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Fantasy Baseball Roundup: Lineup News, Injuries, Waiver Wire & Prospect Advice (Week 5)

Fantasy Baseball Roundup: Lineup News, Injuries, Waiver Wire & Prospect Advice (Week 5)

Welcome back to the best weekly column on the internet, as enter Week 5 of the fantasy baseball season.

The goal of this column is to give you the most fantasy-relevant information all in one place for a variety of league types to be your one-stop shop or at least the shop you have to hit on the way to all the other shops for fantasy baseball information. Join us for news, lineup and roster notes, injury updates, waiver recommendations for different lead types, prospect rankings, moves we made and a weekly deep dive into something relevant.

Hope you enjoy it. Please subscribe to the Fantasy Aceball podcast and follow me on Twitter for more fantasy goodness.

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Assistant Analyze Moves Who To Pick Up

Fantasy Baseball Roundup

A.L. Lineup & Roster Notes

  • Baltimore Orioles:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Gunnar Henderson is leading off against lefties and is a superstar, with six homers, four steals and a 14.8% barrel rate with a 96.9 EV to back that up.
      • Ryan O’Hearn is playing very well out of the three hole against righties.
      • Cedric Mullins has five bombs and three steals with a .263 batting average on balls in play (BABIP); he’s bouncing back strongly.
      • Colton Cowser is full-time now and is regressing back to his norm as he returns to Earth with a .278/.316/.444 slash over the last week.
      • Jordan Westburg is flying under the radar as perhaps one of the best draft values of the season as he’s slashing .317/.379/.600 with four homers and two steals. The power is back on after a slow rookie season. The average will come down as the contact rate is only 65%, but as long as the power is maintained, it won’t matter.
    • Rotation Notes:
    • Pen Notes:
  • Boston Red Sox:
  • Chicago White Sox:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • The White Sox signed Tommy Pham. Expect him to be the best player on the team until Luis Robert returns, though it sounds like it will take a week or two for him to get up to speed in the minors.
      • Eloy Jimenez is back in the lineup at cleanup.
      • Andrew Vaughn does not look good.
      • Gavin Sheets is showing a better hit tool in 2024 and much better power with a 12.5% barrel rate, 90.5 average EV and a 31% line drive rate.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • The White Sox are running a six-man rotation right now after bringing up Nick Nastrini and Jonathan Cannon.
        • Yes – Nick Nastrini
        • No – Jonathan Cannon
    • Pen Notes:
      • Michael Kopech blew a save this week, but he’s still the best guy for the closer job on the south side of Chicago.
  • Cleveland Guardians:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Steven Kwan is hitting .354, but it’s not sustainable and is boosted by a .391 BABIP, about 80 points higher than his career average. He only has a 2.8% barrel rate and 84.7 average EV. I would sell.
      • Jose Ramirez has an uncharacteristic 2.4% BB rate and 40.8% chase rate with EVs down across the board. While Ramirez has always been a slow starter and a bit streaky, the older he gets (31 this year), the more I worry about things like this with him.
      • Josh Naylor is not a .590 SLG guy, so sell to anyone who thinks he will hit 30 bombs. Besides that, the metrics are in line.
      • Bo Naylor, on the other hand, is showing some holes in his swing with a significantly worse hit tool than last year to date and a 38.5% K rate.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Tanner Bibee had luck on his side last year, but the weird thing is the K rate is down 4% despite the stuff numbers being pretty similar. The BB rate is up 4% despite throwing more strikes.
      • Triston McKenzie looks atrocious, but he will pitch against the Athletics this weekend, so let’s see how that one goes before we go full drop.
    • Pen Notes:
  • Detroit Tigers:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Kerry Carpenter moved to third in the lineup with Spencer Torkelson bumping back to fourth.
      • Colt Keith somehow has only a .245 BABIP despite an 80% contact rate and 89% Z-contact. He’s hitting the ball relatively hard but is hitting it on the ground too much. I’d say a large part of the slow start is bad luck and only partly based on the 47% GB rate.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Jack Flaherty‘s K and BB metrics are looking really good, but he’s been giving up a decent amount of contact and dingers. I’m a tad skeptical his ERA positively regresses toward his SIERA.
      • I’d buy Reese Olson. He should be punching out more guys than he has based on his swinging strike numbers. A 14% swinging strike plays for much better than a 19% K rate.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Nothing new.
  • Houston Astros:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • The Astros swapped things around in the lineup with Yordan Alvarez hitting second.
      • Yainer Diaz is off a bit as his barrel rate is only 4.6% to start the young season.
