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Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, August 2018

Each month, The Dynasty Guru will provide a prospect update that includes notable performances (good and bad), assignments, promotions, trades, injuries, and suspensions. Most importantly, the monthly update will examine prospects with increasing and decreasing fantasy value, from the elite to the obscure.

At the beginning of August, TDG reviewed July performances for infielders, outfielders, and pitchers. In addition, TDG updated the Top 240 Fantasy Prospects. Since then, several notable prospects exceeded rookie limits and others arrived in the majors. As this update only reviews performances for one month, please note this bright, flashing warning: SMALL SAMPLE SIZE!

Notable Outfield Prospect Performances

The Graduates

Franmil Reyes, San Diego Padres. A hulking 6’5″ and 275 pounds, Reyes has enormous, 70-grade raw power. As such, he generates huge exit velocities and some mammoth blasts. More recently, Reyes is making better and better contact, moving him into the top-4 in barrels per plate appearance. Still, his home runs are coming in spurts and he has gone on some epic streaks this year. Meanwhile, Reyes is prone to strikeouts and is a slow and plodding defender. Of course, the power (.285 ISO) is his calling card.

Roman Quinn, Philadelphia Phillies. Despite a crowded Phillies outfield, Quinn is hitting his way into semi-regular playing time. In fact, he has hit lead-off in 5 of the last 8 games. Oft-injured, Quinn is finally healthy, displaying his elite speed, with 6 stolen bases in August. For fantasy teams in need of speed, he is an excellent option who likely will not detract in other categories.

Jake Cave, Minnesota Twins. In mid-March, the Twins acquired Cave from the Yankees for Luis Gil, clearing a spot on the Yankees’ 40-man roster. Since late-June, he has received regular playing time, mostly in center field, despite his below-average range. At the plate, Cave has pleasantly surprised, showing his 2017 power breakout was not a fluke. This year, he is top-20 in barrels per plate appearance and averaging 418-feet per home run. Ultimately, Cave is a potential strong-side platoon bat with average to above-average power and below-average hit.

Others of Note:

  • Steven Duggar, San Francisco Giants
  • Jordan Luplow, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Magneuris Sierra, Miami Marlins

The Major League Outfield Prospect

Tyler O’Neill, St. Louis Cardinals. Part of the resurgence of the Cardinals, O’Neill is receiving part-time action, backing up all three outfield positions. With nothing left to prove in the minors (.311/.385/.693), he likely is here to stay. Once O’Neill finds his way into a starting role, his massive power should play anywhere.

Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles. In his major league debut, Mullins went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a walk. Since then, he has played nearly everyday, hitting .317/.386/.556 through August, though recent injuries have derailed his debut. Although Mullins is not a flashy prospect, he could develop into a solid fantasy performer, with an average hit tool, borderline average power, and above-average speed (.265, 15-20 HRs, 15-20 SBs).

Ramon Laureano, Oakland Athletics. Recently at The Dynasty Guru, Patrick Magnus expounded upon Laureano’s debut. Without spoiling the article (go read it!), Laureano has rebounded nicely after a disastrous 2017 season (.227/.298/.369). This year, he performed very well in Triple-A (.297/.380/.524), with tons of line drives (28.1%) and a reduced ground ball rate (44.2% to 32.6%). Given his patience, solid pop, and above-average speed, Laureano is a strong add, especially in on-base percentage leagues.

Others of Note:

  • Victor Robles, Washington Nationals
  • Alex Verdugo, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Chris Shaw, San Francisco Giants
  • Dylan Cozens, Philadelphia Phillies
  • Adolis Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Austin Dean, Miami Marlins
  • Billy McKinney, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Ryan Cordell, Chicago White Sox
  • Dwight Smith Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
  • Michael Reed, Atlanta Braves

The Good: Top 240 Prospect

Eloy Jimenez, Chicago White Sox. After missing two weeks in July due to a strained left adductor muscle, Jimenez has been an unstoppable force at Triple-A. During that time, he hit .387/.416/.656 with 10 home runs and just 13.3% strikeouts. Clearly, Jimenez is ready for a major league trial. Despite being on the 40-man roster and his stellar performance in Triple-A, the White Sox announced he will not receive a promotion this year. Expect Jimenez to arrive in the majors in mid-April next year.

Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros. On August 1st, the Astros demoted Tucker to Triple-A, following a poor debut (.156/.240/.222). Later in the month, the Astros again briefly promoted Tucker with George Springer injured. In that time, he went 1-for-7 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. In between his promotions, Tucker has destroyed Triple-A pitching this month, hitting .471/.542/.943 with 10 home runs and 6 stolen bases in just 17 games. Following Triple-A playoffs, he likely will return to the majors to help the Astros secure the AL West. Fantasy owners in all dynasty leagues should remain patient with Tucker, even if he is only a part-time player in September.

Kristian Robinson, Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks signed Robinson for $2.5 million as part of the 2017 J2 international class. A well-built 6’3″ with plus raw power and speed, he evokes images of a NFL wide receiver. At just 17 years old, Robinson debuted stateside this summer, advancing to the Pioneer League. Although his summer started slowly, he heated up as he acclimated to the rigors of professional baseball. This past month, Robinson hit .315/.414/.483 with 3 home runs and 5 stolen bases. Next year, he is an early favorite to rise significantly in the rankings.

