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Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, July 2019

Each month, The Dynasty Guru will provide an outfield prospect update, including 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 July, TDG reviewed June performances for infielders, outfielders, and pitchers. 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!

A Note on Minor League Context

Before delving into prospect performances, I want to emphasis taking performances within league context. For example, the Pacific Coast League has 12 of 16 teams with an OPS of .800+ and a league average slash of .277/.354/.479! Indeed, Las Vegas is hitting .304/.376/.536 as a team! Dustin Fowler (.279/.334/.507, 98 wRC+) and Sam Hilliard (.251/.316/.537, 96 wRC+) are performing below league average. The difference between the Pacific Coast League and the Florida State League in league OPS is 167 points. The following table shows league OPS through August 1st.

Triple-APacific Coast (PCL)0.833
Triple-AInternational (INT)0.794
Double-AEastern (EAS)0.681
Double-ATexas (TEX)0.715
Double-ASouthern (SOU)0.678
High-AFlorida State (FSL)0.666
High-ACarolina (CAR)0.684
High-ACalifornia (CAL)0.713
Low-ASouth Atlantic (SAL)0.681
Low-AMidwest (MID)0.683
Class A Short SeasonNew York-Penn (NYP)0.655
Class A Short SeasonNorthwest (NWL)0.691
Rookie AdvancedPioneer (PIO)0.768
Rookie AdvancedAppalachian (APP)0.714
RookieGulf Coast (GCL)0.672
RookieArizona (AZL)0.738
Rookie ForeignDominican Summer (DSL)0.697

In addition, there are substantial differences within each league, as certain ballparks play as bandboxes. In June, Baseball America updated minor league park factors, noting the best run scoring parks are Reno (ARI/AAA), Alburquerque (COL/AAA), Las Vegas (OAK/AAA), Charlotte (CHW/AAA), and Lancaster (COL/A+). Other notable hitter-friendly parks include El Paso (SD/AAA), Salt Lake (LAA/AAA), Louisville (CIN/AAA), Oklahoma City (LAD/AAA), and Asheville (COL/A). Meanwhile, the worst run scoring parks are Jacksonville (MIA/AA), Wilmington (KC/A+), Lakeland (DET/A+), Mississippi (ATL/AA), and Jupiter (MIA/A+). Of course, the quality of hitting and pitching do influence these numbers, including league OPS (above). However, you must consider league context when evaluating player performance.

Notable Outfield Prospect Performances

The Rising Outfield Prospect

Kristian Robinson, Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks signed Robinson for $2.5 million from the 2017 international class. In his professional debut last year, he received an aggressive, stateside assignment to the AZL and promotion to the PIO at just 17 years old (.279/.363/.428). Although he did not receive a full-season assignment to begin this year, he is doing his best to squeeze a full season worth of production into a couple months. In July, Robinson flashed his elite power/speed combination, hitting .320/.404/.630 with 8 home runs and 9 stolen bases. Still just 18 years old, he has offensive upside to match the likes of Luis Robert. Robinson’s strong, wiry, and broad-shouldered 6’3″ frame generates easy plus raw power while retaining his plus speed. Meanwhile, he has exhibited a patient approach with reasonable swing-and-miss. On August 3rd, the Diamondbacks finally promoted him to the MID.

Note, the following video likely does not accurately state the distance of Robinson’s home run, but it was still a bomb!

The Graduated Outfield Prospect

Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros. This has been a truly remarkable season for Alvarez, who hit .343/.443/.742 with 23 home runs in the PCL before nearly duplicating that performance in the majors (.326/.413/.674). In fact, he has the highest OBA (.459) and the 6th highest xwOBA (.413) in the majors as of publication! Alvarez has enormous, double-plus raw power, which he has consistently tapped into this year. What makes him special is his above-to-plus hitting ability, expert use of the whole field, and feel for barreling the ball. During the July update to the Top 600 Dynasty League Players, Alvarez ranked 53rd overall. Nearly a month later, this ranking appears light.

Josh Naylor, San Diego Padres. The trade deadline move of Franmil Reyes should open up an opportunity for more regular playing time for Naylor. In August, he has started in 4 of 6 games, and it appears he may be part of a 3-player rotation with Wil Myers and Manuel Margot. Meanwhile, Naylor is starting to settle in at the plate, with more hard contact, including his first home run, and less swing-and-miss. It is difficult to remember he just turned 22 years old on June 22nd. As such, an adjustment period is very likely. Despite double-plus raw power, Naylor has favored a disciplined, contact-oriented versus a damage-based approach, and his 3.7° launch angle is evidence of his level swing. Still, there is upside here for a potential .280/25+ slugger.