      • Chas McCormick has really been off a tick this year with contact rates way down, pop ups way up and zero barrels to start the season.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Justin Verlander is back to save the day, making his first start Friday (6 IP, 4 Ks, 2 ER).
    • Pen Notes:
      • Josh Hader nailed his second save down on Friday.
  • Kansas City Royals:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Don’t worry about Maikel Garcia‘s batting average… Wait, I said this last week. His BABIP is even worse, down to .170.
      • Vinnie Pasquantino has been on fire this week, hitting .429/.514/.929 with three bombs.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Sell Seth Lugo if you can. The K-BB is only 6.9% and he is running a 4.75 SIERA.
    • Pen Notes:
  • Los Angeles Angels:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • The Angels finally moved Logan O’Hoppe up the order to fifth, He has a 171 wRC+ on the season.
      • Taylor Ward is on a tear to start the season with six bombs, but he’s not a 20% HR/FB guy. He could still end up in the high 20s, though, with a fully healthy season.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Jose Soriano throws hard, but I’m not sure what to make of him yet… The sample size is too small.
      • Griffin Canning has regressed, with the fastball losing a couple ticks. He needs to stop throwing it so much and throw the slider more.
      • Tyler Anderson is not good; sell him if you can. He has a 9.8% K-BB rate and a 4.72 SIERA.
      • Reid Detmers looks elite. He has a 35.2% K-BB rate. He’s throwing more fastballs and changeups and the fastball is better this year with more vertical rise and spin.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Carlos Estevez has three saves, but is rolling with a 4.61 SIERA. He hasn’t walked anyone yet, which is keeping his luck rolling.
  • Minnesota Twins:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Ryan Jeffers is hitting second now after slashing .414/.452/.759 over the last week with two bombs.
      • Trevor Larnach is back and while in a platoon, he’s hitting fourth against righties. He hit a homer Friday night in his third game back.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Nothing new to report.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Jhoan Duran is throwing bullpens, so we should see him back by the first week of May.
  • New York Yankees:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Anthony Volpe is so good. Buy him if anyone is selling in dynasty.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Marcus Stroman is down in velo by two ticks and only has an 11% K-BB rate. I would sell if you can.
      • Luis Gil only has a 9.8% K-BB rate and has a 5.15 SIERA. Sell while you can.
    • Pen Notes:
  • Oakland Athletics:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Nothing new.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Ross Stripling is quietly the best Athletics starter, but that’s not saying much.
    • Pen Notes:
  • Seattle Mariners:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Jonatan Clase is starting in LF every day. While he has some big power and speed potential, his profile reminds me a lot of Ceddanne Rafaela or Jose Siri. You shouldn’t expect a good average or plate skills.
      • Julio Rodriguez is still getting roughed up to start the year. Long-term I’m not concerned, but this year may end up just being a down year for him.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Bryce Miller is looking studly this year, but is due some regression with a .172 BABIP against.
      • George Kirby has a 3.64 SIERA against a 6.64 ERA. Buy if you can.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Andres Munoz is striking out the world (33.3% this week), but the walk rate is still high at 13.3%.
  • Tampa Bay Rays:
    • Lineup Notes:
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Aaron Civale looks like an ace. The 24.7% K-BB rate and 2.96 SIERA don’t play.
      • Tyler Alexander is back in the rotation.
      • Ryan Pepiot has a 21.6% K-BB rate and 3.28 SIERA.
      • The Rays know what they are doing with pitchers, look at Zack Littell with a 19.1% K-BB rate and 3.29 SIERA.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Pete Fairbanks can not throw strikes this year; the leash may be getting shorter.
  • Texas Rangers:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Evan Carter is seemingly in a platoon even though he’s only had 10 ABs against lefties all season, which is annoying to do to a top prospect.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Michael Lorenzen is up and in the rotation with a rough first start of the season. I would not be buying in fantasy.
      • Dane Dunning is the ultimate Toby.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Kirby Yates seems to be the closer with two saves now.
  • Toronto Blue Jays:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • George Springer has a .230 BABIP and the plate skills are looking good. I would buy right now.
      • Daulton Varsho is killing it so far this season — .216 BABIP and he’s still managed four bombs.
      • Justin Turner will never age. At 39-years-old, he’s hitting .333/.424/.519.
      • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has a .226 BABIP; buy low if you can.
    • Rotation Notes:
    • Pen Notes:

N.L. Lineup & Roster Notes

  • Arizona Diamondbacks:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Corbin Carroll will be fine. He has a .246 BABIP and while his average EV and hard-hit rate are down, I expect positive regression.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Jordan Montgomery made his first start with the Diamondbacks Friday night. In six innings, he recorded three strikeouts, zero walks, and one earned run. He also picked up the win.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Kevin Ginkel is still rolling as the closer with three saves now.
  • Atlanta Braves:
  • Chicago Cubs:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Garrett Cooper is hot and starting. He does this every year and is worth owning until he gets hurt in deep leagues.
      • Michael Busch is on fire with a 19% barrel rate. Don’t expect this to stick. He will be good, but sell high if you can.
      • Christopher Morel has a .231 BABIP, so he’s a buy at this point.
      • Talking about bad BABIPs, Cody Bellinger is at .200. He is a career .283 BABIP guy, so expect positive regression.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Jameson Taillon is back and looked strong today in his first start with four strikeouts and zero walks in five innings.
      • Shota Imanaga is still dealing and might be a little more Kirby-like where the low BB rate is really his premier skill.
    • Pen Notes:
  • Cincinnati Reds:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Jeimer Candelario is still off to a rough start. I’m only like 70% on a rebound at this point — some dudes just get paid and disappear.
      • Elly De La Cruz had a bomb and three steals Friday night to bring his totals to six homers and 10 steals on the season.
      • Don’t forget I predicted the Christian Encarnacion-Strand bust thanks to fScores.
      • Will Benson‘s profile screams volatility. All tools; no hit or plate skills.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Nick Lodolo had another impressive start Friday night with six strikeouts and zero walks at home while only allowing one run.
      • Hunter Greene is still impressive showing spring stats don’t mean anything as he has a 22.8% K-BB rate, insane Stuff+ of 133 (second in baseball) and a SIERA of 3.10.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Alexis Diaz is doing a little better, but still off to a rough start with a 12.1% K-BB and 3.94 SIERA. He had a nice bounceback week, though.
  • Colorado Rockies:
    • Lineup Notes:
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Ryan Feltner might be a dude. He has an 18.9% K-BB rate and 3.46 SIERA. His best start was actually at home.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Stay away.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • The top of the Dodgers lineup is raking. Shohei Ohtani is hitting .360/.400/.640 with four homers and five steals.
      • Andy Pages is starting every day after the call-up, which is surprising. I thought he would be relegated to a fourth OF role.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • James Paxton looks terrible; sell if you can.
      • Landon Knack came up and had a nice first career outing with four strikeouts and one walk in five innings.
    • Pen Notes:
      • No update.
  • Miami Marlins:
    • Lineup Notes:
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Jesus Luzardo is still showing solid stuff; however, the walk rate is higher than it should be.
      • Edward Cabrera had a killer first outing, but let’s not anoint him the savior yet. He needs a few more starts to provide a decent sample size.
      • Ryan Weathers looks like an above-average option who can provide a decent amount of strikeouts. The CSW is 30.5% and the Stuff+ is 103 with a 109 on the fastball.
    • Pen Notes:
  • Milwaukee Brewers:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Sal Frelick is leading off now with Jackson Chourio on the back end of the lineup.
