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2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Prospect Report

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Welcome to the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Prospect Report

Happy Opening Day! No not the MLB opening day but instead the MiLB opening day is today May 4th 2021. All over the country minor league teams are gearing up to play competitive baseball for the first time since 2019. After not having minor league baseball in 2020, it really makes you miss the minor leagues. If you have never been to a minor league baseball game, I highly recommend you go check out a game.

There are tons of different levels and affiliates spread out across the country. I am sure you live within driving distance to a minor league stadium. Below is a map that displays all the teams separated by counties and who your closest team is.

 

Now let’s take a look at some top prospects that have been both promoted and demoted.

Be sure to check out John’s Top Prospects for 2021.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Prospect Report

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Promoted

Daniel Lynch, LHP, Kansas City Royals

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Lets start with the biggest news of the week. Kansas City promoted their top pitching prospect. In recent years Kansas City has really been aggressive in promoting their top prospects. So this should come as no surprise. Lynch is the 25th ranked prospect via MLB Pipeline and the Royals second overall prospect. Lynch is set to take Jake Junis’ spot in the rotation.

The Royals are promoting Lynch due to his upside. He features a a four pitch mix of fastball, change-up, slider, and curveball. He began throwing his fastball more often and it resulted in better velocity. His fastball currently sits mid 90s and can even reach 99 at times. His slider is his best secondary pitch, however his change-up has really made strides and could eventually become a good put away pitch.

Lynch is set to start his major league career against some tough opponents. His first start is scheduled against Cleveland and then followed up with a start against the White Sox on Saturday.

Lynch should be able to remain the rotation for the time being as he has the size, the endurance, and the stuff to be competitive at the major league level. I would be adding Lynch where ever available.

Shane McClanahan, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays

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Another top pitching prospect was recalled this past week. This time it was the Rays 4th overall prospect and their 2nd pitching prospect behind only Brendan McKay. This is not Shane’s first taste of the majors as he did make his debut for the Rays during the 2020 playoffs. He pitched out of the pen but unfortunately did not excel. It could have been due to the stress induced playoff atmosphere.

In his first start of the year he was on a restricted workload and finished with 4IP 5H 2ER and 5K. While the standard stats don’t scream dominate, he passed the eye test and he looked dominant. He was reaching triple digits with ease and making hitters look foolish at times.

Shane features a four pitch mix of fastball, slider, change-up, and curveball. He relies more heavily on the fastball and slider. He over powers hitters with his high end velocity and then uses the sweeping slider to put them away.

After pitching so well in his first start, the Rays awarded him with another start, tonight against the Angels. If he continues to pitch well he will force the Rays to either go to a six man rotation or continue to deploy Rich Hill and Michael Wacha in a tandem role. Either way I would be adding McClanahan where ever available. Especially if he still has RP eligibility in your league.

Daulton Varsho, C/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

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Varsho is not a top prospect anymore as he lost that tag back in 2020. However he is someone worth mentioning as he has the elusive catcher eligibility while not playing catcher. He was optioned to Triple A at the end of spring training and is now being recalled as the Diamondbacks are thin in the outfield, with Kole Calhoun hitting the IL this past week.

He has appeared in every game since being recalled and is off to a great start. In 9PA he is slashing 444/444/778 with a 1.222OPS and has scored four times.

He should be able to contribute with counting stats and maintain a high enough batting average that you wont regret starting him. Not only that but he will be able to sprinkle in the occasional stolen base.

Catcher can be a very troublesome position to fill as most catchers do not perform at an elite level. Therefore, as long as he has the catcher eligibility, Varsho is worth rostering and starting.

William Contreras, C, Atlanta Braves

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I know I know another catching prospect. This time it is the younger brother of Willson Contreras (the star catcher for the Cubs). William is Atlanta’s sixth ranked prospect via MLB Pipeline and debuted for the Braves in a limited capacity back in 2020.

Contreras was recalled from the Alternate Training Site this past Saturday as Travis d’Arnaud was placed on the IL and will miss significant time. William has drawn some similarities to Willson but unfortunately has he has not been able to produce to the same level as Willson.

William does not possess much power and has never hit more than eleven homeruns in a season and his career best HR/FB% is only 14.5%. If he can somehow improve the plate discipline and be more consistent at the plate he could hit in the 250-270 range.

With the d’Arnaud injury Contreras should get the at bats, so if you are desperate for a catcher I would add him. Otherwise I would leave William Contreras on the waiver wire.

Demoted

Keston Hiura, 1B/2B, Milwaukee Brewers

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Another shocking development this week is the demotion of Brewers starting first baseman Keston Hiura. Keston was once a top prospect that quickly rose through the Brewers farm system. Keston broke out in 2019 when he slashed 303/368/570 with 19HR and 49RBI in his debut season with Milwaukee.

However ever since 2019 he has not been able to regain his form. Since then his hard hit rate has fallen almost 13%. His batting average has been cut in half as he is only hitting .152 so far this season.

The strikeouts are the biggest concern for me. In both 2020 and 2021 he has had a strikeout rate higher than 30% and it has steadily increased since he debuted in 2019. At times he has looked lost at the plate and is chasing a lot of pitches off the plate. His chase% is up to 34% and his O-swing% is 37%.

The Brewers have taken notice and have sent Hiura back to the alternate site so he can continue to develop and get his swing back to 2019 form. His BABIP does remain generally low so there is still hope that with a little bit of coaching and development he should be able to rebound. I don’t envision Hiura to be down for long and I would venture to say he will be back with the big league club by mid summer.

Obviously he should remain a bench stash going forward, but if you don’t have the roster flexibility I would not blame you for dropping him in shallower leagues.

Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

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One of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball these past couple seasons was re-instated from the injured list this past Thursday. Then he was optioned to Triple A. Pearson strained his right groin at the beginning of spring training and re-injured the groin while working his way back a few weeks later.

The injury bug is something that Pearson has not been able to shake in his young career. However when healthy Pearson can be one the games top pitchers. Evidenced by his 32K% in the minors and his ability to generate soft contact.

It appears that Toronto wants him to regain his endurance and get some work in before rejoining Toronto. His stay at Triple A should be a short one as Toronto is dealing with several injuries in their rotation at the big league level.

I would continue to stash Pearson. As Pearson has huge K upside and will be back to dominating major league hitters in the very near future.

Logan Allen, LHP, Cleveland Indians

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Again not technically a top prospect anymore but worth mentioning here, as he is a young promising player that was hoping to breakout in 2021. Allen was really hoping to build on what was a successful 2020.

He started off by having a fantastic 2021 spring training where he was almost unhittable. He went 1-0 with 0.64ERA 0.86WHIP and 18K in 14IP.However once the regular season started the wheels fell completely off.

In five starts he is 1-4 with a 9.19ERA, 1.72WHIP and 12K. He has been downright bad and he is currently surrendering a ton of hard contact (46.3%) and has given up seven homeruns.

One of the bigger concerns with Allen is his velocity. His fastball velocity is currently down two miles per hour and the fastball is what is currently being obliterated (his fastball has an xBA of .404).


As of now, Logan can be left on waivers or dropped in all leagues, if not done so already. Hopefully he can go down to the farm and work on his stuff and can come back stronger later this season.


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About Jason Beckner

Jason is based in Chicago. He is a baseball junkie. He eats, sleeps, & breathes baseball. Has a passion for dynasty formatted leagues. All opinions expressed are that of his own. You can follow Jason on twitter at @JRBecks

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