In this post I am going to go over some prospects that I think are being grossly undervalued. I will not be going over some of the names I covered in my post about underrated prospects outside the top 100, so if you’d like to read that article you can click here.
Daulton Varsho, C, Arizona Diamondbacks
No. 5 Prospect According to Baseball America
Varsho is slowly making a name for himself after being taken with the 68th overall pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2017 draft. With eight home runs and 15 stolen bases in only 228 plate appearances, it is a surprise that he isn't getting more coverage. He hits a lot of fly balls and has a good amount raw power, so he has the potential to have a 25 home run season. The one auspicious feature about his game is the fact that he has a relatively low swinging strike rate and strikeout rate. This ability to make consistent contact gives him the ceiling of a .280 hitter who can also have a 25/25 season.
Matt Thaiss, 1B, Los Angeles Angels
No. 8 Prospect According to Baseball America
I have considered Thaiss to be one of the most underrated prospects since being drafted by the Angels with the 16th overall pick in the 2016 draft. His excellent plate discipline should help him post a walk rate in the double digits while also having a strikeout rate that will at the very least stay around league average. What he lacks in speed he more than makes up for with his contact ability. Just like steals, batting averages have plummeted around the league, meaning Thaiss' potentially high batting average now has more value than it may have had ten years ago. He doesn’t have elite power, but he hits plenty fly balls and has enough power to have a 25+ home run season in the major leagues. Thaiss is a high-floor, low-ceiling player who should be a quality corner infield bat in his prime.
Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Boston Red Sox
No. 16 Prospect According to Baseball America
Dalbec has one of the better batted profiles among his minor league colleagues and even has the 70-grade raw power to go with it, so what’s holding everyone back from pulling the trigger on this up and coming star? Well, a 37.4% strikeout rate at Single-A last season is most likely the driving factor in people's skepticism about this 22-year-old. This makes Dalbec a Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge type of player, which means that his batting average and fantasy relevance will hinge on how many home runs he hits. What I mean by this is since these are three true outcome players, their home run totals account for more than 30% of their hits. To post a decent batting average, they must hit for high home run totals. So basically if you believe in Judge's 50 home run season, then you should believe in his .280 batting average as well. The same school of thought goes for Dalbec.
Gavin Lux, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
No. 13 Prospect According to Baseball America
Lux was already an intriguing dynasty option heading into 2018 as he had a 0.62 walk to strikeout rate and stole 37 bases, but the excitement ended there. This season, however, Lux has drastically improved his fly ball rate by nearly 8%. With an increase in fly balls, Lux has already surpassed his home run total from last season in less than half the plate appearances. With this improved approach at the plate, he has the potential to be a 20/30 player once he reaches the majors.
Luis Rengifo, 2B, Los Angeles Angels
Ranked Outside the Top 30 According to Baseball America
Rengifo isn't on many prospect watch lists, and that's due to his average speed and below average power. What Rengifo lacks in power and speed, he more than makes up for with superb plate vision and aggressiveness on the basepaths. At High-A this season he posted a spectacular 6.8% swinging strike rate and an even more impressive 1.23 walk to strikeout rate. He also has .327 batting average this season and 26 stolen bases in just 259 plate appearances. The problem is his lack of raw power and high ground ball rate, which gives him a ceiling of 10 home runs. With his ability to get on base and aggressiveness on the basepaths, we could see Rengifo go from undervalued prospect to fantasy commodity.
C.J. Chatham, SS, Boston Red Sox
No. 26 Prospect According to Baseball America
Chatham doesn't have the stolen base or power numbers you'd expect for someone to make this list, so you’re probably asking yourself why even bother with this 6'4" shortstop? Well, his extreme line drive rate is why. This season he almost has a 30.0% line drive rate, which has helped him produce a .327 batting average. With a 15.7% strikeout rate, he has shown the ability to make consistent enough contact to continue to put up a decent batting average. His lack of raw power and high ground ball rate will hurt his power output, but his ability to hit line drives should make him an interesting middle infield option if he can get a spot in the starting lineup.
Cedric Mullins, OF, Baltimore Orioles
No. 9 Prospect According to Baseball America
Cedric Mullins is one bright spot in an otherwise abysmal Orioles farm system. He recently got called up to Triple-A after mashing Double-A pitching to the tune of a .313/.362/.512 slash line and 143 wRC+. His low strikeout rate and 22% line drive rate played a significant role in his success at Double-A. With spectacular contact skills and speed, he should post a high batting average at the major league level. With Mullins’ above average speed, good fly ball rates, and decent raw power, a 20/30 season is likely once he reaches his prime.
Drew Waters, OF, Atlanta Braves
No. 17 Prospect According to Baseball America
Waters is only 19 years old, but has already made significant improvements in his contact ability. By cutting his swinging strike rate in half, he has improved his strikeout rate immensely. He was already seen as a potential 20/20 player coming into the season, but his ability to make more consistent contact could make him an undervalued commodity around many fantasy circles.
Ka’ai Tom, OF, Cleveland Indians
Outside the Top 30 According to Baseball America
Tom is another outfield prospect who offers 20/20 potential. Although his line drive rate this season has been well below average, the past three seasons it has remained over 22.0%. With a line drive rate like that, his BABIP should be well above average. He also has a disciplined approach at the plate, but with that comes some strikeout concerns. With a patient approach at the plate and an 8.6% swinging strike rate at Double-A this season, I would expect a strikeout rate anywhere between 20.0% to 23.0% at the major league level. With an improved fly ball to ground ball rate and above average speed, Tom should be an interesting prospect to watch.
Marcus Wilson, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
No. 6 Prospect According to Baseball America
Wilson has 60-grade speed and the potential to steal 30 bags. He does have a moderate amount of power as well but has yet to hit double-digit home runs. With this season being the first season he has hit more fly balls than ground balls, 2018 could be he the year he finally reaches the double-digit plateau. There are concerns about his strikeouts, but he should post a relatively high BABIP with his speed and line drive rates. At 21 years old, Wilson still has the potential to become a 20/30 player but has a low floor as well.