Minor League Sleeper Team of the Week

Jake Fraley, Kean Wong, and many others are covered in the Minor League sleeper team of the week from Jt Kohout.

Under the radar players are vital to your dynasty teams. Players like Bryan Reynolds, Zac Plesac, and Harold Ramirez are among the many players that started the season practically unowned and have made an impact. This weekly article will cover players who are putting up interesting numbers in the minors who might be worth a stash in your deep mixed and dynasty leagues. As a rule the player must be 10% owned or less in Fantrax leagues.


Catcher: Eric Haase; Cleveland Indians (2% owned) Age: 26


Current Level: Triple-A

Eric Haase’s name may sound familiar, as he’s had a 24 plate appearance cup of coffee with the Indians, but what he has done so far in Triple-A this year is pretty interesting. Haase has always had pretty big power—he’s rated as having 70 raw power by Fangraphs—but what’s been interesting is that he’s played into that more this season by pulling the ball an insane 56.1% of the time. He still strikes out way too much at 35.1% this season, but career highs in OPS and ISO may give him a chance with the big club if Roberto Perez turns back into Roberto Perez at some point. He’s certainly a flawed player, but could supply a lot of power from the catcher position if he gets an everyday chance.


First Base: Mike Ford; New York Yankees (2% owned) Age: 26


Current Level: Triple-a

It was very confusing to me when the Yankees traded for Kendrys Morales when they have the better version of him sitting in their farm system. Mike Ford has a ton of power and has shown it off in 2019 with 16 homers in 216 plate appearances to go along with his tremendous plate approach that shows itself in his 32:38 BB:K ratio. I don’t think Ford will make his impact as a Yankee, but he is somebody that I could see being forced to be moved as he’s on the 40 man and the Yankees may need to clear room later in the trade season. If he gets a chance somewhere, he becomes a super interesting option at first base or corner infield and has a lot of similarities to current Yankees first baseman Luke Voit.


Second Base: Gabriel Cancel; Kansas City Royals (0% owned) Age: 22


Current Level: Double-A

Players that can play above their age group are always interesting to me, and Gabriel Cancel has consistently been at least competent while always playing at least a year and a half under the average age group of his level. 2019 has been by far the best season of his career. He’s showed off his best tool in his power with a career high in both ISO (.239) and OPS (.826). He’s not a big base stealer (28/44 on stolen base attempts in five professional seasons), but if he can cut his 26.2% strikeout rate a little bit he could become an interesting pickup in very deep leagues. The 0% ownership is too small for a guy with at least some potential in a not-great Royals farm system.


Third Base: Kean Wong; Tampa Bay Rays (1% owned) Age: 24


Current Level: Triple-A

The younger brother of Kolten Wong, Kean Wong entered 2019 in a bit of a make-or-break season. He was left unprotected in the Rule Five draft and entered the season as a bit of an unknown for where he would start the season after a fine, but not great, 2018. He has completely broken out in 2019. Wong currently leads the international league in batting average and has personal career highs in walk rate (8.2%), ISO (.183), and OPS (.938). He’s shown speed in the past, but has just two steals in 2019 so I wouldn’t be expecting a ton of steals when he gets called up. Wong profiles as a useful utility option and is actually very similar to Joey Wendle in his approach.


Shortstop: Sam Haggerty; New York Mets (0% owned) Age: 25


Current Level: Double-A

Sam Haggerty was part of the return for Kevin Plawecki in the offseason from the Indians and he has by far his best season as a professional in 2019. Before being placed on the Injured List May 30th, Haggerty had a career high .832 OPS with a 27:39 BB:K ratio in 171 plate appearances. The interesting part of Haggerty’s game is his speed. Haggerty had 75 steals in 2017 and 2018 combined and has started 2019 with 14 steals and projects as a 30 steal player if he ever gets a chance in the majors. This is a super deep one because this is the first season Haggerty has shown a competent hit tool, but if he can continue improving as a hitter he becomes more interesting.  


