There are two ways to use this list:
A guideline for redraft managers who are looking to see who might be stash worthy down the road or which guys are buried in ADP that could provide a modicum of value.
A way for dynasty managers in win-now windows to pick and choose which prospects are worth targeting to help them immediately
This might have been the most difficult list to create for me this offseason. Things like major league at-bats/innings pitched are significant factors on a prospect’s placement here. If you’re an elite prospect but won’t get more than 250 at-bats, you’re not going to sniff the top of the list. Christin Stewart, on the other hand, is penciled in as the Opening Day left fielder, so he shoots up the list.
Remember you can always view our entire library of prospects (all 900 from our top 30s) as well as our different fantasy lists and our real life one all in our Interactive Prospects Page.
1) Vladimir Guerrero Jr, 3B (TOR)
About the only iteration of a prospect list you’re not going to find Vlad Jr. number one is a pitching one. The prophetic Blue Jays in all their wisdom say he needs about three to four weeks to marinate in Triple-A. It’ll leave a sour taste in our mouths in April but our thicc boy is going to light up the baseball world this year.
2) Victor Robles, OF (WAS)
Currently penciled in as the Opening Day centerfielder, Robles has the skillset to put up a 15/25 season this year with average to above-average slash line categories. This could be the last time in a long time he goes outside the first 100 picks in a draft.
3) Nick Senzel, OF/INF (CIN)
The Reds seem like they’re serious about making Senzel their day one centerfielder. I don’t love it especially if he loses 3B (or 2B like he was supposed to earn), but the talent is there in spades. Injuries have pushed him into the background of managers’ minds, but he has a top three hit tool, along with power and speed. I’ve often used Anthony Rendon’s 2014 as a best-case scenario.
4) Eloy Jimenez, OF (CHW)
The White Sox will be playing similar games with Eloy as the Blue Jays do with Vladito. I’m not quite as convinced he’ll come up at the end of April, though he’s certainly ready to do so. Expect a lot of drooling over exit velocity when he does.
5) Pete Alonso, 1B (NYM)
Don’t you hate these dumb control games front offices play? Alonso should have been the Opening Day first baseman but we’ll have to wait. I don’t think it’ll be long, though, as the Mets are trying to win and first base is a hole (although Dom Smith might have something to say about that, apparently!).
6) Luis Urias, SS (SD)
If you love bat-to-ball skills, then Urias is your guy. He’s a great late-round pick up in redraft leagues where you need a MI. He could conceivably hit .290+ this year without much effort, though he’s lacking elsewhere. I’m not sure what the Padres do once Fernando Tatis Jr. is ready though. Maybe “forget” to board Ian Kinsler on the plane and strand him?
7) Yusei Kikuchi, LHP (SEA)
I broke down Kikuchi back in Janaury. He’s a risky venture this year because of how Mariners plan to limit him. But I trust him to at least be an SP4 on your staff, just be sure to cushion the innings.
8) Danny Jansen, C (TOR)
One of my favorite catchers this year, especially in OBP leagues. Jansen no longer has to contend with Russell Martin so the plate appearances should come (at least as much as a catcher can accrue them).
9) Christin Stewart, OF (DET)
We do know that Stewart has no competition for the left field job, right? And that Daz Cameron, the only other OF that should expect a promotion this year, is in line to take over centerfield from Jacoby Jones? Stewart routinely ran walk rates in the double-digit mark in the minors. Draft him like your OF4 or OF5 and enjoy some OF3 numbers.
10) Alex Reyes, RHP (STL)
Carlos Martinez’s injury leaves the door open for the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation. Reyes made his spring debut on Tuesday out of the bullpen and while his inning was nothing to write home about, his stuff looked electric with a fastball sitting 95-96. I’m sure the Cardinals would have preferred to stretch him out in the bullpen but you know what they say about best laid plans and all that.
