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If you’ve been following along with the Prospect Podcast over the last few weeks. Then you’ll know that last week’s episode was a cheat sheet for today’s post. It’s not like discussing players like Ronald Acuna, Eloy Jimenez, or Victor Robles ever really gets old. I could talk about that trio of players all day. In fact if you check the Guinness World Records Book/Site/Twitter I’m listed as having spoke about nothing but Ronald Acuna, Eloy Jimenez, and Victor Robles for 37 hours consecutively. Needless to say it was a hell of a day(s). Quick aside, do people still call it the Guinness Book of World Records, or has that been scrapped because no one really reads actual physical books anymore? Seriously reading a book with a binding is right up there on the crazy meter just behind trench coats, which is just behind army fatigues. Sorry Stephen King but you look crazy with that book, now pay attention to the baseball game. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google Stephen King Red Sox. It will just be images of him reading books from the front row at Fenway. Wow I got really off track there. Anyway you know what this post is about, outfielders, my favorite outfielders, the top 10 favorite outfielders right now. Remember these are my thoughts ladies and gentlemen, right or wrong, just what I was feeling at the time. Vibe with me,,,,(CU!)

1) Ronald Acuna, OF Braves | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .322/.371/.521, 20 HR, 77 RBI, 42 Steals

What a year it’s been for Ronald J. Acuna. He’s gone from a name mentioned as a sleeper just a year ago to the top of the prospect charts. Even in the last month and a half his stock has jumped significantly. If I re-ranked my Top 100 I’d easily rank Acuna over Moncada, Devers, and the rest. With the announcement that Acuna will join the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League, it  probably ends any speculation of a 2017 September call-up. In fact I’d go as far as to say we may not see Acuna until June or July of 2018. As for the player look at the statline, you’re hoping on the next Mike Trout, but will settle for a new age Andruw Jones.

2) Eloy Jimenez, OF White Sox | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .314/.379/.578, 19 HR, 65 RBI, 1 SB

The classic Mr. Everything (Acuna) vs. the Middle of the Order Masher (Jimenez), an argument as old as Rotisserie baseball itself. So, 38 years. Would I take Jimenez over Acuna? Hell to the no, but it’s probably closer than we think. The second superstar prospect traded by the Cubs in the last year, Jimenez has been on a tear hitting 11 homers in 34 games since the trade. We more than likely won’t see Eloy in the South Side until September of next year, but much of that depends upon what he does in the first half of 2018. We’ve seen what Devers has done his first month + in the bigs, and I imagine Eloy’s debut won’t be much different.

3) Victor Robles, OF Nationals | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .299/.383/.494, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 24 SB

The next two players will feature in the same outfield this season for the Mesa Solar Sox of the AFL. Robles was losing some steam upon promotion to AA in late July, unfortunately a rough patch coincided with strong performances from Acuna, Devers, and Eloy. Which in turn led to some negativity on his long term development. Fantasy baseball is fickle, it’s always what have you done for me lately. Well lately Robles has delivered. He’s in the midst of a 16 game hitting streak that’s seen him slash .403/.479/.581 with 5 steals and a homer. I’ve likened him to Starling Marte, and I think it’s an apt comparison.

4) Kyle Tucker, OF Astros | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .269/.346/.418, 23 HR, 83 RBI, 21 SB

Another power/speed talent playing at an advanced level at a very young age. Tucker was 20 for all of 2017, and after destroying the Carolina League saw promotion at the end of May to AA. He’s had his struggles there, but through it all has hit for power, driven in runs, and displayed dynamic offensive ability. He’s wore down a bit in August but that shouldn’t come as a surprise for a player so young. There’s more questions about the hit tool now than there were coming into the draft, but the power has already exceeded my expectations. Should see promotion at some time next summer.

5) Willie Calhoun, OF Rangers | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .291/.348/.557, 29 HR, 83 RBI, 4 SB

Lots of people stop me on the street (no one stops me on the street) and ask me “Ralph who’s coming up in September that got that boom-boom that make the girls swoon like Rhysus?” I always tell them, “Willie Calhoun, Cousin. Now get me my Miller High Life bust down!” Don’t worry I don’t drink Miller High Life unless it’s all you got. As for Willie, Michael Halpern and I have long touted his unique power and contact skillset. It would have great if Calhoun could have made it as a second baseman but his bat will play anywhere on the field.

6) Lewis Brinson, OF Brewers | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .331/.400/.562, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 11 SB

It’s been a tale of two seasons for Brinson, as he’s been great in AAA with Colorado Springs, showing power, speed, contact, and on base ability. While falling on his face twice upon promotion to Milwaukee. Following his last unsuccessful callup, Brinson struggled in AAA before going down with a hamstring injury earlier in August. He’s rehabbing in the rookie level Arizona League, and could see promotion to MLB later this month. Third time is a charm.

7) Taylor Trammell, OF Reds | Level: A | 2017 Stats: .284/.372/.457, 13 HR, 77 RBI, 40 SB

The 19 year old Trammell is a freak athlete who’s baseball skills have far exceeded expectations coming out of the draft in 2016. At that time he was viewed as a high end athlete with raw tools and oodles of upside. Now he’s viewed as a high end athlete, with polished tools and oodles of upside. See what I did there? In 2017 Trammell showed advanced approach, power, and difference-making speed on the base paths. If I had my pick of any player to go full Acuna in 2018 it would be Trammell.

8) Austin Hays, OF Orioles | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .328/.364/.591, 31 HR, 90 RBI, 4 SB

You want to see a model of consistency? Look at Hays slashline from 64 games in High A (.328/.364/.591) then look at his slashline from 60 AA games (.328/.364/.592). That’s some weird statistical OCD! Hays is a contact over approach player with plus power in the mold of a Willie Calhoun type. He’s been the biggest offensive breakout in the minors this season and looks like a shoo-in for Baltimore at some point next summer.

9) Kyle Lewis, OF Mariners | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .269/.338/.433, 7 HR, 3 SB

It’s been a tough year for Lewis, between a catastrophic knee injury and some setbacks with rehab, Lewis is about a year behind where we hoped he’d be coming out of the draft. His production has been inconsistent this season, but the talent, and ability to be an elite fantasy bat is there. A full offseason, and normal spring should help Lewis get back on track.

10) Anthony Alford, OF Blue Jays | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .297/.390/.406, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 19 SB

Alford is by far the most divisive prospect on this list, while the hit tool has come around, the power has not. His season got a bit off track following an injury to his hamate bone following a call-up to Toronto. The hope is the power develops, and Alford blossoms into a 5 category contributor. I’m not going to sugar coat it, the power may never come, and Alford might end up an uninteresting everyday outfielder.

Next Two: In an effort to provide the next few off the list here’s the next two!

11) Austin Meadows, OF Pirates | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .261/.323/.384, 5 HR, 11 SB

It’s been a terrible season for Meadows, a player that was universally in Top 10 lists coming into the season, isn’t even making my top 10 at his position. Injuries, poor play, and not seizing the opportunity for playing time in Pittsburgh, it’s been an awful year. I’m not writing Meadows off, but my expectations are tempered, particularly with his inability to stay healthy.

12) Juan Soto, OF Nationals | Level: RK | 2017 Stats: .330/.395/.466, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 1 SB

Another player who missed a huge chunk of his season with a hamate injury. Soto just returned this week with the Nationals rookie-level GCL team. Had it not been for the injury Soto would have been somewhere between 8-10, but I’m not committing to him at that spot when he’s played just 30 games, and is at least two years away. His elite power/contact/approach in the mold of an Eloy Jimenez makes him one of the higher end prospects in the lower levels. Soto needs to be owned in every dynasty format.

Others To Consider: Luis Robert, Alex Verdugo, Christin Stewart, Jesus Sanchez, Leody Taveras, Harrison Bader, Brandon Marsh, Estevan Florial, Tristen Lutz, Heliot Ramos, Tyler O’Neill, Jo Adell

**Going to a minor league game? Get in on our crowdsourced scouting video project! Use your phone to shoot at bats, pitches, etc of some of the top prospects, and email them to me at [email protected]**

Follow me on Twitter @ProspectJesus and Tune on Tuesday’s @ 9PM (EST) to my Live Baseball Show on Fantrax YouTube.  (and join the Crab Army in the chat)

 

   
  1. RICE says:
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    Hey Ralph!

    Always enjoy these articles. I was just looking back at the top 10 pitching prospects you did last week to see what you had said about Flahrty. As you said in that article, things are always very fluid with these lists and change constantly but I need you to get out your crystal ball for a minute here….