Others of Note:

  • Pablo Reyes, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Major League Outfield Prospect

Trent Grisham, Milwaukee Brewers. After years of mediocrity (.228/.347/.344, 1,236 PA), Grisham has finally made good on his draft pedigree (2015 15th overall). Since late May, he has been on an absolute tear, hitting .369/.477/.813 with 21 home runs over 52 games between the SOU and the PCL. While much of his production came in the hitter-friendly PCL, his home park (San Antonio) has the least amount of runs/game in the league. All signs point to this being a legitimate breakout for Grisham, who is making far more hard contact while elevating and pulling the ball more. Since July 2018, his estimated fly ball distance has steadily increased (below). With his newfound power stroke, Grisham now combines his elite plate discipline and patience (15.2% BB) with average-to-above power and some speed. On August 1st, the Brewers promoted Grisham to the majors.

Trent Grisham Estimated Fly Ball Distance

Adam Haseley, Philadelphia Phillies. The eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft, Haseley made his short-lived major league debut in early June before landing on the injured list. Since his return to the majors after the All-Star break, he has been an everyday player and performed well (.293/.329/.480, 110 wRC+). Although he has yet to steal a bag, Haseley has flashed above-average speed. With some speed, some pop, and a line drive stroke, he has the makings of a solid fantasy contributor. With that said, he has overperformed (.244 xBA, .365 xSLG) and adopted a far more aggressive approach than he had throughout his career (50.4% swing). Expect some struggles to come.

Others of Note:

  • Lane Thomas, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Aristides Aquino, Cincinnati Reds
  • Scott Heineman, Texas Rangers

The Good Top 200 Outfield Prospect

Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox. After the Futures Game, Robert received a promotion to Triple-A, and he did not skip a beat, hitting .351/.420/.714 with 6 home runs and 5 stolen bases over his first 18 games. Through July, he already has a 22/34 season! All year, Robert has exhibited consistent power and hard contact to all fields. Most importantly, he has been trending in the right direction in both strikeout and walk rates. With that said, he has suffered a concerning amount of swinging strikes (17%) and his aggressive approach likely will lead to some struggles initially in the majors. Recently, Kiley McDaniel noted these concerns are keeping Robert from being an elite prospect and brought up Lewis Brinson as a cautionary tale.

Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals. In a breakout season (which I, among many others, predicted), Carlson had his best month in July (.301/.389/.602, 7 HR). His performance as one of the top hitters in the TEX at just 20 years old is comparable to fellow switch-hitting outfielder Drew Waters. Freed from the pitcher-friendly FSL, he has tapped into his plus raw power while making consistent hard contact (26.8% LD). Now, it is reasonable to project Carlson to develop an average-to-above hit tool despite some swing-and-miss (12.1% SwStr). Meanwhile, he has also stolen 13 bases (on 20 attempts), but he only has average speed and, while he may total double-digit steals early in his career, it is not really a part of his long-term fantasy outlook.

Others of Note:

  • Drew Waters, Atlanta Braves (SOU: .327/.374/.439)
  • Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners (CAL: .284/.384/.500)
  • Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers (GCL/NYP: .323/.398/.417)
  • Heliot Ramos, San Francisco Giants (CAL: .323/.380/.505)
  • Alek Thomas, Arizona Diamondbacks (MID: .352/.426/.523, promoted to CAL)
  • Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks (AZL: .290/.457/.464, 8 SB)
  • Yusniel Diaz, Baltimore Orioles (EAS: .299/.353/.514)
  • Julio Pablo Martinez, Texas Rangers (CAR: .283/.340/.500, 10 SB)
  • Travis Swaggerty, Pittsburgh Pirates (FSL: .319/.375/.447)
  • Daniel Johnson, Cleveland Indians (INT: .333/.379/.467)

The Good Non-Top 200 Outfield Prospect

DJ Peters, Los Angeles Dodgers. The big, 6’6″ slugger was having a quiet season in the TEX (.241/.331/.422), then he received a promotion to the PCL . . . . A player with Peters’ mammoth power in the PCL is a match made in heaven. Sure enough, he has laid waste to the PCL since his arrival, hitting .342/.458/.728 with 12 home runs over his first 30 games. Of course, Peters still suffers substantial swing-and-miss given his long levers (29.2% K, 16.6% SwStr), but it has been far more manageable in the PCL. Long-term, he has a potential three-true-outcomes profile in right field.

