NL West: Nine Rising Prospect Stocks

The Prospect Stock Watch is taking a tour around the minor leagues reviewing rising prospects. These are prospects that likely won’t be on Top 100 lists or on your fantasy rosters just yet but they will likely become targets in dynasty leagues over the next year or two. Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked at the National League East and Central divisions. Today, we finish up our look at the NL with the West division.

Colorado Rockies

Grant Lavigne, 1B: Lavigne’s numbers don’t jump out as a first base prospect — especially for one that went 42nd overall in the 2018 draft – but he’s had a respectable season. The assignment to full-season ball was challenging despite his pedigree. Lavigne is from a cold-weather state (New Hampshire) so he didn’t get the same opportunities to play all season long like those from Florida or California. The 19-year-old prospect is finding ways to get on base this year (.368 OBP) despite a .246 average, which has been driven down by his 24% strikeout rate. The K-rate wouldn’t be such a big deal if he was producing power but his isolated slugging rate (ISO) is just .100 through 87 games. Lavigne is hitting line drives and has a 6-4 frame build for home runs but he’s hitting far too many balls on the ground. Once he buys into the launch angle revolution, watch out.

San Francisco Giants

Sean Hjelle, RHP: Tall pitchers usually take longer to develop because they have to learn to repeat their delivery with long levers but Hjelle is ahead of the curve. Standing 6-11, he’s walked just 21 batters in 95.2 innings this year. If all goes well, he’ll have four average-or-better offerings. The most impressive skill he’s showcased so far, though, is his ability to induce ground balls at a rate of almost three times the big league average – which is huge in this homer-happy era. Toss all this together and you could have an innings-eating, mid-rotation arm.

Melvin Adon, RHP: It’s been a rough season for the Giants, in general, but the club has featured an impressive array of relief pitchers. As a result, a number of arms could be on the move as the rebuilding club looks to increase its prospect depth. Adon could be poised to benefit if the club does, in fact, shed relief pitchers. He’s been slow to develop and still has work to do but he’s flashing triple-digit velocity at Double-A with an improved slider. He has 56 strikeouts in 41.1 innings but there is potential for even more Ks with the continued development of the breaking ball as well as improved command and control.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Geraldo Perdomo, SS: You need to squint a little bit on Perdomo right now if you’re looking at his batting average or slugging percentage but the Diamondbacks have something here. Just 19, he’s holding his own in full-season ball as a strong defensive shortstop with switch-hitting abilities. He’s also controlling the strike zone very well with a BB-K of 49-50. He had an on-base average above .400 in each of his first two pro seasons and it sits just below that right now. Toss in 17 stolen bases for good measure and I’m probably starting to catch your interest. While he’s not hitting for power right now, he has a history of solid line-drive rates and just needs to get the ball into the air more consistently while continuing to add muscle and good weight.

Alek Thomas, OF: A steal as a second-round pick out of high school last year, Thomas is a career .318 hitter as a pro. He uses the whole field and already has a strong eye at the plate as witnessed by his 12% walk rate and .392 career on-base average. What Thomas doesn’t do well right now is hit for power. But that should come. He can sting the ball and has a muscular frame, but he needs to lift the ball more consistently. Although he doesn’t steal many bases, the young outfielder has good speed and there is 20-steal potential here. Given some time and experience, it’s not hard to see a .300 hitter with a minimum 15 homers and 15 steals.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Josiah Gray, RHP: The big Reds/Dodgers trade from last December is working out pretty good for the Dodgers. They got rid of some headaches and actually received back a couple of prospects that have the potential to impact the big league roster. Gray looks like the steal of that deal. An athletic hurler from a small college, he actually spent more time playing shortstop than pitching so he’s still new to the craft. He shows the potential for two better-than-average offerings (fastball, breaking ball) and the change-up could be a decent third offering. Gray has navigated the lower levels of the minors well and should open 2020 in Double-A with a shot at reaching the Majors later that year.

Marshall Kasowski, RHP: Kasowski been on the IL for about a month with an undisclosed injury so his future impact timeline will obviously hinge on his recovery ETA. Prior to getting hurt, he looked like a candidate for a promotion to Triple-A after spending parts of two seasons in Double-A. The right-hander is effectively a one-pitch pitcher but his 93-97 mph heater is difficult to pick up, which helps the velocity play up even more. If he can polish the breaking ball and/or change-up to the point where they’re average-or-better, he has high-leverage potential. The control also needs some work.

San Diego Padres

Xavier Edwards, SS: Edwards was one of my favorite infielders available in the 2018 draft and he’s coming along even quicker than I anticipated. Selected 38th overall, he opened this season in Low-A before recently earning a promotion to High-A. He hit .336 at the lower level and had an outstanding BB-K of 30-35 in 77 games. Edwards understands that power is not a part of his game and doesn’t try to muscle the ball. He uses the whole field, focuses on putting the ball in play and getting on base to take advantage of his plus speed. There is 30-40 steal potential here with improved base running skills.

Edward Olivares, OF: I’ve been driving the Olivares bandwagon for a couple of years now, so why stop? He got off to a modest start in Double-A this year but has made the necessary adjustments and has an OPS just shy of .900 over the past six weeks. He’s tightened up his approach at the plate and we’ve seen the strikeouts go down and the walks come up. Olivares also continues to tantalize with his power potential when he keeps the ball in the air. He’s also a good base runner and has the potential to be a 20-20 player down the line.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Jackie T.
3 years ago

This column is utterly worthless and that’s why it never gets any comments.

Charlie Hustlemember
3 years ago
Reply to  Jackie T.

Speak for yourself. The title of the article accurately reflects the content. Many people on this site are interested in rising prospects who may become fantasy contributors in future years.

3 years ago
Reply to  Jackie T.

You need a hug.