Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, August 2019
Each month, The Dynasty Guru will provide a 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 August, TDG reviewed July 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!
Updated Minor League Context
Before delving into prospect performances, I want to emphasis taking performances within league context. For example, the Pacific Coast League has 11 of 16 teams with an OPS of .800+ and a league average slash of .277/.354/.477! Indeed, El Paso hit .302/.370/.537 as a team! Jorge Mateo (.289/.330/.504, 96 wRC+) performed below league average. The difference between the Pacific Coast League and the Florida State League in league OPS is 165 points. The following table shows league OPS through September 2nd.
|AAA||Pacific Coast (PCL)||0.831|
|A+||Florida State (FSL)||0.666|
|A||South Atlantic (SAL)||0.677|
|A-||New York-Penn (NYP)||0.65|
|R||Gulf Coast (GCL)||0.679|
|FR||Dominican Summer (DSL)||0.695|
Notable Outfield Prospect Performances
The Rising Outfield Prospect
Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners. Welcome to the hitter-friendly CAL, JRod! In his first 17 games, he went 30-for-65 with 11 extra base hits (.462/.514/.738). This performance came on the heels of a strong 15-game finish in the MID as well (.364/.403/.667). To top it off, Rodriguez will participate in the Arizona Fall League at 18 years old. The scary thing is this may just be the tip of his upside. Given his youth, he can struggle with swing-and-miss at times (15.2% SwStr) and be overly aggressive. Further, Rodriguez has not yet truly tapped into his double-plus raw power, favoring a more level, line drive stroke. With precocious hitting ability and the aforementioned power, he possesses as much upside as any prospect, and already draws comparisons to Eloy Jimenez. A strong performance in the AFL will further elevate Rodriguez, who is already a top 10 dynasty prospect.
Here's Julio Rodriguez's grand slam. His fourth hit of the night. In his Cal Legue debut. He's 18 until late December. LOL. pic.twitter.com/zkc35s8Q2k
— Jason A. Churchill (@ProspectInsider) August 17, 2019
Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals. Welcome to the extremely hitter-friendly PCL, Dylan! Over his first 18 games, he already launched 5 home runs (.361/.418/.681). In addition, Carlson joined the 20/20 club (26/20) with 2 stolen bases in his final 3 games. While he possesses plus power, he only is an average runner, and anything more than low double-digit stolen bases is not something to expect long-term. Still, he exhibits a disciplined approach with reasonable swing-and-miss and above-to-plus power from both sides of the plate. Further, it is reasonable to project on his hitting ability as a switch-hitter refining two different swings and still just 20 years old. All told, Carlson has the makings of an above-average hit tool with plus raw power who can maybe chip in some stolen bases due to his aggressive baserunning.
— Memphis Redbirds (@memphisredbirds) August 18, 2019
The Graduated Outfield Prospect
Aristides Aquino, Cincinnati Reds. The trade of Yasiel Puig created an opportunity for Aquino, and he ran with it. Over his first 32 games, he blasted 15 home runs! Double-plus raw power has always been his calling card, but he did not fully tap into it until this year. A change to his batting stance has lead to newfound success. With that said, Aquino still suffers substantial swing-and-miss (17% SwStr in INT, 18.5% SwStr in MLB). Further, he utilizes one of the most swing-happy (57% swing!) approaches in the majors. As such, he almost certainly will regress, and it would not be surprising if his batting average flirted with the Mendoza Line. In early mock drafts, however, industry writers are drafting Aquino as high as the 6th round in 15-team redraft leagues. Long-term, you should expect inconsistent .230/30+ type production, similar to former Reds slugger Adam Duvall.
Aristides Aquino crushed his 14th roundtripper since his Aug. 1 promotion last night. That ties a franchise record for home runs in a month with three games still to play! ?