Jaylin Davis, San Francisco Giants. Hailing from Greensboro, North Carolina (where I currently live), Davis attended Appalachian State (at the same time my wife attended the Master’s program there). Obviously, I have to profile him, especially after he obliterated the PCL in July (.368/.442/.755, 11 HR). This hot streak lead the Giants to quietly acquire Davis from the Twins at the trade deadline as part of a package for Sam Dyson. Do not overlook this move, as the Giants continue to audition outfielders. Davis has plus raw power to all fields, but has always had elevated swing-and-miss (25.9% K, 15% SwStr). Further, he likely is a left fielder long-term given his weak arm. Regardless, Davis could surprise at the plate with a major league look, and there is opportunity with the Giants.

Others of Note:

  • Misael Urbina, Minnesota Twins (DSL: .306/.427/.548, 8 SB)
  • Gilberto Jimenez, Boston Red Sox (NYP: .347/.387/.436)
  • Jairo Pomares, San Francisco Giants (AZL: .380/.419/.633)
  • Randy Arozarena, St. Louis Cardinals (PCL: .378/.455/.592)
  • Edward Olivares, San Diego Padres (TEX: .356/.407/.584)
  • Chris Shaw, San Francisco Giants (PCL: .330/.369/.649, 7 HR)
  • Kyle Lewis, Seattle Mariners (TEX: .337/.394/.547)
  • Gilberto Celestino, Minnesota Twins (MID: .369/.430/.563)
  • Luis Matos, San Francisco Giants (DSL: .404/.458/.548, 9 SB)
  • Franklin Labour, San Francisco Giants (NWL: .314/.395/.667, 9 HR)
  • Jared Oliva, Pittsburgh Pirates (EAS: .388/.443/.544, 13 SB)
  • Sam Hilliard, Colorado Rockies (PCL: .263/.339/.576, 8 HR)
  • Dominic Fletcher, Arizona Diamondbacks (MID: .333/.398/.516)
  • Canaan Smith, New York Yankees (SAL: 393/.509/.517)
  • Cal Stevenson, Houston Astros (FSL: .372/.455/.465)
  • Darryl Collins, Kansas City Royals (AZL: .352/.452/.479)
  • Junior Perez, San Diego Padres (AZL: .310/.386/.620, 6 HR, 8 SB)

The Bad Outfield Prospect

Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros. Not only did Tucker struggle in July (.194/.333/.347), but he also was not traded. As such, he presumably remains blocked by Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick through 2020. Further, the PCL has buoyed his performance (110 wRC+, .263/.346/.557, 28 HR), and he has suffered plenty of swinging strikes (14.8%). Tucker still has a promising future, with plus power, a line drive stroke, and plus base running instincts despite average-to-below speed

Jesus Sanchez, Miami Marlins. The Rays promoted Sanchez to the INT this month despite a rough final 19 games in the SOU (.182/.214/.212), and his struggles continued in Triple-A (.206/.282/.317). At the trade deadline, the Rays sent him to the Marlins as part of a package for Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards. The PCL likely will invigorate his bat, and a change of scenery could be a good thing, but Sanchez now moves to a difficult major league home park.

Others of Note:

  • Cristian Pache, Atlanta Braves (SOU: .221/.295/.326, 32 K)
  • Taylor Trammell, San Diego Padres (SOU: .216/.296/.341)
  • Estevan Florial, New York Yankees (FSL: .250/.283/.360, 38 K)
  • Daz Cameron, Detroit Tigers (INT: .193/.343/.301)
  • Antonio Cabello, New York Yankees (APP: .214/.289/.340, 35 K)
  • Will Benson, Cleveland Indians (CAR: .184/.260/.299, 34 K)
  • Lolo Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates (FSL: .164/.230/.194)