11) Mike Soroka, RHP (ATL)
Soroka was ranked higher before news of his shoulder woes cropped up. It’s concerning he’s dealing with that again after getting shut down last year for the same issue. There have been no broad statements on his health since he was shut down, so this ranking is a bit in limbo. Proceed with caution.
12) Alex Verdugo, OF (LAD)
One low profile winner of the Bryce Harper to Phillies news was Verdugo, who has a clearer path to playing time now. I’m not sure what the Dodgers plan to do with Joc Pederson in left field, especially because Verdugo doesn’t have any platoon issues. I could see Verdugo performing well in limited time early and then running away with the job.
13) Touki Toussaint, RHP (ATL)
Toussaint has settled down in spring training after a horrific debut and it seems he might have the fifth spot locked down. His command is still an issue but his stuff is electric enough to carry him.
14) Sandy Alcantara, RHP (MIA)
I still have dreams of Alcantara’s changeup in his final start of 2018 where he struck out 10 Mets batters. It was spicy. However even this spring command remains a big issue for him: at the time of this writing he has a 9/8 K/BB in seven innings. Wei-Yin Chen is pitching himself out of the rotation and while Alcantara is not first in line (Caleb Smith, Pablo Lopez), a lost like season like 2019 is the perfect time to let him figure out big leaguers.
15) Garrett Hampson, 2B (COL)
Another ranking that’s a bit in limbo. If second base is a timeshare between Hampson and Ryan McMahon, both guys are losers. Each has set spring training on fire with their sticks so the competition remains fierce. If Hampson wins out, his stock is going to soar. Take your late-round fliers now.
16) Brandon Lowe, 2B (TB)
Did you know Lowe hit 28 home runs and stole 10 bases across AA/AAA/MLB last year? Joey Wendle’s emergence killed momentum for Lowe to win a job this year out of spring training. But Austin Meadows and Kevin Kiermaier are no bastions of health and Lowe can play the outfield as well.
17) Josh James, RHP (HOU)
James would have been much higher had he not injured his hamstring and knocked himself out of the running for a rotation spot. I think he’ll start the year in relief where his fastball will sit 98-100 and dominate opposing batters before shifting back into the rotation later in the year.
18) Kyle Tucker, OF (HOU)
Man, I wish Tucker were in another organization. I still love his skills and something tells me you’ll get him on a slight discount now, but he’s pretty blocked all around in Houston. But he’s got to be the first call the team makes in case of an injury. He’s spent an entire year at Triple-A already, there’s nothing left to prove.
19) Jesus Luzardo, LHP (OAK)
Luzardo debuted in Triple-A at 20-years-old, capping off a tremendous season for the southpaw. Oakland is looking to sneak into another Wild Card and with a current rotation of SP5 pitchers, Luzardo’s debut won’t be far off.
20) Forrest Whitley, RHP (HOU)
Houston manager A.J. Hinch immediately said Whitley (or Bukauskas) wouldn’t be candidates for the rotation after James went down. I don’t disagree. Whitley had just 26.1 innings at Double-A last year and despite an expansive arsenal that will likely carry him to average success in the majors, he needs a bit more seasoning. Unlike Luzardo who’ll have a clear path to a rotation spot, Whitley’s best hope comes from underperformance of a Brad Peacock or Collin McHugh and the hope they don’t resign Dallas Keuchel.
21) Francisco Mejia, C (SD)
If you guaranteed Mejia would be the starting catcher he’d be around Jansen’s area, but as a backup to Austin Hedges I’m not sure how many counting stats we’re seeing here. You could argue he could be a touch lower.
22) Justus Sheffield, LHP (SEA)
Sheffield should be first in line when the Mariners need a starting pitcher. The fantasy community is generally down on him (as am I), questioning his command, size and stuff. He’ll likely put up SP5 numbers and is more attractive in AL-only leagues.
23) Dan Vogelbach, 1B (SEA)
This guy needs to lose his prospect eligiblity already so I can stop ranking him. Vogelbach is torching spring training and while he has no path to playing time, I could see Ryon Healy and his career .300 OBP playing himself into a bench role and ceding a starting role to Danny-boy.
24) Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP (NYY)
As you might expect, Loaisiga (pronounced Low-Eye-Zuh-Guh) has moved up this list since the news of Luis Severino’s being temporarily shut down after shoulder woes. Loaisiga’s spring training numbers aren’t great and while we don’t care about that, the Yankees might be using it to decide who gets some early April starts between him and Domingo German with the loser starting in Triple-A.
25) Willians Astudillo, C (MIN)
Astudillo might not even be the backup catcher on his team, so his immediate value early in the season might be close to nil. Still, his absurd inability to strikeout and put the ball in play will work its way into the lineup…eventually.
26) Yusniel Diaz, OF (BAL)
The funny thing about Diaz is everyone is in general agreement that we’re underrating him. Expect him to take over right field halfway through the season, potentially sooner, after some time in Triple-A.
27) Bryse Wilson, RHP (ATL)
If I knew for sure that Soroka or Mike Foltynewicz would miss time, I’d rank Wilson in the ‘teens. As it stands, he has no spot in the rotation but should be the first call when a spot opens up.
28) Chris Paddack, RHP (SD)
I can’t go higher than this, y’all. I get that his stuff has looked great and that he’s more advanced than his experience dictates, but he pitched just 90 innings last year and none above Double-A. If I were the Padres, I’d start him in the rotation because you want to use your pitching prospect’s bullets in the majors, but I don’t care about service time and all that. I know Andy Green teased us with some rotation talk, but I think that was posturing.
29) Merrill Kelly, RHP (ARI)
His limited spring training exposure is not encouraging but he’s worth a late-round flier just to see what he does in April. Could either be droppable in 12-team leagues by the end of the month or a rotation stalwart.
30) Sean Reid-Foley, RHP (TOR)
Kelly and Reid-Foley should conceivably be higher because they’re looking like sure things to be in their respective rotation, but the upside is so low that it’s hard just use “Playing time!” as an excuse.
31) Logan Allen, RHP (SD)
Unlike Paddack, Allen has a season’s workload under his belt and some cursory experience in Triple-A. A few months ago I would have told you he was first in line for a call up and while Paddack has changed my view on that, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
32) Yu Chang, 3B/SS (CLE)
Chang plays in an organization where his two positions are unfortunately played by the two best in the American League. However Francisco Lindor’s calf injury might open the door for some early season playing time. A better scenario would be a trade but it’s hard to bank on those.
33) Griffin Canning, RHP (LAA)
Canning jumped three levels last year, finishing with 13 starts in Triple-A that were subpar but he ran a .376 BABIP. Signings of Trevor Cahill and Matt Harvey stabilized a really shaky rotation, but injury issues always befall the club and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Canning logging major league innings before the All-Star Break.
34) Nate Lowe, 1B (TB)
I’m sure when the Rays DFA’d C.J. Cron they had this guy in mind. The Rays like to promote their prospects after they have a significant amount of Triple-A seasoning, and since Lowe has just 28 games under his belt there, he’ll probably need another couple of months before showing up in Tampa. If he starts the season hot, he’s a worthwhile stash.
35) Fernando Tatis Jr, SS (SD)
Speaking of worthwhile stashes, Tatis should start the year as a 20-year-old in Triple-A, an incredible feat. Because the Padres might not view themselves as 2019 contenders I’m not sure they’re going to rush him and as such I see him debuting after the All-Star Break. But if there are whispers of a call up, stash him immediately, regardless of format.
36) Keston Hiura, 2B (MIL)
The Brewers, though, do see themselves as contenders and after Vlad, Eloy and Senzel, Hiura should be the next high profile prospect to debut. The Brewers don’t have a mainstay at second base and they could certainly use his bat in that park to improve their odds of the playoffs.
37) Isan Diaz, 2B (MIA)
Diaz is a better play in OBP leagues and he’s already seen some game action in Triple-A. However there are some contact concerns that even a double-digit walk rate can’t erase. He’ll be a cheap source of MI power when he debuts, but make sure your team can handle his ratios.
