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.
Nothing has changed. Lux remains at the alternate site, and while Dave Roberts told reporters that the infielder was “close,” close doesn’t really help you right now. The good news is that it really does appear that it’s just a matter of when with the 22-year-old, and it wouldn’t make sense to promote Lux and have him sit. It stinks that you’ve had a quarter of the season without him on your roster, but be patient. He’s still capable of helping quite a bit in quite a few categories.
2. 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.
Even with three players being called up from last week's list, I did consider moving Carlson down a spot or two. Reason being: We have absolutely no idea when the Cardinals are going to be able to play because of their considerable number of positive tests for the COVID-19 virus. Still, assuming they’re able to get going in a week or so, there’s no reason to drop Carlson yet, and if he’s still free, his ability to hit for average and power -- potentially, anyway -- is good enough to make him a recommendation. It’s also worth pointing out that one player that we know has tested positive for the virus is Lane Thomas, and that could open things up in the outfield. That’s obviously not the way you want your star prospect to get a call-up, but this the reality of the 2020 season.
3. 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.
It’s very early, but the Tigers have been one of the best surprises in baseball; even if that’s somewhat because of impossibly low expectations. Still, this team looks like it’s going to be at least decent offensively, but the starting pitching has been lackluster. Why not call on a pitcher like Mize -- the first pick of the 2018 draft -- to help in that regard, and also build him up for the 2021 season? If Detroit does go that route, it would be beneficial to Mize, the Tigers and fantasy players. Win-win-win.
4. 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 is still waiting, and there’s no guarantee that the wait is going to end anytime soon. Still, with the majority of elite prospects called up -- the elite prospects that we expected to be promoted, anyway -- it’s impossible to not list the 22-year-old among the top fantasy prospects for the 2020 campaign. He’s an infielder who has the tools to hit for average and power, and he will get to play his home games in Coors Field. Even if he’s in a utility role, Rodgers has the offensive upside to provide fantasy appeal over the final two months.
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5. 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.
6. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles
2019 stats: 127 G, .312/.344/.527, 25 HR, 2 2B, 24 BB, 130 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.
Mountcastle is the top offensive prospect for the Orioles in the system at the higher levels, and as you can see from the numbers above, he’s succeeded at those levels. The issue with Mountcastle right now is that the Orioles want Mountcastle to develop in the outfield, and considering he wasn’t a great defensive first baseman, that could take a while. Still, with above-average power and the ability to make hard contact to all parts of the field, Mountcastle is ready to go offensively, and it still seems likely that he’s going to get to finish the year with the rebuilding Orioles this summer.
7. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego Padres
2019 stats: 20 G, 101 IP, 1.69 ERA, 28 BB, 135 SO at High-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A Amarillo.
Welcome to the list, MacKenzie. We have been expecting you. The Padres just sent down Joey Lucchesi, and while it doesn’t appear Gore is going to get the call-up just yet, it’s time to start talking about him as a 2020 option. He’s the best fantasy pitching prospect -- and real-life prospect -- in baseball, with four swing-and-miss pitches and well above-average command of those offerings. The Padres are clearly playoff contenders despite having such a young roster, and Gore has a chance to help them reach that goal. As is the case with Mize, he can help fantasy players in turn.
8. 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. That’s true about the next three players, for the record. 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.
9. Joey Bart, C, San Francisco Giants
2019 stats: 79 G, .278/.325/.495, 16 HR, 5 SB, 21 BB, 71 SO at High-A San Jose and Double-A Richmond.
Bart is one of the top catching prospects in baseball, but it’s worth pointing out that he’s also been working out at first base at the Giants’ alternate training site. That could be because the Giants want to work on Bart’s versatility and it’s also worth pointing out that San Francisco selected a catcher with their first-round selection (Patrick Bailey), but it also could be a way to get the 2018 first-round selection’s bat in the lineup. With plus power to all parts of the field and catcher eligibility, Bart would be a must-add when he gets the call, and if you play in a league with enough bench spots, he might be worth the add now, just in case.
10. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Miami Marlins
2019 stats: 20 G, 114 IP, 2.76 ERA, 19 BB, 97 SO at High-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville.
You probably know that the Marlins have a considerable number of pitchers on the injured list after their COVID-19 breakout, but even if that wouldn’t have occurred, Sanchez would belong on this list. Acquired in the trade for J.T. Realmuto, Sanchez stands just 6-feet, but can get his fastball into the high 90s with ease, and he has an out-pitch in his change with a pretty darn good slider, as well. On top of that, he throws those pitches for strikes and the command isn’t far behind his control. The Marlins more than likely hold Sanchez back until 2021, but it’s not a foregone conclusion, and he deserves your attention in redraft formats.
Others to watch: Matt Manning, RHP, Detroit Tigers; Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates; Brendan McKay, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays; Randy Arozarena, OF, Tampa Bay Rays