Rankings season is upon us. Rejoice and be glad! Just like when your dad lets you open one present on Christmas Eve before Santa comes the next morning, I’m dropping the first of three Top 100 prospect rankings on January Grey Rankings Eve. January Grey Rankings Day should be a gosh dern national holiday. This Top 25 will be followed by a Top 50 on Wednesday and finally the rest of the Top 100 next Sunday. For detailed info on any of these prospects, go to the 2019 Minor League Preview Index. There, you’ll find links to all thirty team pages, their top ten prospects, and my (vague and misinformed) thoughts on each of them. Later this offseason, I’ll release a special list just for redraft leagues once some playing time etc. situations come into sharper focus. Enough chatter. Here’s the Top 25 fantasy baseball prospects for 2019…

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B | TOR | 2019

2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS | SDP | 2019

3. Eloy Jimenez, OF | CWS | 2019

4. Victor Robles, OF | WAS | 2019

5. Wander Franco, SS | TBR | 2022

6. Royce Lewis, SS | MIN | 2020

7. Keston Hiura, 2B | MIL | 2019

8. Kyle Tucker, OF | HOU | 2019

9. Bo Bichette, SS | TOR | 2019

10. Nick Senzel, 3B | CIN | 2019

11. Carter Kieboom, SS | WAS | 2020

12. Brendan Rodgers, SS | COL | 2019

13. Peter Alonso, 1B | NYM | 2019

14. Alex Kirilloff, OF | MIN | 2020

15. Taylor Trammell, OF | CIN | 2021

16. Christian Pache, OF | ATL | 2020

17. Jo Adell, OF | LAA | 2021

18. Forrest Whitley, RHP | HOU | 2019

19. Brent Honeywell, RHP | TBR | 2019

20. Dylan Cease, RHP | CWS | 2019

21. Andres Gimenez, SS | NYM | 2019

22. Luis Urias, 2B | SDP | 2019

23. Francisco Mejia, C | SDP | 2019

24. Austin Riley, 3B | ATL | 2019

25. Luis Robert, OF | CWS | 2020

It’s hard not to find a winner in this quarter of the list given that all of them have the tools to be above-average everyday players (even some potential stars). In terms of fantasy bucks, you’re looking for (hoping for) a return of anywhere from $20 – $30+ in value. Two big risers this year have been Keston Hiura and Peter Alonso. Their role with their clubs isn’t completely clear (yet). Both played well in the “prospect graduate school” that is the Arizona Fall League and both have nothing to prove in the minors. There’s a nice chunk of talented outfielders from Kirilloff to Adell to choose from, and we have our first “mini-tier” of pitchers in Whitley, Honeywell, and Cease. It’s kind of interesting that they all (will potentially) throw in the AL, which is usually the worse league for arms, but that’s how this prospect cookie crumbled.

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Michael
Michael
3 years ago

Would you take Victor Victor Mesa or Peter Alonso in a MiLB draft 1st overall?

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Mike
3 years ago

@Mike: thank you

PaulyOH
PaulyOH
3 years ago

I’m in an NL-only 10 team points league where we can keep (forever) 4 minors. My first 3 slots are rock solid: Alonso, Hiura, Kieboom.

Who do you like best for the 4th slot? Chris Shaw, Gavin Lux or Cal Quantrill? I know Shaw has the clearest path to playing time but he has high bust potential. Thanks!

PatPat
PatPat
3 years ago

How would redraft leagues consider this list? Is the year in each row the year of expected callup? Column headers would be super helpful :)

And if that’s the case, redrafts should focus mainly on the “2019” players? Thanks

Beware the Shit Rope
Beware the Shit Rope
3 years ago

i’ll put this in it’s own area rather than adding to another guy’s post for this.

deep stuff again (into about 170th overall in 30 team 1st year draft)

1. best out of these MI: wenceel perez SS DET, antoni flores SS BOS (very far off, but bat sounds very upsidey), osiris johnson SS MIA (highest 1st year guy left for MI for sure), arraez 2B MIN
2. best OF out of these: canario SF, decker BOS,

3. adding hawlett 3B BOS to these, who’s best 2 or 3 out of all of them?

Jason
Jason
3 years ago

Great list, thanks for the work! I’m in a H2H keeper where I can keep 10 minor league-eligable players. Right now with the keeper deadline looming, I’m keeping:

Tatis, Alonso, Luis Urias, Wander Franco, Riley, Luzardo, Gore, Keller, Alex Reyes, Sixto Sanchez

This means letting these two go back into the free agent pool:

Keibert Ruiz, Madrigal

Are there any of my current keepers you would swap out for the last two guys? Thanks!

Jason
Jason
Reply to  Mike
3 years ago

@Mike: I like the sound of that. I’m leaning toward dropping Keller or Sanchez. Keller doesn’t feel as flashy as the others and Sanchez had elbow issues last year. I’m guessing those are my weakest arms?

Warren Shapiro
3 years ago

Here we are with Tucker in the top 10 and almost no path to playing time. When I look at the Houston system, I worry a guy like him is going to rot for a while. Derek Fisher seems to be a non factor as well. Do you think Tucker gets enough at bats this year early on to see what he is made of or did the Brantley trade rule that out?

