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Buy Low: Undervalued Hitting Prospects, Part 2

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Make sure to keep these prospects on your watch list in your dynasty league.

Houston Astros v New York Mets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

You can find Part 1 right here. Now for Part 2:

Catcher

Austin Allen, C, San Diego Padres

#29 Prospect According to Baseball America

Allen is a 24-year-old Double-A catcher who struggles defensively and was drafted out of a Division II school, so I completely understand the lack of excitement surrounding this Padres up and coming star. So what makes him an interesting fantasy sleeper in dynasty leagues? Well, he currently has a .316/.369/.591 slash line at Double-A this season, but that’s not the reason you need to keep this catcher on your watch list. The reason is due to his tremendous batted ball profile which includes a 25.9% line drive rate and a 0.93 ground ball to fly ball ratio. Now there are concerns surrounding his bat speed, but he has still posted a respectable 20.0% strikeout rate and 11.1% swinging strike rate so far this season. Although his below average defense doesn’t count against you in fantasy, it could lead to him losing at-bats at the major league level. Allen is the type of player whose peripherals show more promise and potential than scouts give him credit. Look to buy low if he is given the chance to become an everyday major leaguer.

Garrett Stubbs, C, Houston Astros

#18 Prospect According to Baseball America

Stubbs has been an undervalued commodity ever since being drafted by the Astros with the 229th pick back in 2015. He has always been a player with a fantastic batted ball profile, but this season he has taken it to a new level with a mind-boggling 31.6% line drive rate and fantastic 0.56 ground ball to fly ball ratio. His 32.0% infield fly ball rate is concerning, but I can overlook that minor flaw when you have never had a walk to strikeout rate below 0.70 in your minor league career. With Stubbs’ plate vision and batted ball profile, we could be looking at a potential top 10 fantasy catcher.

Corner Infield

Kevin Smith, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

#26 Prospect According to Baseball America

Smith quietly put up a .355/.407/.639 slash line at Single-A this season, which recently helped him get promoted up to High-A. With his raw power and fly ball rate, it is not at all surprising that Smith has already hit 10 home runs in just 273 plate appearances this season. There were some concerns about his swing, due to an upward motion that could lead to a below-average contact rate. At Single-A, however, he answered these concerns with a 16.2% strikeout rate and 9.3% swinging strike rate. Smith will most likely get more coverage as the year goes on, so don’t miss out on your chance to buy low on this emerging 21-year-old breakout star.

Oneil Cruz, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates

#22 Prospect According to Baseball America

Cruz was brought over as part of the trade that saw Tony Watson get shipped off to the Dodgers. He flashes a good amount of raw power, which is why Fangraphs gives him a raw power grade of 60/70. He does struggle with making consistent contact, but is only 19 years old and has serious breakout potential. If he can put his raw tools together, then we could see him shoot up into the top 100.

Middle Infield

Cavan Biggio, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays

Outside the Top 30 According to Baseball America

The son of Hall-of-Fame second baseman Craig Biggio, Cavan has made it onto many prospect watch lists as he is hitting a spectacular .287/.406/.579 with 14 home runs and eight stolen bases at Double-A this season. Biggio has tremendous plate discipline, but his patient approach and power swing could lead to a worrisome strikeout rate at the major league level. Although he hits the ball with force, his average line drive rate and 49.0% fly ball rate should translate to a BABIP somewhere around the .290-.300 mark. With his strikeout rate, this will limit Biggio’s batting average potential and could cause him to struggle at the major league level.

Tim Lopes, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays

Outside the Top 30 According to Baseball America

Lopes is another Blue Jays second baseman who seems to be getting wildly overlooked, even though he has a 14.6% strikeout rate, 10.2% infield fly ball rate and 10 stolen bases at Triple-A this season. Although he hasn’t hit for much power throughout his minor league career, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him put up a modest 10-15 home runs at the major league level. With his above-average speed and solid plate discipline, he has the potential to steal 30 bases as well. Even though his line drive rate has been a tick below average throughout his minor league career, his low strikeout rate and infield fly ball rate give him the potential to become a .280 hitter once he matures. Even though Lopes was a sixth-round draft pick back in 2012, he is about to turn 24 years old and still has time to fine tune his game.

Miguel Hiraldo, SS, Toronto Blue Jays

#17 Prospect According to Baseball America

2018 is Hiraldo’s first season as a professional, and he is already showing impressive results. At 17 years old, he has an outstanding slash of .375/.436/.667. On June 16, however, Hiraldo hit his first infield fly ball, which still gives him an impressive 7.1% infield fly ball rate on the season. He only has 55 plate appearances as a professional, so he is a very risky pick that could return a wide variety of outcomes.

Outfield

Taylor Walls, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

Outside the Top 30 According to Baseball America

Walls is just one of many under the radar Rays prospects with good peripherals. He was taken in the third round of last year’s draft and had a disappointing .213/.330/.287 slash line in his first season as a professional. This season, however, he is hitting a much more impressive .315/.415/.466 with four home runs and 12 stolen bases. This sudden breakout is mainly due to him cutting his strikeout rate nearly in half. With a 6.3% infield fly ball rate and 5.6% swinging strike rate, Walls’ impressive 2018 looks like it could be the real thing. With his plate vision, speed, and ability to make quality contact, he makes for an interesting prospect to watch as he makes his way through the minors.

Zach Reks, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Outside the Top 30 According to Baseball America

Reks has an interesting story and may have never become a professional athlete had it not been for a simple game of catch with an old friend. He started his college baseball career at Air Force, but then stopped playing baseball altogether and went to the University of Kentucky to study mechanical engineering. It was there that he met up with an old friend and former teammate, Bo Wilson, who was a pitcher for the Wildcats. They decided to meet up for a game of catch, which is when Reks decided to start playing baseball again. He would later be taken in the 10th round of last year’s draft and has hit a remarkable .309 since joining the Dodgers’ organization. This .309 batting average doesn’t look fluky at all, as he has an incredible line drive rate that is backed by a career 11.5% infield fly ball rate. He has shown excellent plate vision which is evidenced by a 10.6% walk rate and 17.9% strikeout rate. He has the potential to become a 20/20 player at the major league level, but will need to work on hitting more fly balls to do that. He is 24 years old, so his success in the lower minors should be taken with a grain of salt but not entirely ignored.

If you want to read more about Reks’ story here are some articles from Tulsa World and Cats Illustrated.