A reminder that this is strictly a list for 2019. Several of these prospects are among the best in baseball, but for the purpose of this series, it’s just measuring potential impact for this season. Also, a reminder that prospects who are on MLB rosters are not eligible for this list, nor is any player that has exhausted his prospect eligibility. You can view my top 100 prospects for 2019 and my top prospects by position in our Rotoworld MLB Season Pass.
Without further ado, here’s the top 10 fantasy prospects that can help you in the 2019 season.
1. Mitch Keller, RHP Pittsburgh Pirates
2019 stats: 19 G, 103.2 IP, 3.56 ERA, 94 H, 3B BB, 123 SO at Triple-A Indianapolis; 3 G, 12 IP, 10.50 ERA, 21 H, 6 BB, 15 SO at Pittsburgh.
For the second straight week, we have a new prospect in the top spot, and for the second straight week, we know that prospect is heading to the big leagues. Sure does make it easier. Keller will be recalled by the Pirates to start against the Angels to make his fourth MLB start of this season/his career. None of those previous three outings was terribly impressive statistically, and it's understandable if you're a bit shy of buying in again on the 23-year-old. I'd like to think I've done a pretty good job of helping you out in the past, and I really do believe Keller's arsenal is good enough to help you right now. If he disappoints again, I promise I'll write an apology in next week's column, but for now, I'd grab Keller to start this week.
2. Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox
2019 stats: 102 G, .333/.386/.612, 24 HR, 35 SB, 23 BB, 105 SO at High-A Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham, and Triple-A Charlotte.
For the second straight week, Robert is in the second spot, and for the second straight week, he would have been the top prospect if not for news that broke over the weekend about a prospect being called up. Well, kind of. I'll explain in a second. As for Robert, he's actually going through a bit of a slump right now, as he's just 3-for-25 since August 6 with one homer in that time frame. When you're hitting this well, regression has to happen. Robert's five-tool skill set still makes him worth stashing now, assuming you have the bench room.
3. Gavin Lux, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
2019 stats: 98 G, .358/.429/.624, 23 HR, 10 SB, 53 BB, 88 SO at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
So remember how I told you that I was going to promote Robert to the top spot before the Keller news broke? Well, that's true, but if we're being total honest -- and I have no reason to lie to you -- I was ready to move Lux into that top spot with his .441/.524/.811 line over 143 at-bats in Triple-A. Unfortunately, I can't move him to the top spot after what I heard from manager Dave Roberts; comments that basically say Lux is going to be serving an "apprenticeship" with the Dodgers in September. Now, this could be all be nonsense, and maybe Lux gets the call sooner/plays a big role for the Dodgers before the season ends. It just doesn't sound nearly as likely as I/we like. Lux is worth a stashing because just look at those numbers, but there's a real chance he doesn't contribute in a meaningful way in 2019. Bummer.
4. Nate Lowe, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
2019 stats: 76 G, .290/.416/.526, 14 HR, 1 SB, 56 BB, 68 SO at Triple-A Durham; 30 G, .294/.365/.510, 5 HR, 0 SB, 10 BB, 29 SO at Tampa Bay.
Lowe had a bit of an inconsistent first full week back in the minors, but he ended it on a strong note by hitting a homer on Sunday against Indianapolis. Of all the prospects on this list -- not counting Keller, of course -- Lowe is the one who has the best chance of making it back to the majors before September, and the only reason he ranks this 'low' is because of his positional value or lack thereof. Lowe makes the Rays better, and in turn, he can do the same for your fantasy club.
5. Carter Kieboom, INF, Washington Nationals
2019 stats: 94 G, .312/.414/.525, 16 HR, 3 SB, 57 BB, 71 84 at Triple-A Fresno; 11 G, .128/.209/.282, 2 HR, 4 BB, 16 SO at Washington.
