Outlining the New Prospects in ESPN’s Player Pool

Austin Bristow takes a look at ESPN's expanded player pool for dynasty owners.

ESPN’s fantasy baseball site has been notorious for having a limited prospect pool in comparison to its competitors. For this reason, ESPN is not a popular option for dynasty leagues. However, after a major addition last June, and the most recent additions with the latest 2019 update, ESPN’s player pool is much more comprehensive. It now includes the vast majority of the top prospects in today’s baseball landscape.

For those of you, like myself, who do play in dynasty leagues on ESPN, I’ve outlined 52 new prospects that were added in the 2019 update, many of whom are 2018 draftees. I’ve listed them in order of our own prospect rankings, meticulously assembled by Adam Garland and Brennan Gorman.


ESPN’s Expanded Pool


Yusei Kikuchi, SP, Seattle Mariners

2018 Level: NPB (Japan), Age: 28, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

The Japanese import did not make Adam and Brennen’s list, but I wanted to make a note of him anyway. With the exit of James Paxton, Yusei Kikuchi may be the best pitcher remaining on the Mariners roster. He’ll definitely be pitching with the major league squad for the entirety of 2019; however, some concerns about workload and overall stuff have many analysts believing his ceiling is only that of a No. 3 starter. Nonetheless, if you want a pitcher you know will give you usable innings in the majors, Kikuchi ought to be high on your target list.


Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota Twins

2018 Level: A+, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

The 2017 No. 1 overall pick, Royce Lewis looks to be a major fantasy impact star in the making. With 60-grade speed and potential 50-grade power, Lewis is expected to be a power-speed threat, potentially to the tune of 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases in his prime. His bat-to-ball skills also give him a fairly high floor, making Lewis easily one of the top prospects in baseball and an immediate must-add in all dynasty leagues.


Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels

2018 Level: A+/AA, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

Jo Adell trounced his competition in 2018, storming through A-ball and High-A while hitting .300 with 18 home runs across the two levels and ending the year in Double-A. His power progression was a pleasant surprise this past season and places him firmly in the upper echelon of prospects. He’ll need to control the strike zone a bit better, as he struck out over 24% of the time, even at his best. Nonetheless, Adell looks to be a major power-speed contributor for the Angels and our fantasy teams.


Jesus Luzardo, SP, Oakland Athletics

2018 Level: AA/AAA, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

After missing all of 2016 and most of 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery, Jesus Luzardo absolutely shoved it in 2018. Across three levels, Luzardo pitched to a 2.88 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with a 23% K rate. His fastball touches 97 mph, while his changeup gets swings-and-misses from left- and right-handed batters. He’s still developing a curveball but has managed to have success in the high minors despite lacking a true third offering. With the Athletics on the heels of a winning season, and starting pitching an obvious weakness, it seems extremely likely that we’ll see Luzardo make a significant impact in the majors in 2019.


Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota Twins

2018 Level: A+, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

After missing all of 2017 with Tommy John surgery, Alex Kirilloff made up for lost time in 2018. He hit .348 with 20 home runs across A-ball and High-A, putting his potential 60-grade contact and raw power on display. A year older than his teammate, Lewis, Kirilloff should be beginning the season at Double-A, which may give him an opportunity for a September call-up or a cup of coffee at some point in 2019. That being said, I think we will see Kirilloff in earnest in 2020.


Yordan Alvarez, OF, Houston Astros

2018 Level: AA/AAA, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

The Astros have put together such an impressive array of hitters that their remaining prospects are finding it increasingly difficult to find big league at-bats. So is the case for Yordan Alvarez, a bat-first prospect who put up an impressive .293/.369/.534 slash line across the upper minors this past season. Without a firm positional home, he may continue to struggle to find a place among the crowded Houston lineup. However, should the Astros have a midseason injury, or even look to trade for a starter, Alvarez’s bat will likely find its way into a major league lineup in 2019.


Keston Hiura, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers

2018 Level: A+/AA, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

The ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft, Keston Hiura features a hit tool for a calling card. His developing power has pushed him into elite prospect discussions. He has some speed, but his 58% stolen base success rate in 2018 doesn’t bode well for major league success. But, you won’t be drafting Hiura for his steals; he’ll be providing a reliable batting average with 20 home runs at his peak. That’s fantastic from the 2B slot, and we may even see some of it in 2019. The Brewers DFA’ed Jonathan Schoop and have Cory Spangenberg slotted at second. The door is open for Hiura to make an impact this season.