Others of Note:

  • Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins (.351/.387/.550)
  • Jarred Kelenic, New York Mets (.321/.368/.509)
  • Christin Stewart, Detroit Tigers (.296/.448/.520)
  • Bubba Thompson, Texas Rangers (.296/.355/.469 with 9 stolen bases)

The Good: Non-Top 240 Prospect

D’Shawn Knowles, Los Angeles Angels. Like Robinson and fellow Angel Trent Deveau, Knowles is a 2017 J2 international signee from the Bahamas. Although Deveau received a higher signing bonus, Knowles has outperformed and surpassed him. Still just 17 years old, he received a promotion to the Pioneer League on August 1st, netting hits in each of his first 12 games and slashing .344/.427/.600. At present, Knowles has a thin, but projectable, frame with plus speed and developing power. A late-count hitter, he piles up both strikeouts and walks, while punishing hittable pitches.

Carlos Rincon, Los Angeles Dodgers. In late-July, the Dodgers promoted Rincon to High-A, despite significant struggles in Low-A (.226/.331/.358 on the year and .169/.254/.220 in July). The move to the California League breathed life into his bat. Over his first 26 games in the California League, Rincon hit an astonishing .340/.440/.897 with 15 home runs! The power is plus and legitimate, as he beat super prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the 2017 Midwest League home run derby. The question remains whether his hit tool and bat control will be sufficient enough to reach his power in games.

Skye Bolt, Oakland Athletics. Long well-regarded for his tools and perceived projection, Bolt may finally be harnessing his upside. Everything finally clicked in August, in which he hit .351/.402/.723 with 8 home runs and 5 stolen bases. Like Rincon, Bolt has a below-average hit tool. However, given his speed and defensive value, he likely has a future as a bench outfielder. Of course, Bolt still has tantalizing power/speed upside and could have a similar career to Drew Stubbs. I saw Bolt in-person in June and, in my opinion, his frame is too thin and narrow for any additional projection.

Others of Note:

  • Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates (.342/.409/.470)
  • J.J. Matijevic, Houston Astros (.260/.350/.548 with 7 home runs)
  • Jordan Patterson, Colorado Rockies (.320/.371/.608 with 7 home runs)
  • Je’Von Ward, Milwaukee Brewers (.370/.477/.489)
  • Tyrone Taylor, Milwaukee Brewers (.333/.359/.604)
  • Joshua Palacios, Toronto Blue Jays (.363/.419/.575)
  • Ryan Noda, Toronto Blue Jays (.274/.451/.679 with 9 home runs)

The Bad

Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox. Beset by injuries all year, Robert has struggled to find his footing in High-A. In fact, he has 0 home runs across all levels all year. Although Robert has impressive raw power, he is unable to tap into it in games just yet. Luckily, his season will continue in October in the Arizona Fall League.

Jesus Sanchez, Tampa Bay Rays. On August 1st, the Rays promoted Sanchez to Double-A, after an impressive showing in the Florida State League (.301/.331/.462). Since then, he has failed to do much at the plate in Double-A. On the positive side, Sanchez has 20 of his 26 total walks over his last 47 games (10.3%).

Corey Ray, Milwaukee Brewers. This year, Ray is showcasing his power and speed, with 27 home runs and 36 stolen bases. Such numbers cause 5×5 fantasy owners to drool! Unfortunately, he also has 176 strikeouts (29.3%) and occasional lengthy slumps, including August (.146/.224/.354).

Others of Note:

  • Jeren Kendall, Los Angeles Dodgers (.178/.239/.208 with 37 strikeouts)
  • Jason Martin, Pittsburgh Pirates (.137/.200/.206)
  • Buddy Reed, San Diego Padres (.185/.224/.259 with 41 strikeouts)
  • Top College Bats from 2018 MLB Draft
    • Travis Swaggerty, Pittsburgh Pirates
    • Greyson Jenista, Atlanta Braves
    • Griffin Conine, Toronto Blue Jays
    • Steele Walker, Chicago White Sox

Additional Outfield Prospect Notes

  • Seuly Matias suffered a thumb laceration earlier this month while loading his luggage on the team bus. Clearly, teams would avoid tons of injuries by simply hiring bellhops.
  • Monte Harrison monthly strikeout counter: 40! Now, he has 5-straight months with 40 or more strikeouts.
  • Kyler Murray impressed in his first game as starting quarterback for Oklahoma, completing 9-of-11 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns.
  • In August, speedster Myles Straw stole 15 more bases. Now, he is 34-for-36 in stolen bases attempts in just 64 games in Triple-A!
  • Promotions: Daz Cameron to Triple-A and Connor Scott to Low-A.
  • Injuries: Khalil Lee (back soreness) and Jordyn Adams (broken jaw).
  • Notable AFL Participants: Taylor Trammell, Luis Robert, Estevan Florial, Cristian Pache, Julio Pablo Martinez, Austin Hays, Monte Harrison, Khalil Lee, Daz Cameron, Daniel Johnson, Myles Straw, and Buddy Reed.

Please feel free to post comments, questions, or your own observations!

Next Wednesday, the Monthly Prospect Update will explore pitching prospects. Stay tuned!

Follow me on Twitter @jaroche6

The Author

Jesse Roche

Jesse Roche

Jesse is an attorney, currently residing in Greensboro. An avid fantasy baseball player, Jesse has experience in a diverse range of leagues, including head-to-head, rotisserie, points, and simulation. Jesse is a five-time website-wide champion at Benchwarmer Baseball and a repeat champion of a dynasty league with John Sickels at Minor League Ball. With a specific interest in baseball prospects, Jesse plans to provide in-depth analysis of up-and-coming stars accessible to all league sizes and types.

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