It's coming up on the time when I will be releasing my midseason fantasy prospect rankings update, and one of tasks I usually like to start with is looking at prospects outside the previous top 100 to see if anyone is jumping up or falling down quite a bit. With that in mind, let's take a look at five prospects from the NL East that might be moving.
Manny Banuelos, Braves (NR)
Stat Line: 5 W, 2.29 ERA, 70 IP, 57 H, 34 BB, 63 K, 1.288 WHIP (13 starts)
Level: AAA Gwinnett (International League)
It's been three years since Banuelos was really considered a top prospect, but he's looking more and more like he still has a big league future. He's still just 24 years old, and has been pitching solidly, although somewhat up and down. He's been walking a fair amount of batters (4.3 per 9 innings), but has been getting a good amount of grounders (43%), and reports on his velocity have been generally solid as well.
RECOMMENDATION: He may not still be a top 10 prospect in the Braves' system due to the numerous acquisitions they've made in the past six months, but he could end up around the 1op 100 if additional reports from this year for his performance point to it being real.
Avery Romero, Marlins (NR)
Stat Line: .256/.303/.293, 1 HR, 20 RBI, 2 SB, 23 R, 17 BB, 35 K
Level: High-A Jupiter (Florida State League)
Romero was my #2 prospect in the Marlins' system this offseason, which says more about the Marlins' system than Romero. He hit well last year at Low-A and his stint at this level to end the year, but his overall numbers this year this year so far have been a bit pedestrian. The Florida State League is fairly notorious for being pitcher friendly, and we may not see better numbers until he is promoted out of there.
RECOMMENDATION: He was only really an NL-only play before, and he remains the same now. There's still some decent power potential here, and I think we see that start to materialize more once he's out of Jupiter. Otherwise, you can safely ignore him in most leagues.
Amed Rosario, Mets (#103)
Stat Line: 268/.314/.362, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 8 SB, 29 R, 12 BB, 44 K
Level: High-A Port St. Lucie (Florida State League)
The Mets took what seemed like an unusual step to skip Rosario from short-season ball straight to High-A, but having actually been to their Low-A affiliate in Savannah and seen first hand how much offense can be depressed there, I can actually see it. Rosario remains primarily potential at this point, but with him playing the entire season at the level as a 19-year old, he can potential force his way up the list if he continues even at his current production level.
RECOMMENDATION: I am a big fan of Rosario's, but the key to remember is that his defense is more likely to be his carrying tool as opposed to his bat. He could be a top 15 shortstop potentially if he continues to develop at the plate, but there are enough questions that he probably doesn't move up very much between his distance to the majors and that needed development.
Ben Lively, Phillies (#135)
Stat Line: 5 W, 3.82 ERA, 77 IP, 81 H, 23 BB, 56 K, 1.339 WHIP
Level: AA Reading (Eastern League)
Acquired by the Phillies this offseason, Lively jumped up rankings after posting dominating numbers in the California League. His strikeout rate has dropped this year, and it seems at this point that his ability to get strikeouts based on the deceptiveness of his delivery may have started to hit its' limits. Lively is expected to be a potential starting pitcher, but without a ton of strikeout upside, his fantasy value may be a bit more limited than even we thought before.
RECOMMENDATION: I wouldn't say it's time to sell on Lively, as he can still be a productive fantasy starter. He may have more value in deeper formats though where high floor/lower ceiling prospects can have more value as counting stats providers.
Jakson Reetz, Nationals (NR)
Stat Line: 1 for 6, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K
Level: Short-Season Auburn (NY-Penn League)
Reetz just got started this season, so it's a bit too early to read too much into the performance, but he's an interesting name to keep in mind. The potential is for him to be an above-average hitter with average power and still stay behind the plate. Catching prospects can take a very long time to get to the majors, and I don't think he necessarily even makes a full-season league this year, so investing in Reetz is a definite long play.
RECOMMENDATION: He's worth watching now, but I wouldn't worry about even thinking about picking him up until he at least gets to a full-season league.