2018 Top 70 Dynasty Baseball Hitter Rankings: Inexperienced Players and Prospects: 16-34

All-inclusive Dynasty Baseball rankings are inherently flawed because player valuations change drastically based on whether your team is contending, rebuilding, or somewhere in between. Older players are also usually far more expensive and/or on shorter contracts than younger players, which complicates things even further. I love reading Dynasty Rankings, and of course they have value, but for those reasons I decided to stick with inexperienced players and prospects. I defined “inexperienced players” as players who graduated to the Majors in 2016 or 2017. I wanted to rank players whose true talent levels were still at least a bit of a mystery. Here are the 2018 Top 70 Dynasty Baseball Hitter Rankings: Inexperienced Players and Prospects: 16-34:

Click here for 1-15

16) Ozzie Albies ATL, 2B – Only 5’9’’, 160 pounds, but the 20-year-old Albies is already hitting the ball as hard as the average Major Leaguer with an average exit velocity of 87.29 MPH. He had a 40.3% flyball rate, a 14.8% strikeout rate, and was 8 for 9 in stolen base attempts. Simply put, Albies is an elite dynasty asset. Prime Projection: 102/18/73/.290/.366/.457/26

17) Kyle Tucker HOU, OF – Tucker is so good, he can hit doubles without even stepping up to the plate. Due to the new Arizona Fall League experimental rule of starting with a runner on 2nd base during extra innings, Tucker was the first ever “placement runner.” Welcome to the future of baseball, where they just place runners where they want them if the game is taking too long. Prime Projection: 93/28/97/.274/.359/.490/14 ETA: August/September 2018

18) Fernando Tatis Jr. SD, SS – Drafted #1 overall by Estrellas Orientales in Liga de Beisbol Dominicano, Tatis is slashing .400/.571/.650 with 1 homer and a 3/7 K/BB in 20 at-bats. In that same league, other players of note include Vlad Jr. (.276/.382/.448), Eloy Jimenez (.400/.405/.714), Jorge Mateo (.320/.320/.440), Teoscar Hernandez (.231/.259/.346), and Jung Ho Kang (.107/.161/.214). Prime Projection: 97/30/104/.283/.372/.505/15 ETA: 2019

19) Trevor Story COL, SS – The sophomore slump consistently creates great buying opportunities in dynasty leagues. I remember trading Matt Kemp for Anthony Rizzo back in 2013, and Rizzo has been carrying my squad ever since. Not to say Story will be quite as good as Rizzo, but he already showed signs of coming out of it in the 2nd half of the season, slashing .254/.314/.520 with 13 homers and 4 steals in 70 games. Prime Projection: 82/32/91/.248/.325/.492/12

20) Ian Happ CHC, 2B/OF – The logjam for playing time on the North Side of Chicago is about to clear up. Theo Epstein acknowledged in a press conference a few days ago that, “Sooner or later you reach a point where you have to strongly consider sacrificing some of that depth to address needs elsewhere on the club. We’re entering a phase where we have to be really open-minded to that if it makes the overall outlook of the team and organization better.” I guess that means Theo is willing to take 75 cents on the dollar if it lands them some much needed pitching this off-season. Prime Projection:86/28/87/.262/.338/.481/10

21) Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – Solid 5-category contributor, and power should play up at Great American Ball Park. Boring write-up for a boring but valuable hitting profile. Prime Projection: 92/22/89/.286/.374/.477/14 ETA: July 2018

22) Brad Zimmer CLE, OF – The head first slide into first base struck again, as Zimmer’s Kamikaze slide on September 10th cost him a broken hand which required a plate and nine screws to fix. The injury is just one more red flag added to an already risky profile due to a 29.8% strikeout rate, but the 8 homers and 18 steals he produced in his 101 game MLB debut is just a small taste of what he is capable of. Prime Projection: 85/21/79/.253/.334/.450/27

23) Willie Calhoun TEX, OF/2B – If you have any doubts about how much power the 5’8’’ Calhoun really has, just check out this mammoth walk-off grand slam he hit to dead center field. The homer was so impressive, it was nominated for MiLBY’s most exciting home run of 2017, with the winner to be revealed November 1st. Am I the only one who didn’t realize these awards existed? Prime Projection: 83/34/97/.282/.339/.509/2 ETA: Should compete for a job in Spring Training

24) Gleyber Torres NYY, SS/3B – Torres got back in the cage for the first time after undergoing Tommy John surgery. All systems go for him to take over for Chase Headley at 3B at some point next season. That is unless Cashman is able to pull another rip-off trade involving Starlin Castro, then Torres will play 2nd. Prime Projection: 95/26/92/.287/.369/.488/9 ETA: June/July 2018

25) Brendan Rodgers COL, SS/2B – Miniscule walk rate is an easy reason to ding Rodgers, but he still makes the type of contact that foreshadows some monster seasons on the horizon in Coors Field. Prime Projection: 88/31/105/.287/.340/.508/5 ETA: September 2018

26) Willson Contreras CHC, C – Does Contreras’ 53.3% groundball rate limit his upside, or does it mean there is even more untapped power potential to be unleashed? These are the important questions in life I spend 53.3% of my day thinking about. Prime Projection: 71/26/87/.281/.362/.482/4

27) Nomar Mazara TEX, OF – Mazara was traded straight up for Amed Rosario in my hometown dynasty league between two very smart owners. Team needs came into play, but I think it is a good indicator of Mazara’s objective value. He is only 22 years old and has already displayed a strong plate approach with loads of hard contact. A major power breakthrough is only a matter of time. Prime Projection: 80/30/100/.281/.355/.506/3

28) Amed Rosario NYM, SS – Speaking of Rosario, he didn’t exactly impress in his Major League debut, but he still managed 4 homers and 7 steals in 46 games. He’s raw, but there is easy 20/20 potential here. Prime Projection: 92/16/71/.281/.342/.440/21

29) Lewis Brinson MIL, OF – Brinson went 5 for 41 in his MLB debut, but two of those hits were home runs and one was a triple. He finished with an average exit velocity of 90.86 MPH. It’s a stupid small sample, but it sums up Brinson perfectly — elite talent with a still raw hit tool. Prime Projection: 86/27/83/.260/.327/.472/17 ETA: May 2018

30) David Dahl COL, OF – If you own Dahl, hold on for dear life, because I’m sure the vultures are out circling. The constant injuries are starting to become a concern, but the potential upside he brings in Coors Field will be near impossible to recover by dealing him right now. Prime Projection: 86/25/83/.277/.341/.470/16 ETA: Should compete for a job in Spring Training

31) Scott Kingery PHI, 2B – There aren’t many prospects with 20/30 potential and the ability to hit for a high average too, let alone one knocking on the door of the majors. At 5’10”, 180 pounds, Kingery’s physical tools don’t jump out at you, but little dude can pack a punch. Prime Projection: 91/21/76/.279/.336/.460/24 ETA: June/July 2018

32) Royce Lewis MIN, SS/OF – As much love as Lewis has received, I’m not sure it is enough. He combines plus speed and a plus hit tool with the kind of big hacks and bat speed that indicate considerably more power is coming. I would be surprised if he isn’t a top 5 fantasy prospect by this time next year. Prime Projection: 98/20/78/.293/.375/.472/26 ETA: 2020

33) Matt Olson OAK, 1B/OF – Elite 92.13 average exit velocity and a 46% flyball rate puts Olson in rarified air when it comes to power hitters. I’m sure some of that exit velocity was the result of his ridiculously hot finish to the season (20 homers in 139 at-bats), and his 27.8% strikeout rate makes him a batting average risk, but I’m betting that he is mostly for real. Prime Projection: 79/34/91/.244/.339/.482/2

34) Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – Chapman is one of my favorite sleepers for redraft leagues, and is obviously a great dynasty asset too. He put up a 90.04 average exit velocity with a 50.5% flyball rate and 28.2% strikeout rate. He’s basically the right hand hitting version of Olson. With Khris Davis, Olson, and Chapman in the middle of the order, Oakland is going to absolutely mash next season. Prime Projection: 77/33/90/.239/.331/.476/3

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Re-Ranking the Graduates from My Off-Season Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-30

It is graduation day here at Imaginary Brick Wall, and not a moment too soon, as 2017 Top 100 season is right around the corner. I thought about getting a celebrity to give the inaugural commencement speech, but then I remembered I didn’t know any. Sorry guys, and six girl readers (yes, I have one more girl reader than Razzball). 30 prospects graduated from my off-season 2016 Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings, and before I let go of them for good, let’s celebrate by ranking the Class of 2016 one last time for Dynasty Leagues:

*Off-Season top 100 rank in parenthesis

1) Corey Seager (#1) LAD, SS – Nailed it.

2) Trea Turner (#23) WASH, SS/OF – Or maybe not. Turner has a legitimate case to be #1 on this list as his unexpected power surge in the majors puts his upside firmly ahead of Seager’s. Seager proved it over the course of the entire season, though, and his upside is nothing to sneeze at. Because I don’t know about you, but when I’m unimpressed by something, I sneeze at it, and I wouldn’t dare sneeze at Seager’s upside.

3) Trevor Story (#30) COL, SS – Story wasn’t even on almost any other Top 100 list, but ranking him 30th still ended up being too low. Everyone remembers his blazing start to the season, but he might have actually been better in his final two months before a thumb injury ended his year, slashing .286/.368/.571 with 13 homers, 5 steals, and a 54/18 K/BB in 48 games.

4) Gary Sanchez (#31) NYY, C – Wrote about Sanchez last week in my 2017 Top 10 New York Yankees Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings.

5) Alex Bregman (#26) HOU, 3B/SS – Packed on 20 pounds of muscle last off-season and immediately put it to good use by smashing through his supposed “power ceiling.” He lost some speed along the way, and his elite minor league contact numbers took a dive in the majors, but I don’t think anyone is complaining. He also happens to be a fan of one of my favorite television shows, Impractical Jokers, and here is the twitter photo with “Murr” to prove it.

6) David Dahl (#47) COL, OF – An injury riddled 2015 led me to underrate Dahl coming into the season. He not only stayed healthy this year, but he fully tapped into his raw power too. He still has some contact issues, so I would expect some regression to the .315 batting average he put up in the majors (.404 BABIP), but Coors Field mixed with his power/speed combo puts his upside in the elite category.

7) Byron Buxton (#2) MIN, OF – I actually still like Buxton a lot, but it is hard to justify ranking him ahead of the very talented prospects who have done nothing but destroy Major League pitching. Buxton did manage to give everyone a taste of what could be in store for next year, slashing .287/.357/.653 with 9 homers in 29 games during his September call-up.

8) Julio Urias (#7) LAD, LHP – I just don’t think I could part with any of those elite young bats in fantasy for a still unproven pitcher, even one as good as Urias. It isn’t an easy decision, because he is about as good as they come, flashing his upside as a 19/20-year-old in the majors by putting up a pitching line of 3.39/1.45/84 in 77 IP.