      • Jackson Chourio is doing exactly as I predicted — high tools with a Volpe-esque hit tool. If he follows Volpe up as a sophomore, though, you should buy now.
      • William Contreras is destroying with a 13.7% barrel rate and 95.4 average EV.
      • Sal Frelick is looking super Steven Kwan-ish.
    • Rotation Notes:
    • Pen Notes:
  • New York Mets:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Starling Marte looks back in shape, even at age 35. He is having a solid season.
      • Francisco Alvarez is in a rough patch right now, not barreling the ball.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Jose Butto looks like a stud through two starts. He is rocking a 25% K-BB rate and 2.88 SIERA through 12 innings.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Nothing new.
  • Philadelphia Phillies:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Bryce Harper has a .239 BABIP. With a career .322 BABIP, he will be fine.
      • Trea Turner started hot this season and should continue it. The numbers are all back where they were pre-Phillies.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Aaron Nola is a little rough right now with a 10.4% K-BB rate and 4.37 SIERA.
    • Pen Notes:
  • Pittsburgh Pirates:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Ke’Bryan Hayes is rolling. The only thing he’s missing are homers. He fell back to his old ways with a 57% GB rate.
      • Oneil Cruz is overrated. He hits the crap out of the ball, but the hit tool and plate skills are lacking.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Jared Jones is a top-10 starter with a 34.1% K-BB rate and 1.99 SIERA. Where was this guy hiding in the minors?
    • Pen Notes:
  • San Diego Padres:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Jake Cronenworth is continuing his torrid start with a 14.8% barrel rate.
      • Fernando Tatis Jr. is trying to stay on par with Elly De La Cruz, at least via his power. He is slashing .288/.374/.500.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • On paper, Joe Musgrove doesn’t look too hot. He has an 8% K-BB rate and 4.71 SIERA, but he has a 114 Stuff+, top-15 in baseball.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Robert Suarez is pitching to a 3.83 SIERA, below average for a reliever.
  • San Francisco Giants:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Matt Chapman is destroying the ball with a 93.2 average EV and 13.3% barrel rate. But he only has a .214 BABIP.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • Jordan Hicks is not as good as he looks — 13.8% K-BB rate and 3.74 SIERA.
      • Kyle Harrison is going to be volatile all year, kind of like Blake Snell. Harrison has a 20.6% K-BB rate and 3.52 SIERA through three starts, though, and looks good.
      • Blake Snell has been getting roughed up, but knowing him, all he is doing is providing a nice buying opportunity in fantasy leagues.
    • Pen Notes:
      • Nothing new.
  • St. Louis Cardinals:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • After a strong spring, Nolan Gorman has looked terrible, plate-skills-wise… He looks like Tyler O’Neil… Oh wait, he’s good now that he’s not a Cardinal.
      • Lars Nootbaar looks great under the hood but has a .214 BABIP.
      • Nolan Arenado is making contact but his power looks completely depleted.
      • Paul Goldschmidt sadly looks toast. I don’t think that’s the case, but I believe he will not return to his prime.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • A bunch of average starters and Sonny Gray, who might be a top-20 guy.
    • Pen Notes:
  • Washington Nationals:
    • Lineup Notes:
      • Luis Garcia has been around forever; he’s only 24, though, and finally coming into some power.
      • Buy Lane Thomas. He looks legit and is running only a .214 BABIP.
      • The Jesse Winker rebound might be real.
      • CJ Abrams is turning into a superstar.
    • Rotation Notes:
      • MacKenzie Gore has a 27.7% K-BB rate and 2.60 SIERA. It’s finally happening for him.
    • Pen Notes:

2024 FantasyPros Fantasy Baseball Discord Community Home Run Call Contest

Fantasy Baseball Injury Notes

  • SP Spencer Strider (Braves) – Strider had an internal brace procedure and will be out for the season. He should be in line for a full 2025.
  • SP Max Scherzer (Rangers) – Mad Max is way ahead of schedule (of course) and is now supposed to return by early May. He now represents one of the best values of the draft season; if not the best value.
  • 2B Ozzie Albies (Braves) – Albies hit the inured list (IL) with a broken toe after getting hit by a pitch. Based on my own broken toe experience he will probably be out 2-4 weeks and might not be stealing bags for another month after his return.
  • 3B Rafael Devers (Red Sox) – Devers is undergoing an MRI after a collision with the Hulk… I mean Tyler O’Neil.
  • OF Tyler O’Neil (Red Sox) – Of course he hit the IL after running into Rafael Devers in what looked like a collision that shouldn’t have been so bad. Hopefully, he’s ok. Concussions are a fickle injury.
  • RP Robert Stephenson (Angels) – Stephenson is out for the season before even throwing a pitch for the Angels with some sort of elbow injury. Treatment has not yet been announced.
  • SP Bobby Miller (Dodgers) – Miller had an MRI for structural damage in his pitching shoulder.
  • SP Garrett Whitlock (Red Sox) – Whitlock was placed on the IL with a minor strain of the oblique and could return in a couple of weeks.
  • SP Yu Darvish (Padres) – Darvish hit the IL with tightness in his neck and will be out for an undetermined amount of time.
  • SP Cody Bradford (Rangers) – Bradford was placed on the IL with lower back tightness. It’s not expected to be a long stint; however, back injuries sometimes linger. Sounds like a minimum stay.
  • 3B Jake Burger (Marlins) – The Marlins placed Burger on the IL with a non-detailed oblique injury and the expectation is he will return after a couple of weeks.
  • SP Tyler Wells (Orioles) – Wells was placed on the IL primarily for precautionary reasons, which perhaps infers this is because he was not pitching well.
  • SP Kyle Freeland (Rockies) – The Rockies placed Freeland on the IL with an elbow strain. He has no timetable for return. The expectation is there is no ligament damage.
  • SP Sawyer Gipson-Long (Tigers) – Gipson-Long is out for the season after undergoing internal brace surgery.
  • 3B Kris Bryant (Rockies) – I almost didn’t place Bryant here because he is so bad. But I figured I would mention his IL stint to further highlight how irrelevant he is for fantasy baseball.

Tim’s Top 5 Waiver Adds (12-Team Leagues)

Under 50% Owned (CBS)

Last Week: OF Lars Nootbaar (Cardinals, 48%), 1B OF Alex Kirilloff (Twins, 46%), SP Max Meyer (Marlins, 43%), OF Mitch Haniger (Mariners, 39%), RP David Robertson (Rangers, 33%)

NOTE: I have a goal to avoid repeats this year, so if there is a repeat on the list, there is a major reason to grab them.

  1. C Daulton Varsho (Blue Jays) 51% – Daulton Varsho is a bit of a cheat code here since he’s over 50% (just barely), but I keep seeing him get dropped in the leagues I play in. If he’s available in any 12-teamer, I’m biting. I’m dropping someone for him. He has a .205 BABIP, bringing his average down, while all his other metrics are right in line.
  2. OF Mitch Haniger (Mariners) 39% – Haniger is slashing .292/.370/.477, but that average will drop closer to .250-.260 because he’s running a high BABIP right now. The good news is he looks at home in Seattle and should provide some good counting stats for 2024.
  3. C Ryan Jeffers (Twins) 40% – Jeffers isn’t hitting the ball as hard as last year, but he is showing he can handle a full-time catching role and should maintain most of the positive metrics he showed in 2023.
  4. SP Jose Butto (Mets) 17% – Butto is only two starts in and I don’t think he’s nearly as good as the numbers I’m about to post, but he is definitely worth owning at this point and should continue forward as a starter for the Mets. Butto has a 25% K-BB rate and 2.89 SIERA through two starts vs. Kansas City and Detroit.
  5. 1B Ryan O’Hearn (Orioles) 34% – O’Hearn is posting career-best plate skills while also rocking a 17.4% barrel rate. Just when I thought O’Hearn was the spare wheel in this lineup to be replaced by Heston Kjerstad, O’Hearn turns it up another notch.

Tim’s Top 5 Waiver Adds (15-Team Leagues)

Under 30% Owned (CBS)

Last Week: OF Mark Canha (Tigers, 24%), SP Ben Brown (Cubs, 12%), 2B/3B Joey Ortiz (10%), RP Jeff Hoffman (Phillies, 14%), C Ivan Herrera (Cardinals, 18%)

