With a rash of Callups in the last week, there’s guaranteed to be numerous players exceeding their rookie limits over the coming weeks. This new batch of players will move up top 100 lists and into the discussion of the top 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 prospects in the game. A player who finds himself squarely in the conversation for top overall prospect in the game is the Dunedin Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The highly touted 3rd baseman is easily one of the top 5 bats in all of the minor leagues at the tender age of 18. Over the last month he’s added to his already impressive 2017 campaign by slashing .385/.483/.646 with 6 homers and 23 RBI. With the power stroke taking a step forward it wouldn’t surprise me to see Vlad Jr. ranked as high as 1st overall in some off-season prospect lists. He’s easily the top prospect in the Florida State League this season, and in all levels of A ball. He matches his father’s uncanny ability to make contact with balls anywhere in and out of the zone, with a far more patient approach than his namesake. At this point Guerrero should be owned in all dynasty formats. Here’s what else is going down in the MiLB.
P.S. Here’s Vlad Jr. hitting a homer to clinch a FSL playoff spot on Thursday Night.
- The Nationals Juan Soto recorded the first 5 hit game of his professional career on Saturday. He went 5 for 5 with a double, a triple, 2 runs, and 3 RBI with the GCL Nationals. The 2016 Gulf Coast League MVP is back in the GCL on a rehab assignment. Working his way back from hamate and ankle injuries that cost him 4 months of the season. He just missed my Top 10 Outfield Prospects, ranking 12th overall.
- One of the tough things about doing a rundown of the top 10-15 pitching prospects in the game is there’s so many interesting guys on the fringes of that position. One such player is the Braves Bryse Wilson. The 19 year old righty has spent his entire season at full season Rome of the Sally league, compiling a record of 10-7 in 25 starts with a 2.55 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 133 Ks to 36 Bbs in 134 IP. The righty mixes an above average fastball that sits mid-90’s, with average slider and changeup offerings. One of the better unheralded arms of the 2017 season.
- Capping a big August Cardinals lefty Austin Gomber tossed 6 innings of 1 run ball last time out. Missing lots of bats in route to striking out a career high 11 in the effort. Over his last 6 starts Gomber is 5-0 with a 0.91 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, .134 BAA, and a 44 to 12 K/BB. He’s not that different from Jack Flaherty, from the sense that his secondaries (curve and changeup) play up his fastball. Worth a look in leagues where 200 minors are owned.
- Big game from the Athletics Jorge Mateo on Friday night. He went 4 for 5, with a triple, 2 RBI, and 4 runs. He’s been batting leadoff for AA Midland, and continues to show elite speed, as his season steal total sits at 52. If Mateo can further hone his hit tool, he has the elite speed and average power to be a fantasy difference maker.
- My number 7 overall starting pitching prospect and top rated lefty in my mid-season Top 100 Kolby Allard recorded his first career shutout on Friday night. The 20 year old lefty went 7 scoreless frames, striking out 5 while allowing one walk and one hit. He was efficient throughout the night throwing 65 of his 98 pitches for strikes. This closed the book on a very strong age 19 season for Allard, as he’s compiled a 3.18 ERA, over 150 innings pitched in AA. Highly impressive for a 19 year old starter.
- The Pirates Mitch Keller struck out a career high 11, over 6 scoreless frames, as he allowed 4 baserunners to reach for AA Altoona. To cap off a big week, Keller (recently ranked 9th overall on my starting pitching prospect list) was named to the roster of the Glendale Desert Dogs in the upcoming Arizona Fall League . He’s the highest rated arm going to the annual prospect Mecca, and certainly one to watch.
- The gem of the Justin Verlander deal is 19 year old righty Franklin Perez. He posses a plus fastball, two above average secondaries in his curveball, and changeup, and a fringe slider. He limits hits, walks, and homers, while missing enough bats at advanced levels to think there’s at least average strikeout totals for fantasy.
- The other fantasy relevant prospect acquired for Verlander was former prep standout Daz Cameron, son of former major leaguer Mike Cameron. After struggling through the first part of his pro career, he’s been on fire in the second half of this season. His slash line post all-star break is .332/.406/.552 with 8 homers and 17 steals. Right from the jump Cameron joins also recently acquired Issac Paredes as two of the top offensive prospects in an improving Tigers system. Over the last year the Tigers have drafted well, particularly in the pitching department, but have failed to draft any impact bats outside of Christin Stewart.
