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: 53 G, .322/.395/.684, 17 HR, 7 SB, 21 BB, 57 SO at Triple-A San Antonio; 17 G, .281/.333/.531, 5 HR, 1 SB, 3 BB, 23 SO at Milwaukee.
These numbers are going to go up soon, as Hiura hit a grand slam on Sunday in a game that will be finished on Monday because of inclement weather yesterday. He also homered Saturday, and that broke a homerless streak of a whopping six games. Hopefully you pick up on the sarcasm, there. Hiura will continue to crush Triple-A pitching until he's called up. We think -- or hope -- that it's very soon.
2. Luis Urias, INF, San Diego Padres
2019 stats: 58 G,.336/.424/.651, 17 HR, 7 SB, 31 BB, 53 SO at Triple-A El Paso; 11 G, .083/.241/.125, 0 HR, 0 SB, 4 BB, 11 SO at San Diego.
It's a bit funny that Hiura and Urias have such similar minor league numbers, isn't it? Maybe funny is the wrong word. Interesting, anyway. The difference, of course, is that Hiura was much more successful at the MLB level, but Urias hasn't been given as much of a chance to hit MLB pitching; not that Hiura has a huge sample size, himself. The expectation is that he'll be called up before the end of the month, and despite those MLB numbers, he'll absolutely be worth a roster addition when he does.
3. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Oakland Athletics
2019 stats: 3 G, 2.61 ERA, 10.1 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 16 SO at High-A Stockton and Triple-A Las Vegas.
Welcome back to the list, Mr. Luzardo. We don't think you're going to be here for very long. After missing the first three months due to injury, the 21-year-old pitched exceptionally in his two rehab starts with Stockton, and while his line in his Triple-A debut wasn't great (3 1/3 innings, two runs, two walks five strikeouts), the important thing is that Luzardo is getting healthy and building arm strength. With plus command of three pitches that can miss bats, Luzardo has a high-floor and a high-ceiling, and as long as he's healthy, he should be making starts for the A's this summer. I'd stash him now.
4. Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
2019 stats: 28 G, .314/.388/.510, 3 HR, 6 SB, 12 BB, 22 SO at High-A Dunedin and Triple-A Round Rock.
Welcome back, Bo. Like Luzardo, Bichette missed considerable time due to injury, and after hitting well in his rehab time in the Florida State League, he's back in Triple-A, and tearing the cover off the baseball. After a 4-for-5 game on Sunday, Bichette is hitting .395 over his last 10 appearances, and he's homered twice and added two steals in that time. The Blue Jays are nowhere close to contention, and while they could play the service time game -- we certainly have seen it before -- they also could (should) give him a chance to finish the year in Toronto. With a double-plus hit tool and above-average power, he's going to be well worth the addition if the Blue Jays make the right decision.
5. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
2019 stats: 70 G, .283/.356/.628, 23 HR, 17 SB, 29 BB, 69 SO at Triple-A Round Rock.
You didn't ask -- although I guess if you are reading this you are kind of asking, aren't you? -- but I continue to struggle with where to rank Tucker. That struggle has absolutely nothing to do with his talent; he's a 22-year-old who has the skills to hit for average, power, draw walks and steal bases. The issue is the playing time, and with Yordan Alvarez crushing the baseball, he's not going down anytime soon. I still have to say he's a top five prospect that would absolutely be worth an add to a roster if the Astros do call him up, but it's tough to recommend him as a stash because of the lack of guarantees. I hope that all makes sense.
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6. Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Tampa Bay Rays
2019 (pitching) stats: 13 G, 1.22 ERA, 66.2 IP, 35 H, 15 BB, 88 SO at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.
McKay made only one start this week, but once again, it was a good one. The 23-year-old did walk three -- the first time he's issued that many free passes since May 10 -- but he didn't allow a run, and he struck out five over five scoreless innings. Since being called up to Triple-A, McKay owns an ERA of 1.08 in five games, and he's also posted an .884 OPS with four homers in 12 games. No guarantees of a promotion yet, but McKay has a chance to be a strong fantasy starter -- or 'primary' pitcher -- for the Rays after the All-Star break, maybe sooner.
7. Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
2019 stats: 11 G, 3.10 ERA, 58 IP, 51 H, 25 BB, 74 SO at Triple-A Indianapolis; 3 G, 10.50 ERA, 12 IP, 21 H, 6 BB, 15 SO at Pittsburgh.
Keller's MLB numbers are ugly, and after giving up four runs -- two earned -- over five innings, the Pirates decided to send him down. I think the MLB numbers aren't completely indicative of how the right-hander is pitched, and certainly aren't indicative of his talent. The key when Keller gets another chance is to avoid the big inning, because outside of his struggles in the first inning in his first two outings, the 23-year-old has pitched well. The stats don't show that, but, sometimes the stats lie. There's plenty of reasons to stay optimistic about Keller's chance to help in 2019 and beyond.
8. Carter Kieboom, INF, Washington Nationals
2019 stats: 56 G, .323/.438/.612, 12 HR, 3 SB, 40 BB, 47 SO at Triple-A Fresno; 11 G, .128/.209/.282, 2 HR, 4 BB, 16 SO at Washington.
Now that's more like it. Kieboom is obliterating the baseball right now, with a .447 average with three homers and seven walks over his last 10 games for the Grizzlies. He's been even better over his last four; going 11-for-18 with two round-trippers in the series against Salt Lake. The Nationals are playing a bit better as of late -- as is Brian Dozier -- but Kieboom is still a prospect that has to be on the radar, and has a great chance of finishing the season with Washington.
9. Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago White Sox
2019 stats: 13 G, 4.69 ERA, 63.1 IP, 70 H, 28 BB, 67 SO at Triple-A Charlotte.
Cease makes a move down the list partially because of some new additions, but also because he just isn't pitching very well. That continued on Friday when he allowed five runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings with three walks; although he did strike out seven. Cease has outstanding stuff and continues to show flashes of why he's one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, but they've been too few and far between as of late. He needs to turn this around if he has any chance of reaching Chicago in 2019.
10. Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox
2019 stats: 64 G, .355/.404/.648, 15 HR, 21 SB, 14 BB, 63 SO at High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.
That's more like it. Robert went 0-for-15 to end last week, but was excellent in the Barons series in Chattanooga; hitting homers in three straight games and adding three steals. I don't want to spend too much time talking about another player in Robert's profile, but I also considered putting Jordon Adell in this spot, and if the list included 11, he'd be here. The reason I go with Robert right now is because Adell missed so much time, and right now, I think Robert is the most likely to receive a promotion. Both players are absolutely worth monitoring because of their five-tool skill set.
Also considered: Jordon Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels; Jorge Mateo, INF/OF, Oakland Athletics; Isan Diaz, 2B, Miami Marlins; Ryan Mountcastle, INF, Baltimore Orioles; Corbin Martin, RHP, Houston Astros; Bryse Wilson, RHP, Atlanta Braves