9) Nomar Mazara (#19) TEX, OF – After generating a lot of buzz with his awesome first two months of the season, Mazara dropped off considerably in the final four, OPS’ing .681, .701, .701, .706, respectively. It’s a solid debut for a 21-year-old no matter how you slice it, but I’m just not sure I’m ready to bet on his superstar ceiling. I’d be more comfortable banking on very good and consistent, which is not too shabby.

10) Jameson Taillon (#86) PIT, RHP – Two full years on the sidelines following Tommy John surgery had Taillon ranked with a group of other high upside, injury risk pitchers like Hunter Harvey, Dylan Bundy, and Erick Fedde. Three of the four took major steps forward this year (Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery), with Taillon being the best of the bunch. His strikeout numbers were modest at 7.4 K/9 in the majors, but he showed an advanced feel for the art of pitching, developing his two-seam fastball into a legitimate weapon mid-season, and displayed excellent control with a 1.5 BB/9. His mid-90’s 4-seamer also leaves plenty of strikeout upside.

11) Willson Contreras (#52) CHC, C – I would rank Contreras higher than Mazara and Taillon depending on my team needs. The constant improvements he has made over the past two seasons have been astounding, and it culminated with him rolling through MLB pitching in August and September, slashing .306/.370/.545 with 7 homers in his final 38 regular season games. I wouldn’t even be all that surprised if he outproduced Sanchez next year.

12) Tim Anderson (#22) CHW, SS – Anderson is spearheading Chicago’s rebuilding effort as he impressed in his MLB debut by slashing .283/.306/.432, with 9 homers, 10 steals, and a 117/13 K/BB in 99 games. The plate discipline numbers are an obvious red flag, but there is more than one way to skin a cat, and Anderson skins his cats by just hacking away. It has worked for him so far, and if he can even moderately improve on those numbers, this ranking will look too low by next season.

13) Steven Matz (#10) NYM, LHP – Matz underwent arthroscopic surgery this off-season to remove a large bone spur from his pitching elbow, which should also clear up the shoulder impingement that was bothering him all year and required a platelet plasma injection of its own. He should be fine now guys. All better.

14) Blake Snell (#13) TB, LHP – Snell did about exactly what was expected of him in the majors this year, racking up strikeouts (9.9 K/9), walks (5.2 BB/9), and possessing the raw ability to get major leaguers out while still learning on the job (3.54 ERA, 1.62 WHIP). We’ve seen big, talented lefties with similar profiles blow up into top of the rotation starters enough of the time for me to stay the course with Snell.

15) Joey Gallo (#17) TEX, 1B/3B/OF – It feels like Gallo belongs more on upcoming top 100 lists than a list of graduates, but he passed the unofficial prospect limit by 3 at-bats. We all know about the bat speed, raw power, and strikeouts by now, so the only questions that remain are centered on opportunity and position.

16) Orlando Arcia (#27) MIL, SS – Arcia was always a better real life than fantasy prospect, but 10+ homers, 20+ steals, and a good average is still a very realistic outcome for him. His plus defense probably pushed him to the majors before his bat was ready, as he slashed .219/.273/.358, with 4 homers, 8 steals, and a 47/15 K/BB in 55 games, but you could see the underlying skills start to bud.

17) Max Kepler (#29) MIN, OF – Like Mazara, it was a tale of two halves for Kepler. He drilled 13 homers in his first two months in the majors, and then tanked hard in the last 48 games of the season, slashing .203/.266/.273 with 2 homers and a 45/15 K/BB. His elite minor league contact numbers also escaped him, striking out 20.8% of the time. There isn’t one fantasy category you can really count on with Kepler, but his strong combination of skills makes him an enticing long term piece.

18) Jose Peraza (#44) CIN, SS/2B/OF – Proved last year that his high minor league averages will translate to the majors by hitting .324 in 72 games, but he also found stealing bases a bit more difficult since his days of stealing 60+ in A-Ball, getting caught 10 times in 31 attempts. Doesn’t have a starting spot, but is basically the top backup for every position on the field, so he should still see regular at-bats in 2017.

19) Sean Manaea (#45) OAK, LHP – Can I buy a vowel, amirite? And while you’re at it, you should probably buy some shares of Manaea for your fantasy teams too. The man they call “Baby Giraffe” had a solid MLB debut with a pitching line of 3.86/1.19/124 in 144.2 IP, and more importantly, put some injury concerns behind him by reaching a career high of 166.1 innings pitched.

20) Michael Fulmer (#82) DET, RHP – His 3.76 FIP and 3.95 xFIP are likely more representative of his true talent level than his 3.06 ERA. That’s the kind of hard hitting sabermetric analysis you can’t find anywhere else.

21) Raul Mondesi Jr. (#56) KC, SS/2B – Sneakily put together the strongest offensive season in his career in the minor leagues, slashing .268/.322/.469, with 7 homers, 24 steals, and a 60/17 K/BB in 52 games, but his eye sore of an MLB triple-slash (.185/.231/.281) has seriously overshadowed that. KC has thrown him into the deep end from day one of his professional career, so considering the raw talent and bloodlines, I’m more inclined to be encouraged by the step forward in the minors than discouraged by his MLB debut.

22) Dylan Bundy (#88) BAL, RHP – The first thing I did when I got into this 30 team Dynasty League that my Prospector in Crime, Ralph Lifshitz, roped me into was trade 4 cheap years of Bundy for Derek Fisher, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Pedro Payano. The AL East and Camden Yards is enough of a challenge to overcome without worrying about Bundy’s injury risk on top of it. Plus, in the 14 games he started last season he put up a pitching line of 4.52/1.30/72 in 71.2 IP, which certainly flashed his considerable upside, but also didn’t exactly make him untouchable on my roster. I should add that only 4 of the 12 categories are impacted by starting pitchers in this league, giving me even more incentive to move him.

23) Jon Gray (#100) COL, RHP – Coors Field: Where Aces Go To Be 4th Starters

24) Jose Berrios (#12) MIN, RHP – Disastrous MLB debut had everyone scratching their heads. There is struggling, and then there is 8.02 ERA in 14 starts struggling. Even his trademark control vanished as he walked 5.4 batters per nine innings, although, I don’t blame him for not wanting to throw the ball over the plate after giving up 11.4 hits and 1.9 homers per nine innings too. Probably nothing else you can really do but hold him at this point.

25) Archie Bradley (#83) ARI, RHP – 9.1 K/9 in 141.2 IP is his only saving grace, because the other numbers aren’t pretty. I’m a sucker for strikeout upside in fantasy, so he isn’t the worst guy to have hanging around the bottom of your roster in Dynasty Leagues.

26) Mallex Smith (#91) ATL, OF – MLB debut didn’t really move the needle much in either direction. Maintaining his solid plate approach in the majors was good to see, but as expected, his batting average plummeted without the aid of weak minor league defenders. If he can gain some strength and hit the ball with a little more authority, there is a long career as a speedy leadoff man ahead of him.

27) Jake Thompson (#80) PHI, RHP – These next three pitchers just don’t do it for me. I was relatively low on them coming into the year, and probably even lower on them now. They all have plenty of talent, so as long as they stay healthy and maintain their stuff a breakout will always be possible.

28) Aaron Blair (#81) ATL, RHP – Look up one inch.

29) Braden Shipley (#84) ARI, RHP – Look up two inches.

30) John Lamb (#40) TB, LHP – Woof. I blame the secret back surgery he had last off-season that wasn’t disclosed until spring training, but with his littered injury history to begin with, I can only blame myself.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Re-Ranking the Graduates from My 2016 Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-10

It is graduation day here at Imaginary Brick Wall, and not a moment too soon, as 2017 Top 100 season is right around the corner. I thought about getting a celebrity to give the inaugural commencement speech, but then I remembered I didn’t know any. Sorry guys, and six girl readers (yes, I have one more girl reader than Razzball). 30 prospects graduated from my off-season 2016 Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings, and before I let go of them for good, let’s celebrate by ranking them one last time for Dynasty Leagues:

*Off-Season top 100 rank in parenthesis

1) Corey Seager (#1) LAD, SS – Nailed it.

2) Trea Turner (#23) WASH, SS/OF – Or maybe not. Turner has a legitimate case to be #1 on this list as his unexpected power surge in the majors puts his upside firmly ahead of Seager’s. Seager proved it over the course of the entire season, though, and his upside is nothing to sneeze at. Because I don’t know about you, but when I’m unimpressed by something, I sneeze at it, and I wouldn’t dare sneeze at Seager’s upside.

3) Trevor Story (#30) COL, SS – Story wasn’t even on almost any other Top 100 list, but ranking him 30th still ended up being too low. Everyone remembers his blazing start to the season, but he might have actually been better in his final two months before a thumb injury ended his year, slashing .286/.368/.571 with 13 homers, 5 steals, and a 54/18 K/BB in 48 games.

4) Gary Sanchez (#31) NYY, C – Wrote about Sanchez last week in my 2017 Top 10 New York Yankees Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings.

5) Alex Bregman (#26) HOU, 3B/SS – Packed on 20 pounds of muscle last off-season and immediately put it to good use by smashing through his supposed “power ceiling.” He lost some speed along the way, and his elite minor league contact numbers took a dive in the majors, but I don’t think anyone is complaining. He also happens to be a fan of one of my favorite television shows, Impractical Jokers, and here is the twitter photo with “Murr” to prove it.

6) David Dahl (#47) COL, OF – An injury riddled 2015 led me to underrate Dahl coming into the season. He not only stayed healthy this year, but he fully tapped into his raw power too. He still has some contact issues, so I would expect some regression to the .315 batting average he put up in the majors (.404 BABIP), but Coors Field mixed with his power/speed combo puts his upside in the elite category.

7) Byron Buxton (#2) MIN, OF – I actually still like Buxton a lot, but it is hard to justify ranking him ahead of the very talented prospects who have done nothing but destroy Major League pitching. Buxton did manage to give everyone a taste of what could be in store for next year, slashing .287/.357/.653 with 9 homers in 29 games during his September call-up.

8) Julio Urias (#7) LAD, LHP – I just don’t think I could part with any of those elite young bats in fantasy for a still unproven pitcher, even one as good as Urias. It isn’t an easy decision, because he is about as good as they come, flashing his upside as a 19/20-year-old in the majors by putting up a pitching line of 3.39/1.45/84 in 77 IP.

9) Nomar Mazara (#19) TEX, OF – After generating a lot of buzz with his awesome first two months of the season, Mazara dropped off considerably in the final four, OPS’ing .681, .701, .701, .706, respectively. It’s a solid debut for a 21-year-old no matter how you slice it, but I’m just not sure I’m ready to bet on his superstar ceiling. I’d be more comfortable banking on very good and consistent, which is not too shabby.

