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. Keston Hiura, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers
2019 stats: 42 G, .340/.412/.707, 13 HR, 5 SB, 17 BB, 46 SO at Triple-A San Antonio; 17 G, .281/.333/.531, 5 HR, 1 SB, 3 BB, 23 SO at Milwaukee.
In my best The Californians voice: "What are you doing here?" Hiura was sent down shortly after last week's list went out, and it's tough to justify from a baseball perspective. It's much easier to understand from a financial aspect, unfortunately. Hiura is now the best hitting prospect in the minors, and the hope is, we'll see him up in the next couple of weeks. Stash him on your bench if you can, at this point in the season, there's no reason not to.
2. Luis Urias, INF, San Diego Padres
2019 stats: 46 G,.353/.444/.696, 14 HR, 5 SB, 27 BB, 42 SO at Triple-A El Paso; 11 G, .083/.241/.125, 0 HR, 0 SB, 4 BB, 11 SO at San Diego.
Urias moves down a spot, but it's only because Hiura is too good not to be there at this point. The 22-year-old went 0-for-9 with five strikeouts over his last two games, but outside of that, he's been excellent, as you can see from those numbers above. Recent reports suggest Urias should be up soon, so if you can stash him now, do so. He can help in a variety of categories, despite those ugly -- and small-sampled -- numbers at the highest level.
3. Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
2019 stats: 11 G, 3.10 ERA, 58 IP, 51 H, 25 BB, 74 SO at Triple-A Indianapolis; 1 G, 13.50 ERA, 4 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO at Pittsburgh.
Keller was solid in his first start after his disappointing MLB debut, but it was nothing compared to the dominance he exhibited on Friday against Toledo. He allowed just one hit, and he was able to strike out 13 Mud Hens while not allowing a run. It's worth pointing out that Keller was excellent over his last three innings of that first start with the Pirates, and he's obviously pitched well since the demotion. Keller should be back with the Pirates soon, and he's worth an add when Pittsburgh decides to call him up.
4. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
2019 stats: 58 G, .269/.343/.621, 21 HR, 14 SB, 24 BB, 57 SO at Triple-A Round Rock.
Ranking Tucker is difficult right now. In terms of just pure talent, he probably belongs at or near the top of this list. The question is playing time, and with the Astros promoting Yordan Alvarez -- who ranked second on this list last week -- it doesn't sound like Tucker is coming up anytime soon. I still keep him in the top five because of his power/speed talent, but because we're deep enough into the season, we also have to consider Super 2 consideration; at least for another couple months. If Houston does call up Tucker -- or trades him -- he's an absolute must-get.
5. Carter Kieboom, INF, Washington Nationals
2019 stats: 45 G, .294/.414/.550, 8 HR, 3 SB, 33 BB, 44 SO at Triple-A Fresno; 11 G, .128/.209/.282, 2 HR, 4 BB, 16 SO at Washington.
Here's the bad news: Kieboom's struggles are continuing, and he has just two hits over the past week while hitting .152 over his last 10 games. Here's some good news: Even as the hits aren't falling, Kieboom has shown a quality approach at the plate with eight walks in that time frame, and his OBP hasn't taken a big hit even as the average drops. Keep in mind that the infielder doesn't turn 22 until September, and expecting Kieboom to hit at the ridiculous levels he was all year was asking too much. He still is a shortstop or second baseman who has a chance to hit for average and power, and help your fantasy team when the Nationals give him a second chance.
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6. Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago White Sox
2019 stats: 11 G, 4.10 ERA, 52/2 IP, 54 H, 22 BB, 59 SO at Triple-A Charlotte.
Cease had his worst start of the year on Sunday, failing to get out of the first innings and allowed four runs and three walks without a strikeout against Louisville. He also had a mediocre start on Tuesday against Gwinnett; striking out five but allowing three runs over five innings. Cease needs to throw more consistent strikes -- and more strikes, period -- but the stuff is the best of any hurler at the Triple-A level. He' should be up with the White Sox in the coming months, and there are opportunities in this rotation.
7. Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Tampa Bay Rays
2019 (pitching) stats: 11 G, 1.43 ERA, 56.2 IP, 34 H, 11 BB, 76 SO at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.
Last Monday, McKay broke his streak of eight starts where he'd allowed no more than a run. He allowed two. McKay allowed just one run on Sunday to start a new streak -- hopefully -- and he's allowed no more than three hits in any of his four starts with the Bulls. McKay is more high-floor than high-ceiling, but the floor is extremely high, and his ability to throw quality strikes absolutely makes him fantasy relevant when the Rays add him to the rotation. The only concern here is that maybe Tampa Bay chooses to have the southpaw pitch in their "opener" system, and why that would qualify him for wins, it would limit the innings/chances for the quality starts.
8. Ryan Mountcastle, INF, Baltimore Orioles
2019 stats: 53 G, .308/.329/.536, 12 HR, 2 SB, 7 BB, 56 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.
Mountcastle was able to pick up his 12th homer of the year on Sunday, but outside of that roundtripper, it was a poor week-plus for the 22-year-old. He's hitting just .239 over his last 10 games, and he struck out 17 times without drawing a walk. Mountcastle has huge offensive potential, but he's going to have to show more selectivity if he's going to earn a call-up to Baltimore. That being said, the ability to hit for average and power is too strong for him not be on this list.
9. Corbin Martin, RHP, Houston Astros
2019 stats: 7 G, 2.54 ERA, 28 1/3 IP, 21 H, 14 BB, 32 SO at Triple-A Round Rock; 5 G, 19.1 IP, 5.59 ERA, 23 H, 12 BB, 19 SO at Houston.
Martin was sent down by the Astros last week after struggling in his time in the Houston rotation, and he didn't have much fun in his first start back in a Triple-A uniform on Sunday. He allowed seven hits over three innings while allowing four runs with two walks and three strikeouts. In his previous starts in the PCL, however, the 23-year-old was outstanding, and his ability to miss bats with four pitches he can throw for strikes certainly gives him a chance for success. There's work to be done, but if Martin can make the necessary adjustments, he can be a solid fantasy option in the second half of the 2019 campaign.
10. Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox
2019 stats: 54 G, .366/.415/.671, 12 HR, 18 SB, 11 BB, 53 SO at High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.
Robert had back-to-back three-hit games to begin last week, but then went through an 0-for-12 stretch that took a bit of a hit on the ole batting average and OPS. He had just one hit on Sunday, but it was a homer, and he's still hitting .349 with four stolen bases over his last 10 games. Robert is a special talent, and the 21-year-old has at least an outside chance of helping the White Sox -- and fantasy players -- in 2019.