We don’t spend much time with the stragglers around Prospect World, but a lot of highly ranked guys have struggled this season. That sentence reads like a timeless nothing-statement when I see it on the page, but it’s a pretty accurate description of my thoughts as I scoured the landscape to find the best 100 minor league players for the fantasy game.
If you think of a name that you figured would be here, there’s a good chance they’ve scuffled to start this season. The Nicks, Yorke, Gonzales and Pratto, missed the list in surprising fashion. Perhaps I was more demanding of them because my human-person-walking-around name is also Nick, and I am subconsciously more disappointed with them than I would be with a non-Nick player. Seems unlikely, but you never know.
Also a pretty good chance the player(s) you’re looking for were covered:
either here in the Top 25,
or here in the Top 50,
or here in the Top 75.
I’ll try to stay concise in between the tiers, but you can access a more in-depth consideration of each individual player by clicking on their names or skimming around in the 2022 Minor League Preview Index.
Anyway, the buns are in the oven. No changing the recipe now. Smells pretty good already, now that the prep’s done and the kitchen’s clean. Ish. Clean as it’s gonna get anyway. Let’s dig in.
76. SS Luisangel Acuña | Rangers | 20 | A+ | 2024
78. LHP Ricky Tiedeman | Blue Jays | 19 | A+ | 2023
Luisangel Acuña isn’t as big as his older brother, but he rakes like Ronald, slashing .321/.415/.585 with 7 HR and 13 SB in 28 games. I think he’s fairly available via trade in most dynasty leagues, as the scouting cards have long been muted in comparison to the outcomes and the upside.
A recent power burst has the 2022 statline looking pretty good for Zac Veen right now, and the best news is his process metrics seem to be improving as well. He has reduced his strikeout rate by 3.5 percent down to 22.8 and has increased his walk rate 1.1 percent up to 14.5. He’s also 24-for-25 stealing bases after going 36-for-53 on the basepaths last season. Probably a little too low on this ranking.
Ricky Tiedemann is 4.2 years younger than the average player age in his High-A league but has a 0.38 ERA in 23.2 innings across five starts. He has struck out 35 and walked five hitters over that stretch, posting a 0.718 WHIP. Probably the loudest pitching line we’ve seen this season, and Tiedemann is a 6’4” 220 lb lefty who sits in the mid 90’s. Nothing about his outcomes is fluky.
DL Hall remains a little wild to be a major league starter, but he’s struck out 40 AAA hitters over his last 21 innings (45.5%), good for a 1.19 WHIP and 2.57 ERA during his hottest stretch of season. It’s probably time to bring him up so he can learn to deal with better contact hitters while he’s feeling good.
Andrew Painter stands a picturesque 6’7” 215 lbs but maintains his mechanics like a much shorter pitcher, not all that unlike Eury Perez. His High-A debut on June 12 didn’t go great (3 IP, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 H), but I’ll bet he settles in and starts dominating in a hurry and finds himself on a very fast path to Philadelphia.
Gavin Williams ripped right through his 2022 assignment to High-A and allowed just one hit through 5.2 innings of his AA debut on June 12. Cleveland college pitcher first-round draft pick dominating minor leagues. Check, check, check. Just get me the bill.
If this works out, we’re going to see so many Duran Duran puns. We really only need one of Jhoan, Ezequiel or Jarren to make it happen, but it would be best to have all three in play.
Following his two-homer game on June 14, Alex Ramirez has gone 0-for-13 with five strikeouts and zero walks. Pretty typical for a talented young hitter to get big eyed for the home-run ball after a night like that. He remains a top-tier outfield prospect, but I’m not thrilled to see he’s 9-for-17 stealing bases in Low-A with the three-throws-over rule. Probably nothing, but it suggests he’s struggling to see the game from that angle, which makes sense for a kid who hasn’t played many games.
Oh look, it’s a well-rounded, ready-now Rays prospect with loud outcomes. I almost listed him as first baseman because that’s where he’s been more often than not this season.
Andy Pages has been reading the pitchers in Double-A, slashing .301/.414/.644 with 11.5% BB and 13.8% K rates with six home runs in 21 games since May 25.
Plate skills are the carrying tool for the 6’4” 190 lb Evan Carter, which makes him something of a rarity for a 19-year-old with plus tools across the board. In 225 plate appearances across 48 games at High-A, Carter posted a 12.4% walk rate and 16.9 % strikeout rate, slashing .257/.353/.403 with 4 HR and 10 stolen bases in 17 attempts. He reminds me a little of Brandon Nimmo in the sense that he’ll likely be a better baseball player than he is a fantasy asset. Still, he feels like a high-probability major leaguer at 19 against much older players, which gives him a lot of upside the statlines can’t capture.
