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 the coming season. Also, a reminder that prospects who are on MLB rosters are not eligible for this list. 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 to open the 2019 season.
1. Brendan Rodgers, INF, Colorado Rockies
2019 stats: 33 G, .333/.406/.587, 7 HR, 0 SB, 14 BB, 23 SO at Triple-A Albuquerque.
After back-to-back weeks of having the top prospect called up, Rodgers breaks the streak. Not that we were expecting him up, anyway. He had another solid week with the Isotopes in the PCL, but he did leave Saturday's game after taking a pitch to the head. The Rockies will obviously take precautions with a head injury, but it doesn't appear to be something to be worried about in the long-term at print time. Rodgers is one of the best prospects in baseball, and he should help the Rockies this summer.
2. Luis Urias, INF, San Diego Padres
2019 stats: 22 G,.355/.434/.817, 10 HR, 1 SB, 11 BB, 21 SO at Triple-A El Paso; 11 G, .083/.241/.125, 0 HR, 0 SB, 4 BB, 11 SO at San Diego.
It's not surprising at all to see Urias continue to kill Triple-A pitching; there's a reason that the 21-year-old was considered one of the top offensive prospects in baseball coming into the year. What is surprising is the power he's showing along with the average, and he had a two-homer game on Saturday to put him into double digits. He's also drawing walks, and still showing that sweet line-drive stroke that put him on the map. Urias has not hit big-league pitching yet, but yet is the key word here. He's going to help San Diego this year, and in turn, he should help your fantasy roster.
3. Keston Hiura, INF, Milwaukee Brewers
2019 stats: 36 G, .333/.406/.706, 11 HR, 3 SB, 14 BB, 39 SO at Triple-A San Antonio.
Hiura is in a bit of a mini "slump" right now, as his average has dropped 16 points from .349 over his last five games to the current mark you see. The good news is, the walks have been piling up for the 22-year-old even if the hits and homers aren't, and he has nine free passes in his last 10 games. Hiura's offensive upside is obvious, and he looks like a player that's ready to contribute right now. He'd be a must-grab if/when he gets the call, and at this point, it'd be an upset if he didn't see time with the Brewers before the end of 2019.
4. Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves
2019 stats: 36 G, .300/.376/.671, 14 HR, 0 SB, 17 BB, 31 SO at Triple-A Gwinnett.
Riley would have been on this list anyway, but he makes a significant move up this list because of a new development. The Braves are going to play the 22-year-old in the outfield as well as third base, and he made four appearances with the Striplers in left last week. While he's a solid -- if not spectacular -- defender at third, his best chance of earning time with the Braves is showing versatility, and this is a chance. Atlanta would not be making this "move" if they weren't looking at ways to get him in the lineup. Something to keep in mind, anyway.
5. Yordan Alvarez, OF, Houston Astros
2019 stats: 33 G, .402/.490/.869, 15 HR, 0 SB, 20 BB, 29 SO at Triple-A Round Rock.
What a season it's been for Alvarez. He homered on Sunday to give him the 15 roundtrippers you see above, and he continues to show the ability to hit for average and selectivity to get on base at a high level. It's just a matter of finding this guy a chance to play every evening, as it doesn't make sense to bring him up otherwise as a 21-year-old. That being said, he's just too good a hitter to not have him in the top half of this list. He can flat-out hit.
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6. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
2019 stats: 34 G, .319/.347/.500, 5 HR, 1 SB, 6 BB, 33 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.
Mountcastle is currently mired in a 3-for-20 funk, and it's seen his average drop from .345 to the current .319 mark. We'll just call it a slight case of regression, as the 22-year-old has been scorching hot before the mini slump. Mountcastle has played first base almost exclusively -- 29-of-34 games -- and there's no denying that puts a slight dent on his long-term prospectus. Still, with a plus hit tool and the ability to put the ball into the gaps, he has a chance to help in 2019. With the Orioles as far away from contention as possible, they should give their best hitting prospect a chance relatively soon.
7. Dylan Cease, RHP Chicago White Sox
2019 stats: 6 G, 3.54 ERA, 28 IP, 26 H, 10 BB, 33 SO at Triple-A Charlotte.
After impressing in his previous outing with 11 strikeouts, Cease did not impress on Saturday against Louisville, allowing three walks and five hits over 3 2/3 innings. Walks have been a bugaboo for the 23-year-old over his career, and it's something you need to keep an eye on if you're stashing Cease right now. The swing-and-miss stuff is as good as any pitcher in the minors, but Cease has to throw more quality strikes if he's going to show that impressive arsenal at the highest level.
8. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Atlanta Braves
2019 stats: 3 G, 7.11 ERA, 12.2 IP, 20 H, 8 BB, 7 SO at Triple-A Gwinnett; 3 G, 6.35 ERA, 11.1 IP, 14 H, 6 BB, 15 SO at Atlanta.
Toussaint's numbers are getting ugly, and if the sample size was a little bit bigger, it'd be easy to argue his removal from this list. It's just too early for me to do that. Yet. He has yet to pitch well at the Triple-A level, but his numbers with Atlanta are skewed by one bad outing. With two plus-plus pitches and a developing change, there's still reason to believe that the 22-year-old can help a fantasy roster in 2019. It's understandable if you are skeptical. I'm not there yet.
9. Carter Kieboom, INF, Washington Nationals
2019 stats: 22 G, .346/.495/.615, 4 HR, 2 SB, 21 BB, 22 SO at Triple-A Fresno; 11 G, .128/.209/.282, 2 HR, 4 BB, 16 SO at Washington.
Kieboom is actually making his debut on this list, as he was called up right before I was ready to include him. Despite his struggles at the highest level -- both with the bat and the glove -- he's absolutely deserving of a spot thanks to his ability to hit for average and power. It was pretty clear that he was pressing at the plate in his time with the Nationals, and that's not uncommon for players making their first appearances. The long-term appeal is obvious, and because of his offensive skill set, he is assuredly worth taking a chance on if the Nationals give him another opportunity this summer.
10. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston Astros
2018 stats: 6 G, 10.80 ERA, 18.1 IP, 23 H, 10 BB, 24 SO at Triple-A Round Rock.
Once again, Whitley was unimpressive for the Express on Friday; allowing five earned runs over 3 2/3 frames on five hits with three walks. He did strike out five, however, if you're looking for positives. Unfortunately, this is where the positives end. Whitley is the best pitching prospect in baseball, but he hasn't pitched like it in 2019. He's going to need to show serious improvement if he's going to stay on this list much longer. I still think he's worth stashing in larger leagues because -- again -- the sample just isn't big enough at this point.
Also considered: Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox; Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates; Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Oakland Athletics; Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros; Justus Sheffield, LHP, Seattle Mariners