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) August 30, 2019
Adam Haseley, Philadelphia Phillies. The eighth pick in the 2017 draft, Haseley has enjoyed a respectable debut (.265/.320/.401, 86 wRC+, 0.7 WAR). In the field, he has been a reliable defender across all three outfield positions. Meanwhile, he has flashed above-average raw power, speed, and hitting ability. However, Haseley has not exhibited the same advanced plate discipline he had in the minors. In addition, he has hit far too many ground balls (55%), made too little hard contact (26.5%), and suffered elevated swing-and-miss (14% SwStr). Regardless, there is a lot to like here, with sneak .280/15/15 (or better) upside if he can put more balls in the air.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 8, 2019
Travis Demeritte, Detroit Tigers. The strikeouts have caught up to Demeritte, with 21 in his last 45 plate appearances (46.7%). If he can make enough contact, he has the power (plus) and even the speed (surprisingly, above-average!) to make a lot of noise.
Others of Note:
- DJ Stewart, Baltimore Orioles
- Lane Thomas, St. Louis Cardinals
The Major League Outfield Prospect
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros. The long wait for Tucker is finally over. Prior to his promotion, he put the finishing touches on a 34/30 campaign in the PCL with a strong August (.293/.387/.556, 7 HR, 7 SB). Since his arrival, he has played in all 9 games, but only received 3 starts. Tucker has made the most of his limited playing time, going 7-for-25 with his first career home run and a stolen base (.280/.308/.520). Notably, he has show average-to-above speed, which provides some reason to believe in stolen base contributions long-term. Hopefully, he can impress enough to earn a regular role heading into 2020.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 6, 2019
Trent Grisham, Milwaukee Brewers. Grisham’s midseason power surge since late May has carried over to the majors, where he already has 5 home runs (.260/.319/.471). In addition, he has shown plus speed despite no stolen base attempts. While he is drawing few walks, Grisham remains very patient (4.15 pitches/plate appearance and 40.5% swing) with reasonable swing-and-miss (8.5%). Most importantly, he is the leadoff hitter for the Brewers. Small sample size notwithstanding, Grisham has the look of a potential high on-base, 20/20 bat with plenty of runs.
That didn’t take long.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 11, 2019
Josh Rojas, Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cinderella prospect story of the 2019 season, Rojas has continued to impress in his new organization. Since being acquired from the Astros, he destroyed the PCL (.514/.575/.943) and earned a promotion to the majors. During his debut, Rojas has flashed above-average raw power with plenty of hard contact (43.6%), average-to-above speed, and a patient approach. A utility fielder in the minors, he has mostly played left and right field, where he has showed well. The Diamondbacks will provide him a long look in September. If Rojas enters 2020 with a starting spot, he is a great sleeper pick in all formats.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 31, 2019
Others of Note:
- Sam Hilliard, Colorado Rockies
- Randy Arozarena, St. Louis Cardinals
- Anthony Alford, Toronto Blue Jays
- Kyle Lewis, Seattle Mariners
- Chris Shaw, San Francisco Giants
- Jaylin Davis, San Francisco Giants
- Jason Martin, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Yonathan Daza, Colorado Rockies
- Braden Bishop, Seattle Mariners
- Michael Hermosillo, Los Angeles Angels
- Tyrone Taylor, Milwaukee Brewers
- LaMonte Wade, Minnesota Twins
- Scott Heineman, Texas Rangers
- Ian Miller, Minnesota Twins
The Good Top 200 Outfield Prospect
Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners. The sixth pick in the 2018 draft, Kelenic has soared through, and excelled at, three levels in minors this year. This past month, he combined to hit .316/.360/.579 with 7 home runs between the CAL and the TEX. All his offensive tools sit comfortable above-average, and his highly-regarded work ethic and advanced baseball IQ maximize each. The only true blemishes on his performance have been some swing-and-miss (12% SwStr), a pull-heavy approach (49.3%), and mostly pull-only home run power (below).
Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks. Carroll’s double-plus speed has been on full display in his debut. Indeed, he has totaled 7 triples and 18 stolen bases (on 19 attempts) between the AZL and the NWL, including 4 triples in 11 games in the NWL (.326/.408/.581). While he lacks a ton of raw power, Carroll more than makes up for it with a potential plus hit tool and the aforementioned elite speed.