    In a keep 4 player league I’ve already mortgaged my 2018 draft picks in an attempt to win this year so I’m considering keeping a pitcher that I’m looking at for 2019 and beyond.

    I’m curious how you think Kopech and Honeywell stack up against Berrios (on current roster) and Robbie Ray (roster) in 2019? And who you would want going forward from there?

    • Cram It says:
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      @RICE: I’m no prospector, but for 2019 alone, I gotta think Ray and Berrios > Kopech and Honeywell. I doubt those who haven’t pitched at the major league level will outperform those that are doing it with better than average success. As for beyond 2019, I have no friggin’ idea!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @RICE: I’d say conservatively both Ray then Berrios because they seemed to have figured it out. As for 2019 and beyond give me Kopech over any of them. That guy is going to be a monster.

      • RICE says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Thanks Cram! Thanks Ralph!

        Only 4 keepers makes it rough. I’ll be sure to grab Kopech before the end of the year so I have the option.

        Keepers so far:

        Bryce: Round 6
        Bregman: Last round
        Albies: Last Round
        Ray:Round 20

        Extra options:

        Kopech: Last round
        Merrifield: Last round
        Mejia: Last round
        Berrios: Last Round

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @RICE: I think I go Whit or Kopech over Albies. Kopech only if you have an ML spot.

          • RICE says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: Yeah, Whit has been awesome. I kind of forget it’s only his 1st full year. I assumed Albies was a better prospect solely based on their age difference.

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @RICE: He is but Whit looks like a real breakout. His batted ball is actually very similar to Jose Altuve’s. I love Albies and in two years he might be the better player, but a .280/17/25 season from Albies next year would be a shock. It’s close, and either way both are very keepable.

              • RICE says:
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                @Ralph Lifshitz: You rock, Ralph!

                I’ll be holding both through the end of the season and I’m sure you and I can revisit this debate in March!

  2. Cram It says:
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    So you’re saying Acuna > Mazara long term?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Cram It: Yes, I’m on board for that, better all around asset. Don’t think his power slumps will be as pronounced due to the speed.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Cram It: any time Cram!

  3. Slappy Jack says:
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    Thanks Ralph , nice work!
    I could read about these guys all day!

    I also would like to just say thanks for the heads up on B.Marsh back in early july, he’s looking really damn good.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Slappy Jack: I love me some Marshberry!

  4. Miketron says:
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    I’m surprised to see Hays above Alford and Meadows. Most scouts think he is going to struggle against advanced pitching.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Miketron: He’s significantly outperforming Alford as much as I like him. There’s something about Hays contact that a I believe in. He just hits the ball hard, and there’s few pitches he can’t get his bat on.

      Meadows is tough, I actually had the two of them ahead of Hays on the podcast, but the ranking ate at me. In my head I kept thinking this guy just deserves it. There’s just something blue collar about Hays that I love. Meadows is just hurt too much, he can’t stay healthy for a full season, and was so bad when he did play. This was a step back, not a death sentence. He could rebound big this offseason.

    • Nuke Laloosh says:
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      @Miketron: dude has a great strikeout rate and handled the hardest jump in the minors to AA without skipping a beat. He’s never going to be flashy so of course some scouts will poo poo on him. Hays looks like he could easily be a .280 ish 20+hr guy in Baltimore.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Nuke Laloosh: I think Mike’s trepidation is warranted though. On the other hand scouts take a long time to come around on guys they overlooked…cough…cough…Hoskins.

  5. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Disappointed to not see Verdugo in the top 10…

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Grey: Hahaha!

  6. El Famous Burrito says:
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    How do you feel about Dahl going forward?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @El Famous Burrito: I like Dahl, I worry about him staying healthy though. When he does he could be a top 30 bat.

  7. Sport says:
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    Let me guess, no Hays in Yahoo….

    How far has Moniak fallen?

    When do you Luis Urias makes the bigs?

    How did you get so incredibly awesome at prospecting?

    Thank you for all you do!!!!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Sport: Of course! F-ing Yahoo!!! (Move your league to Fantrax and I’ll get you premium, drop the league ID in my comments after you do it and I’ll hook you up) You can go to CBS too, but I can’t hook you up.

      Pretty far he’s prolly out the top 25. Rutherford too! I prefer the HS OFs from this year.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: oops! Urias should be up late next year. Great hit tool.

