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. Keston Hiura, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers
2019 stats: 48 G, .322/.389/.684, 16 HR, 6 SB, 18 BB, 51 SO at Triple-A San Antonio; 17 G, .281/.333/.531, 5 HR, 1 SB, 3 BB, 23 SO at Milwaukee.
Hiura went 1-for-9 with four strikeouts to put a bit of a damper on his first week back in Triple-A, but he homered three times in the two previous game, and he's up to 21 already in just 65 games. Meanwhile, Travis Shaw is swinging the bat so-so, hitting .214 over his last 10 games with the Brewers; eight of those since he was called back up off the San Antonio roster. Keep an eye on how Shaw does just as much as how Hiura does, the two absolutely go hand-in-hand. Either way, I expect Hiura back up soon, and to perform well. Again.
2. Luis Urias, INF, San Diego Padres
2019 stats: 52 G,.333/.427/.673, 16 HR, 6 SB, 28 BB, 47 SO at Triple-A El Paso; 11 G, .083/.241/.125, 0 HR, 0 SB, 4 BB, 11 SO at San Diego.
Urias has seen his average drop 24 points in the last 12 days, but that has more to do with needed regression than anything else; it's hard to hit .360 forever. There were some recent reports of Urias coming up soon, but there were also some conflicting reports that suggested the Padres were worried about some timing issues with his bat. I think it's more about a different kind of timing issue. Urias is ready to play, and should be added when the Padres make the right decision to call him up.
3. Brendan Rodgers, INF, Colorado Rockies
2019 stats: 35 G, .356/.421/.644, 9 HR, 0 SB, 14 BB, 25 SO at Triple-A Albuquerque; 21 G, .246/.300/.277, 0 HR, 0 SB, 4 BB, 22 SO at Colorado.
Rodgers wasn't awful in his time with the Rockies over a month, but he wasn't particularly good, and Colorado made the decision to send him down on Saturday. The long-term future is obviously still very bright, but I wouldn't give up on him helping in 2019, either. That sample size is too small, and we've seen countless numbers of hitters perform much better in their second tour. I rank him behind Urias and Hiura for two reasons: I think both get called up sooner, and I will no longer trust the Rockies to play their young call ups. Still, his talent is too great for him not to have a spot in the top three of this list.
4. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
2019 stats: 64 G, .287/.360/.649, 23 HR, 15 SB, 27 BB, 63 SO at Triple-A Round Rock.
Goodness gracious is Tucker hot right now. Over his last 10 games for the Express, he's hitting .435 with five homers, and over his last four games, he's picked up at least two hits; including a two-homer game against Tacoma on Saturday. Tucker is as good of hitting prospect in baseball, and it's amazing to think where these numbers would be if not for his ugly April. The only reason Tucker doesn't rank at the top of the list are the questions about playing time.
5. Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Tampa Bay Rays
2019 (pitching) stats: 12 G, 1.31 ERA, 61.2 IP, 35 H, 12 BB, 83 SO at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.
This is all escalating very quickly. McKay was sensational on Saturday against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, allowing just one hit over five scoreless frames with a walk and seven strikeouts. On top of that, the 23-year-old is starting to swing a hot bat with the Bulls, and his OPS as a hitter is up to .906 with three homers over 10 games. Again, the reason McKay is a top prospect on this list is because of his pitching, but the hitting -- potentially -- could be a nifty added bonus. It wouldn't be a surprise if the playoff-contending Rays gave McKay a chance to face hitters at the highest level soon.
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6. Carter Kieboom, INF, Washington Nationals
2019 stats: 51 G, .294/.414/.556, 9 HR, 3 SB, 33 BB, 44 SO at Triple-A Fresno; 11 G, .128/.209/.282, 2 HR, 4 BB, 16 SO at Washington.
Kieboom is starting to swing the bat better as of late, and he's picked up hits in six-of-seven games for the Grizzlies. Similar to what happened with Urias, this is not a case of inferior talent, but just a case of a hitter not being able to stay hot forever. The struggles happen for everyone. Kieboom should get another chance to play everyday for the Nationals before the summer comes to an end, likely as a second baseman next to Trea Turner.
7. Corbin Martin, RHP, Houston Astros
2019 stats: 8 G, 2.70 ERA, 33 1/3 IP, 27 H, 17 BB, 40 SO at Triple-A Round Rock; 5 G, 19.1 IP, 5.59 ERA, 23 H, 12 BB, 19 SO at Houston.
Martin struggled in his first start after being demoted last Sunday, but he was much better this week against Tacoma, striking out eight and giving up just two runs against the Rainers. Martin did walk three, and command has been an issue as of late at both the Triple-A and MLB level as of late. It's also worth noting that Framber Valdez has looked excellent since taking Martin's place in the rotation. That being said, the upside here is obvious, and the fact he's already on the 40-man roster is worth considering, too. Martin has the stuff to be an effective starter, and he should get another shot with Houston before 2019 comes to an end.
8. Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago White Sox
2019 stats: 12 G, 4.37 ERA, 57.2 IP, 61 H, 25 BB, 60 SO at Triple-A Charlotte.
Cease was better on Friday against Rochester than his previous outing, but considering he went just two-thirds of an inning against Louisville last Sunday, that isn't saying much. He walked three and allowed four earned runs while striking out one. Control has really been an issue as of late for the 23-year-old, with 14 walks over his last four starts, and three each in his previous two. I can't help but be reminded of Michael Kopech; who had similar command issues at this point last year before dominating and earning his promotion to Chicago. Even with the recent struggles, I think there's every reason to believe that can happen with Cease.
9. Ryan Mountcastle, INF, Baltimore Orioles
2019 stats: 59 G, .305/.329/.516, 12 HR, 2 SB, 9 BB, 62 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.
There hasn't been much to write home about for Mountcastle as of late, and over his last 10 games, he's hitting just .220 with a homer and 14 strikeouts. Not great, but -- and yes, this is the theme of the week -- you cannot stay hot forever, especially when you're a 22-year-old who doesn't draw walks. Mountcastle still has a chance to hit for average and power, but he's going to need to start heating up again before he's considered for a call-up. The talent suggests that should happen, however.
10. Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox
2019 stats: 60 G, .353/.403/.603, 12 HR, 18 SB, 13 BB, 58 SO at High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.
Robert is human, too. He's currently mired in a 0-for-15 run over his last four games, and his average with Birmingham has plummeted 34 points from .341 to .307 with the Barson. It's pretty clear that I'm not concerned, because he wouldn't be on this list if I was. Robert is a five-tool player who would absolutely be worth an addition if/when the White Sox give him a promotion. There are obviously no guarantees of that happening, but it's a nice reminder.