10) Jameson Taillon (#86) PIT, RHP – Two full years on the sidelines following Tommy John surgery had Taillon ranked with a group of other high upside, injury risk pitchers like Hunter Harvey, Dylan Bundy, and Erick Fedde. Three of the four took major steps forward this year (Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery), with Taillon being the best of the bunch. His strikeout numbers were modest at 7.4 K/9 in the majors, but he showed an advanced feel for the art of pitching, developing his two-seam fastball into a legitimate weapon mid-season, and displayed excellent control with a 1.5 BB/9. His mid-90’s 4-seamer also leaves plenty of strikeout upside.

Click here for 11-20
Click here for 21-30

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 18

Every Monday (or Tuesday in this case), I will be running down some of the notable performances from around the Minor Leagues, or anything that might have caught my eye in general. Here is the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 18:

David Dahl COL, OF/Alex Bregman HOU, 3B/SS – The Bizzaro World version of Byron Buxton and Corey Seager. This time, the toolsy outfielder with some K problems is thriving (Dahl: .382/.404/.600), while the more contact oriented infielder is struggling (Bregman: .135/.196/.173). Just goes to show that every prospect, regardless of their profile, has risk, especially in their MLB debut.

Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – Senzel is answering questions about his power potential, smashing homers in back-to-back-to-back games this week. That gives him 6 homers and 15 steals in 45 games on the season. With Kyle Lewis’ knee injury, and Ray struggling at High-A, it is hard to argue for anyone but Senzel as the top pick in first year player drafts, although you know I’ll try 🙂

Lewis Brinson MIL, OF – My top rated prospect traded at the deadline, Brinson is making a good first impression with his new team, slashing .448/.448/.690 with 1 homer and 3 steals in 7 games at Triple-A. My prospector in crime, and co-host of the first ever Razzball Prospect Podcast, Ralph Lifshitz, disagrees, and thinks Clint Frazier is #1. Along with ranking the top 20 prospects traded at the deadline, we also discussed some of the recent studs called up to the majors. And oh yea, I’m now contractually obligated to mention that this blurb was brought to you by Flo from Progressive, Verizon Fios, and Omaha Steaks.

Kyle Tucker HOU, OF – Having a late season power surge, doubling his season homer total by smoking 3 of them this week. That gives him 6 on the season for all you Communications/English majors out there.

Justus Sheffield NYY, LHP – Seriously impressed in his first start for New York at High-A, going 6 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 11 K. It was the most K’s he had in a game this season, and just his 2nd double digit K game.

Alex Reyes STL, RHP – The PCL has not been kind to Reyes, but he flashed his massive upside on Saturday night, going 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BB, 8 K. His numbers on the season aren’t pretty, but his stuff still is.

Brad Zimmer CLE, OF – Cleveland may have traded their #1 real life prospect, but they hung on to their top rated fantasy prospect in my mid-season top 100. Since being promoted to Triple-A, Zimmer is slashing .327/.431/.429, with 1 homer, 2 steals, and a 16/9 K/BB in 13 games. That gives him 15 homers and 35 steals on the season.

Bobby Bradley CLE, 1B – Another Cleveland prospect who I ranked over Frazier for fantasy, Bradley crushed 3 homers since the calendar turned to August, giving him 22 on the season. Now that I’m thinking about it, the Yanks passed on Jimenez (#43) for Torres (#63), and presumably passed on Zimmer (#17) for Frazier (#38). Yes, fantasy is different than real life, but I really hope the Yanks picked the right prospects.

Kolby Allard ATL, LHP – These next 4 pitching prospects are some of my favorites in the entire minor leagues. Allard went 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 11 K in a dominating performance as an 18-year-old in Single-A. Considering this is basically his rehab year after back surgery, his stock is back on the rise.

Thomas Szapucki NYM, LHP – I told you to pick up Szapucki last week, and he rewarded you with a 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hit, 4 BB, 11 K gem of a performance. Well, it wouldn’t have rewarded your fantasy team, but it always feels good when your prospects are dominating.

Yohander Mendez TEX, LHP – Called up to Triple-A this week and threw 5 shutout innings as he continues to build on his breakout season.

Yadier Alvarez LAD, RHP – 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 7 K. Stat line speaks for itself.

Aaron Judge NYY, OF – Yesterday, I gave you this video of Judge hitting a beastly Grand Slam off Reynaldo Lopez on Sunday Night as a mea culpa for being one day late with the Rundown. I also gave you an apology courtesy of Larry David for the minor inconvenience it may have caused you. And if the Grand Slam didn’t give it away, Judge has looked no worse for wear since returning from a knee injury, slashing .318/.375/.545 in 6 games.

Ronald Guzman TEX, 1B – Called up to Triple-A and homered in his first game at the level. Then proceeded to get 2 singles in his next 17 at-bats.

Dylan Cozens PHI, OF – 5 homers in 2 games this week. It’s kinda funny that it doesn’t matter what Cozens does in Reading, everyone will still be skeptical. I haven’t heard one person say they are really buying in. The universal agreement actually worries me a bit. Maybe we all can’t see what is right in front of our faces.

Isan Diaz MIL, 2B – Showing no signs of slowing down, cracking 3 homers this week to give him 18 on the season. He will start to get some respect on top 100’s this off-season, but his small second baseman status will still inevitably keep him underrated.

Francis Martes HOU, RHP – Just as exciting and upsidey as my favorite pitching prospects I mentioned above, Martes went 13.1 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BB, 19 K in his 2 starts this week. I really don’t have a good explanation for why he isn’t one of my favorites.

Renato Nunez OAK, 3B – Nunez went into a deep mid-season funk, be he has started to come out of it, hitting 6 homers in his last 17 games, and is slashing .348/.400/.783 this week. His overall slash line isn’t impressive, but he has 19 homers on the year, and I still really like his swing and natural feel for hitting.

Chase Vallot KC, C – A little rusty after returning from a few freak injuries, but he is starting to heat up again, cracking homers in back-to-back games. He is the epitome of the bat speed/power/strikeout sleepers that I love, and he has a puncher’s chance of sticking at catcher.

Edwin Rios LAD, 1B – 2 homers this week and his 3rd in 9 games at Double-A. The more the power shows up away from Rancho Cucamongo and the Cal League, the better he looks.

Triston McKenzie CLE, RHP – I actually like this next group of pitching prospects a lot too. McKenzie got promoted to Single-A this week, and struck out 11 batters with 0 walks over 5 IP, albeit with a homer and 3 ER. He looks like a lock to sit comfortably within most top 100’s this off-season.

Mitch Keller PIT, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BB, 9 K. He had struggled in his previous 3 starts, so having one of his best starts of the season this week was encouraging.

Luke Weaver STL, RHP – Promoted to Triple-A (PCL) last night and went 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BB, 4 K. He has given up more than 2 ER in only one start this season.

Max Wotell CIN, LHP/Lucius Fox TB, SS/Erik Swanson NYY, RHP – Wrote a deep sleeper post for these guys on Thursday when technical difficulties delayed the release of our Razzball Prospect Podcast. We talked about them on the podcast too. I don’t think there is any corner of the internet that has hyped up these guys in the last week more than we have.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 14

Every Monday, I will be running down some of the notable performances from around the Minor Leagues, or anything that might have caught my eye in general. Here is the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 14:

Alex Bregman HOU, SS/3B – If you missed last night’s Futures All-Star Game, you might have missed one of the most exciting baseball games of the year. Bregman put on a show in the first half of the game, going 3 for 3 with a homer short of the cycle. He was mic’d up and giggling like a little school girl about hitting a homer in his next at-bat to anyone who would listen to him. He didn’t, making outs in his final 2 at-bats.

Yoan Moncada BOS, 2B – Moncada picked up where Bregman left off, crushing a 2nd deck bomb to give the World team the lead in the 8th inning, which secured him the MVP award. He also laced an opposite field single on a nice inside out swing vs. hard thrower Jeff Hoffman in his second at bat, and then swiped second easily. That power/speed combo is why I ranked him #1 in my mid-season top 100.

Alex Reyes STL, RHP – By far the most impressive pitcher of the night, striking out 4 batters in 1.2 IP. He was hitting 100 MPH easy and dropping good curveballs in for strikes. He also flashed some solid changeups that I originally mistook for two seam fastballs because they were almost hitting 90 MPH. There is still plenty of refinement to go, but his fantasy upside is unrivaled.

Eloy Jimenez CHC, OF – Had the entire Cubs organization holding their breath as he made a daredevil catch over the RF fence down the foul line, and then launched a homerun derby quality homer in the 9th inning. Not bad for a 19-year-old who has played in Single-A all year.

Yu-Cheng Chang CLE, SS – Did Imaginary Brick Wall just get the Asian market bump that I hear so much about in baseball? After writing a sleeper post for Taiwanese SS Yu-Cheng Chang last week, my website hits from Taiwan spiked by 20%! That gives me over 100 hits all-time from Taiwan! Ni hao, all my new Taiwanese friends. Chang had a 4-hit game just hours after I wrote that article too.

Josh Bell PIT, 1B – It didn’t take long for Bell to show off the power he added this year, crushing a grand slam in his 2nd Major League at-bat. Too bad it doesn’t look like Pittsburgh is going to make a point of getting his bat in the lineup.

Willie Calhoun LAD, 2B – Willie just keeps on hitting, smashing 3 more homers this week on his way to the Futures All-Star Game (where he went 0 for 2).

Harrison Bader STL, OF – Promoted to Triple-A and went 5 for 22 with 2 doubles and a homer in his first 5 games at the level. He was also caught stealing and put up a 6/0 K/BB.

Austin Byler ARI, 1B – The adopted step child, black sheep, the one we only speak about in whispers of my Finding the Next A.J. Reed article is starting to show a pulse, slashing .417/.481/.792 with 2 homers this week after getting a late start to his season due to suspension. He is 23 years old with a 52/14 K/BB in 36 games at Single-A, so I’m going to need to see a lot more and at a higher level to start really getting excited.

David Dahl COL, OF – Dahl made Bader’s Triple-A debut look like child’s play, slashing .500/.536/.846 with 2 homers and 0 K’s in 6 games. If you took Urias, Giolito, Glasnow, and Reed out of my mid-season top 100, Dahl would have been a top 5 fantasy prospect.

Brendan Rodgers COL, SS – 2 more dingers this week, and continues to impress with his power/contact skills, slashing .295/.362/.505 with 13 homers and a 55/24 K/BB in 68 games at Single-A. I gave Rodgers the slight edge over Bregman on my top 100 because of Coors and a better chance to stick at SS, but they are basically even in my book.

Tom Murphy COL, C – Smashed 4 homers this week, giving him 11 on the year in only 44 games. It also comes with a fun 55/5 K/BB. That huge power at Coors Field from a catcher is why I ranked him 69th in my mid-season top 100, but the lack of contact skills and plate approach is why he dropped from my 32nd ranking of him in the off-season. All in all, I’m still on board.