Additional Outfield Prospect Notes

  • The Marlins assigned 2019 fourth overall pick J.J. Bleday straight to the FSL.
  • Monte Harrison, Miami Marlins underwent wrist surgery in mid-July (out 4-6 weeks).
  • Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox has begun to settle in at Double-A, going 18-for-42 to finish the month.
  • The Padres demoted Tirso Ornelas from High-A all the way to the AZL, where he is still struggling (10-for-53).
  • Kyle Isbel, Kansas City Royals is just 6-for-51 in High-A since his return from injury.
  • Griffin Conine, Toronto Blue Jays has been an all-or-nothing hitter since his return from suspension, hitting with tons of power (7 HR in July) and swing-and-miss (44 K in July).
  • The Phillies released Dylan Cozens.
  • Lazaro Armenteros Strikeout Watch: 48 in July, 183 total
  • Notable July trades: Taylor Trammell (CIN to SD); Jameson Hannah (OAK to CIN); Niko Hulsizer (LAD to TB); Cal Stevenson (TOR to HOU); Travis Demeritte (ATL to DET); Joe McCarthy (TB to SF); Ruben Cardenas (CLE to TB)
  • Notable July promotions: Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels (SOU to PCL); Hunter Bishop, San Francisco Giants (AZL to NWL); Trevor Larnach, Minnesota Twins (FSL to SOU); Kameron Misner, Miami Marlins (GCL to MID); Victor Victor Mesa, Miami Marlins (FSL to SOU); Connor Scott, Miami Marlins (MID to FSL); Trejyn Fletcher, St. Louis Cardinals (GCL to APP); Franklin Labour, San Francisco Giants (NWL to SAL); Zach Watson, Baltimore Orioles (NYP to SAL); Trey Harris, Atlanta Braves (FSL to SOU)
  • Notable July injury returns: Bubba Thompson, Texas Rangers; Corey Ray, Milwaukee Brewers; Anthony Alford, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Notable July injuries: Brent Rooker, Minnesota Twins (groin); Jake McCarthy, Arizona Diamondbacks

Jesse Roche's 2019 Prospect Series

11/5/18Top 600 Dynasty League Players, Fall Preview
11/12/182019 Top 40 Fantasy Catcher Prospects
11/19/182019 Top 30 Fantasy First Base Prospects
11/26/182019 Top 30 Fantasy Second Base Prospects
12/3/182019 Top 40 Fantasy Third Base Prospects
12/10/182019 Top 70 Fantasy Shortstop Prospects, Part 1
12/17/182019 Top 70 Fantasy Shortstop Prospects, Part 2
12/24/182019 Top 140 Fantasy Outfield Prospects, Part 1
12/31/182019 Top 140 Fantasy Outfield Prospects, Part 2
1/7/192019 Top 210 Fantasy Pitching Prospects, Part 1
1/16/192019 Top 210 Fantasy Pitching Prospects, Part 2
1/21/19Upon Further Review: Notable Grade Changes
1/28/192019 Top 500 Fantasy Prospects
2/11/192019 Top 100 Upside-Only Fantasy Prospects
2/20/192019 First Year Player Draft Rankings
3/11/192019 Impact Prospects
3/18/192019 Breakout Prospects
4/1/19Prospects Breaking Camp
4/3/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, March 2019
4/4/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, March 2019
4/5/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, March 2019
4/22/19Scouting Report: Grayson Rodriguez
4/29/19Scouting Reports: Delmarva & Greensboro
5/2/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, April 2019
5/4/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, April 2019
5/8/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, April 2019
5/10/19Top 200 Fantasy Prospects, May 2019
5/27/192019 MLB Draft: Top Fantasy Prospects
6/3/192019 MLB Draft Live Observations
6/5/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, May 2019
6/6/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, May 2019
6/7/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, May 2019
6/10/19Top 200 Fantasy Prospects, June 2019
6/17/192019 Short Season Assignments: DSL, PIO, NWL & NYP
6/24/192019 Short Season Assignments: AZL, GCL & APP
7/1/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, June 2019
7/3/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, June 2019
7/5/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, June 2019
7/8/192019/2020 First Year Player Draft, Rounds 1-2
7/12/19Top 600 Dynasty League Players, July 2019
7/15/192019/2020 First Year Player Draft, Rounds 3-4
7/22/192019/2020 First Year Player Draft, Rounds 5-6
7/29/19Short Season Breakout Prospects
8/7/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, July 2019
8/8/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, July 2019
8/9/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, July 2019
8/12/19Top 200 Fantasy Prospects, August 2019
8/19/19Scouting Report: Seth Corry
9/11/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, August 2019
9/13/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, August 2019
10/4/19Top 200 Fantasy Prospects, September 2019

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

Next, 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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