25 Prospects to Help You Win Your League (Fantasy Baseball)
When we shift the discussion from dynasty leagues to redraft leagues, we have to change out lenses, especially where prospects are concerned. In your dynasty leagues, you’ll want to grab the next Vladimir Guerrer, Jr. or Wander Franco, where you can afford to wait on the teenage prodigies for a few years. For redraft leagues, you only need to worry about the prospects that will make a difference this year for your team.
The depth of your league will determine if you can afford to roster some of these players or not, but every year, we see an expected contributor (see Acuna, Ronald) and a prospect that no one expected to contribute (see Soto, Juan).
Here are the top 25 prospects that you need to consider drafting in your redraft leagues, and why they can help you win a title.
- Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. (3B – Toronto) – The best prospect we’ve seen since Mike Trout. He’s projected to win the batting title as a rookie, according to Steamer. He has no flaw in his fantasy appeal, aside from his lack of speed. He’s a slam-dunk pick in the third round.
- Victor Robles (OF – Washington) – Robles has a starting job to begin the year, and he possesses what Guerrero doesn’t: top speed. He could come at a discount this year after Soto overshadowed him last year.
- Eloy Jimenez (OF – Chicago White Sox) – Not far behind Guerrero with his hit tool and is the safest bet you can make to hit 35 home runs each year as a prospect. How’s Jose Quintana looking for you, Cubs?
- Nick Senzel (3B – Cincinnati Reds) – Where, oh where, will Senzel play? He’ll get his reps, no matter the position. He has Alex Bregman-type upside with the best hit tool outside of Guerrero.
- Kyle Tucker (OF – Houston) – Similarly to Senzel, Tucker doesn’t have a path to everyday at-bats thanks to the signing of Michael Brantley. He’s better than Josh Reddick, and there’s still a chance he could be moved to Miami for J.T. Realmuto, which would give him a starting job.
- Peter Alonso (1B – New York Mets) – The slugging first baseman won’t win the starting job out of camp, but he should be up around May for the Mets. He possesses big-time power, which will help those in roto and category leagues.
- Alex Reyes (SP/RP – St. Louis) – His role is unknown, and he still qualifies as a prospect by 0.1 inning. He has frontline-ace potential still. If not, he can be a lights-out closer for the Cardinals for 2019.
- Ty Buttrey (RP – Los Angeles Angels) – Buttrey looks like the lead candidate to lock down saves for the Angels in 2019. He recorded four last season, and he can be had in the later rounds if you want to wait on closer.
- Nathaniel Lowe (1B – Tampa Bay) – I prefer Alonso to Lowe as a player, but I prefer the value you can get between the two with waiting for Lowe. After trading Bauers, Lowe is just a call away to take over as the first baseman of the future.
- Jesus Luzardo (SP – Oakland) – Billy Beane said that Luzardo is going to make an impact this year for the A’s, but we don’t know when that will be. With three-plus pitches, he’s as polished and MLB-ready as we’ve seen from a pitching prospect in quite some time.
- Josh James (SP – Houston) – Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Collin McHugh have the first three rotation spots locked down for the Astros, and after the departures of Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, and Lance McCullers (injury), James looks to have the inside track on the fourth rotation spot. The hard-throwing righty impressed last year, and if he’s a fixture in the Houston rotation all season, he’s going to return significant value for fantasy owners.
- Francisco Mejia (C – San Diego) – With Austin Hedges rumored to be in trade discussions, Mejia looks poised to be the Padres starter all season long. He has a lot to work on defensively, but he’s an automatic top-10 fantasy catcher, given the offensive upside and the position as a whole.
- Forrest Whitley (SP – Houston) – 2018 was a lost year for Whitley with his suspension and injury. The Astros will bring him along slowly, but he should make his debut around the All-Star break.
- Garrett Hampson (2B – Colorado) – The Rockies hate their young players. The Daniel Murphy signing shouldn’t hurt Hampson, but the uncertainty of it, along with the Rockies rumored to be in on Brian Dozier before he signed with Washington, has him lower on the list. He has fantastic stolen base upside.
- Luis Urias (2B – San Diego) – Urias’ calling card is his bat, and he’ll be the table-setter for the Padres. Expect a high batting average and a lot of runs. As a bonus, he should gain shortstop eligibility for this year.
- Alex Verdugo (OF – Los Angeles Dodgers) – Verdugo may be dealt, but either way, he’s looking to get his first extended run in the big leagues. You can expect around a .270 average with 10-15 homers.
- Danny Jansen (C – Toronto) – With Russell Martin out of town, the discount you were getting on Jansen in early drafts is going up in a cloud of dust. He’s a top-12 catcher with good plate discipline and some pop.
- Mike Soroka (SP – Atlanta) – Soroka would be higher on this list, but there’s still a lack of clarity about who is going to fit in the Atlanta rotation. Julio Teheran, Kevin Gausman, Mike Foltynewicz, and Sean Newcomb are all locks. The Braves have been linked to free agent pitchers and trade candidates. Plus they have a plethora of other pitching prospects who are major-league ready in Touki Toussaint, Kolby Allard, Bryse Wilson, Max Fried, and Luiz Gohara. The lack of a guaranteed role has him lower.
- Taylor Widener (SP – Arizona) – Widener led all minor leaguers in strikeouts last year. With the Diamondbacks looking to be in rebuild mode, Widener should see the rotation this year. He was advanced for Double-A, so getting some time at Triple-A should be a good test for him.
- Keston Hiura (2B – Milwaukee) – Hiura could be the Opening Day starting second baseman for the Brewers, and no one would bat an eye. He has an elite hit tool, and his power will continue to grow. He’s more likely a July call up for the Brewers, though.
- Touki Toussaint (SP – Atlanta) – See Soroka, Mike.
- Brent Honeywell (SP – Tampa Bay) – 2018 looked as if it would finally be Honeywell’s year. Unfortunately, he fell victim to Tommy John surgery, which puts his return midseason 2019. He’s more of a stash for the final couple months of the season.
- Bo Bichette (SS – Toronto) – After Toronto manipulated Guerrero’s service time last year, there really is just a glimmer of hope that Bichette will break into the bigs this year. 2020 seems more likely, though.
- Fernando Tatis, Jr. (SS – San Diego) – If anyone is going to be compared to Guerrero this year, it’s Tatis. He would be ready around May to join San Diego, but the Padres are going to hold him down. I have a feeling “he needs to work on his defense” will be the contrived reason.
- Brendan Rodgers (SS – Colorado) – Again, the Rockies don’t like their young players. There is no place for Rodgers to play, barring and injury, and he looks to be the 2020 replacement for Nolan Arenado. There’s an outside shot, though, that we see him in Coors Field this year, which would make him an immediate pickup.