38) Matt Thaiss, 1B (LAA)
Thaiss has been crushing spring training thus far and while it won’t amount to a starting role, he has a season of Triple-A under his belt. Should Pujols succumb to injury, I could see a scenario where Thaiss gets some DH at-bats while Ohtani continues rehabbing.
39) Daz Cameron, OF (DET)
Cameron’s ascent from High-A to Triple-A showed the Tigers weren’t afraid to push their centerfielder of the future so long as he was producing. He finally slowed down in Toledo but a good start to the season could make them promote the 22-year-old to centerfield where his glove acts a safety net to his bat.
40) Yordan Alvarez, 1B/OF (HOU)
I’ve always said that prospects with good walk rates are going to have a better time acclimating to the majors because of their inherent plate discipline. Alvarez falls into this camp, though if Tucker can’t break through, I’m not optimistic Alvarez can either. But he already has 45 games of Triple-A to his name and the Astros can’t keep him down all year long…right?
41) Andrew Knizner, C (STL)
Given today’s aversion toward spending money on older players, it’s amazing Molina got 3/$60 million from St.Louis as a 35-year-old. It makes it hard to argue for Knizner, the best catcher in the system, to see playing time. That said, he has excellent contact skills that limit the strikeouts, even though the defense is a little lacking.
42) Dennis Santana, RHP (LAD)
What’s harder to break into, the Houston outfield or Dodgers rotation? Santana might not see many starts, if any, in the Dodgers rotation thanks to their depth. They do like to play musical chairs but Santana is likely buried down the depth chart. He still has a strong three-pitch mix that’s improved drastically in the last year, so maybe he forces the issue.
43) Jorge Mateo, OF (OAK)
It’s all about the speed here. Mateo’s shine has worn off but he still has 80-grade wheels and stolen bases are dying.
44) Chris Shaw, OF (SF)
Who needs Bryce Harper when you already have a power lefty bat like Shaw?!
45) Brent Honeywell, RHP (TB)
I’m not sure Honeywell should be this low. But I don’t see a scenario where he returns before the All-Star Break, especially if the Rays are a full go on the Opener, reducing the need to fill their rotation with starters. When he begins rehab starts, though, start stashing.
46) Taylor Widener, RHP (ARI)
I have Widener in here over Duplantier because the former has pitched back-to-back seasons of 115+ innings, a rarity in the minors and capped 2018 with a fantastic Double-A season where he had a 24 K-BB% and a 2.75 ERA (2.99 FIP). He should begin this year in Reno and has a chance to jump into the rotation if Luke Weaver or Kelly falter.
47) AJ Puk, LHP (OAK)
I’m stupid high on Puk, ranking him as the second best pitching prospect in baseball behind Whitley. But I also recognize he may not debut until August, so the 2019 impact is minimal. This ranking is a way to say, “Hey, don’t forget about this guy.”
48) Myles Straw, OF (HOU)
Straw has a better chance to beat Tucker to full-time at-bats because of his cannon of an arm and his wheels. His defense will open the door to at-bats but don’t overlook his excellent plate discipline and walk rate. Better play for daily leagues, more likely than not.
49) Austin Riley, 3B (ATL)
Triple-A pitching ate up Riley a bit, and after the signing of Josh Donaldson he tumbled all the way down here. An injury to Donaldson is never out of the question, but then you imagine Johan Camargo is waiting in the wings. Either way, Riley is waiting.
50) Zac Gallen, RHP (MIA)
Gallen is the typical pitchability right-hander without a standout pitch that shouldn’t hurt you too much. He made 25 starts in Triple-A last year and while there is unusually strong competition for the rotation, he’s the first call the Fish make if their major league options can’t cut it.
Honorable Mentions (no order): Stephen Gonsalves, Kyle Wright, Nicky Lopez, Oscar Mercado, Michael Chavis, Austin Hays, Erik Swanson, Framber Valdez, Kevin Newman, Rowdy Tellez