Fantasy Baseball

2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 21 Prospect Report: Greet Me with a 40

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Eazy-E wouldn’t be scared to take chances on big-name prospects in his fantasy playoffs if he were with us today.

It’s been a minute since my last prospect report and I apologize. Rather than look backward like I normally do, I thought it would be a better exercise to look forward. With September on the way and rosters expanding to 40 players, there will be some high-profile players in line to make an impact for their major league teams down the stretch.

For the sake of this article, I’m going to focus only on players who are already on their respective 40-man rosters. Next week, I will review the players who forced their way onto the 40-man roster from the outside.


There are four key hitters that I believe could be viable fantasy starters in September if given the opportunity. These are obvious names with prior big-league experience, but it’s important to look at their situations in the final month of the regular season. View this as a redraft league stash list of sorts…

2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 21 Prospect Report

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Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros

Key Stats

Tucker’s got a fantastic 0.269/0.352/0.560 slash line in 117 games at Triple-A in 2019. His 2018 Triple-A stats were even better. A short stint in the majors did not go well, but he’s ready to prove that an outlier. In 19 August games, he’s got a 0.973 OPS, 10 XBH, and 6 SB.

One of my favorite splits to look at with Tucker is his ability to hit regardless of pitcher handedness. This season, he’s sporting an 0.897 OPS against lefties and a 0.919 OPS against righties. In 2018, his OPS against lefties (0.968) was only 26 points lower than his OPS against righties (0.994). He’s a complete hitter and will provide a bump to what is already considered by many to be the best offense in baseball.

September Outlook

There are a couple of paths to playing time for Tucker as it stands. The first is if the Astros get a little creative and move Yuli Gurriel to third. Tucker has played an error-free first base in his 65 innings logged there, so he could definitely fill in there. However, with Aledmys Diaz on pace to return this weekend, they may want to just throw him back at third and leave Yuli at first.

The next option is for the Astros to just give up on whatever this Josh ReddickJake Marisnick platoon is. Just throw Tucker in left field and see if he can run away with the job.

Regardless, there are avenues to fantasy success for Tucker and he tops this list in upside and opportunity.

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Clint Frazier, OF, New York Yankees

Key Stats

Frazier’s key statistics come from his major league play this year. His hitting was very fantasy-viable with a 0.283 AVG matched with an 0.843 OPS across 209 plate appearances. While the hitting was great, the defense was a bit of a liability at times for the Yankees. Every Statcast measurement (notably his -14% Actual-minus-Expected catch percentage) paints the picture of a below-average fielder.


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September Outlook

With that fielding liability, Frazier will need at-bats at designated hitter to make a name for himself. The Yankees cannot catch a break with the injury bug, which as led Mike Ford to the lead man at DH with Cameron Maybin mixing in at-bats. There’s a path there for Frazier to dominate DH duty and fill in as needed for guys like Mike Tauchman and Brett Gardner on off days or as platoon-mates.

Or they could get another injury, ya know?

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Nate Lowe, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays

Key Stats

The stats for Lowe are eerily similar between 85 games at Triple-A and 30 games in the majors this year. That’s especially impressive given the Rays keep playing games with his heart with call-ups and options. Jim Gaffigan high voice: Was that a Backstreet Boys reference? How many subtle music references is he going to do?

Anyway, it’s a 0.294 AVG across both levels, then just six points separate the OPS and wRC+ in Triple-A (0.516/139) and the majors (0.510/133). The dude is a monster hitter and, should the Rays let him take the reigns at first, he’ll turn into a top 10 fantasy first baseman immediately.

September Outlook

How do we get those at-bats in September though? Perhaps it’s easier to picture than I originally thought. Jesus Aguilar has put up okay numbers since joining the Rays, but the ISO is way down and those numbers are propped up by three or four monster games. Otherwise, it’s been more like 70 wRC+ hitting from him. Meanwhile, Ji-Man Choi is just average and has not been great since the All-Star Break.

Strangely enough, both guys have hit lefties very poorly in 2019. With Lowe hitting both lefties and righties well in Triple-A, that might be his shot to consistent playing time at 1B and DH.

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Carter Kieboom, SS, Washington Nationals

Key Stats

Despite an aggressive assignment to Triple-A, the 21-year-old managed to strike for a 125 wRC+. His approach is mature beyond his years with a 13.4% walk rate and a 19.9% strikeout rate. The ability of the Nationals to get the most out of their young hitters is amazing and disgusting for my fellow Braves fans.

September Outlook

Kieboom has the most difficult path to playing time among my four key stashes. Howie Kendrick deserves playing time against lefties with his seasonal stats. Brian Dozier is doing his typical second-half thing. Asdrubal Cabrera and Matt Adams are both hitting well in the second half, but they may be the first ones to fall by the time Kieboom gets a roster spot.

What I foresee is a three-man rotation between Dozier, Kendrick, and Kieboom (in that order) down the stretch with Adams filling in against righties and Cabrera serving more of a utility/bench role. Ultimately, Kieboom should see at-bats against lefties by way of Matt Adams and, possibly, Adam Eaton sitting. He’s only a pickup in leagues that allow daily roster editing.

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Other Notable Players

Hitters

  • Oakland’s been on a hot search for some offense in their playoff push. They may look to infield farm-hands Franklin Barreto and Jorge Mateo to do just that. It seems like we’ve been talking about them for years! Now, they may finally get their shot at playing time. In fact, they may steal work from each other over the season’s final month.
  • If we play the ‘talent wins out’ game, Kevin Cron has got to find a way to at-bats in Arizona. He’s putting up video game numbers in Triple-A, hitting 60 homers in 178 games at Triple-A between 2018 and 2019. To be fantasy-relevant, Cron needs poor performance or injury between Christian Walker, Jake Lamb, or Wilmer Flores.
  • Mauricio Dubon and Willi Castro are both versatile infielders that could find playing time with their respective teams. I wouldn’t expect much from them fantasy-wise. However, they could be found in your dynasty leagues and used as MI fill-ins on short slates during the weekdays.

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Pitchers

  • Brendan McKay has some poopy topical stats on his FanGraphs page. However, his stuff has looked electric in his brief stints with the Rays. He’s still working through the location on his pitches, but the movement on them is insane and it’s obvious that he has frontline potential moving forward. As for now, he should be next-in-line and Tampa hasn’t exactly had a healthy rotation as of late.
  • Just behind McKay in the pecking order for starts, Jose De Leon provides an interesting flier pickup for those in dynasty leagues that gave up on him. Although, he was probably picked up when he made a spot start a week or so ago. In any event, De Leon has looked good in 50-ish innings after a long hiatus.
  • While it hasn’t been a picture-perfect year for Logan Allen, the opportunity for September starts could still present itself. Cleveland has had many issues with their starting staff this season and Allen could give them quality outings. Don’t look too much into his starts at Triple-A Columbus – he’s giving up a career-high fly-ball rate and HR/FB.

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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  1. Pingback: 2019 Fantasy Baseball Week 21 Hitting Planner: Bigger in Texas - Fantasy Six Pack

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