Outfield: Daniel Johnson; Cleveland Indians (7% owned) Age: 23


Current Level: Triple-A

The Indians’ return in the Yan Gomes trade has had a bit of a breakout season in 2019. Johnson profiles as a bit of a jack-of-all-trades type of player. Johnson’s power-speed combo definitely qualifies as standout skills, rated by fangraphs as having 70-grade speed and 55-grade power. Johnson came into the season outside the top 15 on most Nationals prospects lists, but after a 39-game sample of 10 homers with career highs of a 9.6 BB%, .281 ISO, and 47.7% flyball rate. After that start to the season Johnson was called up to Triple-A and has held his own so far with an .876 OPS and a 9:19 BB:K ratio in 104 plate appearances. Johnson’s upside is capped by the fact he can’t hit lefties (.491 OPS in 106 plate appearances vs. LHP in 2018), but considering the Indians are playing Tyler Naquin almost every day it’s not unfathomable to think Johnson overtakes him, or gets a chance in the strong side of a platoon with Jordan Luplow.


Outfield: Randy Azorarena; St. Louis Cardinals (4% owned) Age: 24


Current Level: Triple-A

Randy Azorarena had a bit of prospect hype a year ago after his professional debut. He hit 11 HR, 18 SB, and had an acceptable .783 OPS in High-A and Double-A. He then started his 2017 in Triple-A and was not good at all. In the hitter friendly PCL, Azorarena hit for just a .676 OPS across 311 plate appearances. He was sent back down to Double-A and that’s where he started this year; he hit really well to start the season with a .938 OPS and 11.2% walk rate in 116 plate appearances. This got him a call up to Triple-A and, it’s a very small sample, but the results are much better than last year. His 53 steals in 270 professional games show off his main tool in his speed, and if he gets a call-up at some point he may be worth adding just for that aspect. I don’t think the power translates, but with the way everybody has power now, he’ll hit for enough to be rosterable in a deep enough league.


Outfield: Jake Fraley; Seattle Mariners (8% owned) Age: 24


Current Level: Triple-A

Jake Fraley came into the season known as a throw-in in the Mike Zunino deal, but he’s become a legitimate riser with top-100 hype in 2019. The former second round pick came into 2019 with 7 Home runs in 151 career games and was given a 35 power grade by Fangraphs entering the season. Something changed in the offseason, as Fraley already has a career high in homers with 11 in 61 games in Double-A to go along with 16 steals and a career high 226 ISO. After his amazing start to the season, he has just been called up to Triple-A and, if his power is for real and he can show it in AAA, Fraley could be a September call-up that makes a difference for fantasy teams this year. He’s a must-add in all dynasty leagues.


Starting Pitcher: Hunter Harvey; Baltimore Orioles (8% owned) Age: 24


Current Level: Double-A

You may say to yourself “What makes a guy with a 5.46 ERA in double-a interesting?” but what the Orioles have decided to do with Hunter Harvey is what makes him an intriguing pickup in dynasties. After a disastrous start on June 7th, the Orioles decided to move Harvey to a multi-inning relief role and the early results have been fantastic. In two appearances, Harvey has thrown six innings allowing one hit, two walks, no runs, and has struck out six. More importantly, the reports from those games are that he has regularly been hitting 100 mph with his fastball and for somebody that has consistently dealt with injuries throughout his career, a move to the bullpen in a multi-inning role could be optimal for Harvey.


Relief Pitcher: Sam Selman; San Francisco Giants (0% owned) Age: 28


Current Level: Triple-A

After flaming out in the Royals farm system, the Giants signed Sam Selman to a minor league deal in the offseason and he has been electric in 2019. He’s a two-pitch pitcher with a very good fastball and a sharp slider that he has finally been able to control; the slider has been a big part in cutting his BB rate from 15.3% in Triple-A a year ago to 7.8% this year. He also leads all Triple-A pitchers in strikeout rate at 46.1% (minimum 20 innings). When San Francisco starts to sell off later in the season, Selman is the kind of pitcher that could get a look in the majors—if he does, I would be looking to add him in holds leagues because of the upside he has finally shown in 2019.

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Jt Kohout

Twenty years old. Huge baseball, basketball, and football fan. Most importantly a diehard Orioles fan. Also write for FakeTeams of SBNation and Numberfire.

2 responses to “Minor League Sleeper Team of the Week”

  1. JT mayBE GOAT says:

    Love pitcherlist and wish there were more dynasty articles like this! And fantrax is what i have which is awesome! What made you choose 10% or lower?

    • Jt Kohout says:

      I used 10% because typically in my experience that’s about where prospects that are pretty well known are owned and I wanted to use something to keep me from using guys that were obvious. It is a bit arbitrary though.

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