Top 10 Prospects for 2019 – Week 1, April 1, 2019
This is a top 10 prospect list which will have the 10 best players who will contribute in 2019, but do not yet play in the MLB. It is not a list on the top 10 best prospects in baseball, because other factors play in such as what team he plays for, the depth chart of that team and if the team is a contender. The list is also from a fantasy point of view, which can differ from the real life in many aspects.
It is important to keep track on the different prospects to know when to pick them up on the free agent list. Good timing can win you a championship at the end of the season. However, it is also important to keep track on the injury situation for the MLB teams. For example, Juan Soto would never have played in the MLB 2018, if the Washington Nationals did not suffer so many injuries.
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr – Toronto Blue Jays – 3B – Age 20
2018: (AA-AAA-Rk-A+) 95 GP, 67 R, 136 Hits, 20 HR, 78 RBI, 3 SB, BA .381, OBP .437, SLG .636, OPS 1.073
Surprise, surprise Vladimir Guerrero Jr is number one on this list, but you all knew it before. When he arrives in Toronto, he will make an immediate impact in fantasy. Even if he is not yet on an MLB team he is probably already on a fantasy team in your league. In spring training he suffered a Grade 1 oblique strain, which will delay his debut somewhat. All expectations before the season were, he would arrive mid-April and it is still possible we see him before May. A reasonable guess right now would be early-May.
- Nick Senzel – Cincinnati Reds – 2B/OF – Age 23
2018: (AAA) 44 GP, 23 R, 53 Hits, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 8 SB, BA .310, OBP .378, SLG .513, OPS 0.904
It looks like Nick Senzel will play CF for the Cincinnati Reds later in 2019. In spring training he got playing time in the OF, simply because the Reds have a need at that position. However, he can also play at 2B and 3B if needed. Senzel is a very interesting fantasy player, he can contribute in most categories, including stolen bases. A 10-20 SB season is possible, of course depending on when he gets the call from the Reds. He was sent down to Triple-A to get some more time in CF, not his natural position. However, right now he is in a walking boot which means Senzel’s MLB debut has been pushed forward. Late-April or May is still possible for his call to the Show.
- Touki Toussaint – Atlanta Braves – SP – Age 22
2018: (MLB) 7 G, 29.0 IP, 18 H, 13 ER, 4.03 ERA, 1.345 WHIP, 6.5 BB9, 9.9 SO9
The Atlanta Braves have several young starting pitchers who will contribute in 2019, and one of them is Touki Toussaint. He made his MLB debut in 2018, and some was surprised he did not start the season in Atlanta. However, even if he will have to begin in Triple-A it will not be long before he gets his chance. Toussaint has good strikeout potential, but also some troubles with his control. It does not hurt his fantasy value he plays for a good team, and his chances of wins will be good.
- Kyle Tucker – Houston Astros – OF – Age 22
2018: (MLB) 28 GP, 10 R, 9 Hits, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, BA .141, OBP .236, SLG .203, OPS 0.439
Kyle Tucker is another player who made his MLB debut in 2018, but had to start at the Triple-A level. He was not good in 2019 with the Astros, but the sample size was way too small. Tucker is however a really good player and should bounce back. In fantasy he has all the tools to contribute with power, batting average and stolen bases. All the different categories you want to boost in fantasy. The big problem is he plays for the Houston Astros organization with good depth, and a win now mode. If he would have played for another team, he might have played as a regular OF at the moment.
- Luis Urias – San Diego Padres – 2B/SS – Age 21
2018: (MLB) 12 GP, 5 R, 10 Hits, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, BA .208, OBP .264, SLG .354, OPS 0.618
Luis Urias got the taste of the MLB in 2018, and at the start of spring training many thought he would start the season with the Padres. Follow prospect Fernando Tatis Jr took his spot in the lineup, so he has to start at Triple-A. Urias will get his chance again with a plus hit tool, the question is when? He is developing some power and can in the future be more of an asset in that aspect. A flaw in fantasy is he will likely not give you 20 SB from the middle infield position, which many fantasy owners want.
- Justus Sheffield – Seattle Mariners – SP – Age 22
2018: (MLB) 3 G, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 10.13 ERA, 2.625 WHIP, 10.1 BB9, 0 SO9
Justus Sheffield was part of the package the New York Yankees sent to Seattle Mariners for LHP James Paxton. He will now have to start in a new organization, but it will be in a more pitcher friendly environment. His move maybe hurts his chances for wins, as the Mariners are doing a rebuild. Sheffield has several above average pitches, and a good strikeout ability. He will begin the year in Triple-A, but if he gets on a hot streak, it should not take long before he gets the call.
- Forrest Whitley – Houston Astros – SP – Age 21
2018: (AA) 8 G, 26.1 IP, 15 H, 3 ER, 3.76 ERA, 0.987 WHIP, 3.8 BB9, 11.6 SO9
You can decide how much higher on this list you can put Forrest Whitley. He is the best pitcher prospect in baseball right now, but the big question is when he will get the call by the Astros. If you play in a league, where you can afford to stash a player on the bench Whitley is a great option. He will probably dominate when he arrives. He will probably play a lot less than Toussaint and Sheffield, who both are higher on this list for that single reason. Whitley battled a suspensions and injuries in 2018, which means the Astros want to be careful in how many innings he pitches in 2019.
- Mike Soroka – Atlanta Braves – SP – Age 21
2018: (MLB) 5 G, 25.2 IP, 30 H, 10 ER, 3.51 ERA, 1.442 WHIP, 2.5 BB9, 7.4 SO9
In 2018 Mike Soroka made his MLB debut for the Braves, but his season was cut short due to injuries. Atlanta Braves have wisely taken it very slowly with the young Canadian pitcher. He missed most of spring training with shoulder soreness, and will have to start the year in Triple-A. Soroka will likely need some time before he is ready for the show again, but he is definitely someone who can help the Braves already this year.
- Mitch Keller – Pittsburgh Pirates – SP – Age 22
2018: (A+, AA, AAA) 25 G, 142.1 IP, 130 H, 55 ER, 3.48 ERA, 1.300 WHIP, 3.5 BB9, 8.5 SO9
In a couple of days Mitch Keller will turn 23 years old, and he looks to be ready to make his MLB debut in 2019. The Pirates are in no hurry to rush him, so he will start the season in Triple-A. He has a good mix of pitches, but he does not have elite strikeout ability. Something fantasy owners are always looking for to add. His prospect stock has maybe gone down a bit the last year. However, Keller is still young and can be a force when he gets the chance. A big plus is Keller pitched 142.1 innings in 2018, which means he can be in the rotation more or less the entire season when he gets the call.
- Brendan Rodgers – Colorado Rockies – 2B/SS – Age 22
2018: (AA, AAA) 114 GP, 54 R, 10 Hits, 114 HR, 67 RBI, 12 SB, BA .268, OBP .330, SLG .460, OPS 0.790
Tenth on this list we find a potential fantasy great, Colorado Rockies infielder Brendan Rodgers. He has the power and the speed, which is the combination we want in fantasy. He went 12 for 15 in stolen bases attempts in 2018, which should translate well in next level. Right now, the Rockies do not have a need in at infielder position but a hot start and injuries can quickly change that. Keep an eye on this situation, because it can be one of the best free agent adds you do in 2019, if you time it correctly.