Corbin Carroll AZL footage pic.twitter.com/qk54CjRkWC
— Jason Pennini (@JasonPennini) August 3, 2019
Luis Matos, San Francisco Giants. Part of the Giants’ stacked 2018 international class, Matos has nearly matched the performance of class member Marco Luciano. At just 17 years old, he lit up the DSL (.362/.430/.570, 7 HR, 20 SB) and earned a late season stateside promotion to the AZL (7-for-16). Matos possesses immense five-category upside with potential plus raw power and plus speed. Of course, he carries tons of risk, with a presently pull-heavy and aggressive approach, which may be troublesome as he advances through the minors.
— FanGraphs Prospects (@FG_Prospects) August 29, 2019
Others of Note:
- Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox (INT: .270/.296/.574, 9 HR)
- Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins (SOU: .311/.351/.500)
- Trevor Larnach, Minnesota Twins (SOU: .306/.395/.510)
- Brandon Marsh, Los Angeles Angels (SOU: .357/.429/.520)
- Travis Swaggerty, Pittsburgh Pirates (FSL: .337/.416/.490)
- Alexander Canario, San Francisco Giants (NWL: .333/.363/.594, 35 K)
- Gilberto Jimenez, Boston Red Sox (NYP: .374/.400/.525, 7 SB)
- Julio Pablo Martinez, Texas Rangers (CAR: .289/.367/.464, 10 SB)
The Good Non-Top 200 Outfield Prospect
Josh Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays. The younger brother of Nate Lowe, Josh was the more highly-regarded draft prospect (2016 1st). Still just 21 years old, he has enjoyed his best season yet in the SOU (.252/.341/.442, 128 wRC+), including a strong finish (.337/.411/.627 over his final 22 games). Notably, Lowe tallied 30 stolen bases in addition to his burgeoning game power (.190 ISO, 13.7% HR/FB). Further, his patient approach (11.4% BB, 4.27 pitches/plate appearance), all-fields hard contact (below), and reasonable swing-and-miss (12.2% SwStr) bode well for his hit tool. However, there remain a large range of outcomes for Lowe, who profiles as a 45/50 hit and 45/50 power bat with plus speed.
Gilberto Celestino, Minnesota Twins. The Twins acquired Celestino from the Astros for Ryan Pressly last year, and he struggled for nearly a full year with his new organization. Not until late June did he truly take off. Since then, he has hit .352/.411/.540 with 6 home runs and 5 stolen bases over his last 54 games. Thin and narrow-shouldered, Celestino lacks anything more than below-average power, but enough to muster double-digit home runs. On the other hand, he has plus speed and a promising hit tool.
Heriberto Hernandez, Texas Rangers. Last year, Hernandez quietly finished second to Malcom Nunez in hitting in the DSL (200 wRC+, .292/.464/.635, 12 HR). In his stateside debut, he obliterated the AZL (.344/.433/.646, 181 wRC+). Incredibly, he finished even hotter in August and September, including the NWL playoffs (.333/.406/.722, 9 HR). The man can hit! However, can he field? This year, Hernandez received playing time at right field, catcher, and first base, and it is unclear where his future defensive home lies.
AZL Championship game 1 – Heriberto Hernandez pic.twitter.com/Bacugb02Um
— Jason Pennini (@JasonPennini) August 30, 2019
Others of Note:
- Nick Schnell, Tampa Bay Rays (APP/MID: .283/.342/.500)
- Griffin Conine, Toronto Blue Jays (MID: .278/.388/.546)
- Andy Pages, Los Angeles Dodgers (PIO: .309/.374/.667)
- Jeren Kendall, Los Angeles Dodgers (CAL: .302/.391/.635, 7 HR)
- Brewer Hicklen, Kansas City Royals (CAR: .295/.343/.600, 8 HR)
- Justin Dean, Atlanta Braves (SAL: .311/.387/.462, 13 SB)
- Peyton Burdick, Miami Marlins (MID: .337/.458/.632)
- Brenton Doyle, Colorado Rockies (PIO: .395/.495/.605, 8 SB)
- Justin Williams, St. Louis Cardinals (PCL: .353/.434/.576)
- Adolis Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals (PCL: .338/.407/.753, 8 HR)
- Jonah Davis, Pittsburgh Pirates (SAL: .318/.383/.654, 10 HR)
The Bad Outfield Prospect
Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels. Most expected a powerful showing in the hitter-friendly PCL from Adell. However, he failed to hit a single home run in 27 games. Meanwhile, he suffered significant swing-and-miss (32.6% K, 19% SwStr). Adell’s power and speed upside is undeniable, but his hit tool still needs a lot of work.
Bubba Thompson, Texas Rangers. Injuries have sunk Thompson’s season. When he has been on the field, he has flashed his double-plus speed and average raw power. At the same time, however, Thompson struggled with contact all year (31.6% K, 18% SwStr).
Lazaro Armenteros, Oakland Athletics. Lazarito was an above-average performer in the CAL this year (.222/.336/.403, 17 HR, 22 SB, 107 wRC+). Unfortunately, he was also the minor league strikeout leader by 37 (227, 42.2%)!
Others of Note:
- Will Benson, Cleveland Indians (CAR: .194/.313/.280)
- Victor Victor Mesa, Miami Marlins (SOU: .188/.204/.208)
- DJ Peters, Los Angeles Dodgers (PCL: .163/.317/.212, 35 K)
Additional Outfield Prospect Notes
- The tenth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Hunter Bishop, San Francisco Giants walked 19 times (31.7%!) in just 13 games this month (.255/.500/.550).
- After a strong minor league season (.298/.365/.545, 19/22 HR/SB), Jake Fraley, Seattle Mariners had a forgettable major league debut (6-for-40, 14/0 K/BB). Now, he is out for the year with sprained ligaments in his right thumb.
- The Tigers claimed Troy Stokes Jr. off waivers after the Brewers designated him for assignment.
- Notable AFL participants: Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels; Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners; Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners; Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals; Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins; Heliot Ramos, San Francisco Giants; Brandon Marsh, Los Angeles Angels; Jarren Duran, Boston Red Sox; Bubba Thompson, Texas Rangers; Josh Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays; Victor Victor Mesa, Miami Marlins; Kyle Isbel, Kansas City Royals; Jerar Encarnacion, Miami Marlins; Mickey Moniak, Philadelphia Phillies; Tristen Lutz, Milwaukee Brewers; Jared Oliva, Pittsburgh Pirates; Stuart Fairchild, Cincinnati Reds; Jake McCarthy, Arizona Diamondbacks; Brewer Hicklen, Kansas City Royals; Josh Stowers, New York Yankees; Marcus Wilson, Boston Red Sox; Blake Rutherford, Chicago White Sox; Derek Hill, Detroit Tigers; Trey Harris, Atlanta Braves; Justin Dean, Atlanta Braves
- Notable August promotions: Drew Waters, Atlanta Braves (SOU to INT); Cristian Pache, Atlanta Braves (SOU to INT); Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers (NYP to MID); Heliot Ramos, San Francisco Giants (CAL to EAS); Alek Thomas, Arizona Diamondbacks (MID to CAL); George Valera, Cleveland Indians (NYP to MID); Jordyn Adams, Los Angeles Angels (MID to CAL); Matt Wallner, Minnesota Twins (APP to MID); Jairo Pomares, San Francisco Giants (AZL to NWL); Wilderd Patino, Arizona Diamondbacks (AZL to PIO); Jeferson Espinal, Arizona Diamondbacks (DSL to AZL); Trent Deveaux, Los Angeles Angels (AZL to PIO); Freddy Valdez, New York Mets (DSL to GCL); Ulrich Bojarski, Detroit Tigers (MID to FSL); Forrest Wall, Toronto Blue Jays (EAS to INT)
- Notable August injuries: Brent Rooker, Minnesota Twins (groin); Lane Thomas, St. Louis Cardinals (right wrist fracture)