As the fantasy baseball season winds down, dynasty managers are either prepping themselves for the playoffs or already turning their head toward 2018 where the grass is always greener.
Most of the breakout prospects like Mitch White, Scott Kingery, Michel Baez, Estevan Florial and more may have already been scooped up in your league, but there’s always a few guys on the periphery who have flashed enough stuff to be interesting, but maybe not enough to crack top 100s.
Here are three outfielders in no particular order that in leagues of 200+ prospects should probably be rostered, and in shallower leagues, should be placed high on your watch list.
Wes Rogers, OF (COL)
Rogers has some of the most eye-popping numbers of any batter in the minors. Even better, he has one of the most sought after skill sets in fantasy: elite speed with average or better walk rate. At High-A this season, he’s stolen 64 bases and slashed .307/.367/.474. The kicker? He also has 9 HR (.167 ISO). OK, so why aren’t we rushing to pick him up? There are three pretty major caveats.
- He’s 23 years old. By Cal League standards, that’s about the median age. He’s not old, but he’s not young, and when chasing the next big prospect, success relative to a league’s age level is pretty important for low minors players. In this regard, Rogers is pretty ‘meh’.
- He’s repeating the level. This might be the biggest red flag. In 125 games last year with Lancaster, he slashed .255/.339/.359 with 43 steals. At the very least he’s significantly improved from year to year, but it was expected for him to do so.
- His SB numbers might be a little inflated. Lancaster is an extremely aggressive team on the basepaths. They lead the Cal League with 277 SB. The next best team is second with 122. Seven different players have more than 20 SB.
All that said, Rogers is a legitimate burner with great bat speed, a solid grasp of the strike zone and someone who isn’t just accruing SB by brute force. He has an 87% success rate (175 SB in 200 attempts). Unless you’re in an absurd league where 400+ prospects are rostered, he should be available. I think it’s safe to keep him on your watch list for now. If he continues this success in AA next season, then you pull the trigger early on.
DJ Peters, OF (LAD)
Peters was just named Cal League MVP after a monster year at the plate. He’s a massive centerfielder who draws some comparisons to Jayson Werth for more reasons than just his 6-foot-6 frame. Before I continue, look at the comical height difference.
Peters has excelled in High-A and unlike Rogers, he’s done it as a 21 year old. He currently possesses plus raw power but he shows the ability to get to it in games despite a long swing. On the year he’s notched 24 HR and a .237 ISO and more impressively, a .282/.381/.519 line. According to reports, he even has average speed though it doesn’t seem he’s leveraging it in games with only 8 career SB in 188 games. In addition, he has an above-average eye at the plate, maintaining an 11% walk rate in his career.
The drawbacks are pretty straightforward. His slash line is awesome, but it’s in the Cal League, a hitter’s haven. The biggest red flag is his strikeout rate. He’s struck out 178 times (32.8%), the most in all of minor-league baseball. It’s scary, I know. How does he have such a great slash line, then? A .405 BABIP, 14th highest in all of MiLB.
In OBP leagues, I think he’s a great investment. He’s a solid-to-good defender so you won’t have to worry about him being without a defensive home in the NL, he will rack up the walks and should hit plenty of home runs at maturity. In points and AVG leagues, you might want to wade into these waters a little more carefully, but I still think the overall package is appealing.
Monte Harrison, OF (MIL)
One of my favorite things a player can flash is the elusive power/speed combo. With power and speed trending in opposite directions in the last two years at the major league level, it makes a batter so much more valuable if he can chip in steals with to go with his pop.
Harrison is one of seven MiLB players with at least 20 HR and 20 SB. On the season, he’s at 20/25 with a .262/.342/.472 line across A and A+. He’s an incredible athlete who was committed to Nebraska for football before deciding to stick with baseball. The Brewers drafted him in the second round of 2014 but he’s suffered injuries along the way and 2017 is his first full season.
The just-turned 22 year old is a toolshed, rocking an 80-grade arm with plus raw power and speed. Strikeouts are a bit of a concern (27% this season), but it’s down from the 32% he showed last year. Judging by his fractured career, he’s improved every time he’s repeated a level. Here’s an example.
Monte Harrison A-Ball Progression
Harrison has had a tough road to get to where he is, but I’m willing to bet on his athleticism and incremental gains. If I had to guess, he has the best chance of the guys in this list to reach his ceiling.
If you have any other prospect questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.