- Congratulations to the Indians speedster Greg Allen on his promotion. I was a big fan of Allen during his breakout season of 2016, but an injury marred campaign has made him somewhat of a forgotten man around these parts. I’ve long been enamored with his combination of contact, on base ability, and speed. He’s an outside contender in the current game of thrones for Rajai Davis’ King of SAGNOF title.
- Former Top prospect A.J. Reed has put together a really nice season in 2017 as he connected for his 33rd homer of the season Friday night. The dreams of him being an everyday power hitting cleanup hitter might be long gone, but he can still carve out a role as a lefty platoon bat vs right handed pitching. Unfortunately his inability to hit lefties limits his overall ceiling. Make no mistake Reed can still mash.
- The Marlins first round pick Trevor Rogers is a name I’ve neglected to discuss at any length. However today I’m inspired to do so following Halp’s mention of him on the most recent Razzball Prospect Podcast. The 6’6 lefty is yet to pitch professionally, but was impressive over the last year on the showcase circuit. He features a mid-90’s fastball from a low effort delivery and wicked downhill plane from his 6’6 frame. His secondaries are raw, but there’s a moldable ball of clay. Whether the Marlins can harness Rogers is another story.
- After an unbelievably unfortunate series of injuries the Orioles Hunter Harvey is working his back onto the prospect radar. After two elbow injuries, including one that required Tommy John, and a sport hernia, Harvey is finally heading into the offseason healthy for the first time since 2013. So far in 2017 he’s yet to allow a run over 15.2 IP racking up 25 Ks to 5 walks, and a .143 BAA. Harvey’s been on a strict 40-50 pitch count meaning he rarely sees a batter twice. A positive development is the return of his impressive curveball to go along with his solid low 90’s fastball, and above average changeup.
- Despite 2017 feeling like a giant step backward for Tyler O’Neill, he still managed to reach the 30 homer mark for the second time in the last three seasons. I’m not too concerned by the struggles early in his Cardinals tenure. A full offseason and spring with the organization should be good for his development as a hitter. Despite the explosive power, strikeouts have plagued O’Neill. I still believe he has the right skill set for the current environment. With a there being a very real possibility of 40 homer power. He’s hit 86 homers between 2015-2017, and he just turned 22 in June. There’s hope O’Neill can improve as a hitter to the point that a mediocre batting average is sustainable. He’s kind of Mark Trumbo with more pedigree. All hail the King In the North!
- The Dodgers Wilmer Font had a big 48 hours, as he was named the PCL pitcher of the year, and then called up to the big club the next day. Font was one of the best stories in baseball this season, after signing as a 27 year old free agent in the offseason. He’s pitched his way into prospestc status..kinda. He got in a few MLB innings pitching in the majors with the Rangers back in 2103. After that he bounced around independent ball, eventually latching on with the Jays last season. This year he dun’ broke out riding increased fastball usage to great results. Font lead the PCL in ERA, Ks, WHIP, and K/Bb. He’ll be pitching out of the Dodgers pen for now, and might be a worthy pen stream in RCLs down the stretch.
- The Phillies top prospect Sixto Sanchez, had one of his better starts since promotion to high A Clearwater. The 19 year old righty went 5 innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 baserunners (3 hits, 4 walks), while striking out 4. It’s been a tough go of it in the Florida State League for the highly touted starter, but it shouldn’t ding his value too much. Halp and I discussed Sixto on the last episode of the Prospect Podcast.
- Another 19 year old starter struggling following promotion has been the Tigers Matt Manning. That all changed last night as the 6’6 righty went 5 scoreless innings for West Michigan allowing four baserunners (2 hits, 2 walks), while striking out 9.
- The opposing starter for Manning’s start was an equally highly touted arm in Padres lefty Adrian Morejon. He also went 5 allowing 1 run on 7 baserunners (6 hits, 1 walk), while striking out 6. The lefty brings a polished arsenal for an 18 year old, and all things considered has pitched well in full season ball.
- Fernando Tatis Jr. had his best game since being promoted to AA San Antonio on Saturday as he went 4 for 5, with 1 run, and 2 RBI. I’m sure I’ll talk more Tatis in Thursday’s upcoming Top 10 Shortstop Prospects.
- The White Sox Alec Hansen made his second start with AA Birmingham on Saturday striking out 9 after striking out 8 in his debut on Monday. He did allow 8 hits over 5.1 yesterday, but didn’t walk a batter in the start, and limited the damage to just 2 runs.
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