Prospects Worth Stashing in Redraft Leagues (2023 Fantasy Baseball)
Ah, prospects. Everyone’s favorite subject, including mine. They represent all that is good in the world and hope for a better tomorrow. We constantly overpay for them in drafts, but every once in a while, we strike gold with a Julio Rodriguez type which gives us the confidence to do it all over again.
This season, there really isn’t anyone with as high of a ceiling as Rodriguez or even Bobby Witt Jr., but there are a few players on the precipice of making a major impact. Today we’ll be focusing on prospects that likely won’t make the MLB roster out of Spring Training but are still worth stashing in redraft leagues. Some will make a bigger splash than others, but all of them could be valuable assets by the second half of the season, if not a whole lot sooner.
- Top Prospects by Position: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | P
- Top 25 Impact Prospects for Redraft Leagues
- Prospects to Acquire in Dynasty Leagues | Prospects to Trade Away
- First-Year Player Draft Rankings
- Unheralded Prospects to Target
- Dynasty Trade Advice: Targets | Trade Away
- Shiny New Toy Syndrome
Prospects to Stash in Redraft Leagues
Walker is in the top 10 on most prospect lists, but he’s still just 20 years old and hasn’t played more than a handful of games in the outfield – the position he’ll be expected to play for the Cardinals. Blocked by superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado, the team decided to move Walker late last year to the grass, hoping it would fast-track him to the Big Leagues. It shouldn’t pose much of a problem for the extremely talented, former first-round pick, but reports say he still needs a bit of work. He really wasn’t cut out for third base anyway, and his rocket arm will play nicely in right field.
With the team wanting Walker to get a few more reps in the outfield (which he also did this Fall in the AFL), Walker is still likely to see some time down on the farm. He also hasn’t played above Double-A yet. There is always the chance he explodes during the Spring, and St. Louis decides to make him a part of their Opening Day roster, but barring an injury, that’s not likely to happen.
All that said, Walker’s 56 XBH, including 19 homers and 22 steals over just 119 games last year, is extremely promising. The 6-foot-5 outfielder with an 80 future power rating (the highest projection possible) has all the tools to become the next big star in St. Louis. He should be selected near the end of all drafts.
Colas may not get the Opening Day nod, but even if he’s sent down, it shouldn’t be long until the Cuban native is brought back up. The White Sox don’t have a ton of great options for right field, and none of them match the skill set of Colas. The top candidate would be Gavin Sheets, but after a nice partial season in 2021 (124 wRC+), he regressed to the league average last year (100 wRC+). He struggled to reach base with a .295 OBP, and his power numbers fell heavily with an ISO (isolated power SLG-BA) that dropped an even 100 points.
Colas did strike out at a very high clip, which doesn’t bode well for transitioning to the Majors. But it was his first year playing in the states, and the rest of his numbers: 23 homers, a .314 average, and a .356 OBP(across all three levels) were exemplary. The White Sox GM is also on record stating Colas will be given every opportunity to earn the job out of Spring Training. But honestly, early May feels more realistic. Walker has the higher ceiling, but Colas will likely join the Big League roster sooner. Both are worth stashing near the end of drafts.
Mervis was a candidate to be the Opening Day first baseman or even designated hitter this year until the Cubs went out and signed Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini. Both veterans will be given the first crack to fill those roles, given their contracts and history. Neither was great last year though, so it may not be long until the club turns to their former 39th-round draft pick.
Mervis came out of nowhere last year, mashing an impressive 36 home runs across three levels in the Minor Leagues. The majority of his season was spent in Triple-A, where he not only continued to hit dingers but registered a .297 batting average as well. He also walked (10.4%) nearly as much as he struck out (14.6 K%).
To slug nearly .600 while only striking out one in every seven at-bats is nearly unheard of in today’s game. The 6-foot-4 lefty hit .300 in Double-A as well while clubbing 14 homers over 203 at-bats. Mervis even continued his onslaught this year in the Arizona Fall League, where he crushed six more long balls over 61 at-bats with just eight strikeouts.
Mervis has found something special, and it’ll be impossible for Chicago to ignore for too long. There’s a good chance by May, Mancini will end up platooning with Hosmer, opening up a spot for the mashing 24-year-old. If given the opportunity, Mervis could be a candidate for Rookie of the Year and is worth a stash in most fantasy leagues.
Barring a miracle, Rodriguez won’t make the Opening Day roster. Pittsburgh signed pitch-framing specialist Austin Hedges in the off-season and recently added clubhouse favorite Kevin Plawecki. But as likable as those two veterans are, neither can touch what Rodriguez brings to the table offensively.
Baseball America’s 23rd-ranked prospect produced a cumulative .323/.407/.590 triple slash line across three stops in the Minor Leagues last year. As impressive as that was, he actually did his best work in the upper Minors. Against the tougher competition, Rodriguez registered an eye-popping .371/.441/.693 line across 41 games in Double and Triple-A. He also limited his strikeouts to one in every 6.7 plate appearances.
Perhaps his most intriguing calling card is his ability to play multiple positions. Rodriguez is not only decent behind the plate but also plays 1B, 2B, and OF. If the Pirates decide to stick with Hedges behind the plate to help progress their young pitchers, then Rodriguez could find himself playing all over the diamond. If he goes undrafted in your league, keep an eye on his development and stash him if you’ve got the room.
It’s always difficult to select a guy coming off of an injury, but the Twins are likely to handle Lewis’ return with extreme caution. He won’t arrive until he’s fully ready, which means he should be able to contribute to your squad.
The real question is, will he still steal bases coming off such a grizzly injury? He didn’t in his 12 MLB games before he got hurt, so maybe not. But he did swipe 12 bags in just 34 games last year before earning his call-up and 22 in his last healthy season before.
Even if he doesn’t steal, he’s still going to contribute in the other four categories and could hit near the middle or top of the order. You’re going to have to wait until around the All-Star break to see any action from him, but if your league has IL slots, he’s definitely worth an add now. I’d rather stash the guys previously listed because they’ll likely make a much earlier impact, but Lewis could pay hefty dividends in the second half.
Oswald Peraza, also a top 50 prospect, will likely get the first crack at the Yankees’ starting shortstop job. Slightly older than Volpe and with a bit of Major League experience, he is the logical choice if he hits well this Spring. As the season progresses, however, Volpe could easily force their hand.
The soon to be 22 year old has speed to burn and valid power. Although Volpe’s numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, most of that can be chalked up to a rough start of the season. From May 18th to September 1st, Volpe crushed 27 doubles, three triples, and 14 home runs over 81 games – equivalent to half a Major League season. He also stole 29 bases and walked 38 times over that span.
It may be a while until Volpe experiences the Bronx firsthand, but his upside makes him a worthy stash in deeper leagues. His speed alone makes him an intriguing prospect, but if he eventually earns the job, you’re going to want him on your team.
- Andrew Painter (SP – PHI)
- Francisco Alvarez (C – NYM)
- Hayden Wesneski (SP – CHC)
- Elly De La Cruz (SS – CIN)
- Ricky Tiedemann (SP – TOR)
- Brandon Pfaadt (SP – ARI)
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Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.