J.P. Crawford PHI, SS – Slashed .480/.515/.840 with 2 homers this week at Triple-A. He is definitely a better real life prospect, but I still think he is going to be an impact fantasy player too.

Tyler O’Neill SEA, OF – Ranked 45th on Baseball America’s mid-season top 100! And oh yea, Hader (#22), Bader (#89), Fisher (#94), and Calhoun (#98) also cracked their top 100. I mean, I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have a few fans over at BA. They obviously know what they are doing over there, and I love that my favorite sleepers are starting to get some national hype!

Jacob Faria TB, RHP – Continues to pitch well at Triple-A, going 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 9 K. He hasn’t shown up on any other mid-season top 100’s so far, so it looks like he is still being slept on.

Yohander Mendez TEX, LHP – Got a spot start at Triple-A this week, and impressed by going 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BB, 7 K. This guy has the look of a big time lefty starter, and he is putting up the numbers to back it up too.

Kyle Lewis SEA, OF – The #1 ranked prospect from my MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings is starting to show why I liked him so much, slashing .435/.519/.913 with 3 homers and a 2/5 K/BB this week at Low-A. He has a 12/13 K/BB in 21 games on the season, and considering strikeouts were thought to be the main concern with Lewis, he is off to a very encouraging start.

Nick Senzel CIN, 3B –  Playing exactly as advertised in his first 19 pro games, displaying an advanced plate approach (11/11 K/BB), speed (10 steals), and doubles power (6).

Christin Stewart DET, OF – 3 more homers in his last 5 games, and his monster power season in the pitcher friendly Florida State League earned him a spot in the Futures All-Stars Game.

Luke Weaver STL, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BB, 7K in his start this week, which continued his excellent season. Scouts love to drool over dominant curveballs, but it seems like devastating changeups have been slightly undervalued recently, and Weaver has one.

Alen Hanson PIT, 2B – I was seriously starting to think a hot streak was never going to come, but Hanson found his groove this week, slashing .423/.484/.462 with 4 steals. His overall numbers are still unimpressive, but he is stealing bases and the raw talent is still there.

Cody Ponce MIL, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 12 K in his best start of the season as he he is ramping up after having early season forearm fatigue. Ponce stands a physically imposing 6’6’’, 240 pounds and throws a mid 90’s fastball with a solid slider and inconsistent curveball and changeup. The risk is high here as with many other pitching prospects, but his talent is equal to any of the pitchers showing up on the back half of mid-season prospect lists.

Max Schrock WASH, 2B – I stumbled upon Schrock in early June during the same search that I found Ronald Acuna with (who I wrote about in that week’s rundown) when I went searching for sleeper prospects that Carson Cistulli has made famous, underrated low-k/contact guys. I didn’t mention him because he was 21 years old in Single-A, didn’t have much power, and I just have more fun writing about underrated bat speed/power guys. But Schrock was promoted to High-A recently, and hit 3 homers in his first 13 games (2 in the last week), along with continuing to display his excellent contact skills (27/24 K/BB in 68 games on the year) and speed (19 steals). I would be more excited about him as a real life prospect, but even in fantasy, it is looking more and more like he has the potential to make a legitimate impact.

Luis Urias SD, 2B/UTIL – I found the 19-year-old Urias during that same search, but was even less inclined to mention him because he gets caught stealing more than he is successful (26 for 58 in his MiLB career). He has just kept on hitting, though, and is now slashing .327/.401/.438 with 5 homers, 8 steals, and a 31/30 K/BB in 82 games. He hit a homer in Triple-A last night too. I think I’m gonna start mentioning these guys …

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Mid-Season Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-100

Here we go again. It’s ranking season! Well, maybe a week or two before ranking season, but close enough. Over the past week, I have been slowly ranking the top 100 fantasy baseball prospects in all The Land. And I mean that literally, not the lame nickname that Cleveland now has to make them seem cooler. To be clear, I was not just ranking prospects in Cleveland. Today, I put it all together, and without further ado, here are the 2016 Mid-Season Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-100 (previous ranking in parenthesis):

2016 Off-Season Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-100

Graduates: Corey Seager (#1) LAD, SS, Byron Buxton (#2) MIN, OF, Steven Matz (#10) NYM, LHP, Nomar Mazara (#19) TEX, OF, Trevor Story (#30) COL, SS, John Lamb (#40) CIN, LHP, Aaron Blair (#81) ATL, RHP, Michael Fulmer (#82) DET, RHP, Archie Bradley (#83) ARI, RHP, Mallex Smith (#91) ATL, OF, Jon Gray (#100) COL, RHP

1) Yoan Moncada (#3) BOS, 2B – Picked up right where he left off in the 2nd half of 2015. No prospect has the 5-category upside that Moncada has. Prime projection: 98/15/82/.280/32

2) Julio Urias (#7) LAD, LHP – Completely destroyed the PCL as a 19-year-old, and is now more than holding his own in the majors. This will likely be his last appearance on top 100 prospect lists. Prime projection: 2.90/1.00/225 in 210 IP

3) Brendan Rodgers (#24) COL, SS – Hits for average and power, plays SS, and will call Coors Field his home. What more is there to say? Prime projection: 89/25/100/.285/7

4) Alex Bregman (#26) HOU, 3B/SS – Has a legitimate case to be the top fantasy prospect in baseball. Elite contact skills with emerging power. Might have to move off SS to accommodate Carlos Correa. Prime projection: 94/22/86/.297/10

5) Lucas Giolito (#4) WASH, RHP – It hasn’t been the smoothest ride in Double-A so far, but he was beginning to turn it around before a poor outing in his last start. The stuff is still electric, so I’m holding tight for now. Prime projection: 3.10/1.10/220 in 210 IP (Update: Looked good in his MLB debut after I released the top 10 last Friday)

6) Tyler Glasnow (#5) PIT, RHP – Control might have actually taken a half-step back this season, but it hasn’t hurt his pitching line all that much (1.61/1.14/100 in 84 IP). I’m still betting on his unhittable stuff. Prime projection: 2.98/1.17/223 in 200 IP

7) A.J. Reed (#6) HOU, 1B – Was nicked up with various injuries early in the year, but slashed .307/.366/.587 with 5 homers in the last month. One of the premiere power hitting prospects in the minors. Prime projection: 85/32/110/.274/2

8) Andrew Benintendi (#8) BOS, OF – After destroying High-A, Double-A has slowed him down a bit. The plate approach, power, and speed are all still there, so I don’t think he is going to stay down for long. Prime projection: 89/21/93/.288/15 (Update: He really didn’t stay down for long, going on a tear in his last 7 games)

9) David Dahl (#47) COL, OF – One of the top fantasy breakout prospects in 2016. Slashing .283/.375/.528 with 13 homers and 15 steals in 67 games at Double-A. Has all the raw talent in the world, and will be unleashed at Coors Field. Prime projection: 91/20/82/.276/18

10) Joey Gallo (#17) TEX, 3B/1B/OF – Has taken a step forward in Triple-A this year, lowering his strikeout rate to a more workable 26.8% while maintaining his massive power. The only thing left is for Texas to give him a shot. Or trade him. Prime projection: 80/38/100/.250/5

11) Victor Robles (#35) WASH, OF – Displaying the same elite contact and speed profile in his first full season of pro ball that he did in Rookie ball and Low-A. Perfect combination of raw tools and current production. Prime projection: 96/14/75/.304/28

12) Alex Reyes (#11) STL, RHP – 13.9 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 really does say it all. Can dial it up to 100 MPH, and I’ll take the risk for his through the roof upside. Prime projection: 3.35/1.20/240 in 210 IP

13) Jose Berrios (#12) MIN, RHP – Not going to let his poor 4-start MLB debut scare me off. Future value remains the same. Prime projection: 3.39/1.11/190 in 200 IP

14) Blake Snell (#13) TB, LHP– Look up one inch. Prime projection: 3.36/1.17/209 in 198 IP

15) Jose De Leon (#14) LAD, RHP – Slowly ramping it up at Triple-A after returning from a sore arm. 14.2 K/9 in limited action shows the elite K potential is still there. Prime projection: 3.41/1.16/220 in 190 IP

16) J.P. Crawford (#15) PHI, SS – Having an elite plate approach is like the missionary position for prospects. Not the most exciting, but it gets the job done. Prime projection: 94/12/65/.289/18

17) Brad Zimmer (#16) CLE, OF – 28.8% K rate is higher than we would like, but the power/speed combo is still popping. Prime projection: 86/21/81/.260/24

18) Derek Fisher (#20) HOU, OF – Wrote a sleeper post for him in the off-season, and he is not making me regret it with his strong first half in Double-A. Prime projection: 84/22/84/.270/17

19) Josh Hader (#21) MIL, LHP – Ranked him #3 in my pre-season Dynasty League Prospect Sleepers post. Putting up a pitching line of 1.87/1.13/99 in 77 IP split between Double-A and Triple-A so far this year. Prime projection: 3.31/1.18/198 in 190 IP

20) Jameson Taillon (#86) PIT, RHP – Has looked no worse for wear after not pitching for two full years. Stuff is nasty and has already reached the bigs. Prime projection: 3.38/1.13/180 in 190 IP

21) Willson Contreras (#52) CHC, C – Added power to his already elite hit tool this season. Is now clearly the top fantasy catcher prospect in the game. Prime projection: 70/20/85/.293/3

22) Lewis Brinson (#9) TEX, OF – Shoulder injury cut short his disappointing first half. Hitting profile looked completely different this year, which makes me think he was trying to make an adjustment that wasn’t working. He drops in the rankings, but I would hold if I owned him. Prime projection: 90/25/90/.274/17

23) Bobby Bradley (#18) CLE, 1B – Might as well be named Joey Gallo Jr. Lots of HR’s, BB’s, and K’s. Prime projection: 80/33/105/.250/4

24) Austin Meadows (#53) PIT, OF – Power has ticked up this year, and if he can continue that power surge in Triple-A, will rank even higher in the off-season. Prime projection: 92/18/80/.295/13

25) Tim Anderson (#22) CHW, SS – Not the type of hitter to put up pretty K/BB numbers, but can hit for a solid average with top end speed and sneaky power. Prime projection: 90/12/61/.273/28

26) Dansby Swanson (#25) ATL, SS – Looks to have the inside track on Atlanta’s SS job over Albies. Will do a little bit of everything, but doesn’t have a standout tool. Prime projection: 87/17/77/.282/14

27) Trea Turner (#23) WASH, SS – MLB ready but has been prospect blocked by Danny Espinoza as I suspected he would be in my off-season top 100. Played CF last night in an attempt by Washington to find another path to the big leagues for him. Prime projection: 90/9/55/.282/26

28) Orlando Arcia (#27) MIL, SS – Hasn’t quite kept up his 2015 breakout in Triple-A this season, but is still flashing the same offensive skills. Would rank higher on a non-fantasy list due to his plus defense. Prime projection: 87/11/70/.279/25