Can argue for Michael Massey higher than this, especially if you’re seeking short-term help. He’s been a successful hitter his whole baseball life: something I always like to see. It’s rarer than you might think.
Intriguing tier here of three guys with a lot riding on them from an organizational perspective.
Liover Peguero finds himself in the major league lineup this weekend, and good for him. Whisper mill suggests it had as much to do with geography as it did with game-readiness, given the Covid-forced immediacy of the team’s need before Friday’s game. We’ve all learned to have a little more grace with each other during the pandemic, I hope, but this feels particularly Pittsburgh in a That’s So Raven kinda way.
Tyler Soderstrom has bounced back from a skimpy start, and while he’s still striking out more than we’d like, his outcomes are on the uptick at a level well beyond his age.
The trouble with drafting high school pitchers in dynasty leagues is being demonstrated well by Jackson Jobe, who hasn’t been particularly bad by any means for a 19-year-old in a full-season league, but treading water isn’t moving the needle for anyone on the trade market, leaving Jobe a long way away from mattering to your place in the standings. Plus there’s the double underbelly of injury and underperformance, either of which can sink any pitcher’s stock.
Big group of flawed power bats here. Loud outcomes. Breezy whiffs.
Nelson Velazquez should get an extended opportunity sooner than later in Wrigley, where the Cubs are missing some chances to shower talented youngsters with experience. Suspect I’m a bit higher than the field on my ranking here, but I like collecting power/speed players who’ve demonstrated all-fields hitting skills in the high-minors. Velazquez has 15 HR and 12 SB in 57 games this season, creating some roto-room for error in terms of contact frequency.
Joey Wiemer’s outlook gets slightly brighter with the Brewers sending Lorenzo Cain to the waiver wire. He’s a speed and power play who’s likely to hurt your batting average but could break even there OBP leagues.
Power is not a problem for Orelvis Martinez, who is four years younger than the average league age but among the league leaders in home runs regardless, with 15. His .295 on base percentage might keep him at the level through this season and into next year, but that’s just fine. Still plenty of time to harness his hellacious bat speed.
Everson Pereira, Jose Ramos and Kahlil Watson are streaky, swing-and-miss, topside players for dynasty leagues. Pereira is running a lot more but hitting a lot less this season, Ramos seems safest of this group, and Watson is getting better outcomes over the last week but still refusing to take his walks.
Kind of calling an eye-test, money-talks shot on Lazaro Montes, who hasn’t earned this spot on the field yet but looks like he’ll be a Top 50 type sooner than later, and he’s slugging .760 with three home runs through eight games in the Dominican Summer League.
Since May 1, Mark Vientos has struck out in 34.2 percent of his plate appearances. He’s also slashing .316/.396/.663 with 10 home runs over that 25-game stretch. He’s young enough for the level that you allow some grace for the swing-and-miss, but it’s fair to wonder if he’ll sink or swim when he’s dropped in the deep end.
If I had to bet on one prospect that might bother people from this set, it’d be Brian Serven. Heck, it kinda bothers me, but as I go looking for names to take his place, I can’t ignore what he’s done so far and what he could do the rest of the way. In 41 games between AAA and MLB this season, Serven has eight home runs, 26 strikeouts and 21 walks. Is he ever going to make a Top 50? Probably not. Should he be rostered right now in just about every fantasy league as the starting catcher for the Colorado Rockies? Yeah I think he should. We’re headed into the warmer months when the ball really flies in Coors, and he’s a tough out with a track record of success. The age is perfect for a catcher coming into his own on offense.
I discussed Jacob Amaya in this Wednesday’s article Prospect News: Amaya’s Alive or Jonah Bride of Frankenstein.
Here’s what I said then:
“Dodgers SS Jacob Amaya (23) earned a promotion to AAA this week despite a tough slump at the AA level, where he slashed .136/.250/.152 over his final 17 games. Strikeout (15.8%) and walk (13.2%) rates were still plus over that stretch, so it’s kind of fun to see him get promoted due to process rather than results. I like it.”
In his first two games at AAA, Amaya went 0-for-6. In his next and most recent two games, he went 5-for-9 with two home runs and nine RBI. Plenty of players on this list with better upside than Amaya, but he’s well situated to bring near-term value to our fantasy squads, be that this season or next.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.