Carter Kieboom, SS/2B, Washington Nationals

2018 Level: A+/AA, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

Carter Kieboom, who boasts an 80-grade name, had a similarly fantastic half-season at High-A: .298/.386/.494 slash line with 11 home runs in 61 games. He was still successful in Double-A but less extravagantly so. The Nationals have had Kieboom take reps at both second base and shortstop, giving him a bit of versatility and an easier path toward a starting role in the majors. However, after the signing of Brian Dozier, it appears that Kieboom may not be in the plans for the Nats in 2019. Still, I expect we will see him on the big league roster at some point this season, even if it’s just a September call-up.


Nick Madrigal, 2B/SS, Chicago White Sox

2018 Level: A/A+, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

The fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft, Nick Madrigal was the most advanced college hitter in the class by far. His impressive 70-grade hit tool pushed him up to High-A in his first year of professional ball, and he hit .303 along the way. The thing that will hold back Madrigal is his distinct lack of power, as he hit exactly zero home runs in 2018. The 5’7″ middle infielder will likely contribute a near-.300 batting average at the major league level with a chance to steal double-digit bases, but don’t expect any power.


Casey Mize, SP, Detroit Tigers

2018 Level: A+, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2022

The Detroit Tigers selected Casey Mize with the first overall selection in the 2018 draft, a wise decision by most accounts. Mize can throw strikes and has swing-and-miss stuff, including a 94-95 mph fastball and a nasty splitter. We likely won’t see Mize at the major league level for two or three years, but, assuming he remains healthy, he ought to be a very good starter for the Tigers and our fantasy teams.


Vidal Brujan, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays

2018 Level: A/A+, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

You’d be hard-pressed to find a prospect not named Guerrero or Jimenez who had a better 2018 season than Vidal Brujan. Across two levels of A-ball, Brujan slashed .320/.403/.459 with nine home runs and 55 stolen bases. That’s the kind of breakout that puts you on the map! Brujan complements his plus speed with a fantastic plate approach, walking as often as he strikes out. If his power continues to develop in 2019, you’ll see Brujan shooting up prospect lists. As he is, he could be an impact fantasy player producing numbers similar to Whit Merrifield.


Jesus Sanchez, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

2018 Level: A+/AA, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

Raw power is the calling card for Jesus Sanchez. After dominating High-A, Sanchez was promoted to Double-A Montgomery where he struggled a bit. His plate approach is pretty poor as he rarely takes a walk, although he has managed to keep his strikeout rate below 20%, which is encouraging. I expect Sanchez will become a .255 hitter who regularly smacks 25-30 home runs, which can be a useful player in fantasy.


Alec Bohm, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies

2018 Level: A-, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

After the disappointment of Mickey Moniak, the Phillies couldn’t have liked the results they saw from Alec Bohm, the third overall selection in the 2018 draft. Across his first 40 professional games, Bohm slashed .252/.335/.659—a far cry from his impressive work at Wichita State University. While this may just be a misstep for the young third baseman, it has depressed his stock significantly. Bohm may be a popular target in dynasty leagues for owners hoping to cash in on a potential rebound.


Nolan Gorman, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals

2018 Level: R/A, Age: 18, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

Nolan Gorman was seen as the best power hitter in the 2018 draft, with 80-grade raw power, and he backed up that profile by hitting 17 home runs in his first 64 professional games. However, he also sported a 36.4% strikeout rate to go along with his .202 batting average in his first taste of A-ball this year. He is capable of working a walk, which may incline his career to take a three-true-outcomes path. If he can rein in the strikeouts, he could be a dynamic fantasy contributor. If not, we may be looking at a Matt Olson or Joey Gallo type of player.


Keibert Ruiz, C, Los Angeles Dodgers

2018 Level: AA, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

It’s not too often that you see a 19-year-old hold his own for a full season at Double-A, and it’s even more rare for that 19-year-old to play catcher. Keibert Ruiz did just that, batting .264 with a .328 on-base percentage, along with 12 homers. Ruiz features a fantastic line-drive-oriented swing, which makes his .266 BABIP last season seem unrealistically low. Ruiz has the upside of a top-five catcher; however, I’m inclined to believe the mantra, “there is no such thing as a catcher prospect.” Catcher prospects often bust, making them poor investments in dynasty leagues. That said, if Ruiz can succeed in the high minors again in 2019, it seems like he will be ready for major league time as soon as 2020.