29) Max Kepler (#29) MIN, OF – Quietly putting together a very strong season. .757 OPS with 3 homers and 2 steals in 33 MLB games. Prime projection: 85/17/85/.288/15

30) Josh Bell (#60) PIT, 1B – Like Contreras, added power to his already elite hit tool. I expected the power to show up, projecting him for 19 homers in the off-season, but it is still nice to see. Prime projection: 78/19/90/.293/5

31) Gary Sanchez (#31) NYY, C – Doesn’t have the eye-popping numbers, but is still displaying good contact and power skills in a pitcher’s park at Triple-A. Gets a bump for positional scarcity due to the wasteland that catcher has become. Prime projection: 67/22/83/.280/4

32) Raimel Tapia (#42) COL, OF – “Elite contact skills. Above average speed. Average power. Gets the Coors Field bump.” – – Same blurb as the off-season. Nothing changed except he is doing it in Double-A now. Prime projection: 92/13/70/.297/17

33) Willie Calhoun (#43) LAD, 2B – Discovered him in my Finding the Next A.J. Reed article that I wrote in January, and also wrote a Willie Calhoun, 2016 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakout post for him this season. Prime projection: 85/24/91/.287/2

34) Ian Happ (#50) CHC, 2B/OF – Going back and forth on Willie vs. Happ. Gave Willie the edge because he has been doing it in Double-A all year, but if you prefer the added speed that Happ brings, I can see swapping them. Happ also has a legitimate logjam ahead of him in Chicago. Prime projection: 85/19/76/.273/14

35) Aaron Judge (#34) NYY, OF – On an absolute tear in the last month, slashing .341/.464/.714 with 9 homers. It brings his OPS up to .845 in Triple-A. Prime projection: 75/26/90/.260/7

36) Jorge Mateo (#38) NYY, SS – Speed is the #1 calling card here. The bat hasn’t taken a step forward this year, but the underlying skills and talent remain the same. Prime projection: 87/11/60/.275/34

37) Jesse Winker (#41) CIN, OF – Maintaining his elite contact skills and plate approach in Triple-A, but the power hasn’t fully emerged with only 2 homers on the year. Prime projection: 88/19/92/.292/4

38) Clint Frazier (#58) CLE, OF – I called him “a breakout waiting to happen” in my off-season top 100, and he is breaking out, slashing .295/.381/.488 with 9 homers and 9 steals in 67 games as a 21-year-old in Double-A. Prime projection: 88/23/88/.284/8

39) Harrison Bader (#51) STL, OF – Discovered him in my Finding the Next A.J. Reed article that I wrote in January, and also wrote a Harrison Bader, 2016 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakout post for him this season. Prime projection: 85/20/81/.280/14

40) Tyler O’Neill (#78) SEA, OF – Wrote a sleeper post for him in the off-season, and he has drastically improved his K rate while maintaining his power in Double-A this season. The arrow is pointing up. Prime projection: 76/27/88/.265/8

41) Cody Reed (#65) CIN, LHP – Big lefty with a mid 90’s fastball and wipeout slider. That is a recipe for success. Prime projection: 3.40/1.18/192 in 200 IP

42) Ozhaino Albies (#75) ATL, SS/2B – The 19-year-old Albies zoomed through Atlanta’s system faster than anyone could have expected. Knocking on the door of the bigs, but it looks like it will be as a 2B. Prime projection: 91/8/54/.295/27

43) Eloy Jimenez (NR) CHC, OF – Ranked him 7th (but 1st on this list) on my 2016 Mid-Season Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakouts (not on my off-season top 100). Prime Projection: 83/25/93/.281/7

44) Kolby Allard (#36) ATL, LHP – Pitched only 16 innings after returning from off-season back surgery. Will know a lot more about him by the end of the year. Prime projection: 3.25/1.09/200 in 190 IP

45) Anderson Espinoza (#37) BOS, RHP – Solid but unspectacular as an 18-year-old in Single-A. Talent is immense but still a few years off. Prime projection: 3.38/1.11/194 in 190 IP

46) Raul Mondesi Jr. (#56) KC, SS – Not going to ding him for his 50 game PED suspension. Potential remains the same. Prime projection: 79/15/71/.267/28

47) Kyle Tucker (#89) HOU, OF – Power hasn’t emerged with only 2 homers in 61 games at Single-A, but is displaying a great plate approach (43/22 K/BB) and speed (25 steals). Prime projection: 86/16/84/.284/18

48) Brett Phillips (#39) MIL, OF – K rate has spiked to 31.8% in Double-A, but is still hitting for power with a few steals. Prime projection: 84/20/78/.260/11

49) Nick Williams (#59) PHI, OF – Hasn’t done much in Triple-A to move the needle in either direction. Prime projection: 85/18/78/.276/10

50) Hunter Renfroe (#61) SD, OF – Slashing .325/.345/.597 with 18 homers in 76 games in the PCL. He is using a more contact oriented approach this year, cutting his K rate to 18.0% and BB rate to 3.1%. Prime projection: 74/24/86/.266/5

51) Kyle Lewis (NR) SEA, OF – Ranked him 1st on my 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings. Prime projection: 82/25/87/.278/8

52) Corey Ray (NR) MIL, OF – Ranked him 2nd on my 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings. Prime projection: 90/14/64/.281/24

53) Rafael Devers (#63) BOS, 3B – .637 OPS as a 19-year-old in High-A. Regardless of the poor numbers, raw talent is still elite. Prime projection: 80/21/96/.287/5

54) Manuel Margot (#64) SD, OF – Contact/speed profile remains unchanged at Triple-A this year. Prime projection: 85/10/60/.278/27

55) Franklin Barreto (#57) OAK, SS/2B/OF – Numbers don’t stand out, but is still flashing power (7 homers) and speed (16 steals) as a 20-year-old in a pitcher’s park at Double-A. Prime projection: 86/14/77/.281/22

56) Renato Nunez (#73) OAK, 3B – Triple-slash looks weak (.243/.293/.433) but is still hitting for solid power (.193 ISO) and contact (17.9% K%). Prime projection: 76/21/85/.280/1

57) Matt Chapman (#94) OAK, 3B – 17 homers and a 102/36 K/BB in 74 games at Double-A. Expect more of the same in the majors. Prime projection: 76/26/86/.254/4

58) Chase Vallot (NR) KC, C – Wrote a Chase Vallot, 2016 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakout post for him. Prime Projection: 77/27/87/.258/2

59) Jose Peraza (#44) CIN, 2B/SS/OF – Collected 7 steals in 11 games since being recalled to the majors on June 15th. Prime projection: 84/6/51/.272/32

60) Sean Manaea (#45) OAK, LHP – Makes the prospect cut by under an inning. Struggled in his MLB debut, but still has enticing K upside. Prime projection: 3.49/1.21/195 in 185 IP.

61) Forrest Wall (#62) COL, 2B – Got off to a slow start, but has picked it up of late, slashing .329/.352/.476 with 2 homers and 5 steals in the last month. Prime projection: 87/14/73/.279/20

62) Francis Martes (#66) HOU, RHP – Got his season back on track after struggling in the early going. Fastball is still reaching upper 90’s and the curve is nasty. Prime projection: 3.39/1.10/176 in 185 IP

63) Gleybor Torres (#93) CHC, SS – Putting up modest numbers with an uptick in power from last year as a 19-year-old in High-A. He isn’t my favorite fantasy prospect, but his stock is on the rise. Prime projection: 81/15/70/.283/15

64) Travis Demeritte (NR) TEX, 2B – Wrote a Travis Demeritte, 2016 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakout post for him. Prime projection: 78/22/81/.247/9

65) Christin Stewart (NR) DET, OF – Ranked him 2nd on my 2016 Mid-Season Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakouts (not on my off-season top 100). Prime projection: 80/24/83/.255/4

66) Phil Bickford (NR) SFG, RHP – Ranked him 10th on my 2016 Mid-Season Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakouts (not on my off-season top 100). Prime Projection: 3.54/1.18/188 in 183 IP

67) Kevin Maitan (NR) IFA/ATL, SS/3B – I wasn’t planning on ranking Maitan this high when I started this list, but nobody can even touch his upside at this point in the rankings. His hype is so stratospheric with comparisons to Miggy and Chipper Jones, that at the very least, his trade value will be high right from the get go. Prime projection: 90/25/100/.285/6

68) Jacob Faria (#68) TB, RHP – Maintained his K spike from the 2nd half of last season, and looked great in his 1st start at Triple-A last week, going 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 6 K. Would rank higher if he didn’t have to pitch in the AL East. Prime projection: 3.59/1.19/187 in 187 IP

69) Tom Murphy (#32) COL, C – Both his K rate (34.0%) and BB rate (2.7%) have seriously regressed as a 25-year-old in the PCL. He is still hitting for power (.255 ISO) and has the luxury of Coors Field at his back, so I’m not completely off the bandwagon. Prime projection: 62/25/77/.241/3

70) Jorge Alfaro (#79) PHI, C – Has absolutely no plate approach to speak of (49/4 K/BB) but has jacked 9 homers in 50 games at Double-A. With the current offensive state of the catcher position, guys like Murphy and Alfaro have value. Prime projection: 62/20/75/.245/5

71) Yadier Alvarez (NR) LAD, RHP – 8.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BB, 10 K in his first two starts at Rookie Ball this year. Still a bit of a mystery, but all reports have been glowing with praise since Spring Training. Upper 90’s heat with ace upside. Prime Projection: 3.30/1.18/203 in 190 IP

72) Yohander Mendez (NR) TEX, LHP – 6’5’’, 200-pound lefty with a big fastball and improving secondaries (curveball, slider, changeup). The raw talent and upside is obvious. Check out this video of him battling my boy Harrison Bader, and eventually striking him out (and then scroll down and watch the second video of Bader homering off a reliever later in the game). Prime projection: 3.40/1.17/185 in 185 IP

73) Grant Holmes (#48) LAD, RHP – Both his K/9 (8.8) and BB/9 (3.2) are down this year in the Cal League. Excellent raw stuff, but the development is going to take some time. Prime projection: 3.44/1.26/199 in 188 IP

74) Luis Ortiz (#96) TEX, RHP – Big, strong righty who is built like a workhorse starter, but has had arm troubles in the past. Pitching well as a 20-year-old in Double-A. Prime projection: 3.41/1.16/177 in 185 IP

75) Ryan McMahon (#49) COL, 3B – Struggling badly at Double-A, slashing .218/.313/.327 with 3 homers. Coors Field is really buoying his value right now. Prime projection: 78/20/88/.261/6

76) Jack Flaherty (#69) STL, RHP – Has been on fire in his last 4 starts after a slow start to the season. This is as much a vote of confidence in St. Louis’ organization as it is in Flaherty’s talent. Prime projection: 3.37/1.18/178 in 195 IP

77) Brent Honeywell (#71) TB, RHP – Season has been immaculate other than being sidelined for 6 weeks with a sore arm. Prime projection: 3.46/1.14/179 in 190 IP

