A reminder that this is strictly a list for 2019. Several of these prospects are among the best in baseball, but for the purpose of this series, it’s just measuring potential impact for this season. Also, a reminder that prospects who are on MLB rosters are not eligible for this list, nor is any player that has exhausted his prospect eligibility. You can view my top 100 prospects for 2019 and my top prospects by position in our Rotoworld MLB Season Pass.
Without further ado, here’s the top 10 fantasy prospects that can help you in the 2019 season.
1. Nate Lowe, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
2019 stats: 82 G, .297/.419/.529, 15 HR, 1 SB, 58 BB, 72 SO at Triple-A Durham; 30 G, .294/.365/.510, 5 HR, 0 SB, 10 BB, 29 SO at Tampa Bay.
This was tough. Let's make things clear: Lowe is not as good of baseball player as Luis Robert or Gavin Lux. He's not particularly close. That's not an insult, those are two of the very best prospects in baseball. But I put Lowe at the top of the list because while talent matters, so does a guarantee of a call-up, and Lowe is a lock to get a promotion to Tampa Bay when rosters expand. He also has a chance to hit for average, get on base and give you a decent amount of roundtrippers, as well. If there's just one prospect to stash right now, I'd make it Lowe.
2. Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox
2019 stats: 108 G, .335/.387/.625, 27 HR, 36 SB, 25 BB, 113 SO at High-A Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham, and Triple-A Charlotte.
Robert had two homers on Sunday, although it's worth pointing out that one of them came off of Dioner Navarro. Yes, that Dioner Navarro. Still, the impressive season for the 22-year-old continues, and he's got a chance for a 30-homer, 40-steal season. That's pretty ridiculous. Even though there's absolutely no guarantee that he gets a chance to play for the White Sox, I still would stash Robert. The upside is just too high.
3. Gavin Lux, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
2019 stats: 103 G, .352/.423/.617, 24 HR, 10 SB, 55 BB, 96 SO at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Lux has seen his average in Triple-A plummet all the way down to .415 due to his struggles over the last four games. Yes, this is dripping with sarcasm. When asked about a promotion for Lux last week, Andrew Friedman gave a poignant, clarifying answer of "I don't know." Like Robert, he's worth stashing even if he's not guaranteed a promotion because he's a shortstop who can do a little bit of everything. It can't hurt this deep in the season.
4. Carter Kieboom, INF, Washington Nationals
2019 stats: 98 G, .308/.412/.525, 16 HR, 3 SB, 57 BB, 71 84 at Triple-A Fresno; 11 G, .128/.209/.282, 2 HR, 4 BB, 16 SO at Washington.
Kieboom is starting to swing the bat like the top prospect like we've seen for most of the year after his mini-funk, and even when the hits weren't falling, the walks were still there, and still are (seven in his last 10 games). Brian Dozier is hitting just .190 in his last 10 games, and it's getting tougher to say that he's an upgrade over Kieboom as Trea Turner's double-play partner. He'll be up in September, and when he does get that call, he'll be worth a speculative add because he has a chance to get solid playing time.
5. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
2019 stats: 113 G, .268/.353/.570, 32 HR, 28 SB, 48 BB, 103 SO at Triple-A Round Rock.
Tucker is hot with the bat right now -- although he did go just 1-for-7 over his final two games against Oklahoma City -- and is hitting .324 with four homers, seven walks and four stolen bases in his last 37 at-bats. Tucker is a lock to be promoted to Houston when rosters expand, and there's at least a decent chance the Astros are going to give him a chance to play when they do. He'll be worth adding to your roster when that happens, as the chance to hit for power and steal bases at the highest level would be foolish to pass on. He's a better 2020 option, but there still is a chance for 2019 value.
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6. Nick Solak, 2B/OF, Texas Rangers
2019 stats: 114 G, .291/.363/.536, 27 HR, 5 SB, 45 BB, 104 SO at Triple-A Durham and Nashville.
Solak wasn't exactly struggling before his trade to the Rangers; he owned a solid .838 OPS with Triple-A Durham. That being said, to say that the 24-year-old has been better since the deal is an understatement, as he has a .357/.390/.670 line in 115 at-bats with the Sounds with a .455 average over his last 10 games. Solak has the ability to hit for average and power from the right side, and he isn't immune to drawing walks. He played both the outfield and second base for the Durham Bulls before the move, but he's been mostly at the latter since moving to Nashville. It would be a shock if he didn't get a chance to play everyday for the Rangers before 2019 came to an end, and the talent suggests he can be a fantasy relevant player from the jump.
7. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
2019 stats: 113 G, .312/.342/.522, 22 HR, 2 SB, 20 BB, 108 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.
Mountcastle homered twice last week, which is nice, but that wasn't the most encouraging thing we saw from the 22-year-old. Mountcastle walked three times, and he was issued free passes in back-to-back games to end the week. That brings his total to a paltry 20, but it's nice to see that he's being more selective at the plate to end the year. Mountcastle isn't on the 40-man roster so he may not see a promotion this year, but the ability to hit for average and power from the right side make him worth fantasy consideration, for sure.
8. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Oakland Athletics
2019 stats: 8 G, 27.2 IP, 3.25 ERA, 24 H, 3 BB, 38 SO at short-season AZL, High-A Stockton and Triple-A Las Vegas.
Luzardo made his return to Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday, and it didn't go very well. He allowed four runs over 3 1/3 innings on six hits, and he struck out just one. While I'd prefer to see Luzardo have had more success, it's hard to care too much; it's one start, and it's just nice to see Luzardo healthy right now. He has some of the best stuff of any prospect in baseball, and his ability to throw it for strikes make him ready to help right now. The only reason he ranks this low is that he may join the A's in a bullpen role that would diminish the fantasy relevance.
9. Mauricio Dubon, INF, San Francisco Giants
2019 stats: 115 G, .298/.340/.471, 18 HR, 9 SB, 25 BB, 66 SO at Triple-A San Antonio and Sacramento; 2 G, .000/.000/.000, 0 HR, 0 SB, 0 BB, 1 SO at Milwaukee.
A couple of newcomers this week, as Mitch Keller has graduated and the Angels (essentially) announced that Jo Adell won't be making his debut in 2019. Dubon, 25, is a shortstop who has a chance to hit for a high average while providing some power, and he should provide some steals as well. He's also already on the 40-man roster, and there's a good chance he could be an everyday player for the Giants down the stretch when rosters expand; if not sooner.
10. Justus Sheffield, LHP, Seattle Mariners
2019 stats: 25 G, 133 IP, 4.13 ERA, 121 H, 59 BB, 133 SO at Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Tacoma; 1 G, 3 IP, 6.00 ERA, 2 H, 4 BB, 30 SO at Seattle.
Welcome back to the list, Mr. Sheffield. He's actually coming off his worst start as a member of the Travelers, but there's no denying that the demotion to Double-A worked; he's not only posted a 2.19 ERA in 78 innings, but he's posted an 85/18 K/BB mark there. That's a vast improvement to the 48/41 mark he had in 55 innings with Tacoma. Sheffield's stuff was never in question, and the fact that he's throwing it for strikes should excite fantasy owners. It's understandable if you're reticent to believe in someone who had a 6.87 ERA in Triple-A, but I'm a believer, and I'm asking for your trust.