This edition of Farm Tracker presents a position-by-position analysis of May’s best performances by fantasy prospects across all four levels. It is not a mere inventory of players who posted the best statistics but rather a recognition of those prospects who, all things considered, submitted May performances noteworthy for excellence. Many of these players appear on our Fake Teams Consensus Top 100 Fantasy Prospects List or on the team-by-team, organizational Top 10 prospect lists we published throughout the offseason.
In short, whether this season or four years from now, we expect these prospects to make an impact in fantasy leagues.
Catcher: Willson Contreras, Iowa Cubs (Cubs), Triple-A Pacific Coast League, Age 24, May stats: .324/.419/.657, 8 HR, 25 RBI
Contreras is by far the best and most ML-ready fantasy prospect behind the dish. He’ll be a popular add once he arrives in Chicago and makes for a sneaky stash on catcher-needy fantasy teams.
First Base: Chris Shaw, San Jose Giants (Giants), High-A California League, Age 22, May stats: .286/.361/.590, 8 HR, 26 RBI
Yes, he plays in the hitter-friendly California League. But 8-and-26 is 8-and-26. At a weak fantasy position (at least among prospects), that’s good enough.
Speaking of weak fantasy positions, 2B Yoan Moncada makes the list for the second consecutive month. Apart from the stolen bases, his May numbers are not eye-popping by his standards, but Moncada ranks so far above his peers, both in stats and in prospect pedigree, that it would be no surprise were he to make this list each month for the rest of season.
Third Base: J.D. Davis, Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros), Double-A Texas League, Age 23, May stats: .306/.315/.639, 9 HR, 25 RBI
Davis earned Texas-League player-of-the-week honors in consecutive weeks. After a dreadful month of April, his recent power surge has been an encouraging sign for his dynasty-league owners.
Shortstop: Tim Anderson, Charlotte Knights (White Sox), Triple-A International League, Age 22, May stats: .349/.387/.488, 3 HR, 24 R, 6 SB
Speaking of a dreadful April, Anderson looked lost at the beginning of the season. Suffice it to say that he has rebounded and perhaps even put himself in position for a summer call-up.
Outfield: Hunter Renfroe, El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres), Triple-A Pacific Coast League, Age 24, May stats: .339/.350/.628, 8 HR, 27 RBI
It seems like Renfroe has been a Top 5 prospect in the Padres’ system forever. At 24, he has little left to prove in the upper minors.
Outfield: Bradley Zimmer, Akron RubberDucks (Indians), Double-A Eastern League, Age 23, May stats: .256/.402/.589, 7 HR, 22 RBI, 22 R, 11 SB
Here’s a perfect example of why it can be useful to ignore batting average. Fantasy owners would sign up for 7 HR, 11 SB, and a .991 OPS in any month. Zimmer should be in Cleveland by next season.
Outfield: Eloy Jimenez, South Bend Cubs (Cubs), Low-A Midwest League, Age 19, May stats: .364/.407/.627, 7 HR, 23 RBI
And the rich get richer. Teenagers aren’t supposed to destroy Midwest-League pitching the way Jimenez has this month. The Cubs’ young OF looks like a prime candidate to skyrocket up prospect rankings this coming offseason.
Starting pitcher: Julio Urias, Oklahoma City Dodgers (Dodgers), Triple-A Pacific Coast League, Age 19, May stats: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 23 IP, 10 H, 5 BB, 21 K
Everyone knows that Urias got shelled in his Major-League debut and that, after a temporary demotion, he’s on his way back to the Majors. Fantasy players who might have lost a bit of enthusiasm for Urias after (gasp!) one bad start also should know, however, that teenagers aren’t supposed to pitch scoreless months in the Pacific Coast League. The kid is for real.
Hader has dominated at every level he’s pitched. This month, like last month, he made Double-A hitters look silly. If they had any interest in starting his service-time clock, the Brewers would promote Hader straight to the Majors.
Taillon, like Yoan Moncada, makes the list for the second consecutive month. It’s been a remarkable start for a player who missed two seasons due to injury--a player who could arrive in Pittsburgh as early as this month.
Starting pitcher: Marcos Diplan, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Brewers), Low-A Midwest League, Age 19, May stats: 2-0, 1.19 ERA, 22.2, 17 H, 15 BB, 32 K
The walks are a bit high, but Diplan otherwise has been outstanding. He allowed five runs in his first outing of the season but only one since.
Starting pitcher: Mitch Keller, West Virginia Power (Pirates), Low-A South Atlantic League, Age 20, May stats: 2-2, 2.50 ERA, 36 IP, 25 H, 4 BB, 36 K
The Pirates appear to have found another power arm in the prep ranks. Now that Keller seems to have solved his control issues, the sky is the limit.