  1. RP Joel Payamps (Brewers) 29% – Payamps looks to be the Brewers closer, at least for the time being with two saves in the last week after Uribe ran into some struggles.
  2. SS/OF Amed Rosario (Rays) 27% – Rosario is showing a career-best hit tool this season and career-best power metrics with a 10.5% barrel rate. We could see a 15/15 season with multiple position eligibility.
  3. SP Ben Brown (Cubs) 19% – Brown has a 31.9% CSW which portends to a higher K rate than he’s shown. Despite one terrible start, he’s looking smooth with a 4.00 SIERA and going six innings his last time out.
  4. SP Ryan Weathers (Marlins) 13% – Weathers seems like he has been around forever, but at 24 years old in a new organization, he is looking like a new player with a 30.5% CSW, 3.98 SIERA and 14.6% K-BB rate that is even more supported by a 109 Stuff+ on his fastball and 116 Stuff+ on the slider.
  5. SP Nick Nastrini (White Sox) 9% – Nastrini has only made one start before, but I was in on him pre-season and I think he’s going to be a dude. He looked good in his first start and might be the best starter on the White Sox for the rest of the season depending on who else they call up from the minors and when.
  6. (BONUS) SS Blaze Alexander (Diamondbacks) 19% – Alexander is showing a good hit tool thus far and more impressively a much better power tool than I had expected of him. He’s aided by a .406 BABIP, so keep that in mind, as he’s due for a batting average regression. He’s also showing he has the talent to be a starting player in the big leagues.

2024 Fantasy Baseball Probable Pitchers Two Start Pitchers

Tim’s Top 10 Redraft Prospects (Not promoted yet)

1. 3B Junior Caminero (Rays)

  • 2023 A+/AA: .324/.384/.591, 31 HR, 5 SB
  • 2023 MLB: .235/.278/.353, 1 HR
  • 2024 AAA: .318/400/.636, 2 HR, 1 SB
  • Age: 20
  • ETA: Early May
  • fScores: 103 fContact, 74 fDiscipline, 113 fPower, 97 fSpeed, 57 fDurability
  • Comp: Ronald Acuna without the wheels

Prime Skills: Probably the quickest bat speed in the minors. The hit tool is ridiculous and now the power is catching up. He could be one of the best hitters in baseball sooner rather than later.

Ranking Explanation: The arbitration deadline for Caminero should be passing some time in the next week. Whenever he is clear, we should be on the lookout for a potential call-up.

2. SP Paul Skenes (Pirates)

  • 2023 College: 122 2/3 IP, 209 Ks, 20 BBs, 1.69 ERA, 0.75 WHIP
  • 2023 Rk/A/AA: 6 2/3 IP, 10 Ks, 2 BBs, 5.40 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
  • 2024 AAA: 12 2/3 IP, 27 Ks, 4 BBs, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP
  • Age: 21
  • ETA: Late April / Early May
  • fScores: 45 fPDurability, 111 fStuff, 104 fControl, 112 fERA
  • Comp: Justin Verlander

Prime Skills: Skenes is more curve than slider, but his fastball is insane and his command is impeccable, especially the fastball. He throws high heat and has shown he’s durable and consistent. He has a good shot to spend most of 2024 at the major league level.

Ranking Explanation: Skenes is the best pitching prospect in baseball (unless you count Yoshinobu Yamamoto, which I think is cheating). He’s spitting absolute fire and looks like he could be a top-40 SP from the get-go once he’s promoted. They’re building him up slowly, but he is ready for the bigs once he is working five innings. This seems like we are only 2-3 weeks away.

3. 2B/OF Joey Loperfido (Astros)

  • 2023 A+/AA/AAA: .278/.370/.510, 25 HR, 27 SB
  • 2024 AAA: .297/.397/.797, 10 HR, 2 SB
  • Age: 25
  • ETA: Late April
  • fScores: 111 fContact, 96 fDiscipline, 93 fPower, 118 fSpeed, 76 fDurability
  • Comp: Christian Yelich (without the peak years)

Prime Skills: He has all-fields gap power and can hit oppo tacos with his bat speed. He has very good speed to go with a great hit tool and very good plate skills. He would be a killer top-of-the-lineup guy, but in Houston, it’s more likely he’s at the back of the lineup.

Ranking Explanation: Loperfido is ready for the big league club, but it seems like the Astros don’t want to promote him to be a super utility guy, they want to wait until he has full time ABs. Jake Meyers has been bad, so Loperfido could be closer than expected and is raking.

4. SP Christian Scott (Mets)

  • 2023 A/A+/AA: 87 2/3 IP, 107 Ks, 12 BBs, 2.47 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
  • 2024 AAA: 14 1/3 IP, 26 Ks, 3 BBs, 3.77 ERA, 0.91 WHIP
  • Age: 25
  • ETA: Early May
  • fScores: N/A
  • Comp: Zack Wheeler super light (basically a Wheeler fastball/slider without the other pitches)

Prime Skills: Scott has a rising fastball he just smokes guys with up in the zone as a big righty that averages 95-96 miles per hour (MPH) on the pitch. Scott has fantastic command and pins the fastball wherever he wants it, playing it off a slider, but the fastball is his K pitch.

Ranking Explanation: This dude is underrated as a college guy who spent time in the pen in 2022 and had an excellent year in 2023 as a full-time starter. He has a full-time starter’s arsenal, but needs to build up the innings. I think he’s right behind Skenes in call-up order.

5. OF James Wood (Nationals)

  • 2023 A+/AA: .262/.353/.520, 26 HR, 18 SB
  • 2024 AAA: .345/.465/.552, 2 HR, 5 SB
  • Age: 21
  • ETA: Mid May
  • fScores: 104 fContact, 103 fDiscipline, 117 fPower, 126 fSpeed, 58 fDurability
  • Comp: Lefty Aaron Judge

Prime Skills: Light tower power from the left side of the plate. He has a home run swing if we’ve ever seen one and has the biggest power upside of the top 10, even more than Wyatt Langford and Junior Caminero due to the huge 6-foot-7 frame.

Ranking Explanation: Wood has MLB-ready tools, but he does have holes in his swing due to his enormous size. He needs to find more consistency before he’s ready for the full-time transition to the big leagues to avoid the ups and downs. Wood is probably ready; the Nats can’t keep him down all year.

6. SP Drew Thorpe (White Sox):

  • 2023 A+/AA: 139 1/3 IP, 182 Ks, 38 BBs, 2.52 ERA, 0.98 WHIP
  • 2024 AA: 18 IP, 18 Ks, 4 BBs, 0.50 ERA, 0.78 WHIP
  • Age: 23
  • ETA: Late May 2024
  • fScores: fPDurability 61, 128 fStuff, 114 fControl, 134 fERA
  • Comp: George Kirby-light to Chris Paddack-ish

Prime Skills: Primarily a fastball, changeup guy (though the best attribute of the fastball is where he places it), Thorpe might remind Padres fans of former top Padres prospect Chris Paddack. He has a nice slider he mixes in between the two and has dominated the minors to date ala Mr. Paddack.

Ranking Explanation: Thorpe is looking great and I’m assuming he’s only in AA because they want him pitching to Edgar Quero. The big question will be how the fastball plays at the major league level because it’s sub-par.

7. OF Chase DeLauter (Guardians)

  • 2023 Rk/A+/AA: .355/.417/.528, 5 HR, 6 SB
  • 2024 AA: .243/.356/.378, 1 HR, 1 SB
  • Age: 22
  • ETA: Late May
  • fScores: 106 fContact, 122 fDiscipline, 113 fPower, 82 fSpeed, 28 fDurability.
  • Comp: A raw, light Bryce Harper (or lefty Matt Holliday)

Prime Skills: He’s shown a really strong hit tool and has some unrealized power in his small sample size at the minor league level. The pull power from his college days is tantalizing. Coming off injury, we need to see some health from this doubles machine.

Ranking Explanation: DeLauter starting the year in AA, rather than AAA could mean they intend to keep him down longer than expected or necessary, or it could mean the Guardians want to keep him close to home. We won’t know until he moves up a level to either AAA or the MLB, but his early struggles are not helping his case.

8. 2B Tyler Black (Brewers)

  • 2023 AA/AAA: .284/.417/.513, 18 HR, 55 SB
  • 2024 AAA: .323/.418/.477, 1 HR, 2 SB
  • Age: 23
  • ETA: May 2024
  • fScores: 90 fContact, 132 fDiscipline, 73 fPower, 143 fSpeed, 69 fDurability
  • Comp: Faster Ben Zobrist

Prime Skills: He has ridiculously good plate skills to go along with high-end speed, a solid hit tool and above-average power. Under the radar guy who will kill it at 2B.

Ranking Explanation: Black has had a killer year, vaulting himself way up the rankings by showing he has more speed than originally thought. He had a rough spring but is rebounding at AAA. If Willy Adames is moved or their 3B combo struggles, Black is next in line.

9. OF Jordan Beck (Rockies)

  • 2023 A+/AA Stats: .241/.365/.448, 3 HR, 3 SB
  • 2024 AAA Stats: .328/.419/.738, 5 HR, 1 SB
  • Age: 23
  • ETA: Late May, 2024
  • fScores: 93 fContact, 122 fDiscipline, 95 fPower, 97 fSpeed, 62 fDurability
  • Comp: A Hunter Renfroe and George Springer mash-up

Prime Skills: Big country boy with future 30-homer power. He has a little speed to boot and a nice arm. Unlike Renfroe, though, despite the strikeouts, he can take walks.

Ranking Explanation: Beck is at the right level now and we can see some contact issues; however, the power is legit and he has a tad bit of speed to boot. He also has a good eye for taking walks. He’s a future 12- or 15-team league fantasy asset. If Beck continues to produce and Sean Bouchard fails again in RF, how can they keep him down?

10. SP Mason Black (Giants)

  • 2023 AA/AAA: 123 2/3 IP, 155 Ks, 52 BBs, 3.71 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
  • 2024 AAA: 13 2/3 IP, 17 Ks, 3 BBs, 1.98 ERA, 1.02 WHIP
  • Age: 24
  • ETA: Early 2024
  • fScores: 78 fPDurability, 105 fStuff, 95 fControl, 104 fERA
  • Comp: Justin Verlander-light

Prime Skills: Big dude who reminds me of Michael Lorenzen on the mound with a good fastball/slider combo. The slider is better than the grade he has on it and is his main strikeout pitch. He’s a smart kid and knows how to pitch a game.

Ranking Explanation: Black is dealing at AAA in the Pacific Coast League (PCL), a hard thing to do. I like Black a lot, especially with the team context, but him coming up requires an injury or innings overload with someone else already in the rotation.

Honorable Mention: SP Ricky Tiedemann, 1B Kyle Manzardo (Guardians), SS Colson Montgomery (White Sox), SP Cade Horton (Cubs), SP Adam Mazur, SP Robby Snelling (Padres), 3B Coby Mayo (Orioles), OF Jakob Marsee (Padres), OF Drew Gilbert (Mets), SP David Festa (Twins), SP Jacob Misiorowski (Brewers), SP Carson Whisenhunt (Giants), OF Andy Pages (Dodgers), SP Chase Petty (Reds), 2B/SS Jett Williams (Mets), OF Blake Dunn (Reds), SS Brooks Lee (Twins), SP Ty Madden (Tigers), SP Hurston Waldrep (Braves), 2B Thomas Saggese (Cardinals), OF Dylan Crews (Nationals), SP Tekoah Roby (Cardinals), SP Chase Hampton (Yankees), SS Carson Williams (Rays), 2B/OF Luisangel Acuna, OF Sterlin Thompson (Rockies), 1B Tyler Locklear (Mariners), SP Carlos F. Rodriguez (Brewers), 3B/OF Justyn Henry-Malloy, SP Cristian Mena (Diamondbacks), 2B Connor Norby (Orioles), SP Mick Abel (Phillies), SP Mike Vasil (Mets), SP Gordon Graceffo (Cardinals), SP Will Warren (Yankees), OF Jacob Melton (Astros), SP/RP Wilmer Flores (Tigers), 2B Justin Foscue (Rangers), SP Jake Eder (White Sox), SP Richard Fitts (Red Sox)

Graduated (this week): SS Jackson Holliday (Orioles), SP/RP Ben Brown (Cubs)

Graduated (this year): OF Wyatt Langford (Rangers), OF Jackson Chourio (Brewers), SS/OF Jackson Merrill (Padres), OF Victor Scott II (Cardinals), 2B/3B Colt Keith (Tigers), SP Jared Jones (Pirates), SS/3B Darell Hernaiz (Athletics), 3B/OF Graham Pauley (Padres), RP Clayton Beeter (Yankees)

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