We released our top 100 fantasy prospect lists last week, and in amongst that group, Iet's look at two more prospects who have seen significant shifts in their fantasy value this year.
Billy McKinney - Cubs
My Preseason Rank: #128 overall (#9 Cubs)
My Midseason Rank: #59 overall
McKinney was a bit of an afterthought as the second prospect acquired by the Cubs in the Samardzija trade last year, but has definitely shown more this year than was expected at the start of the season. He returned to High-A to start the year, and destroyed the level to the tune of a .340/.432/.544 line in the 29 games he appeared before a promotion to AA. He hasn't put up the same kinds of numbers at AA, but has still provided very solid production with a .275/.338/.404 line in 56 games.
Brian hit it right on the head during the offseason with this:
The profile is a tweener - could be a 2nd division LF or a 4th OF type and much of it will depend on the team he's on.
It really seems to depend on your thoughts on whether the power can develop enough to support the positional disadvantage of being a left field only profile, and I do believe. He's not going to be an elite power hitter to be sure, but I can fairly easily see a 15-20 home run hitter that also provides a high batting average and a great on-base percentage. The profile is a little off for what you'd normally see from left field, but he can be a solid OF3 with potential OF2 seasons if everything falls just right. He doesn't project to steal very many bases, but a 75+ R, 70 RBI, 15 HR, .280-.290 hitter could very well be in the cards.
Phil Ervin - Reds
My Preseason Ranking: Not Ranked (#3 Reds)
My Midseason Ranking: #97
Realistically, Ervin probably should have been in my top 150 before the season given the potential for a five category contributor. He got off to a hot start at High-A, hitting .346/.429/.692 in the month of April before tailing off in May. The overall numbers have not really recovered in June, and overall so far he's hitting .252/.333/.412 with 12 home runs and 18 stolen bases. Ervin has also primarily been playing left field this season, as opposed to center, so it does put a little more pressure on his bat from a real-life perspective.
I like that he has been better this year in terms of his plate discipline performance, as he is still posting a 10% walk rate and only a 15% strikeout rate. To be honest, it seems like his .268 BABIP is a bit lower than I'd expect for a player who is considered an above-average runner, and could see some of that improving as the season progresses. I don't know if I believe that he will be an above-average contributor as time progresses, but I can see him providing good value in four categories. He profiles to me as a second-tier OF3, where you own him based on how he helps specific categories with the rest of your lineup. He should provide good value with both power and speed, potentially providing 10-15 HR to go with 20+ steals and a .250-.260 batting average.