This edition of Farm Tracker--our third such monthly installment--presents a position-by-position analysis of June’s best performances by fantasy prospects across all 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 June 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: Francisco Mejia, Lynchburg Hillcats (Indians), High-A Carolina League, Age 20, June stats: .429/.471/.714, 6 HR, 20 RBI in 84 AB at Low-A Lake County; 3-9, 2 RBI at Lynchburg
Mejia earned a late-June promotion thanks to a torrid month in which he finally found his power stroke. San Diego’s Austin Hedges also had a scorching June at Triple-A (.412/.453/.868, 9 HR, 23 RBI), but he’s no longer a prospect.
First Base: Rhys Hoskins, Reading Fightin Phils (Phillies), Double-A Eastern League, Age 23, June stats: .351/.415/.784, 13 HR, 33 RBI
With apologies to Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell (.364/.433/.653, 7 HR, 26 RBI), this was an easy call. A former fifth-round pick out of Sacramento State, Hoskins has demolished Double-A pitching.
Second Base: Ian Happ, Tennessee Smokies (Cubs), Double-A Southern League, Age 21, June stats: .361/.461/.607, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 3 SB at High-A Myrtle Beach; 13-22, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB at Tennessee
Happ’s scorching start at Double-A capped an excellent month for the Cubs’ 2015 first-round pick. Where he’ll play once he reaches Chicago is anyone’s guess, but he looks like a stat-stuffing middle infielder.
Third Base: D.J. Peterson, Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners), Triple-A Pacific Coast League, Age 24, June stats: .326/.396/.609, 6 HR, 16 RBI at Double-A Jackson; 1-for-4, 2 RBI at Tacoma
Another player who earned a late-June promotion, Peterson had by far the best month of his season. He’s blocked at third base in Seattle, so he’ll likely move across the diamond when he arrives in the big leagues.
Shortstop: Amed Rosario, Binghamton Mets (Mets), Double-A Eastern League, Age 21, June stats: .358/.394/.478, 11 RBI, 3 SB at High-A St. Lucie; 12-29, 7 R, 7 RBI at Binghamton
The promotion-theme continues with Rosario, who looks like the Mets’ shortstop of the future. His speed and hit-tool should make him a threat for 20-25 SB.
Outfield: Austin Meadows, Indianapolis Indians (Pirates), Triple-A International League, Age 21, June stats: .361/.391/.902, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 8 2B, 5 3B at Double-A Altoona; 11-46, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB at Indianapolis
Meadows reached Triple-A on June 18 thanks to a long hitting streak, which he extended to 26 games. Barring a blockbuster trade, it’s difficult to see where he fits into the Pirates’ talented outfield.
Outfield: Aaron Judge, Scranton/WB RailRiders (Yankees), Triple-A International League, Age 24, June stats: .343/.477/.686, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 4 SB
After a dreadful May (.598 OPS), Judge hit his stride this past month. At 6’7”, Judge boasts prodigious power but also runs pretty well for his size. He’ll be the Yankees’ rightfielder in 2017.
Outfield: Daniel Palka, Chattanooga Lookouts (Twins), Double-A Southern League, Age 24, June stats: .302/.372/.802, 13 HR, 30 RBI
Power is Palka’s calling card. A former third-round pick of the Diamondbacks, he’s showing that that power will play at the upper levels of the minors.
Pitcher: Dillon Overton, Nashville Sounds (Athletics), Triple-A Pacific Coast League, Age 24, June stats: 4-0, 0.99 ERA, 27.1 IP, 17 H, 9 BB, 21 K
Overton’s dominant June earned him a promotion to Oakland, where the going has been a bit rough. Still, he could be a mid-rotation starter.
Pitcher: Jake Thompson, Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies), Triple-A International League, Age 22, June stats: 3-0, 0.76 ERA, 35.1 IP, 26 H, 8 BB, 18 K
Thompson had a terrible April (6.16 ERA) but has turned it around in a big way. If an opening arises, he should be the next pitcher called to Philadelphia.
Pitcher: Reynaldo Lopez, Syracuse Chiefs (Nationals), Triple-A International League, Age 22, June stats: 2-1, 1.57 ERA, 28.2 IP, 29 H, 5 BB, 44 K in five starts at Double-A Harrisburg; 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K in one start at Syracuse.
Some thought Lopez could get the nod when Stephen Strasburg went down with an injury, but that call went to Lucas Giolito. Nonetheless, if Lopez continues his recent dominance he’ll be in Washington before long.
Pitcher: Ryan Helsley, Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals), Low-A Midwest League, Age 21, June stats: 5-0, 1.23 ERA, 29.1 IP, 28 H, 7 BB, 35 K
Helsley’s breakout season (1.89 ERA, 17:83 BB:K) continued in June. A mid-season promotion surely awaits the 2015 fifth-round pick from Northeastern State.
Pitcher: Chris Paddack, Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins), Low-A South Atlantic League, Age 20, June stats: 1-0, 0.93 ERA, 19.1 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 32 K
Yesterday the Marlins traded Paddack to the Padres for closer Fernando Rodney. Paddack heads to the San Diego on the heels of three consecutive hitless outings, so there’s obviously some helium here.