A couple of reminders:
First. This is for 2020 only. This is not a list of the top prospects in baseball overall. This is specifically a list for redraft leagues and redraft leagues only. Second, this is a fantasy list. It is not a list over the top overall prospects. Defense matters because it allows a prospect to play, but this list is just about the pitchers and hitters who have a chance to provide fantasy value in 2020.
With those reminders out of the way, here’s a look at the top 10 fantasy prospects for the 2020 season.
1. Gavin Lux, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
2019 stats: 113 G, .347/.421/.607, 26 HR, 10 SB, 61 BB, 102 SO at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City; 23 G, .240/.305/.400, 2 HR, 2 SB, 7 BB, 24 SO at Los Angeles.
Lux still hasn’t gotten the call, and frankly, I’m surprised. It’s a disappointing -- and a little perplexing -- development, and it’s especially those two things for those who invested an early draft pick in the infielder before the COVID-19 shutdown. The 22-year-old is still a left-handed hitting second baseman who has the ability to hit for average and power, and it’s just hard to imagine he doesn’t make the Dodgers better right now. Be it this week or next, I’d expect a call-up soon -- it's worth pointing out that the same things were being said last week -- and he’s someone I would want on my bench right now; it’s hard to imagine there are bench options in standard leagues who offer Lux’s upside.
2. Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels
2019 stats: 76 G, .289/.359/.475, 10 HR, 7 SB, 30 BB, 94 SO at High-A Inland Empire, Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake.
Adell has reportedly had some defensive issues in camp, but we all know the real reason he wasn’t on the Opening Day roster and still hasn't received a promotion. Even if the Angels hold him down for another week or two, he still is too talented to not place in the top two. He can hit for average, he can hit for power, and he should provide some stolen bases, as well; he certainly has the speed to do so. Again, you’ll have to be a little patient with Adell and that’s tough to do in a 60-game season, but those who are have a chance to be rewarded heavily. It's also worth pointing out that Shohei Ohtani is undergoing an MRI on Monday, and a bat like Adell's could be a fill-in if the two-way player needs to miss anytime. With the bat, anyway. Adell probably can't pitch.
3. Dylan Carlson, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
2019 stats: 126 G, .292/372/.542, 26 HR, 20 SB, 58 BB, 116 SO at Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis.
Can’t lie, expected to see Carlson to be up by now, too. It seems like kind of a waste, especially when you consider how much the St. Louis outfielders are struggling right now. Having a switch-hitter who can contribute in every category seems like a better idea than rolling out Harrison Bader and/or Tyler O’Neill every day, but, what do I know? Add Carlson now if you still can, it could pay big dividends.
4. Monte Harrison, OF, Miami Marlins
2019 stats: 58 8G, .274/.357/.451, 9 HR, 20 SB, 25 BB, 74 SO at Triple-A New Orleans.
We get to cheat. Harrison is reportedly going to be called up this week. The only reason the outfielder ranks this “low” is because of the obvious concerns related to COVID-19 and the breakout that occurred in Miami. He also has some serious contact issues, but the outfielder can also steal bases and hit for power to all parts of the field. There’s volatility here, but Harrison is talented enough to help you win two categories. Reward > risk, in this case.
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5. Casey Mize, RHP, Detroit Tigers
2019 stats: 15 G, 78.2 IP, 3.20 ERA 18 BB, 76 SO at High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie.
There were rumors that Mize was going to get the call to pitch on Sunday against the Reds. Those rumors obviously didn’t come to fruition, otherwise he wouldn’t be on this list. Still, it’s a positive that we’re hearing chances for the 2018 first-overall pick to be called up “early” in the season. It sounds like he’s more likely to make his debut in 2020 than not, and with good command of three swing-and-miss pitches, he’ll be worth a call-up when he does get that promotion.
6. Spencer Howard, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
2019 stats: 15 G, 71 IP, 2.03 ERA 16 BB, 94 SO at short-season PHW, short-season PHE, High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading.
Howard also had call-up rumors last week, and like Mize, they ended up being invalid. Still, it sounds like it’s more of a case of when and not if for the 24-year-old. While he doesn’t have the elite stuff of some other pitching prospects, he has a mid-to-high 90s fastball, three solid secondary pitches, and he’s generally in the strike zone with them. He’s more of a mid-rotation arm, in these eyes, but a mid-rotation arm playing behind a decent Philadelphia lineup has fantasy appeal.
7. Brendan Rodgers, INF, Colorado Rockies
2019 stats: 37 G, .350/.413/.622, 9 HR, 0 SB, 14 BB, 27 SO at Triple-A Albuquerque; 25 G, .224/.272/.250, 0 HR, 0 SB, 4 BB, 27 SO at Colorado.
Rodgers was a bit of a surprise omission from the 30-player roster to open the season, and unlike some of the other names listed above, it doesn’t appear that this is just a case of service time. He still belongs on this list because he gets to hit in some of the most friendly confines in baseball if/when he gets the call, and he has the tools to hit for both power and average at the highest level. There’s more risk here than any other prospect on this list because of the roster-fit questions, but there’s just as much reward as any but the top two.
8. Alec Bohm, INF, Philadelphia Phillies
2019 stats: 120 G, .311/.377/.414, 4 HR, 35 SB, 44 BB, 16 SO at High-A Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte.
Bohm was the third pick of the 2018 draft out of Wichita State, and the 23-year-old had an outside chance of making the Opening Day lineup. See the story of all the names above as to why he didn’t. Bohm has a smooth, right-handed stroke from the right side, and his power is just a knock below his ability to hit for average. Bohm also could provide a handful of steals, but you shouldn’t count on it. It’s hard to imagine that he’s not one of the best players on the Phillies right now, and if he does get that promotion -- and I believe it’s more of a when then an if -- I wouldn’t hesitate to add him to my roster. If you play with larger rosters, I’d want him on my bench now.
9. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
2019 stats: 127 G, .312/.344/.527, 25 HR, 2 2B, 24 BB, 130 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.
Mountcastle was a consideration for the previous two lists, and with a few call-ups from last week, he can’t be held down any longer. The question now is how long the Orioles can hold him down (do you see what I did there?). Mountcastle has some serious patience issues, but the ball jumps off his right-handed bat, and he has a swing that suggests he can hit for both average and power. Despite their sweep of the Rays this weekend, it seems very unlikely Baltimore is contending for the playoffs, and they should see what they have in Mountcastle. In turn, it can help fantasy players who need help from a corner infield spot.
10. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Seattle Mariners
2019 stats: 117 G, .291/.364/.540, 23 HR, 20 SB, 50 BB, 111 SO at Low-A West Virginia, High-A Modesto and Double-A Arkansas.
Let me get this out of the way: If forced to make a guess as to whether Kelenic debuts this summer or not, I’d bet against it. The Mariners can have him be a part of their roster -- assuming the service-time manipulations are still possible next spring -- until 2027 if they wait to promote him until the middle of April. And, as good as Kyle Lewis and a few others have been -- you’re welcome, by the way -- this is still not a team that’s likely to compete. All that being said, because Kelenic looks ready to go, and because he has the ability to be a five-category helper, it’s impossible to leave him off this list.
Others to watch: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego Padres; Matt Manning, RHP, Detroit Tigers; Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Miami Marlins; Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates