Let us be realistic: If you play in a DSE Dynasty Fantasy Baseball league for more than two years now, the Top 100 prospects are probably already rostered. The best way to build the future of your franchise to find diamonds in the rough before your competitors. However, this process can be daunting – so much information to sift through and analyze, and then there is the availableness question. Are the players you are researching even available in your leagues?
I want to make that process easier for you and have compiled a list of 13 players you should keep an eye on. The criteria I made for this list is as follows:
- Players are all outside of the most accepted Top 100 lists.
- Prospects have yet to reach AA level ball.
- Players are not projected to reach MLB until 2022 or later.
- All prospects listed are low owned on Fantrax (less than 25% with most carry-over leagues not having made cuts yet) – meaning they might still be available in your DSE Dynasty League.
Please bear in mind that 2020 was a wash for Minor League Baseball due to COVID-19, which hinders prospect evaluation for any analyst. Some players were selected for their team’s 60-player alternate site last year and got work in, but teams did not keep statistics for intrasquad games. I will do my best with the evaluations below.
C – Tyler Soderstrom, OAK, 19, Rookie Ball, ETA: 2024
There is not much to go on with this prospect, drafted 26th overall in 2020 straight out of high school. But know this: Plus power from the left side of the plate does not grow on trees, and the usually frugal A’s gave the prep catcher a whopping $3.3 million signing bonus (which is substantially higher than his slot value). Soderstrom lacks defensively, and it will be interesting to see if Oakland lets him learn to play catcher or move him to 3B, where a lot of scouts project his best path is to The Show.
1B – Mason Martin, PIT, 21, High-A, ETA: 2022
Martin was part of the Pirates 60-man roster in 2020 but never got called up to the majors. The power-hitting left-hander has been in the minors for three seasons now and earned two promotions. Martin’s numbers falter immediately upon ascending a higher level in the Minors, but he quickly turns it around and gets promoted. In 2019, Martin saw action in both Low-A and High-A. In those 131 games, Martin hit 35 HRs and 129 RBI while producing a slash line of .254/.351/.558.
2B – Will Wilson, SF, 22, High-A, ETA: 2022
Drafted 15th overall in 2019 by the Angels, Wilson eventually found his way upstate as part of the Zack Cosart deal. The small-framed middle infielder played both 2B and SS while at North Carolina State. Wilson is known as a contact hitter but has shown flashes of power to the gaps. Scouting reports vary on whether he profiles as an above-average everyday player or an elite utility player. Time will tell.
3B. – Blaze Jordan, BOS, 18, Rookie Ball, ETA: 2024
The Red Sox organization desperately wants the former High School slugging phenom to play the Hot Corner. If Jordan can improve his footwork, hands, and throwing ability, he will be a fantasy gold mine at 3B. However, if he moves to First Base as a defensive liability, Jordan will be nothing more than your everyday fantasy slugging first-baseman. Boston gave him a $1.75 million signing bonus (above slot value) and made a significant bet on his future. Most prospect watch sites have the just-turned 18-year-old inside the BoSox Top 10 prospect list already.
SS – Masyn Winn, STL, 18, Rookie Ball, ETA: 2025
The 18-year-old has not yet made his official professional debut, but the Cardinals thought enough of him to have him at the team’s Alternate Training Site during the 2020 season. Baseball America refers to Winn as “pound for pound…the most purely talented player in the 2020 class” Reason being: Winn has shown raw power, plus speed, and can pitch too (often flashing three plus pitches with a fastball touching 99 mph). Cardinals are pushing for Winn to be a Shortstop, but if he does not find defensive consistency, he could eventually become a pitcher.
OF – Davis Calabrese, LAA, 18, Rookie Ball, ETA: 2024
Another 2020 draftee has yet to play an inning of organized, professional baseball: Calabrese profiles as an everyday Center Fielder with plus-plus speed and overall outstanding instinct and athleticism. The native Canadian is said to have good instincts at the plate but lacks plus-power, albeit showing good contact and gap power in the few showcases he performed in before the draft.
OF – Benyamin Bailey, CWS, 19, Rookie Ball, ETA: 2024
In 2019, as a 17-year-old, Bailey crushed the competition in the Dominican Summer League and finished the season with a .931 OPS against significantly older pitching. The Panamanian native is considered to have both plus power and speed and can play either outfield corner despite his 6-foot-5 225-pound frame. Bailey surprised a few in the DSL with more walks than strikeouts and has yet to show a weakness in the field or the batter’s box. A year without daily at-bats could slow his growth potential and why most publications project his Major League arrival for 2024.
OF – Alexfri Planez, CLE, 19, Rookie Ball, ETA 2024
Signed as an International Free Agent at 16, Planez already has two seasons of minor league competition under his belt. Planez played 61 games in his pro debut in the DSL and managed a slash line of .319/.482/.801. The Venezuelan prospect only played in 6 games in the 2018 Arizona Summer League but managed a .902 OPS in his 24 at-bats.
P – Luis Medina, NYY, 21, High-A, ETA: 2022
The Dominican native already has five seasons of minor league baseball to his credit, and that does not include last year. The bad news: in 183 innings across three levels, Medina has a career 5.51 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. The remarkable statistic: Medina accumulated 217 Ks with a 10.67 K/9 ratio in this timeframe. The scary statistic is that Medina also walked 144 batters during those 183 innings. Despite his command control woes, the highly touted prospect seemed to turn it all around in 2019 when he reached High-A Tampa and had seasonal stats of 0.84 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. Evaluators believe Medina has the best “pure stuff” in the Yankees organization, according to Baseball America. 2021 will be his make-or-break year.
P – Slade Cecconi, ARI, 21 Rookie Ball, ETA: 2023
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander played two seasons for the Miami Hurricanes before being drafted 33rd last June by the Diamondbacks. Talk amongst scouting professionals is that Cecconi’s four plus pitches (Fastball, Cutter, Slider, and Changeup), combined with his experience, might warrant starting 2021 in as high as Double-A. Cecconi MLB ETA hinges on his first professional season in the minors; he must play well in his first professional season will be pushed back a year or more.
P – Adam Kloffenstein, TOR, 20, Rookie Ball, ETA: 2023
Kloffenstein was on this list for me last year. The lack of a minor league season in 2020 severely hampered his development. The 6-foot-5 245-pound right-hander developed a fourth pitch (changeup) after his short season with Vancouver in the Northwest League in 2019. Unfortunately, Kloffenstein only saw 21.1 innings in the Independent Constellation Energy League during 2020, and he never went more than three innings in any outing to hone his new pitch. The Blue Jays #7 prospect has a four pitch arsenal that all-flash plus quality and control and should make him an eventual mid-rotation starter.
P – Tanner Burns, CLE, 22, Rookie Ball, ETA: 2022
Burns was a workhorse starter at Auburn for two years, and the soon-to-be not-named Indians have high expectations for him. With four pitches that flash plus upside, the 6-foot 215-pound righty has a good resume while pitching in the SEC (2.86 ERA with a 31.8 K-rate and 7.2 Walk-rate). Burns’s big knock is his perceived durability, due in part to his stature and never having pitched more than 86.2 innings in freshman year of college. Burns projects as the number 3 or 4 rotation pitcher if he can prove he is healthy and durable.
P – Luis Frias, ARI, 22, Rookie Ball, ETA: 2023
Frias already has 182.2 professional minor league innings pitched despite there not being a 2020 season. The Dominican native has improved year over year and has a complete arsenal that needs a bit more command and control if he plays on a major league level as a starter. For a career, Frias has a K/9 ratio of 10.15 and only walked 83 batters in the 182.2 innings. Multiple scouting sites report that if Frias does not improve his command/control against elite hitters, he could be in line for high leverage relief work.