Kieboom is starting to swing the bat like the top prospect like we've seen for most of the year after his mini-funk, and even when the hits weren't falling, the walks were still there, and still are (six in his last 10 games). Brian Dozier is hitting just .182 in his last 10 games, and it's getting tougher to say that he's an upgrade over Kieboom as Trea Turner's double-play partner. He'll be up in September, and when he does get that call, he'll be worth a speculative add because he has a chance to get solid playing time.
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6. Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels
2019 stats: 59 G, .286/.366/.493, 10 HR, 6 SB, 25 BB, 68 SO at High-A Inland Empire, Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake.
Adell has not had a ton of success as of late at the Triple-A level, and his line with the Bees is now .209/.292/.233 with a 17/5 K/BB mark over 43 at-bats. That sample size is small, but let's keep in mind that Adell is 20, and as talented as he is, he's going to have to rake Triple-A pitching to get that promotion. That's obviously possible since Adell is one of the top three prospects in baseball, but right now, it isn't, which is why Adell moves down a couple of spots.
7. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
2019 stats: 107 G, .268/.352/.568, 30 HR, 25 SB, 48 BB, 103 SO at Triple-A Round Rock.
The hits are starting to fall again for Tucker, and he had a two-homer game on Wednesday to bring him up to 30 homers on the year. Call me stubborn or whatever, but I've stuck with Tucker in this portion of the list for the majority of the year, and I'm not giving up on him at this point, it'd be foolish to. It may take an injury or something unforeseen to make him an everyday player, but the power/seed combination is special. I can't guarantee anything because I'm not the GM of the Astros, but I still think he makes an impact before the 2019 season ends. It's worth pointing out that a September call-up appears to be a lock.
8. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
2019 stats: 108 G, .315/.342/.518, 20 HR, 2 SB, 17 BB, 108 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.
Another strong end to a week for Mountcastle, as he homer in a three-hit game for the Tides on Saturday, and followed with a two-hit effort the next day. Mountcastle's patience is scary -- and not a fun kind of scary -- but his ability to make hard contact and hit for power is impressive, even while swinging at pretty much everything. There are no promotion locks at this point, but if the O's do give Mountcastle a chance to succeed, I think he'll do just that.
9. Nick Solak, 2B, Texas Rangers
2019 stats: 108 G, .278/.353/.519, 25 HR, 5 SB, 43 BB, 100 SO at Triple-A Durham and Nashville.
Solak wasn't exactly struggling before his trade to the Rangers; he owned a solid .838 OPS with Triple-A Durham. That being said, to say that the 24-year-old has been better since the deal is an understatement, as he has a .318/.351/.636 line in 88 at-bats with the Sounds. Solak has the ability to hit for average and power from the right side, and he isn't immune to drawing walks. He played both the outfield and second base for the Durham Bulls before the move, but he's been mostly at the latter since moving to Nashville, although he did play three games in left to end the weekend. It would be a shock if he didn't get a chance to play everyday for the Rangers before 2019 came to an end, and the talent suggests he can be a fantasy relevant player from the jump.
10. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Oakland Athletics
2019 stats: 7 G, 24.1 IP, 2.22 ERA, 18 H, 2 BB, 37 SO at short-season AZL, High-A Stockton and Triple-A Las Vegas.
Luzardo missed just about a month with his lat strain, and the southpaw has looked outstanding since being back on the bump. In five innings last week, he allowed just one hit, and he didn't issue a walk while striking out seven. The reason Luzardo ranks this low has nothing to do with talent; it has everything to do with the fact that Oakland might take things extra cautious with their top prospect considering his health this season -- and keep in mind he had issues in 2018, as well -- and how late we are in the year. He deserves a spot, however, because Luzardo has outstanding command of an arsenal that can miss bats and keep the ball in the park. Even in a multi-inning bullpen role, Luzardo is worth keeping an eye on.
Also considered: Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates; Justus Sheffield, LHP, Seattle Mariners; Jesus Sanchez, OF, Miami Marlins; Deivi Garcia, RHP, New York Yankees; Mauricio Dubon, INF, San Francisco Giants; Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston Astros