78) Anthony Alford (#76) TOR, OF – Hasn’t been the same since injuring his knee, but has started to turn it around this week. He deserves the benefit of the doubt to see if he heats up the further away he gets from that knee injury. Prime projection: 81/16/79/.272/18

79) Dominic Smith (#77) NYM, 1B – Still waiting on that power breakout, but the contact skills and plate approach have been strong in Double-A. Prime projection: 78/19/90/.289/2

80) Cody Bellinger (#95) LAD, 1B/OF – Not hitting for as much power as he did last year in the Cal League, but is still putting up solid numbers as a 20-year-old in Double-A. Prime projection: 79/21/87/.271/6

81) Tyler Jay (#98) MIN, LHP – Minnesota’s gamble looks to be paying off. Transition to starter has been a smashing success so far. Prime projection: 3.51/1.19/180 in 180 IP

82) Will Craig (NR) PIT, 3B – Ranked him 3rd on my 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings. Prime projection: 77/22/92/.281/1

83) Zack Collins (NR) CHW, C – Ranked him 4th on my 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings. Prime projection: 79/21/88/.277/2

84) Nick Senzel (NR) CIN, 3B – Ranked him 5th on my 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings. Prime projection: 80/14/80/.283/13

85) Mickey Moniak (NR) PHI, OF – Ranked him 6th on my 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings. Prime projection: 89/12/63/.290/19

86) Josh Ockimey (NR) BOS, 1B – Ranked him 5th on my 2016 Mid-Season Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakouts (not on my off-season top 100). Prime projection: 85/23/93/.268/4

87) Luke Weaver (NR) STL, RHP – Dominated in his first 5 starts of the season, going 31.1 IP, 4 ER, 30 Hits, 3 BB, 37 K. Velocity has ticked up and is still displaying his plus changeup. Prime Projection: 3.47/1.17/179 in 193 IP

88) Alen Hanson (#33) PIT, 2B – Wrote a sleeper post for him in the off-season, and unlike Fisher and O’Neill, he is making me regret it, slashing .246/.285/.365 with 5 homers and 18 steals in 62 games. The speed still looks good and he is popping a homer every now and then, but it’s now his second year in a row of struggling at Triple-A. Prime projection: 82/10/60/.267/20

89) Sean Newcomb (#54) ATL, LHP – From my off-season top 100: “Tantalizing stuff, but major control issues. High risk, high reward.” – – Same old, same old for Newcomb this year. 9.15 K/9 and 4.46 BB/9. Prime projection: 3.48/1.28/192 in 180 IP

90) Roman Quinn (#92) PHI, OF – Speed is what you are buying here. 25 steals in 50 games at Double-A. His injury history still scares me a bit. Prime projection: 81/8/57/.270/31

91) Ronald Guzman (NR) TEX, 1B – Ranked him 6th on my 2016 Mid-Season Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakouts (not on my off-season top 100). Prime projection: 82/19/88/.279/3

92) Dylan Cozens (NR) PHI, OF – Ranked him 4th on my 2016 Mid-Season Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakouts (not on my off-season top 100). Prime projection: 74/21/78/.241/9

93) Chris Shaw (NR) SFG, 1B – Ranked him 9th on my 2016 Mid-Season Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakouts (not on my off-season top 100). Prime projection: 78/23/87/.270/1

94) A.J. Puk (NR) OAK, LHP – Ranked him 7th on my 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings. Prime projection: 3.59/1.27/198 in 183 IP

95) Ian Anderson (NR) ATL, RHP – Ranked him 8th on my 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings. Prime projection: 3.39/1.16/184 in 190 IP

96) Alex Verdugo (NR) LAD, OF – Slashing .288/.349/.440 with 8 homers and a 38/21 K/BB in 67 games as a 20-year-old in Double-A. He deserves to crack the top 100. Prime Projection: 80/17/80/.286/6

97) Mitch Keller (NR) PIT, RHP – Ranked him 8th on my 2016 Mid-Season Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakouts (not on my off-season top 100). Prime projection: 3.45/1.14/182 in 188 IP

98) Hunter Harvey (#87) BAL, RHP – Has been out all season with a sports hernia injury before making a rehab start last week in the GCL, striking out 5 batters in 2 IP. Reports were positive on his stuff, and we are still in wait and see mode on Harvey. Prime projection: 3.48/1.18/160 in 150 IP

99) Francisco Mejia (NR) CLE, C – Monster breakout repeating Single-A this season, slashing .347/.384/.532 with 7 homers in 60 games. Promoted to High-A yesterday and proceeded to go 2 for 4. He is one of the better lottery ticket catchers out there to take a shot on. Prime Projection: 72/16/79.280/1

100) Chris Paddack (NR) SD, RHP – Insane 6-start run to begin his season in Single-A, going 28.1 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BB, 48 K. Best pitch is a plus, plus changeup. It’s a very small sample, but I’ll take the shot on his clear upside at this point. Prime Projection: 3.60/1.17/190 in 180 IP

**101) Justus Sheffield (#70) CLE, LHP – It got really tight at the end here, and I didn’t want to not mention these last 3 guys at all, so here is 101-103 of my top 100 😉 Sheffield’s K/9 is down (7.8) and BB/9 is up (3.6) in High-A this season. While he drops on this list, his overall potential remains basically unchanged. Prime projection: 3.53/1.22/180 in 180 IP

102) Carson Fulmer (#28) CHW, RHP– Nothing short of a disaster season. 5.88/1.57/75 with a 5.3 BB/9 in 75 IP at Double-A. Went 7 scoreless with 7 K in his last start, though, and I wouldn’t count him completely out yet. Prime projection: 3.55/1.28/175 in 180 IP

103) Dillon Tate (#46) TEX, RHP – Maybe I should call this the hanging on by a thread section. These guys have the ability to turn it around in the 2nd half, but they are being put on notice until then. Prime projection: 3.67/1.20/180 in 190 IP.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Mid-Season Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-10

Here we go again. It’s ranking season! Well, maybe a week or two before ranking season, but close enough. Today, I will be focusing on the elite of the elite, the top 10 fantasy baseball prospects in all The Land. And I mean that literally, not the kinda lame nickname that Cleveland now has to make them seem cooler. To be clear, I will not just be ranking prospects in Cleveland. Enough monkey business, here are the 2016 Mid-Season Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-10 (previous rank in parenthesis):

2016 Off-Season Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-100

Graduates: Corey Seager (#1) LAD, SS, Byron Buxton (#2) MIN, OF, Steven Matz (#10) NYM, LHP, Nomar Mazara (#19) TEX, OF, Trevor Story (#30) COL, SS, John Lamb (#40) CIN, LHP, Aaron Blair (#81) ATL, RHP, Michael Fulmer (#82) DET, RHP, Archie Bradley (#83) ARI, RHP, Mallex Smith (#91) ATL, OF, Jon Gray (#100) COL, RHP

11-40
41-70
71-100
Complete Top 100

1) Yoan Moncada (#3) BOS, 2B – Picked up right where he left off in the 2nd half of 2015. No prospect has the 5-category upside that Moncada has. Prime projection: 98/15/82/.280/32

2) Julio Urias (#7) LAD, LHP – Completely destroyed the PCL as a 19-year-old, and is now more than holding his own in the majors. This will likely be his last appearance on top 100 prospect lists. Prime projection: 2.90/1.00/225 in 210 IP

3) Brendan Rodgers (#24) COL, SS – Hits for average and power, plays SS, and will call Coors Field his home. What more is there to say? Prime projection: 89/25/100/.285/7

4) Alex Bregman (#26) HOU, 3B/SS – Has a legitimate case to be the top fantasy prospect in baseball. Elite contact skills with emerging power. Might have to move off SS to accommodate Carlos Correa. Prime projection: 94/22/86/.297/10

5) Lucas Giolito (#4) WASH, RHP – It hasn’t been the smoothest ride in Double-A so far, but he was beginning to turn it around before a poor outing in his last start. The stuff is still electric, so I’m holding tight for now. Prime projection: 3.10/1.10/220 in 210 IP

6) Tyler Glasnow (#5) PIT, RHP – Control might have actually taken a half-step back this season, but it hasn’t hurt his pitching line all that much (1.61/1.14/100 in 84 IP). I’m still betting on his unhittable stuff. Prime projection: 2.98/1.17/223 in 200 IP

7) A.J. Reed (#6) HOU, 1B – Was nicked up with various injuries early in the year, but slashed .307/.366/.587 with 5 homers in the last month. One of the premiere power hitting prospects in the minors. Prime projection: 85/32/110/.274/2

8) Andrew Benintendi (#8) BOS, OF – After destroying High-A, Double-A has slowed him down a bit. The plate approach, power, and speed are all still there, so I don’t think he is going to stay down for long. Prime projection: 89/21/93/.288/15

9) David Dahl (#47) COL, OF – One of the top fantasy breakout prospects in 2016. Slashing .283/.375/.528 with 13 homers and 15 steals in 67 games at Double-A. Has all the raw talent in the world, and will be unleashed at Coors Field. Prime projection: 91/20/82/.276/18

10) Joey Gallo (#17) TEX, 3B/1B/OF – Has taken a step forward in Triple-A this year, lowering his strikeout rate to a more workable 26.8% while maintaining his massive power. The only thing left is for Texas to give him a shot. Or trade him. Prime projection: 80/38/100/.250/5

11-40
41-70

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 11

Every Monday, I will be running down some of the notable performances from around the Minor Leagues, or anything that might have caught my eye in general. Here is the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 11:

LeBron James CLE, SF – My bad, wrong sport. But did you see those blocks and dunks LeBron was swatting/throwing down last night? I think he can fly.

Willson Contreras CHC, C – The Cubs game was on a smaller TV at the bar I was at for Game 7, and I was probably the only one keeping an eye on it. Actually, I know I was the only one, because when Contreras homered on his very first Major League pitch, I was the only idiot in the entire place to jump up in celebration. Contreras will be rewarded with his first Major League start in tonight’s game.

Travis Demeritte TEX, 2B – I hyped Demeritte in my very first Fantasy Prospect Rundown in week 1 of the season, and he has hit only 14 more homers since then. His breakout season got him ranked #3 on the 2016 Mid-Season Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Breakouts post that I wrote on Friday, and to celebrate, he hit two more homers the night of that article.

Phil Bickford SFG, RHP – Bickford got promoted to High-A this week, and went 6 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BB, 13 K. He ranked #10 on that Fantasy Prospect Breakouts post.

Willie Calhoun LAD, 2B – Smashed 2 more bombs this week, and now has a 36/24 K/BB with 14 homers in 67 games at Double-A. It is seriously hard to think of another prospect in the entire minor leagues with a better power/contact profile than Willie.

Alex Bregman HOU, SS/3B – Oh wait, I found one. Bregman has a 21/34 K/BB with 14 homers in 56 games at Double-A. He has maintained his power surge all season, and it is becoming clear that he is one of the very top hitting prospects in the minors.

Andrew Benintendi BOS, OF – I was smelling a hot streak coming on in week 9’s Rundown, and right on cue, Benintendi started to fill up the box score at Double-A. He slashed .333/.370/.667, with 2 homers, and 1 steal this week. He has only 4 homers on the season, but 3 of them have been in his last 9 games, so it looks like the power is coming.

Tyler Glasnow PIT, RHP – Pitched a 6 BB no hitter through 6 innings this week in classic Glasnow style. Control problems and all, I still have him as the third best pitching prospect in baseball behind Urias and Giolito.

Alex Reyes STL, RHP – Did someone say control problems? It took Reyes 100 pitches to throw 4.1 innings in his start on Saturday, racking up 6 K’s and walking 2. He now has a 15.6 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 26 IP at Triple-A.

Kolby Allard ATL, LHP – 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 5 K. It looks like the top high school pitcher chosen in last year’s draft is starting to shake that rust off after off-season back surgery.

David Dahl COL, OF – Double-D crushed two more homers this week, giving him 13 on the season, and made an over the fence, home run saving catch in the OF too. Please don’t pay any attention to the fact the fence looks a little on the small side.

Josh Bell PIT, 1B – Answered the Bell 3 times this week, giving him 10 homers and a .319/.408/.520 triple-slash in 67 games at Triple-A. He is doing this in one of the tougher parks and leagues for hitting, so this certainly looks like the power surge we have been waiting for.

A.J. Reed HOU, 1B – Reed is starting to heat up, slashing .357/.357/.607, with 1 homer, and 4 doubles this week. It brings his OPS up to .826 on the season, and I still believe he has the potential to make a major impact in fantasy leagues in the second half.

Austin Meadows PIT, OF – Promoted to Triple-A this week, and knocked 3 hits in his first game and then drilled a homer in his second. Not bad for a 21-year-old kid.

Max Kepler MIN, OF – Kepler has quietly been having a very nice season. He slashed .381/.435/.714, with 1 homer, and 1 steal this week for the big league club, and he now has a very respectable .750 OPS on the year in the majors. He isn’t going to have the eye popping homer or steal totals, but he will do a little bit of everything.

Chris Paddack MIA, RHP – Paddack no hit the Rome Braves at home last week, striking out 11 and walking 1 over 5 IP. He clearly wasn’t satisfied with that, though, as he faced them again on the road this week and threw 5 perfect innings with 8 K’s this time. Apparently the Braves don’t believe in hitting on any level. They also took pitchers with their first 6 picks of the draft this year! Either way, Paddack’s pitching line looks stupid so far on the year, 1.16/0.47/39 in 23.1 IP at Single-A, and if you have the space on your roster, I would definitely scoop this guy up.

Byron Buxton MIN, OF – Buxton went back to hitting like the worst kid on your little league team, collecting 4 hits in his last 12 games. As frustrating as it is, you just have to give him more time.

Carson Fulmer CHW, RHP – This season has been nothing short of a disaster for Fulmer. He gave up 6 ER in 4.1 IP this week, bringing his ERA up to 5.82 at Double-A. I had high hopes for him coming into the year, and the stuff is still there, but he is one of the biggest top 100 prospect fallers for me. He is also not helping the reputation of small right-handed starters everywhere, and just when they were starting to shed the negative stigma attached to them too.

Dillon Tate TEX, RHP – Tate is doing his very best to not be outdone by Fulmer, as he is having an awful season of his own. He went 5 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BB, 2 K in his start this week, and now has a 5.58 ERA at Single-A.

Dominic Smith NYM, 1B – Smith went ice cold this week, hitting .136, and his season triple-slash has now fallen to .260/.311/368 with 4 homers in 64 games at Double-A. With a bunch of other 1B prospects taking a step forward this year, Smith’s prospect stock has certainly taken a hit.

Brayan Hernandez SEA, OF – That isn’t a typo. Brayan with two a’s was a highly touted international free agent in 2014, signing with Seattle for $1.85 million, and he is the early breakout in Rookie Ball this year. He leads the Dominican League with 4 homers, to go along with a .358/.393/.660 triple-slash and 5 steals in 12 games. I wouldn’t jump on him quite yet, but you should definitely remember the name (which should be pretty easy considering the whole two a’s thing).

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 7

Every Monday, I will be running down some of the notable performances from around the Minor Leagues, or anything that might have caught my eye in general. Here is the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 7:

Corey Seager LAD, SS – My #1 ranked prospect in my pre-season top 100, Seager has been scorching hot of late, launching 5 homers in his last 12 games. The recently turned 22-year-old Seager is now slashing .273/.328/.472 with 7 homers in 44 games in MLB this season, after dominating there in 27 games last season. I think it’s time for the Dodgers to call him up to the next level. Oh wait, MLB is the highest level, you say? Damn this kid is good.

Andrew Benintendi BOS, OF – It looks like Double-A might have actually slowed Benintendi down a little bit, as he has struck out 5 times in 4 games, after striking out only 9 times in 34 games at High-A. I think he will figure it out and be just fine, but it is a reminder that he was far too advanced for High-A to begin with.

Anfernee Grier Auburn University, OF – Meet the Andrew Benintendi of the 2016 MLB Draft. I ranked Grier 11th overall in my continuing 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings: 11-21, and he has smacked 2 more homers since then. He is now slashing .366/.457/.576, with 12 homers, and 19 steals in 56 games in the SEC. I was tempted to rank Grier higher at the time I wrote the article, and I’m no longer tempted, because he will be in my top 10, and maybe even top 5 when I finish the rankings and put it all together.

Corey Ray Louisville, OF – My #2 ranked prospect on my MLB Draft Fantasy Prospect Rankings: 1-5, Ray jacked another homer and swiped another bag this week, giving him 14 homers, 37 steals (0 CS), and a .326/.398/.581 triple-slash in 56 games in the ACC. I ranked Kyle Lewis #1, but there is a real case to be made for Ray. They are really 1A and 1B at this point depending on what type of production you are looking for. While we are talking about draft prospects, my #3 ranked Draft Prospect, Zack Collins, launched another homer this week too, giving him 11 on the season.

Harrison Bader STL, OF – Little ole’ 3rd round pick Harrison Bader didn’t even need High-A, as he continued his assault on Double-A pitching this week, hitting another bomb (8) and stealing another base (6). If you haven’t checked out this excellent interview he gave to David Laurila over at Fangraphs, you should definitely give it read. My favorite part of the interview is where he talked about his hitting approach, and finished up by saying, “my primary goal is to make consistent hard contact.” That’s the attribute that made me so high on him to begin with, and if you hit the ball hard, the homers will come.

Yoan Moncada BOS, 2B – Everyone can’t stop gushing over Moncada’s hitting ability, and for good reason, but he has been nothing short of elite with his legs this year too. He stole 5 more bases this week, and now has 30 steals in 40 games, being caught only 6 times. That brings his minor league career total to 79 steals on 88 attempts in 121 games. For some reason, I still can’t get that excited about him. Oh that’s right, it’s because I’m a Yankees fan, and can’t get over how we let him slip through our fingers. I think I am in the 2nd stage of grieving, which is anger. That means bargaining and depression are coming next. Fun stuff.

Victor Robles WASH, OF – Popped 2 more dingers this week, bringing his season total up to 5 homers in 39 games. The power is showing up faster than anybody expected, and he is doing it while maintaining a .340 AVG and 20/10 K/BB. His upside is so sky high that it has to ask Air Traffic Control for clearance.

A.J. Reed HOU, 1B – Reed got back in action last night, going 1 for 2 with a walk and a strikeout. With Tyler White struggling of late, Reed can reach the big leagues in a hurry if he can get hot. If he is still available to stash in your league, now is the time to grab him.

Blake Snell TB, LHP/Josh Hader MIL, LHP – Snell: 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BB, 9 K – Hader: 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 ER, 8 K. Just two of the best lefty pitching prospects in the game doing their thing.

Julio Urias LAD, LHP – The 19-year-old Urias threw another shutout this week, and he hasn’t given up an ER in 6 of his 8 starts this year in the PCL. He now sits comfortably as the best pitching prospect in baseball. Unfortunately, he has risen in the Dodgers system faster than his yearly IP totals could keep up, and he is likely to be used out of the Major League bullpen in order to trick his arm into thinking pitching 3-4 times per week is less stressful than just starting once every five games. Baseball teams just love to exploit that imaginary loophole.

Alex Reyes STL, RHP – Reyes made his season debut last night after being suspended for 50 games to start the season, and he dominated, going 4 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BB, 8K. He might never be able to paint the black, but when you throw 99 MPH, you really don’t have to. Definitely get Reyes back on your redraft stash radar.

Dillon Tate TEX, RHP/Carson Fulmer CHW, RHP/Tyler Jay MIN, LHP – This three headed monster will forever be linked after they were all taken in the top 10 of the 2015 Draft. Tate (1.2 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BB, 1K) and Fulmer (2.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BB, 2 k) both threw up absolute stinkers in their last outing, while Jay (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BB, 6 K) kept rolling. Looks like Minnesota’s risk of taking a college reliever in Jay just might pay off.

Grant Holmes LAD, RHP – 5 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BB, 8 K in his start this week. He now holds a 9.6 K/9 and a 3.4 BB/9 in 42 IP at High-A. It’s nice to see his walk rate improve this year (4.7 BB/9 in 2015), but he’s been a bit more hittable, as well.

David Dahl COL, OF – 2 more homers and 2 more steals this week. Just another week at the office for one of the most exciting fantasy prospects in the game. The fact that he will get to play his home games at Coors Field almost makes my head want to explode.

J.P. Crawford PHI, SS – Promoted to Triple-A this week, where I’m sure he will continue to display his great, but thouroughly unexciting plate approach and moderate power/speed combo. I did still rank him 15th overall in the pre-season, and he can provide solid 5-category production at the SS position in the not too distant future.

Joey Gallo TEX, 3B – Gallo returned to action in Grande fashion this week after being out with a groin strain, mashing a homer in his 3rd game back. You can expect him to continue to be prospect blocked, and if I were a Gallo owner, I would be hoping he gets traded away at the deadline. Edit: He was just called up by Texas! I guess the Rangers are going to find playing time for him wherever they can.

Dansby Swanson ATL, SS – Has really turned it up a notch this week at Double-A, slashing .357/.400/.536 with 2 homers. It is nice to see him getting the power stroke going a little bit, and he now has 4 homers and 10 steals in 43 games this season. I honestly have no idea what Atlanta’s plans are with him and Ozzie Albies.

Alex Bregman HOU, SS/3B – Bregman mentioned in an interview recently that he gained 20 pounds of muscle this off season. Combine that with the 10 bombs (3 this week) that he has hit this season in Double-A, and I’m starting to think the power explosion is definitely for real. I projected him for 15 homers in the preseason, which was on the high side from everything I read, but 20+ looks to be the new expectation now. He does have only 3 steals on the year, so he might have traded some speed for power.

