Which Fantasy-Relevant Prospects Are on the Way?
by Eno Sarris //
In recent weeks, prospects like Chris Carter, Domonic Brown, Jeremy Hellickson and Logan Morrison have been called up to major leagues and we’ve been right on top of them. Which prospects are still in the minor leagues who might help your fantasy team down the stretch?
Looking at Baseball America’s midseason Top 25 prospects, one thing immediately becomes clear. There are a lot of guys down in HIgh-A ball who won’t be coming up any time soon. So, we’ll sort the list for age and proximity to the major leagues, because we want to find some names that will help fantasy owners in all sorts of leagues this year.
Number three on the list is Desmond Jennings in Tampa Bay’s organization. Other than shoulder and wrist injuries that set him back a little this year, and may have sapped some of his power, he’s been great. His career .297/.380/.441 line in the minor leagues shows that he can get on base and show decent power, but it’s the 163 stolen bases against only 31 caught stealings (84% success) in 400 games that are really eye-popping.
Unfortunately for Jennings, the major league outfield in Tampa Bay is pretty stacked, and there’s little room for him to accrue impactful playing time even if he is called up in September when the rosters expand. Fantasy owners desperate for speed can hold on to him, but a deep team like the Rays may not have much room for him to make an impact, barring a major injury.
Another September callup might be Dustin Ackley, an outfielder-turned-second baseman in the Seattle organization. Given the struggles of Jose Lopez, Ackley might even have some playing time available to him if the team shifts Chone Figgins back to third. Though Ackley doesn’t own a ton of minor league plate appearances (458), the 2nd overall pick in the 2009 draft has performed well after a few blips, and at 22 with three full years at college behind him, the team may push him. In Triple-A right now, Ackley is hitting .299/.388/.483 in a park that skews slightly toward pitchers. He has a little bit of extra-base power, but with few home runs (his overall ISO is a below-average .135) and a little bit of speed (eight stolen bases in 109 games), and is an interesting speculative pick up for deep league managers needing help at second base. With the team looking to next year, the M’s could even call him up before September 1.
Tenth on the list is a lefty pitcher, Baltimore’s Zach Britton. The Orioles are a poor team looking to the future, so the table is set for Britton to come up at any point and contribute. While Britton is only striking out 5.84 batters per nine innings in Triple-A, 6.44 batters per nine cumulatively in 2010, and 6.83 batters per nine for his minor league career, he can induce groundballs by the bundle with his sinker. HIs career groundball percentage is 62.9% and that’s stayed constant throughout – that percentage is 62% in Triple-A. The rest of the Orioles’ bevy of pitching prospects are for the most part flyball pitchers. The team may want to try out a different approach, and deep league managers looking for pitching would do well to look Britton’s way. Now it looks like the Orioles might even go to a six-man rotation to see what they have in Britton.
So far, we’ve gone through Baseball America’s top 10 and found three guys who might be useful to deep league managers – but no immediate pickups for shallow mixed-leaguers. We’ll continue to cull the list for fantasy-relevant prospects for you in the next few days.
For more on Desmond Jennings, Dustin Ackley, Zach Britton and the rest of the top prospects in baseball, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools.