Top Prospects to Tab for Fantasy Baseball’s Second Half
These prime prized prospects can help your Fantasy teams very soon
Here we are, at the All-Star break; the unofficial midpoint of the MLB season. Even though teams have all played far more than 81 games, it’s fashionable to say the second half of the season starts now. The reality is, MLB teams and your Fantasy team shouldn’t be lulled into some false sense that there’s a ton of baseball left, with a lot of time to fix problems and make a run.
Teams like the A’s, Twins, and Nationals will have some tough decisions to make over the next two weeks, as will you. We are now into Week 17 of a 26-week season, and this week is shortened because of the All-Star game. The reality is, there are only nine weeks of baseball left. That isn’t much time to make moves. This is where the hard decisions are made.
If you are not in a keeper league, you may simply be playing out the string for bragging rights; trying to stay out of last place, or just staying in front of a friend who always gets the better of you. If you are in the mix, you may as well throw everything at making a run; but if you in a keeper league, you’re priorities are a bit different. If you’re in sixth place and your league pays out for a Top 3 finish, do you trade away your keepers to completely play for this season? Or do you play it safe and stockpile as many keepers as you can and try to put together a juggernaut for 2019? These are the decisions MLB GM’s are facing today, because let’s face it, MLB teams play in the ultimate keeper league.
Most teams try to trade their way into a championship, but there is another way which doesn’t get as much attention; focusing heavily on the waiver wire. MLB teams that are out of the playoff picture tend to bring up their young prospects in the second half the year to give them a taste of the big leagues, and see how they handle themselves. This is especially true of bad MLB teams with nothing but the future to play for.
These nine prospects may very well get the call before the season is over and have a cup of coffee in the Majors. Even if they play in The Bigs for only six weeks or a month, their stats count, and those stats may as well count on your Fantasy team.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr-Blue Jays: Anyone who plays Fantasy Baseball knows who Vlad Guerrero Jr is. Still only 19 years old, this dynamic player won’t turn 20 until next year’s spring training camp. He’s a consensus Top 5 prospect and seems to be in the fast track to greatness. His power is boundless, to the point where he hits home runs off a tee. He recently made the jump to Triple-A, and seemingly has nothing left to prove in the minors. His reputation is so great at this point, that he already is owned in 63% of CBSSports.com leagues. If he’s still a free agent in your league, monitor the next few weeks very closely, especially if Josh Donaldson is traded. Guerrero plays third base, and bringing him up would be just what Toronto fans will need to give them hope for the coming years. If you can grab him, he’ll reward you with a handful of home runs down the stretch.
Eloy Jimenez-White Sox: This 21 year-old outfielder has made quick work of the Minors and is already at Triple-A. In 1,500 at bats in his minor league career, Jiminez sports a .305 AVG and .870 OPS. He has 15-20 home run power and has the speed to get double-digit stolen bases. There is no reason for the White Sox to not give him a look down the stretch this season if he is recovered from his recent left abductor strain. Jimenez, like Guerrero is owned in many CBS leagues, (47%), but if he’s available to you, make sure you save some FAAB money for him..
Bo Bichette-Blue Jays: Another “Baby Jay”, Bichette looks like he’ll be putting smiles on Toronto fans’ faces for years to come, and he’ll be part of, along with Guerrero, one of baseball’s most dynamic one-two threats in all of baseball. At only 20 years old, his poise and maturity are off the charts. He’s handled every level he’s been promoted to, and should soon be making the leap to Triple-A shortly. This speedster’s numbers are off the charts. He has 30-plus stolen base potential, and has a stat line of .332/.389/.528/.917. Only owned in 24% of leagues, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to snag him when he gets the call.
Michael Kopech-White Sox: This 100-plus MPH right handed monster has a spotty minor league track record. His make-up and stuff has never been in question, but his consistency always has been, which isn’t uncommon for young flamethrowers. He’s had a bit of a hiccup this season, making the jump from Double-A to Triple-A, but recently posted three quality starts in his last four outings. And he still sports a ridiculous 12.4K/9IP. In 380 minor league innings, he’s averaging 11.7K/9 IP, to go with a 1.23 WHIP. He’s being developed as a starter, but he could become a dominating closer. Either way, he will benefit your team in strikeouts.
Mitch Keller-Pirates: This 22 year-old righty doesn’t have much more to prove in the minors. In five minor league seasons he has a 30-16 record to go with a sub 3.00 ERA of 2.92, an impressive 1.11 WHIP, and nearly strikes out a batter per inning. This is the type of under the radar player who separates winning and falling just a bit short.
Dylan Cease-White Sox: The White Sox’ future seems bright since Cease is the third name on this list. The 22 year-old may not have quite enough innings under his belt to make the jump, but if he does, snag him. His minor league career has been off the charts. He has a 2.92 ERA, 1.19 WHIP; strikes out 11.6K/9 IP, and gives up only .4HR/9 IP. The only knock at this point is that his walk rate is somewhat high. At 4.3BB/9 IP, it could be the only thing keeping him from the Majors.
Willie Calhoun-Rangers: Calhoun had a cup of coffee with the Rangers last season, but hasn’t been able to get beyond Triple-A this season. At 23 years old, he’s still young, and will surely be brought up at some point this season. In 2016 he hit an impressive 28 home runs, and last season he hit an even better 31 bombs. Honestly, there isn’t enough talent on the Rangers for Calhoun to be mired in the minors. To go with that power, he’s a career .288 hitter.
Ryan Mountcastle-Orioles: Mountcastle is seemingly the heir apparent to Manny Machado at shortstop. He has the size at 6’3” that is reminiscent of Cal Ripken. At only 21 years old, he’s already had nearly 1,500 at bats in the minors. He has a career .288 AVG, and has a 20/20 skill set. He may not get the call this season, even if Machado gets traded, but the future looks bright for this youngster, so keep him on your radar.
Some of these players may not get the call this season, but some definitely will. They will have the ability to show off their skills with little pressure of playing in any type of playoff race. They’ll simply have to show up and perform. They will hit home runs, steal bases, strike batters out, and get wins for their teams. They may as well get those stats for your Fantasy team as well. It just may be those stats that produce a championship for you, while your fellow competitors scratch their heads, wondering how you did it.
Bo Bichette Featured Image: (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
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