        As for my abilities, I’m alright, but I drink my milk and always stay in a Holiday Inn Express

  8. J.R. says:
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    Hey Ralph!

    Who is the guy, like Austin Hays this year, who unexpectedly shoots into your top 10 OF this time next year?

    Also, with a full year of at-bats, is Juan Soto the guy to have an Acuna-like jump up prospect lists since his value might fall a bit this offseason considering he was dinged up?

    Thanks.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J.R.: He’s a different type of player but Stuart Fairchild from the Reds, I love Tristen Lutz too.

      I think there’s a few Soto (more of an Eloy type though), Taylor Trammell is similar, and Heliot Ramos.

  9. J.R. says:
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    P.S.

    Also, thoughts on Daz Cameron moving forward? Top prospect finally putting it together in full season ball? He’s having a torrid second half here. No wonder Detroit targeted him in a deal.

    Last question, I promise. Thanks.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J.R.: Looks like he’s putting it together the .300+/.400+/.500+ slashline is what you want to see. These talented prep guys just take longer.

      You can ask three more, I don’t care at all. That’s why I’m here.

  10. Raindoggg says:
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    Speculating on impact in 2018……..Teoscar Hernandez or Harrison Bader?…….

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Raindoggg: Both can have impact, I think Bader is the better everyday player due to his ability to mash righties and lefties. I think Teoscar is a platoon guy against lefties.

  11. OddBall Herrera says:
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    Count me amongst those shocked that the Beltre trade apparently didn’t open up a spot for Calhoun. If that doesn’t get him promoted this year, I don’t think anything will.

    • OddBall Herrera says:
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      @OddBall Herrera:

      Injury, not trade.

      Sigh, long week

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @OddBall Herrera: He said on twitter today that he’s not getting promoted. It’s crazy!

  12. J.R. says:
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    Which SP from the Yankees system has the best chance to be a frontline starter/fantasy stud down the road (Chance Adams, Dillon Tate, Jorge Guzman, Albert Abreu, Justus Sheffield and Domingo Acevedo)?

    • J.R. says:
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      @J.R.: Feel free to add anyone there I may have missed.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Adams

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J.R.: Guzman, Acevedo, Sheffield, Adams, Tate, Abreu.

      Guzman and Acevedo have the highest upside to me.

  13. J-Dawg says:
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    I likely (knock on wood… or Ikea material) will have first pick of the minor league draft next year. We have 7 spots (11 teams) so, most of the top names are gone. But Soto is available, as is Marsh. Where would these two rank in your top 100 at this point? Is there a 2017 draftee you would rather stash over these two? Of course, a foreign import would also be available to pickup, so my first pick might be spent that way. Thanks for all your help Ralph! Think I have a great farm system thanks to you!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J-Dawg: I’d go Soto over any bat in the draft even Royce Lewis who I love. I would stash Lewis over Marsh though.

  14. Matt says:
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    So is O’Neill still a must-keep in milb? I have to decide on keeping him or picking up an extra milb pick, and he’d be my last keeper there. Keeper league-Pretty young OF on my majors roster too. I could probably get Hayes in that draft spot. Maybe Trammel later… Thoughts?

    • Matt says:
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      @Matt:
      Already keeping in the OF: eloy, fisher, c. stewart, then MLB maz, polanco, Rhys, mancini and a few vets.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Matt: Dump O’Neill and try and draft Trammell.

  15. Ryan says:
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    Would you take bader over verdugo?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Ryan: For fantasy yes, in real life no. Lots of Verdugo’s value is tied to real baseball skills and projection.

  16. Raoul Duke says:
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    Good to see apox’s douchieness didn’t take over this week’s top 10 list. Thanks for all the hard work you put into your articles.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Raoul Duke: He was mad I didn’t rank Sixto. Who BTW I like a lot and was really high on mid-season. Looks like he jinxed him as SIxto walked the house next time out. Before that Apox was a great commenter, hopefully we can get back to a good place.

  17. ReleasetheMcKraken says:
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    Whats the difference between Jose Siri and Taylor Trammell? Is it the difference in their ages and walk rates?

  18. Chris says:
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    Yahoo just added Hays…I’m grabbing him in my dynasty league. Worth it to grab him and drop Fisher or Soto?

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