Darek
Darek
3 years ago

Super specialized question, but I’m in a keep 10 keeper league with 15 prospect slots that has to get trimmed to 10 before a winter prospect draft each year. I’m in a win now mode so those last 5 spots are pretty flexible for me. This is a holds league, and I don’t really like chasing holds with draft picks. Are there any talented prospect eligible middle relievers in line for holds in 2019 that might not hold much value in standard leagues? Last year I picked up AJ Minter and Hirano before the draft and put them in a minors slot and basically didn’t really have to worry about holds in the draft. Hudson for Stl is about the only one I’ve identified so far.

Whack Daniels
awlagdeer
3 years ago

Is Royce Lewis moving off of SS?

bmoney
bmoney
3 years ago

16 team dynasty 6×6 with ops as extra cat. mlb roster is c-ramos, 1b-hosmer, 2b-joram, 3b-bryant, ss-correa, of-stanton, marte, blackmon, util-cruz, brantley. bn – carlos santana, o’hearn, jorge polanco, pedroia . my notable prospects are mountcastle, yusniel, esteury, luis garcia (was), kirillof, pache, jazz, brusdar.

would you include kirillof in a deal for either khris or springer?

I am the Walrus
I am the Walrus
3 years ago

Who many AB’s do you think Senzel gets? Does he start in Cinc?

M
M
3 years ago

Do you think Nathaniel Lowe could make an impact id he is called up around midseason?

Yoenis
Yoenis
3 years ago

Are there less Alex Reyes believers than there used to be? He still technically qualifies for most minor league rosters with an even 50.0 career IP, and yes he’s good at getting injured, but I still see him as a top 25 prospect. No?

Geoff
3 years ago

Great work Mike! Love the Gimenez rank.

Brandon
3 years ago

Surprised to see Kirilloff ahead of Adell. Adell is younger and played at a higher level last year in addition to having speed in his profile. I assume their power is fairly equal if not leaning toward Adell so is Kirilloff’s hit just that much better it trumps all the other factors?

Trust The Process
Trust The Process
3 years ago

This is awesome stuff! Been waiting for this . I burnt my team to the ground last year to load up my minors going forward. We can carry/stash 10 as long as we want to not count against our keepers. I have :

Royce
Bichette
Senzel
Rodgers
Trammel
Robert
Lee
Sanchez
Florial
Valera

And I just took India in our rookie draft

Hoping to flip 2 of the last 4 guys up top for an upgrade and room for India . Which 2 would you look to move? Or is one droppable to make the room? This is a 12 team roto. Thank you as always!

Trust The Process
Trust The Process
Reply to  Mike
3 years ago

Jesus Sanchez actually .. should’ve specified that one

Pasha
Pasha
3 years ago

Surprised to see Tatis above eloy. I may have missed it, but what do you project for Tatis?

evans
evans
Reply to  Mike
3 years ago

@Mike: im going around razzball getting everyone’s perspective, curious of ur take.

Keep:
Acuna 5th round (1 round yearly penalty) vs eloy (25th round, 5 round yearly penalty)

and

Severino 20th round (5 round yearly penalty) vs Buehler 25th round (5 round yearly penalty)

TobiasFunkeAnalRapist
TobiasFunkeAnalRapist
3 years ago

Great work my man, a couple of questions here. Royce Lewis listed at OF, did I miss something or is that where he will be longterm?
My main question concerns my 12 team h2h cats keeper league where I have a nice blend of experience and youth to build a dynasty. My 9 keepers are:
Trout, Arenado, Bregman, Acuna, Soto, Ablies, Mondesi, Buehler, and Taillon.
Basically I figure one or two of these guys will flame out and I’ll have to move on in the next year or so, so my question is which prospect would you target in the next 1-3 years? The big guys like vlad, eloy, tucker and senzel are all taken but most guys in my league don’t snatch up big time prospects in advance. So who should I target for upside in the near future? Thinking maybe Franco or Royce Lewis or do you see Kriloff or Jo Addell being up there? Thanks.

TobiasFunkeAnalRapist
TobiasFunkeAnalRapist
Reply to  Mike
3 years ago

@Mike: Thanks man, based on what you say then Lewis would have to be the guy since nobody holds prospects for more than a year in my league. Although doesn’t Franco have a bit of Acuna in him with the way he broke out? Do you think 2022 with him just because of the Ray’s past with prospects? Thanks.

Keith
Keith
3 years ago

Standard scoring, 10 team, 15 keeper league. This is year 5 of the league and I’ve done well through drafts and trades to build a good roster. It’s competitive, but obviously not as involved as a lot of these other leagues I’m reading about with advanced minor league set ups. My current keeper stock is Trout, Trea Turner, Bryant, G.Sanchez, Castellanos, Benintendi, Scherzer, Bauer, Treinen, Cmart, CSeager, Donaldson, Muncy, Glasnow,

I’m hoping that Kyle Tucker gets enough ABs this year to really contribute, and I’m definitely keeping him, but had other options that I could keep instead of him or my first 14 above and wanted your thoughts. Really wish Franco was up in 2 years, but can’t justify a spot for him if he’s 3-4 years away.

