Braves’ Austin Riley, Tigers’ Christin Stewart Are Top Prospects To Monitor
Here are the next potential Major League arrivals that could help your team. Keep an eye on these prospects.
Despite the small sample size, with rookies like Fernando Romero, Gleyber Torres, and Ronald Acuna Jr. enjoying early season success, more teams will be tempted to promote their top prospects in order to improve their big league clubs. Torres and Acuna are names that the savvy Fantasy Baseball player should have recognized and were likely already owned in most leagues. However, the Fantasy Baseball owner with the best chance at winning their league will dig deeper and familiarize themselves with the names that the average Fantasy Baseball player doesn’t know about. I’ve identified another five prospects who should be on your Watch List. You may recognize one or two of them, but I’ve included some names that even I had never heard of until I started doing research for this article.
Austin Riley, 3B
Powered by young players promoted from within like Ozzie Albies and the aforementioned Acuna, the Braves have been a fun team to watch so far this season. Other than third base, their infield seems set for several years to come. We know Jose Bautista isn’t the Braves’ long term answer at the hot corner but maybe Austin Riley, who was recently promoted to Triple-A, is the solution. Riley is a power hitter who has endured his fair share of hot and cold streaks, however he’s improved his approach at the plate and that’s helped him to gradually become a more consistent hitter. Austin, who has a naturally long swing, adjusted the way he grips the bat and changed where he stands in the batter’s box, and those subtle modifications improved his bat speed and helped him make better contact at the plate. Despite his tendency to get off to slow starts, Riley has compiled an impressive minor league career .284/.347/.501 slash line. If Riley can handle Triple-A pitching, he may end up joining the Braves at some point during the second half of the season. If not, he should definitely compete for their starting third base job next spring.
Michael Kopech, SP, Chicago White Sox
Kopech is one of the top pitching prospects in the game. He features a blazing fastball that lives in the upper 90 mph range and often reaches triple digits. He also throws a hard slider and a sinking changeup that with a bit of refining, can eventually develop into his third plus pitch. Kopech has sometimes been his own worst enemy. He served a 50-game suspension for using a banned stimulant in 2015, and he broke his hand after getting into a fight with a teammate in 2016, but Kopech has the kind of stuff that could potentially make him a frontline big league starter. So far this season he’s striking out 11.4 batters per nine innings. Unfortunately, he’s also walking 3.9 batters per nine innings. His control has been a concern throughout his career as his disappointing overall 4.3 BB/9 suggests. Kopech has the skill set that could help him develop into a big league ace, however in order to fulfill his potential he’ll have to stop handing out free passes. Kopech should see big league action before the 2018 season is done.
Christin Stewart, Outfield, Detroit Tigers
Some scouts believe that Stewart will eventually develop into a serviceable outfielder, and others believe he’ll end up as a full time DH. However, almost all scouts agree that his power bat is real. Stewart entered this season having hit 58 home runs in the past two seasons. Stewart can hit for power to all fields. Although he may never hit for a high average, Stewart has a quick compact swing and his plate discipline has improved throughout the course of his career. He’s got a good eye and that has helped him consistently post double digit walk rates and contributed to his above average .363 lifetime OBP. Unfortunately, Stewart doesn’t have the greatest glove and he’s a bit of a plodder on the basepaths. However, his ability to hit the long ball, drive in runs and get on base should help keep his bat in a big league lineup for the long haul. Look for Stewart to possibly make his Major League debut at some point this season.
— Glenn Geffner (@GlennGeffner) May 7, 2018
Ben Meyer, SP, Miami Marlins
Ben Meyer is another very talented prospect who doesn’t get much press, but with the Marlins looking to rebuild their team from the ground up he has the potential to become a crucial member of their future starting pitching rotation. Meyer, who has been both a starting pitcher and reliever in his minor league career, has been extremely effective this season. He has started six games for the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate. Meyer’s 7.9 K/9 is a bit lower than his 9.4 career rate, however, he has pitched to a sparkling 2.10 ERA and his WHIP is an outstanding 0.85. Meyer is a control pitcher who doesn’t give up home runs. He’s made adjustments to his mechanics within the past year which have added some life to his fastball. Last season it topped out at 93 mph, but it has recently been measured at 95 mph. In addition, Meyer’s slider has become increasingly effective and his off speed offerings have been increasingly effective.
Josh Rogers, SP, New York Yankees
Admittedly, Josh Rogers is not the first name that comes to mind when discussing top Yankees pitching prospects. Domingo German dominated in his first career start in place of the injured Jordan Montgomery, but if the Yanks have an immediate need for another starter, Rogers may be someone they consider promoting. With Chance Adams struggling a bit in Triple-A, the Yanks might turn to Rogers, who so far this season is pitching to a 3.15 ERA and a 9.4 K/9 rate. Rogers isn’t your prototypical fireballer, but his fastball tops out in the lower 90 mph range and has good movement. In addition, his curveball and changeup induce batters to make weak contact. He has exhibited excellent control throughout his minor league career, and if his secondary offerings continue to develop, Rogers has the potential to develop into a serviceable mid to back end of the rotation starting pitcher.
Christin Stewart Featured Image: (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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