Big prospect-ations

September 19, 2020

As the season is wrapping up, let’s take a look around the league to see what prospects we need to pay attention to for next season. 

Orioles
On the radar
Adley Rutschman C: Provided he has no setbacks we will see him next year. With Pedro Severino being a pretty good option right now, expect the Orioles to take their time with Adley Rutschman next season.

Who to watch now
Ryan Mountcastle 1B, OF and 3B: Since the departure of Manny Machado, the Os have been talking about the future of Ryan Mountcastle. While it’s taken him a while to get here he’s finally arrived and he’s been solid playing all over the field for an Orioles team that finally looks like they are heading in the right direction.

Red Sox
On the radar
Jeter Downs SS: The dude is legit. He has the makeup of a perennial all-star. We won’t be seeing him until 2022 at the earliest.

Who to watch right now
Bobby Dalbec 1B: He had a great summer playing for the United States national baseball team in the 2019 WBSC Premier 12. Bobby Dalbec showcased his power hitting two home runs in eight games with eight RBI. In 14 games in the majors, he’s hit .260 with six home runs and an OPS of .967. He still has a lot of room to grow, but his power potential can’t be ignored. Right now, he’s the Red Sox future at first base.    

 White Sox
On the radar
Andrew Vaughn 1B/DH: He looked a little outmatched in spring training. I would guess he’ll be up sometime in 2021 or 2022.

Who to watch now
Luis Robert OF and Nick Madrigal 2B: Luis Robert is the AL rookie of the year. Madrigal has been below expectations with an injury derailing his season. However, Madrigal is still hitting .324 this year. If this is Madrigal at his worst, you are going to want to own him when he’s at his best.

Indians
On the radar
Nolan Jones 3B: He’s blocked until Carlos Santa hits free agency in 2022 or they figure out a spot for him to play every day. He’s looking like a cup of coffee in 2021 or 2022 at the earliest.

Who to watch now
Triston McKenzie SP: He’s been great this year, but he’s flying under the radar because he’s on the best pitching staff in all of baseball. He’s in the 94 percentile in strikeouts, and 90 in expected batting average. He’s been elite and he’s just getting started.

Astros
On the radar
Forrest Whitley SP/RP: If he can’t make it to the big leagues this year, when is this thing going to happen? People have graduated college in the amount of time Forrest Whitley has been a prospect. People have graduated from medical school in less time than it took Whitley to make it to the majors. Can we get him off of prospect lists already so I can stop reading about how close he is to the majors?

Who to watch now
Cristian Javier SP: He has a curve spin that puts him into the elite category among the top 89 percent and an expected batting average in the top 90 percent in all of baseball. He leans on his fastball in every situation throwing it more than 60 percent of the time. Despite just throwing 92 mph, Javier is still getting outs with his fastball with hitters only hitting .189 against his fastball.    

Royals
On the radar
Bobby Witt Jr. SS: He’s way off in the distance. He’s being projected for the 2023 season, but I would think with Adalberto Mondesi and Whit Merrifield not having their contracts come up until 2024. I think it will be late 2023 or early 2024.  

Who to watch now
Kris Bubic SP and Brady Singer SP: Kris Bubic has the highest pedigree in the Royals pitching system, but Brady Singer has beaten the odds this season. Singer has put up decent numbers allowing a lot of really hard-hit balls and just being a solid pitcher. He probably isn’t a sexy fantasy play, but he’s a guy who does a job getting balls on the ground at a 53 percent rate. He’s a good sinkerball pitcher with room for improvement. Bubic has put together a similar profile to Singer this season, but prospects love Bubic’s ceiling and that makes him worth an add in keeper leagues.

Angels
Who to watch now
Jo Adell OF: It might have been a little too much too early for Jo Adell. One of the top prospects in baseball Adell has struggled batting .154 in 33 games this season. He has one of the worst expected slugging percentages in the league, and Adell is a player who should be all about power. The belief is still there, but Adell’s holes in his swing can’t be ignored much longer. He might need to start next season in the minors before making his triumphant return to the show.

Twins
Who to watch now
Royce Lewis SS and Alex Kirilloff OF/1B: Alex Kirilloff will probably be up in about two years, but we might have to wait even longer for see Royce Lewis. Right now the Minnesota lineup is deadly, so the Twins can take their time with the two young prospects.

Yankees
Who to watch
Deivi Garcia SP: His profile doesn’t blow you away, but right now he’s doing the little things right. He has a 3.28 ERA with a walk rate that puts him among the top five percent of the league. He’s got a solid spin rate that puts him among the top 77 percent of the league, and he’s throwing almost exclusively fastballs 60 percent fastball rate. Once he is able to mix his pitches, he’s going to be a really solid option as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter.

Athletics
On the radar
A.J. Puk SP
Hi, my name is A.J. Puk I’m an injuryaholic, and this is why I’m still on prospect lists instead of being the top highlight on Sportscenter.

Who to watch now
Jesus Luzardo SP: Jesus Luzardo has been as advertised. He’s proven his arm talent throwing at 96 mph, and he balances it out with a curveball coming in around 83 mph. Luzardo hasn’t set the world on fire yet, but all the pieces are there to make him an all-star someday.

Mariners
Who to watch now
Kyle Lewis OF and Evan White 1B: If it was any other year, Kyle Lewis would be a front runner for rookie of the year. Lewis is every bit of the player people envisioned when he and Tyler O’Neil were battling head-to-head for the title of best prospect in the system. Lewis has surpassed expectations and looks like a lynch-pin for the Mariners moving forward. He’s in the 80th percentile in barrels in the league, and his power is without question. Evan White is hitting the ball hard, but he’s just not hitting the ball enough. White is in the 96 percentile in hard-hit rate, but he’s only hitting .168 this season. Look for his numbers to balance things out next season.    

Rays
Who’s on the radar
Wander Franco SS and Vidal Brujan: The top prospect in all of baseball is still a year away, but his time might be at the start of next season rather than the beginning. If we hear the Rays are trying out infielders at third base, we will know Franco is on his way. The more I hear about Vidal Brujan, the more I like him. He doesn’t have the power you want to see as a fantasy owner, but this is a guy who just knows how to hit and could be a potential steal in keeper leagues in the new few years.

Rangers
Who to watch
Nick Solak 2B and OF: For a guy who was supposed to be a slap and dash player, Solak has had a solid rookie year. He had just enough starts (33) last season that he didn’t count as a prospect this year, but this is a guy they like and should be a big part of the Rangers organization moving forward.  

Blue Jays
On the radar
Nate Pearson SP/RP: He throws harder than anyone in the league — five minutes later — and he’s hurt. The arm talent is a little less than everyone expected he’s throwing 96 mph on average with his fastball. I expect when he has more stability in the rotation and isn’t dealing with injuries we see him get unleashed and he’s hitting triple digits regularly.