I’ve updated my hitter prospect rankings (any name ideas?) based on age, level, position, and production with some regression baked in to handle small samples (link to last pitcher rankings). Besides the top-75 list, I’ve included some additional information on three lesser-known players.
|1||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||3B||762||19||79|
|2||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SS||909||19||69|
|4||Ronald Acuna Jr.||LF||705||20||65|
Hudson Potts (Sanchez) – Padres
The Padres 2016 first-round pick doesn’t have that one carrying trait which makes him stick out. All his traits are average or a bit better. If one trait does stand out above the others it is his third base defense. The good defense will help to create a nice playing time floor.
Most pre-season prospect grades have his power and hit tool around 50-grade. My computer ranking likes his hitting a bit more as he’s made some improvements this season. He’s doubled his 2017 walk rate from 4% to 9% while cutting his strikeouts from 27% to 24%. Additionally, his home run per flyball rate is at 18%, up from 14%. He’s making these improvements as a 19-year-old in High-A.
While his first-round status will have on the radar in deeper dynasty leagues, owners in shallower leagues may need to track his progress as he gets closer to the majors.
Yu Chang – Indians
The 22-year-old shortstop in the Indians system will be a likely trade candidate in next couple of months. There is just no way for the 80th overall prospect to replace Francisco Lindor as the Indians shortstop.
One issue with Chang is that his power is down significantly in Triple-A (.142 ISO) compared to last season in Double-A (.241). Additionally, his walk rate has dropped from over 10% to 6.5%. His overall 2018 stats could look worse but they’re being supported by a .339 BABIP.
His skill set, like many hitters I profile, grades out as major league average. Average shortstop defense with an average bat will end up being around a 3 WAR player. He has the potential to be a productive major leaguer.
His situation and talent scream for a team to offer the Indians a reliever or two for him. His value could jump if he moves immediately to a starting role.
Luis Santana – Mets
There is nothing on him, mainly because the 18-year-old second baseman has played all but six of his games in the Dominican Republic. Here’s what I’ve found on him.
- Signed for $200K in 2016.
- He’s vertically challenged at 5’8 with a stocky build (looking at images).
- In the DSL, he was 16 for 20 in stolen base attempts so get ready for the Jose Altuve comps.
- He’s shown a great eye at the plate with a walk rate over 10% and strikeout rate under 10% over the last two seasons.
- He might have some power with 23 of his 54 hits last season going for extra bases.
The last similar prospect my system picked up so high was Andres Gimenez, also of the Mets. In dynasty formats, I diving in now and wait on the scouting reports. If their bad, I’ll move on quickly to someone else.
Speaking of scouting reports, I’ve asked around and I expect some information on him as prospectors seeing him.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.