue to dominate the narrative as we move forward.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 came out of the chute hot. He hit line drives like they were going out of style and amassed 16 hits in his first 12 games. Over his last five games, though, he has just two hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts. As I cautioned last week, this young outfielder is extremely streaky. But when you balance out the hot-and-cold streaks, you're getting above-average production and Robert still has a wRC+ of 131 and offers both power and speed. At 94% ownership in Yahoo leagues, you're not picking him up on the waiver wire but you might be able to pry him away from his current owner if they're nervous about this cold stretch.
3. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Athletics: The surprising A's just keep winning and Luzardo has been very good while pitching against some strong hitting teams. The injury concerns have to stick around in the back of your mind but this young pitcher has a strikeout rate of 25% and a ground-ball rate of almost 55%. If the A's keep hitting enough for Luzardo to rack up the wins, he's one of the better pitchers in the league.
5. Jo Adell, OF, Angels: It's been a rougher-than-expected intro to the Majors for Adell. The young hitter on an under-performing team is pressing to impress and has a strikeout rate nearing 60% in 19 at-bats. He's strictly a bench player until he starts to make adjustments but he's extremely talented and the Angels don't have much outfield depth. Be patient.
6. Brady Singer, RHP, Royals: Singer continues to pitch well and picked up his first career win against a strong Minnesota Twins team last time out. His strikeout rate remains strong at 26% but keep an eye on his ground-ball rate, which has been dropping sharply since his debut, putting him at increased risk for home runs. He's good depth right now but I'd only start him against less potent lineups.
8. Jake Cronenworth, IF, Padres: The biggest mover on the board this week, Cronenworth doesn't have the same pedigree as those around him but he's done nothing but hit since the beginning of 2019 (147 wRC+ in AAA). Just over a sixth of the way through the 2020 season, the 26-year-old infielder now has a .344 batting average and an OPS of more than 1.100. Seven of his 11 hits have gone for extra bases and he has a line-drive rate of more than 30%, which is just insane. Cronenworth's playing time is at risk with Eric Hosmer back but he can play multiple positions and is currently eligible at first base, second base, and shortstop in Yahoo leagues so he should find playing time. At 9% ownership, now is the time to find a place for him on your roster.
Notes on Prospects 11-30
12. Spencer Howard, SP, Phillies: Howard made his much-anticipated MLB debut on Sunday but threw up an uneven performance. His fastball velocity was not as strong as we've seen in the minors and his command was off. But he also threw all of his pitches, mixed well, and showed some skill with his secondary offerings. We're expecting better results next time out and there is serious upside here.
13. James Karinchak, RP, Indians: When you have a strikeout rate of 50%, you deserve some attention. Karinchak has been consistently missing bats and pitching in high-leverage situations with a save and three holds. With just 34% ownership in Yahoo, this is an arm you should have in your bullpen.
15. Randy Dobnak, SP, Twins: Dobnak continues to be one of the hardest-to-hit pitchers in the Majors despite possessing a fastball that averages just 91 mph. MLB batters are hitting just .183 against the right-hander and drive the ball into the ground almost 70% of the time. The three wins and lack of a home run allowed make him attractive but the fantasy value takes a hit when you look at the 14.5% strikeout rate. After his next start, Dobnak will lose his rookie eligibility and fall off this list.
16. Jordan Romano, RP, Blue Jays: Romano would be higher on this list if he were trending for save opportunities. Even with the injury to Ken Giles, the Jays turned to the more proven reliever in Anthony Bass to close down the close games -- and the under-performing club hasn't been in line to win many games this year. But he has shown his chops in high-leverage situations with four holds. With his 94-97 mph fastball and new slider grip, Romano has been overpowering with a strikeout rate of 42% and a ground-ball rate of 73%. With just 8% ownership, he deserves a spot in your bullpen.
17. David Peterson, SP, Mets: Long known as a polished pitcher with a high floor but a lower ceiling, Peterson's season hasn't really changed that assessment. He's held his own at the big league level through three starts and is providing much-needed innings for the Mets. But we've also seen that he'll struggle against big league hitters when he doesn't have his best command. He's a solid depth option right now but I'd hesitate to start him against the stronger lineups.
18. Cristian Javier, SP, Astros: After two very strong starts, we finally got a look at how Javier competes without his best stuff. He had a rough outing on Sunday against a surging Oakland squad. Without his best command, he allowed five runs in three innings thanks to three home runs. The silver lining is that -- even without his best stuff -- he still struck out five batters.
20. Nico Hoerner, IF, Cubs: There are a number of rookie hitters underperforming right now and Hoerner is one of them. I cautioned at the beginning of the year that he was more of a complementary player than a true star and nothing about his season to date has changed that assessment. Still, he's better than his 58 wRC+, which has been dragged down by a stretch that's seen him manage just one hit in the last six games. Another week like this and Hoerner will be on the "sell" list and drop even further down this list.
21. Andres Gimenez, SS, Mets: Known more for his glovework, this young middle infielder has been surprisingly good with the bat so far. Gimenez, 21, has 11 hits through his first 16 games, which has been good for a .297 batter average -- albeit an empty average with just two extra-base hits. Perhaps the most impressive contribution to date has been the speed with three stolen bases. If he keeps receiving regular playing time, Gimenez could be a good source of stolen bases given the upside that he possesses. He's currently owned in just 3% of Yahoo leagues.
28. Kris Bubic, SP, Royals: The Royals' future is looking bright with the early returns from Brady Singer and Bubic. Despite an aggressive promotion to the Majors, the latter pitcher has held his own through two big-league starts although his control has been better than his command. He's a great depth option and is owned in just 4% of Yahoo leagues.
29. Luis Patino, P, Padres: Patino has sky-high potential but he's suffered through a rough introduction to the Majors. He's missing bats without his best stuff as witnessed by the five strikeouts in 3.2 innings but the two home runs also shown what happens when you miss your target when facing big-league hitters.
Notes on Prospects 31-50
45. Bryan Abreu, RP, Astros: With all the injuries and depth issues facing the Astros, Abreu had the perfect opportunity to shine. But the rookie hurler was a huge disappointment with a K-BB of 7-3 in 3.1 innings. He was recently sent down to the alternate training facility where he'll hopefully get turned around.
47. Monte Harrison, OF, Marlins: Harrison has been given a golden opportunity to showcase his power-speed combination but swing-and-miss tendencies have haunted him. Through six games, he has a .125 batting average and 50% strikeout rate.
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