Every other week Razzball ranks the prospects closest to contributing to your fantasy roster. The list is limited to players who still have rookie eligibility (less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched) and who are currently in the minor leagues. It’s not a list based on talent alone, but rather it’s a mixture of talent and opportunity. It will change frequently over the course of the season as prospects graduate to the majors, injuries occur, or service time roadblocks are passed. Here are the top 15 prospects on the cusp of the major leagues for 2015 fantasy baseball…
Castillo’s shoulder is on the mend and with Shane Victorino now on the disabled list, it’s just a matter of time before Castillo is back up with the Red Sox. He’s expected to come off of the minor league DL this week and should make an impact with both his bat and his legs upon arrival. I’d temper expectations out of the gate due to the recent injury, but the 27-year-old can do a lot with five months of the season still left to play.
I get that Asche and Howard are still technically blocking Franco and the Phillies have no reason to rush him to the majors, but at the same time I can’t find a reason not to recommend the 22-year-old as a stash. Even if we don’t see him until early June, Franco can be a nice fantasy piece at the corner thanks to his power, which should play up at Citizens’ Bank Park. He continues to start hot, hitting .366/.381/.463 with five doubles in his last ten games.
When he’s not engaging with Twitter trolls, Syndergaard is one of the best pitching talents in the minors. It’s been a rough start though (7.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 BB), and it’s not going to get any easier pitching in the PCL for Las Vegas. So far the strikeouts are still there, and if Thor can get it together (and I think he will) he should be pitching in New York before the All-Star Break.
Nick Tropeano had a nice start for the Angels this week, but I can’t imagine Heaney is going to be in Triple-A for more than a month or two. He rebounded from a terrible second start to strike out nine batters in 5.1 innings on Monday. His most recent start was last night and ended too late for this edition.
I would have guessed Seager for a late 2015/early 2016 arrival, but the buzz is getting louder thanks to his destruction of Double-A pitching and the fact that he is now getting time at third base in addition to his shortstop duties. Alex Guerrero looks solid so far, but clearly the Dodgers are interested in seeing if Seager can handle the hot corner, which could significantly speed up his ETA. He could be at the top of this list by the next time it publishes.
A couple of things are happening that made me move Lindor up five spots this week. The first is that he’s now hitting after a slow start at Triple-A Columbus. In his last ten games, Lindor is hitting .342/.405/.500 with a home run, three doubles, and three stolen bases. The other thing I’m watching is the struggle of both Jose Ramirez (hitting .204) and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn (hitting .193). Lindor would seem to be a better option at short than Ramirez and a better leadoff bat than Bourn at this point, so I’m having a hard time seeing the 21-year-old still in Triple-A come July.
A lot of what I just wrote about Lindor applies here with Peraza. Jace Peterson just hasn’t been very good after the promising spring. Obviously the Braves don’t have much to play for, but with Peraza doing his thing with Triple-A Gwinnett (.281 average with five steals) it could be a different J.P. at the keystone before long.
Correa is similar to Seager except I’m not sure he’s as close. All offseason, I’ve been saying early 2016 is when we’ll see him, but the Astros don’t necessarily have to wait. Correa is terrorizing Double-A, hitting .360/.429/.660 with two homers and nine doubles so far. I’m not thinking it will be anytime soon, but I’m definitely moving the ETA clock up to mid-2015 and he could make a big fantasy impact immediately.
This is where I’d like to say Buxton would be a major boost for the Twins right now, but the best prospect in baseball has hit a lousy .180 with 14 strikeouts in 16 games. Still, the Twins are terrible so they’re going to have a hard time keeping Buxton down once he heats up, even if it’s not until midsummer.
Sano hasn’t exactly started off on the right foot either, hitting .170 to start the year and .156 over his last ten. At least he’s hit three home runs, but he’ll need more than just homers to force the issue in Minnesota. I have a feeling both Buxton and Sano will hover around these two spots for a good chunk of the year.
The major league catching platoon is Ryan Hanigan and Sandy Leon. You have a catching prospect batting .309 with three doubles to start the year in Triple-A. It’s only a matter of time. With the injuries and such at the catching position right now, folks will be chomping at the bit to add Swihart to their teams when he arrives.
I guess this one is cheating a little bit since he’s pretty much a lock to graduate by next time, but I like Colome this year. The fluky visa/pneumonia issues that kept him out of the rotation to start the year are behind him, and Colome ranked 4th on my Rays Top 10 list this offseason. At the very least he’s a streamer in all formats, with the potential for much more. He’ll get one more turn in the minors before joining the big club.
Like Colome, Iglesias has already shown a bit for us in the major leagues, but there is more of a question around his ultimate role. Right now the Reds seem committed to him as a starter, and I’m guessing we see Iglesias back with the Reds in that capacity this summer.
14. Chi-Chi Gonzalez, RHP | Rangers -2
Not much has changed with Gonzalez in terms of opportunity, but his last two starts have been less than stellar. In his last 10.2 innings, Gonzalez has given up seven earned runs and five walks.
Rafael Montero will get the spot start and may stick. Noah Syndergaard is the shiny prospect with the high rankings all over the place. But it’s Matz who has impressed so far at Triple-A Las Vegas. The 23-year-old southpaw has allowed just five earned runs in 22.1 innings pitched with 19 strikeouts to start the year. That’s in the hostile environment of the PCL, too. There’s a chance Matz beats Thor to New York even if his ultimate ceiling isn’t as high.
Previous Rankings: Week 2