Jonathan India, 3B/SS, Cincinnati Reds

2018 Level: R/A, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

The Cincinnati Reds drafted Jonathan India with the fifth selection in the 2018 draft, taking the player many believed had the highest batting floor in the class. India didn’t necessarily impress in his first taste of pro ball but displayed his impressive on-base skills, posting a .380 mark in 44 games. The question with India will be whether the power he displayed in his junior year of college (21 homers in 68 games) is legit. If it is, you’ll see India shooting up prospect lists next season and pushing his way toward the big leagues soon.


Luis Patino, SP, San Diego Padres

2018 Level: A, Age: 19, Expected MLB Arrival: 2022

Another good prospect in the San Diego Padres‘ stacked system, Luis Patino is a right-handed starter who spent all of his age-18 season in A-ball. He definitely impressed there, pitching to a 2.16 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 98 K’s in 83.1 innings. He already has a plus fastball that touches 95 mph, a curveball that is improving, and a changeup that is developing. He’ll likely spend the majority of next season in High-A, with a chance to see Double-A if he impresses. He’ll need a firm grasp of all three pitches before he gets a taste of the majors, but I like his trajectory on an up-and-coming Padres team.


Deivi Garcia, SP, New York Yankees

2018 Level: A/A+/AA, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

You’d be hard-pressed to find a pitcher in the Yankees organization who had a better season than Deivi Garcia. The 19-year-old righty put up a 2.55 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 15 starts across three levels of the minors. Garcia even struck out 35% of the batters he faced while only walking 6.7%. He came to this success on the back of a 95 mph fastball and a fantastic curveball. The biggest issue with Garcia is his size: He’s listed at only 5’10” and 163 pounds, and historically that does not make for a high-end starting pitcher. The stellar stuff could keep him successful, but his size may push him toward the bullpen. Watch his use in the minors carefully if you’re invested in a dynasty league.


Isaac Paredes, SS/2B, Detroit Tigers

2018 Level: A+/AA, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

Isaac Paredes impressed in his age-19 season; across High-A and Double-A, Paredes slashed .278/.359/.456 with 15 home runs. Not a highly touted prospect prior to 2018, Paredes brought himself some seemingly well-deserved coverage this past season, highlighting a plus hit tool and potential for power. He also controls the strike zone well, as shown by his nice 14% K rate and nearly 10% walk rate. While he won’t dazzle the top tiers of prospect lists, Paredes could hit around .290 with 20 home runs at his peak.


Matthew Liberatore, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

2018 Level: R, Age: 19, Expected MLB Arrival: 2023

Matthew Liberatore touts impressive control, especially for a draftee straight out of high school. The lefty’s fastball only sits at about 90 mph right now, but at 6’5″ and 200 pounds, Liberatore has some clear growth projection. After he puts on a bit more muscle, the fastball may tick up a notch or two to complement his plus curveball and changeup.


Travis Swaggerty, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

2018 Level: A-/A, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

Travis Swaggerty was the 10th selection in the 2018 draft. He is a college hitter and high-floor prospect who often receives comps to hitters like Andrew Benintendi or Austin Meadows. In his first taste of pro baseball, Swaggerty slashed .288/.365/.453 in 36 Low-A games. In that time he hit four home runs and stole nine bases. I expect he’ll be a contact-oriented major leaguer with 15- to 20-homer pop along with 20-steal speed.


Jarred Kelenic, OF, Seattle Mariners

2018 Level: R, Age: 19, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

The Mariners acquired Jarred Kelenic in the trade that sent away Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. He was the Mets’ first selection in the 2018 draft and the first high schooler taken at sixth overall. In 56 rookie league games, Kelenic slashed .286/.371/.468 with six home runs and 15 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He has five plus tools and could reach a ceiling of a .280 hitter who regularly hints at 20-20 seasons in the majors. That said, he is just 19 and will need a few more years to develop.


Logan Allen, SP, San Diego Padres

2018 Level: AA/AAA, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

With all of these prospects being added at once, it makes for a smorgasbord for a rebuilding team, but a competing squad may wonder which guys to target. Logan Allen is a pitching prospect who could help a competing team as soon as 2019. The lefty features a 92-95 mph fastball, a plus changeup, and a breaking pitch that has some developing left before it can be a viable offering. Until that breaker comes through, Allen will mostly be a two-pitch pitcher, but one who could be a mid-rotation major league arm.


Brady Singer, SP, