Fantasy Baseball

2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 1 Prospect Report: A Prelude


So, this is an introduction to a prelude. What is this – Inception? Am I writing this in a dream right now? If so, I’m going to be mad because I am lazy and don’t like redoing work.

If you are a Fantasy Six Pack lifer and have a strange feeling in your gut, it is true. I have given up my pitching planner duties after three years and am now providing prospect reports. You know what that means – wacky intros, unrelated themes, and lots of thought process in writing. Yep, you get that exclusive look into the indecisive, over-anxious mind of this author. Good luck!

I have taken on this challenge with much vigor and motivation. If you read my Texas League preview a couple of weeks ago, you understand this and God bless your soul because it was a doozy. I’ll be providing videos of my fake scouting trips in these reports and also giving the news and highlights of the minor league week. Additionally, I may present some deep dives for the dynasty player in that incredibly large league that doesn’t even see Tim Tebow on the waiver wire.

Since we don’t have much to go off of this week, I have decided to keep it simple and not go too crazy with the statistics. I wanted to present five big questions that could impact dynasty rankings in a huge way going into 2020. First, I tried to think ‘big picture’ from an organizational standpoint, then backtrack it to fantasy. I have also avoided the bigger names like Vlad, Tucker, and Senzel because how many freaking articles do we need on them? I expect the names listed below to wind up in many prospect reports to come.

2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 1 Prospect Report

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Will the Nationals continue to be aggressive with their promotions?

Under the current regime, Washington has been known to move guys up quickly. From Bryce Harper to Stephen Strasburg to Juan Soto most recently, if the player is ready by their standards then screw the standard call-up schedule.

The question now is who will be the next player(s) to get that same treatment. The major opportunity stares us in the face with Trea Turner going down with a broken finger on his throwing hand. News outlets are unsure of his recovery timetable, but it appears that he will miss at least a month of not much more. It’s safe to say that the brilliant actor Wilmer Difo and the ghost of Howie Kendrick won’t provide enough oomph at shortstop, so we naturally look to the minor league system.

There are two high-ceiling options that the Nationals could look at between Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia. Kieboom shows up in the top 25 for most 2019 fantasy prospect rankings while Garcia is inching his way up those same rankings by the level. Kieboom, 21, received an aggressive assignment to Triple-A despite a lackluster performance in 62 games at the Double-A level last year. Meanwhile, Garcia, 18, seems to be getting the full Soto treatment with a Double-A assignment. If I were a betting man, the safe money has to be on Kieboom.

If we’ve learned anything though, it’s that if either of these guys gets that opportunity, he immediately warrants a pickup in redraft leagues on principle.

Which San Diego starter below Triple-A climbs the ladder the quickest?

The Padres have an embarrassment of riches in the minor league system, especially in starting pitching. There are guys at every level that have starting staff potential in the next few years. Chris Paddack and, surprisingly, Nick Margevicius are already getting their shots in the big league rotation. Meanwhile, Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill are knocking on the door at Triple-A.

However, it’s the guys at the levels just below that that interest me the most. Outside of Paddack, I’m not buying any of those guys as frontline starters a couple of years from now. These guys I’m interested in have that ceiling that has dynasty owners foaming at the mouth. Adrian Morejon and Michel Baez gained the upper hand with their assignments to Double-A Amarillo. MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patino, and Anderson Espinoza are nipping at their heels though at High-A Lake Elsinore.

With the depth they have here, it’s either outduel your peers or hope to be traded. Using 2019 to figure out which of these pitchers is which will be a deciding factor in 2020 dynasty rankings.

Can the Marlins prospects make the new regime finally look smart?

There has been much ado about the Marlins current rebuild. Trading away all of those MVPs and all-stars will do that to you. However, there were many interesting players received in exchange for Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and JT Realmuto and it’s now their burden to make the fairly-new Marlins regime look intelligent. Lewis Brinson and Sandy Alcantara are already up and trying to make their statement, but what about the rest of the return? What is a reasonable time frame for this and how do we address it in fantasy leagues?

Most believe the highest upside resides in Sixto Sanchez. He certainly fits the mold of a frontline starter and is beginning the year in extended Spring Training before joining the Double-A squad. How strict will the Marlins be on his innings this year and does that hurt his chances to join the rotation before late 2020? How does he pitch with six toes? I’ll show myself out now.

Additionally, there are some standout talents in the field that could make quick impacts. Fantasy owners salivate over the power-speed prowess of Monte Harrison and Isan Diaz. While the plate discipline hasn’t been great in the past for either of those players, there are reasons to be optimistic moving forward. Harrison ripped up the Arizona Fall League and Diaz boasts a career 12.5% walk rate in the minors. Does Harrison get a call-up at all this year? Can Diaz push his way into the big leagues this summer and provide a fantasy line similar to Yoan Moncada?

Whatever the case may be, it may take another year to properly assess the rebuild of the Marlins. These guys plus the mystery that is Victor Victor Mesa will play the largest role in whether or not Miami relinquishes its bottom-feeder status.

Will an outfielder from the White Sox system break out in 2019?

This one feels like it’s going under the radar. The White Sox recently gave top prospect Eloy Jimenez a nice contract and threw him in the big league outfield. Otherwise, the starting outfield consists of Leury Garcia and Daniel Palka. Assuming you aren’t Palka dancing to the jams of Garcia, there appear to be multiple openings for the long-term.

Chicago has a few directions it could go to fill those voids as soon as 2020. Luis Alexander Basabe is the closest to the big leagues and provides a high-floor play in center field. After this, it gets very interesting. Luis Robert presents the most upside out of the bunch and, perhaps, the lowest floor. His glove plays up in center though, which gives him an advantage long-term over Basabe. Micker Adolfo and Blake Rutherford will also have something to say about that other corner outfield spot. The latter three are all at Double-A Birmingham, which should be extremely fun to watch while it lasts.

Time will tell who will prevail in this battle of young outfielders. I’ve got a keen eye on it!

Which valuable prospects are subject to trades by their contending franchises?

Every year we see some big-name prospects change jerseys at the trade deadline and it definitely affects their rankings and timelines. If you thinking switching teams is tough for big leaguers, imagine being a minor leaguer and asked to juggle all of the not-so-fun aspects of moving on their budget. After going through many relocations in my lifetime, it sounds like hell.

New York Yankees

So, which contenders have the goods in the minor league system and should be aggressive? Well, let’s start with two very obvious ones. The Yankees are running a hospital right now with all of their IL guys. It should get better in the next month, but they could get antsy. I think the biggest name here is Estevan Florial, who they may deem ‘expendable’ given their current depth in the outfield that is locked up for the next several years. The oft-injured (and currently injured) prospect has an electric skill set when he’s out there and would shoot up prospect rankings if he went to a team with a void in the outfield.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Next, we take a look at the Dodgers. Now, they don’t have anyone with the ceiling of Florial, but they have many players that could be everyday regulars if given the opportunity. With their starting pitching depth, it wouldn’t surprise me if they dangled the likes of Dennis Santana, Dustin May, or Yadier Alvarez. Additionally, they could afford to ship DJ Peters considering their crop of young MLB outfielders.

Atlanta Braves

Finally, as a diehard fan, I really hope the Braves seize an opportunity to sell some prospects for win-now talent. After signing Ronald Acuna Jr. to an eight-year extension, the contention window is here. You can’t start 15 guys in a rotation, so it’s probably okay to give up a few for an outfielder or elite reliever. For me, this list would include Luiz Gohara, Kolby Allard, Joey Wentz, and Kyle Muller. These are guys that could be top pitching prospects in quite a few systems, but lag behind the likes of Kyle Wright, Mike Soroka, Touki Toussaint, and Ian Anderson in their current one. (Again, this is likely wishful thinking from a desperate Braves fan.)

Yes, there are other contenders out there with good prospects to consider, but this was just to bring up the topic. This will be a separate section in the prospect report each week to keep track of trades that could alter the fantasy baseball landscape.

Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

About Tyler Thompson

Follow me on Twitter at @therealwody. For all the latest news and best advice out there, like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

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