Jorge Mateo NYY, SS ¬ Mateo has now been successful in his last 7 steal attempts, after struggling there early in the season. He also tacked on another homer this week, and is slashing .313/.369/.528, with 5 homers, and 15 steals in 41 games at High-A. If he can keep this production up when he gets moved to Double-A, his prospect stock will soar even higher than it already is.

Mitch Keller PIT, RHP – Keller has been long overdue to make the Rundown, as he has been one of the fastest risers among the pitcher ranks this season. After struggling with a forearm injury last season, he has been on fire to start 2016, putting up a dominant pitching line of 1.40/0.69/52 in 45 IP. He has walked 3 guys all season. He throws a low 90’s fastball, plus curveball, and a developing changeup. Considering the success that Pittsburgh has had with pitching prospects in the recent past, Keller has a good chance of cracking many top 100’s if he can keep up his success this season.

Daniel Mengden OAK, RHP – Mengden is another fast rising pitcher who is long overdue for the Rundown. After dominating for 23 IP in a pitcher’s park at Double-A, he has done just as well at Triple-A in the PCL, going 27 IP, 2 ER, 16 Hits, 4 BB, 23 K in 4 starts. He fastball was seen topping out at 98 MPH earlier this year, and he throws a solid curveball and changeup as well. Mengden has a good chance of joining Oakland’s rotation later this season.

Jacob Faria TB, RHP – After struggling with his control all year, it was nice to see Faria absolutely dominate in his last outing at Double-A, going 7 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hit, 0 BB, 11 K. His K/9 has looked great this season at 10.1, but the 4.9 BB/9 is concerning. Considering he hasn’t had major control issues in the past, I think he will figure it out, and his last start was definitely a step in that direction.

Cody Bellinger LAD, 1B – After returning from a hip injury, Bellinger was ice cold to start the season, but he has absolutely caught fire of late, smashing another homer last night, giving him 3 this week and 4 on the season in 22 games at Double-A. He was a Cal League superstar last year, smashing 30 dingers, so displaying that power at Double-A is nice to see. I ranked him 95th in the preseason, and if he keeps powering up, he will rise fast in the rankings.

Hunter Dozier KC, 3B – The 24-year-old Dozier is officially back on the prospect map, as he has dominated since getting called up to Triple-A. He hit 3 more homers this week, bringing his season triple-slash up to .309/.382/.625, with 12 homers, and 4 steals split between Double-A and Triple-A. If you have been holding Dozier since he was a hyped 8th overall pick in the 2013 Draft, it looks like your patience is finally beginning to pay off.

Hunter Renfroe SD, OF – It must be hunting season, because Hunter Renfroe has been killing it this week as well, crushing 3 homers, bringing his slash line up to .327/.355/.588, with 8 homers, and 3 steals at Triple-A. He should get the call to the bigs at some point later this season.

Ryan McMahon COL, 3B – Smacked homers in back-to-back games this week, and McMahon is finally starting to break out of his early season slump. He also struck out only once, and there are finally some positives to point to for McMahon owners to get excited about.

Chris Shaw SFG, 1B – Shaw’s coming out party continues, smashing 3 more homers this week (one inside the park), bringing his season total up to 10 homers in 39 games at High-A.

Eloy Jimenez CHC, OF – The 19-year-old Jimenez is starting to unleash that massive plus power that made him a hyped international signing back in 2013. He crushed 4 homers this week, giving him 6 on the season, to go along with a .327/.363/.526 triple-slash in 39 games at High-A. The time to scoop him is definitely now.

Phillip Ervin CIN, OF – The 27th overall pick in the 2013 Draft, Ervin is slashing .228/.347/.439, with 5 homers, and 17 steals in 36 games at Double-A. I like a bunch of the other deep sleepers who I wrote about in previous Rundowns more than Ervin, but he has the kind of power/speed combo that is worth keeping an eye on in case he can even moderately improve his hit tool. He doesn’t have major strikeout issues, and he knows how to take a walk, so I don’t think hoping for improvement there is a bad bet.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016 Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Risers

Over one month of the Minor League season is in the books, and it is time to take a look at some of the notable fantasy baseball prospect risers from my preseason Top 100 Fantasy Prospects post. This list does not include players that were unranked, but have now cracked the top 100. I’ll have a separate post for them next week. Players like Bobby Bradley (#18) and Josh Hader (#21) are both off to excellent starts, but they are not included in this write-up, either, because I was so high on them to begin with. Andrew Benintendi (#8), Trea Turner (#23), Dansby Swanson (#25), and Alex Bregman (#26) are also not included for similar reasons. Enough with the small talk, here are the early season top 100 fantasy baseball prospect risers:

Graduates: Corey Seager (#1) LAD, SS, Byron Buxton (#2) MIN, OF, Steven Matz (#10) NYM, LHP, Nomar Mazara (#19) TEX, OF (25 AB until official), Trevor Story (#30) COL, SS, John Lamb (#40) CIN, LHP, Jon Gray (#100) COL, RHP

Risers

Brendan Rodgers (#24) COL, SS – The 3rd overall pick in the 2015 draft, Rodgers played well in his professional debut at Rookie ball (.273/.340/.420), but didn’t exactly dominate. The raw talent was huge and the scouting reports glowing, so while I wanted to be a little cautious coming into the season, I didn’t want to be too cautious. I was too cautious. Rodgers is straight beasting Single-A right now, slashing .363/.429/.637, with 7 homers, and 2 steals in 28 games, and it easily launches him into the top 10, maybe even into the conversation for #1 overall.

Victor Robles (#35) WASH, OF – Triple-slashed .352/.445/.507, with 4 homers, and 24 steals in 61 games splitting time between Rookie ball and Low-A in 2015. The scouts loved him so much it almost seemed like they had to physically restrain themselves in their write-ups of him. I trusted the huge numbers and the universal praise, and ended up ranking him relatively high. I wasn’t high enough. The 18-year-old Robles is doing exactly the same thing in full season ball this year (.345/.434/.500) and the restraints are now completely off when writing about this kid. He is one of the premiere prospects in the game, and moves right into the top 10 with Rodgers.

David Dahl (#47) COL, OF – Injuries have been a recurring problem in Dahl’s young career, and it resulted in a subpar season in 2015. He has always been a tooled up player, and he will call Coors Field his home, so he still cracked my top 50 in the preseason. This season has been a completely different story, as he is healthy and those tools are translating to monstrous numbers at Double-A, where he is slashing .280/.375/.602, with 9 homers, and 11 steals. I even graced him with the nickname Double-D a few weeks ago, because of the enhanced power he is displaying this season. Dahl is a top 20 prospect right now.

Harrison Bader (#51) STL, OF – One would have thought I was already absurdly high on Bader, seeing that not a single other prospect list even had him ranked, but gosh darnit, I was actually too low. He cranked 2 more homers on Tuesday, and his slash line at Double-A sits at a silly .379/.425/.605, with 7 bombs, and 4 steals. Bader moves up to somewhere in the top 30.

Jameson Taillon (#86) PIT, RHP – Nobody had any idea of what to expect from Taillon after not pitching for two full seasons coming off Tommy John Surgery, but we know what to expect now, and that expectation is dominance. He is running circles around Triple-A hitters in the early going, putting up a line of 1.69/0.78/32 in 37.1 IP. I would still like to see how his arm holds up the deeper into the season we go, but there is no doubt that Taillon is flying up the rankings. He sits comfortably within the top 30.

Ian Happ (#50) CHC, 2B/OF – I was debating whether or not I wanted to include Happ on this list, as he is definitely a riser, but has cooled off considerably since I wrote about him in my Week 3 rundown. He is striking out a lot at High-A, and hasn’t displayed huge power or speed, either. Having said that, he is still slashing .287/.393/.470, with 4 homers, and 5 steals in 31 games, and has a decent chance of maintaining 2B eligibility in some capacity once he reaches the big leagues. Happ will certainly move into the top 40.

Ozhaino Albies (#75) ATL, SS – Albies is a riser based almost solely on the fact he is moving through Atlanta’s system far quicker than I could have anticipated. He was an 18-year-old in Single-A putting up nice numbers last year, and now he is all of a sudden knocking on the door of the big leagues, after dominating Double-A and being promoted to Triple-A. My original projection on him hasn’t changed, but his ETA has, and Albies sits somewhere in my top 40.

Matt Chapman (#94) OAK, 3B – The question in the off season was how many of those 23 homers in 80 games at High-A were for real, and how many were Cal League inflated? We now know that they were all very real. Every single one of them. Playing in a pitcher’s park at Double-A this season, Chapman has mashed 9 dingers in 32 games, and has a .903 OPS. He is becoming one of the very best power hitting prospects in the game, and jumps all the way into the top 50.

Tyler O’Neill (#78) SEA, OF – Like Bader, O’Neill was another player who I was extremely high on compared to other prospect lists, and like Bader, I was still too low. O’Neill has been cruising through Double-A this season, triple-slashing .322/.383/.557, with 6 homers, and 2 steals in 29 games. His K% is down a bit, and his BB% is up a bit. Most importantly, he is still hitting the crap out of the ball when he makes contact. He is a top 50 prospect.

Renato Nunez (#73) OAK, 3B – Nunez can just flat out hit. He has elite bat speed, plus raw power, and has put up good numbers at every level. He has continued that this season at Triple-A, slashing .284/.341/.526 with 6 homers in 31 games. He currently plays 3B, but will likely end up at 1B or DH. I probably should have been higher on Nunez in the preseason, and he easily cracks the top 50.

Cody Reed (#65) CIN, LHP – Another riser who I probably should have been higher on in the preseason. The 6’5’’, 225-pound Reed throws a big fastball and a nasty slider that has K upside written all over it. He is off to a great start at Triple-A (24.2 IP, 4 ER, 16 Hits, 5 BB, 25 K) and has a direct path to the majors. Welcome to the top 50, Cody Reed.

Brent Honeywell (#71) TB, RHP – The 21-year-old Honeywell’s dominance in a pitcher’s league at High-A isn’t all that surprising, but it is too much to ignore. He has put up a pitching line of 1.30/0.84/46 in 41.2 IP, and while I don’t think this has him flying up the rankings, the performance deserves to be recognized. He easily moves into the top 60, and possibly top 50.

Tyler Jay (#98) MIN, LHP – Jay was a total unknown coming into this season, with Minnesota converting him from a reliever into a starter. There have been a few bumps along the road, but his season line now stands at 3.03/1.19/30 in 32.2 IP at High-A, and he hasn’t given up an ER in his last two starts, striking out 13 batters in 13.1 IP. His BB/9 also sits at a respectable 2.8 on the season. I’ve seen enough to move him into the top 60.

*2016 Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Fallers coming tomorrow

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)