Here are the other options. Dozier, Tim Anderson, Hicks, Stripling

Thanks for any input…

Keith
Keith
Reply to  Mike
3 years ago

Do you think Franco is the kind of player to use a spot on for 2 or 3 empty years?

Lovdarooks
Lovdarooks
3 years ago

Would you rather have Vladimir or Alberto Mondesi who is 30% less in salary for only this year in a 5 x 5 OBP ?

Nick
Nick
3 years ago

Hey Mike,

trying to improve my Dynasty team
started last 2 years ago, finished 6th last year.
I specially need pitching , cause i’ve been devastated by injuried : Salazar, Honeywell, Cueto, K.Middleton …

starting team is :
C. Alfaro –> should i pick up Mejia NOW?
1B. Abreu + Pete Alonso as a backup for now and the future
2B. Villar
3B. Rendon + Andujar
SS. Lindor + T.Anderson
OF1. Acuña
OF2. JDMart
OF3. K.Davis
Util. Castellanos
Bench : (and ‘tradable/droppable)
Renfroe
Adames

i have different options on FA, but the best one would be ELOY >>Renfroe
others of consideration : J.Bauers / Hampson / Goodrum / … L.urias/Wendle
even if i don’t really need batters

and the only one of this list awaiting in my minor nest is Kiriloff

let’s talk pitchers now:

SP1. Glasnow –> my 2019 ace
SP2. Mikolas –> overated ? i’d like to trade
Sp3. Hamels –> oldies but still goodies?
RP1. K.Giles
P: T.Williams / D.Rodriguez / S.Matz / J.Chacin
Bench and droppable M.Minor

SO i need another RP: AJMinter would be my bet
but you can consider : Robertson/Givens/Jeffress

i can get those SP ; over Minor (who else?)
TOUSSAINT: starting in the majors?
BUNDY : HIGH risk, Worth the reward?
Kikuchi: japanese kinder surprise
CEASE !? just discovered him thanks to this post !!!
or i can get back Honey, well… – Salazar if they feel ready to go
others of consideration: Lucchesi/F.Peralta/J.Urias

in a perfect world, i’d go
Jiménez/Toussaint/Minter over Renfroe/Adames/Minor

thanks for your advice

Nick

Tweak
Tweak
3 years ago

Feeling pretty good when one of my deeper dynasty teams is sitting on Jimenez, Robles, Bichette, Senzel, Rodgers, Kirilloff, Trammell, Pache and Cease. For a middle-of-the-pack team last year, things are looking up!

Still really digging on Hiura though. Hoping he really helps shore up MI for the Brewers.

Ante Galic
Ante Galic
3 years ago

Mike!!!

Fantastic top 25 report. Thank you much!

a. So the top 4 for redraft 2019

1. VGJ
2. Tatis
3. Eloy
4. Robles

b. Subdued Norm MacDonald quote for January 13

According to retailers, the most popular Halloween mask this year is O.J. Simpson. And the most popular Halloween greeting is ‘I’ll kill you and that guy who’s bringing you over your glasses or Treat.’

Cheers,
Ante

LenFuego
LenFuego
Reply to  Ante Galic
3 years ago

@Ante Galic: From a long term perspective (i.e., dynasty or keeper leagues), a number 2 ranking is perfectly legit for Tatis, but personally I am skeptical about him there for redraft leagues.

Tatis just turned 20 a week and a half ago, has never played at the AAA level and has only 451 plate appearances at AA. At AA in 2018, he hit .286 with 16 HRs – that is good (especially for his age), but it is not exactly “this guy has nothing left to prove in the minors” territory.

Joe Shmoe
Joe Shmoe
3 years ago

Kikuchi? Merril Kelly?

Beware the Shit Rope
Beware the Shit Rope
Reply to  Joe Shmoe
3 years ago

@Joe Shmoe: he named kikuchi as VERY high for 1st year drafts (i think he was in the camp of 1st overall since he’ll for sure play right off, as did the guys at ralph’s site).

deep stuff again (into about 170th overall in 30 team 1st year draft)

1. best out of these MI: wenceel perez SS DET, antoni flores SS BOS (very far off, but bat sounds very upsidey), osiris johnson SS MIA (highest 1st year guy left for MI for sure), arraez 2B MIN
2. best OF out of these: canario SF, decker BOS,

3. adding hawlett 3B BOS to these, who’s best 2 or 3 out of all of them?

Bro Pat
Bro Pat
3 years ago

Will have to chose between Wander Franco and Alex Kirilloff in a supplemental draft in my AL only dynasty league this year. is Wander a slam dunk? Also looking at a possibility of Luzardo being there. Of these 3, which will either help me compete in my window(next 2-3 years) or generate the most trade value to help in my window?

Mike
Reply to  Bro Pat
3 years ago

To keep on your squad and help you in the next two years I’d say Luzardo. Trade value I’d go Franco and Kirilloff in that order. There are always teams looking to “rebuild” that will pay top dollar in players for top specs, so you might get two or three “Luzardos” for Franco midseason.