Last week we rolled out our Top 25 Fantasy Baseball Prospects for 2014, and today we’re moving on to numbers 26-50. Remember, this is a 2014-specific list — we’re doing our best here to identify prospects who have the best chance at contributing in the fantasy game this season. A year ago, the second half of this same list included names like Christian Yelich, Matt Adams, Nolan Arenado, Tony Cingrani, Chris Archer, Michael Wacha, and Avisail Garcia. I suspect that there will be a handful of impact players found in this group, as well. Do take note.
27. Matt Wisler, RHP, Padres: The Cory Luebke setback opens the door for Matt Wisler to earn some starts in San Diego. There are others in the mix too, of course, but on the surface, Wisler looks like the best of the bunch. More on him in my Padres MiLB preview.
28. Erik Johnson, RHP, White Sox: The White Sox farm is fun to poke fun at, but in reality, it’s made tremendous strides in the past year, and Johnson’s emergence as a real-deal prospect has been an integral part of that improvement. More on him in my White Sox MiLB preview.
29. Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies: Maikel Franco can hit, and he’s ready to do so at the highest level. As soon as Cody Asche slips up or Ryan Howard hits the disabled list, Franco will be the man to step in. More on him in my Phillies MiLB preview.
30. Miguel Gonzalez, RHP, Phillies: I’m being cautious with Gonzalez because of the elbow concerns that prompted the Phillies to rescind their initial offer last summer, and also because of the mixed bag of scouting outlooks that popped up even before the elbow stuff. That said, he appears to be in position to be included in the Opening Day rotation, and there’s value inherent with that distinction. More on Gonzalez here.
32. James Paxton, LHP, Mariners: Paxton will compete for a starting gig in Seattle during spring training. He has some command issues to sort out, but if he can learn to harness his stuff, he’ll be a useful fantasy starter with good whiff totals. The Safeco effect doesn’t hurt either.
33. Chris Owings, SS, D’Backs: Owings brings a polished offensive skill set, and he’s ready to put it to work at the highest level. A shortstop capable of batting north of .300 while offering modest contributions in the power and speed departments, Owings is only waiting for an opportunity to present itself. A poor spring or an early-season slump from Didi Gregorius could provide that opening.
34. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros: Foltynewicz could’ve fit into the same run of high-impact starters that went from #17 to #23 on part 1 of this list, but working under the assumption that the Astros are going to be extremely sensitive to service time, I opted to bump him back a bit. The 22-year-old brings a front-end profile, and he’ll be ready for a big league look this summer, but I doubt we see him in Houston until 2015.
35. Jake Marisnick, OF, Marlins: Marisnick struggled in his big league debut last season, but he still brings an intriguing skill set that includes speed and pop. The Marlins are set in the outfield for the time being, but things can change on that end quickly in Miami, and Marisnick will be the next man in once an opportunity arises.
36. Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, Red Sox: Bradley is a fine prospect for real life baseball purposes, but from a fantasy perspective, he’s not very interesting. He appears to have a direct route to playing time, and for that reason alone he’s worth listing, but I’ll be surprised if there’s any significant fantasy impact here. Grey has more on him in his outfield rankings, where Bradley comes in at #83.
38. Michael Choice, OF, Rangers: Before he was traded to Texas, I had this to say about Michael Choice in my A’s MiLB preview: ”At age 24, there’s not much left for Choice to prove in the minors. A consistent producer with 20 HR potential and enough stick to hit north of .300, Choice is ready for an extended look with the big club. He’ll have to compete for playing time in a crowded Oakland outfield, but he should begin the season on the major league roster.” The scenery has changed, but the opportunity has not. Choice looks primed to begin 2014 as the Rangers’ fourth outfielder.
40. Rafael Montero, RHP, Mets: Noah Syndergaard gets the hype among Mets SP prospects, and deservedly so, but Rafael Montero could get the first opportunity in New York when a need arises. More on him here.
41. Wilmer Flores, 3B, Mets: If Flores can force his way into a second base gig in New York, his fantasy value could be quite large. As it stands, though, he’s buried behind David Wright on the 3B depth chart, and that’s not a great place to be for the short-term. More on Flores in my Mets MiLB preview.
42. Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Orioles: I peg him as a 20 HR, .265 AVG second baseman in my Orioles MiLB preview. If he can beat out Jemile Weeks this spring for the 2B duties in Baltimore, we could see something close to that projection out of Schoop this season.
43. Zach Lee, RHP, Dodgers: After an impressive 2013 campaign, there’s no doubt that Lee is polished enough to contribute in LA this season. The Dodgers’ rotation, though, is just about as good as it gets, so the 22-year-old will have to wait for an injury or two before he gets his chance to start. More on Lee here.
44. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians: This marks the third consecutive season that Bauer has appeared in these “Top Prospects for [insert year]” lists. I’ll admit that I’m losing patience with the 22-year-old, but it’s too soon to quit on him, and I explain why in my Indians MiLB preview.
45. Cesar Puello, OF, Mets: Puello posted some exciting numbers in 2013 before being suspended for his involvement with Biogenesis. He’ll be one of the more interesting prospects to keep track of early on in 2014. More on him in my Mets MiLB preview.
46. Enny Romero, RHP, Rays: Romero will compete this spring for a gig in the Ray’s rotation, and judging by stuff alone, he’d be the favorite to win the job. If he does secure a rotation role, his excellent fastball-curve combo should lead to quality whiff totals. At worst, Romero should find his way into a late-innings bullpen role, where he could still offer some fantasy relevance.
47. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Rays: Romero brings more upside to the fantasy game, but Odorizzi is the more polished arm, and the probable #5 starter for the Rays in 2014. Grey has some thoughts in in SP rankings, where Odorizzi comes in at #90.
48. Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins: I’ll start Sano’s capsule by saying that I highly doubt we see him surface in Minnesota this season — I’m doubtful that the Twins will even give him a late-season look, actually. But, these matters are relatively unpredictable, and I don’t want to be the only dude who didn’t rank the 2014 AL ROY, because I know that would be the case if I didn’t list him. Consider this my repentance for not ranking Puig and Fernandez last year.
49. Addison Russell, SS, Athletics: Next to Sano, Russell is the best long-term fantasy prospect listed in part 2 of this top 50. He only ranks near the bottom because, aside from a three-game cup-of-coffee at Triple-A, the 20-year-old hasn’t logged any time in the upper minors. Even so, Russell is the type of impact talent that could play his way into the call-up conversation during spring training. More on him here.
50. Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Angels: Lindsey is just about the only bright spot in the Angels farm system, and he’ll be ready to contribute in LA as soon as there’s a need. More on the 22-year-old in my Angels MiLB preview.