Welcome to the Top 5 MLB Dynasty Prospect Hitters to Target! I will be focused on prospects that I think project well and have an MLB ETA of 2023 or earlier. I have compiled my data and notes from FanGraphs which is where I do the bulk of my MLB research. All of these players will be prospects that have not debuted in 2020 or earlier seasons. All prospect grades are on a 20-80 scale with 80 being the best possible grade. Let’s get into it!
You know we had to start this off with the consensus top-ranked prospect in MiLB. Wander Franco is a name that you need to know and he will be a force to be reckoned with for years in the big leagues assuming that he stays healthy. Franco is a switch hitter with an 80-grade hit tool. He is gonna hit and he will do it at a very high level.
At this point, Franco doesn’t have elite power but, he is only entering his age 20 season and still has plenty of room to grow in terms of adding strength. Franco has the speed to steal bases but, I would only expect him to steal 10-20 in a full season.
Being SS eligible increases his value immensely for fantasy purposes. This is a prospect that I would hang onto for the long-term in all dynasty leagues. If you are going to trade him, I would advise that you get a Juan Soto type in return. He is going to be that good. If Franco struggles out of the gate, stay patient. He is going to be a top-tier fantasy producer.
Franco is going to have to dominate AA and AAA for Tampa Bay to call him up in the 2020 season along with Tampa being in World Series contention. 2022 feels like the correct ETA for Franco but, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him in August or September of this season.
MLB Player Comp: Francisco Lindor
Adley Rutschman has an immense amount of fantasy value solely based on how thin the catching position is in MLB. The top pick in the 2019 draft sports a 55-grade hit and game power tool with a 35-grade speed tool. He is a switch hitter which should protect him from any platoon situations in his career. When projecting him, keep in mind that his MLB value is behind the dish which should limit him to 120-130 games in a full 162 game season.
I would expect Rutschman to be a 20-30 homer guy in a full season that slashes .260/.330/.450 once he is in his prime. I’m not expecting many stolen bases out of him outside of the 5-10 bags he could steal early in his career. For fantasy, we need to see the power output and the at-bats from Rutschman. Even if he only develops into a top 10 fantasy catcher, Rutschman is a great investment in Dynasty leagues.
I’ve seen a lot of people projecting Rutschman for a 2021 ETA but, that may be a bit aggressive. The Orioles are going to be a bad team in 2020 which could cause Baltimore to be conservative with Rutschman’s development. He hasn’t had any at-bats in A+ or above yet. If he has any cold streaks, a 2021 call-up is probably off the table. If you draft Rutschman, think of him as a long-term investment.
MLB Player Comp: Buster Posey
Riley Greene is an outfielder that projects to have big-time pop once he develops. Greene sports a left-handed stick and should find his way to a corner outfield spot for the Tigers in August/September of 2022. I think we are looking at a middle-of-the-order MLB bat once he is in his prime. I would expect Greene to be an above-average MLB bat that produces at a consistent rate in the Tigers lineup.
Greene’s biggest weakness right now is his K: BB rate. If he does not learn to control the strike zone and take his walks, he will likely underperform at the MLB level. That being said, Greene is a high school prospect and it is common that strike zone awareness is an area that needs to be developed for high school prospects. Be patient in this area.
Given that Greene is only 20 and hasn’t played above A-ball, there is a slim to none chance that he cracks the Tigers roster in 2020. Detroit should give him this year to develop his approach and build on his 6’3″ 200 lb frame. It’s likely that we see Greene and Spencer Torkelson come up around the same time.
MLB Player Comp: Eddie Rosario
Marco Luciano is going to be a middle-of-the-order stick in the Giants’ lineup when he gets the call to the bigs. Luciano projects to have a 60-grade hit tool and a 70-grade game power tool. He is going to hit the ball hard, hit it far, and hit it often. Coming into the 2021 season, Luciano will only be 19 years old and has yet to play above A-ball. The Giants are going to take their time with Luciano as they should. This is going to be a long-term investment as I do not envision Luciano getting the call before 2023 unless San Francisco is in contention in 2022.
The potential downside of Luciano is his position eligibility. For now, he is a SS which allows him to slide to the SS or MIF spots in most leagues. If he moves over to 3B of the OF, he becomes less valuable due to the number of quality options at those positions. I wouldn’t be looking to trade Luciano but, he could be an interesting piece if your team is in a position to win in 2021.
MLB Player Comp: Carlos Correa
Of the prospects that have yet to debut in the big leagues, Jarred Kelenic is the most MLB-ready. He possesses the coveted combo of power and speed that we look for in fantasy baseball. He projects to have a 60-grade hit tool, 60-grade game power tool, and a 45-grade speed tool. Is Kelenic going to put up a 50-50 season like Ronald Acuna? Probably not but, 20-20 or 30-30 seasons are very much in reach for the outfielder.
I don’t think it’s too aggressive to pencil in Kelenic into the leadoff spot of the Mariners order in the ladder half of the 2021 campaign. The downside to Kelenic’s game in the early stages of his career will be his K rate. This is a common area that players will struggle within today’s game due to the shift factor and pitchers getting much better than they were in recent times. Be patient with Kelenic as he should be a mainstay in the Mariners’ lineup for years to come.
MLB Player Comp: Steve Finley
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Photo Credit: Bryan Green
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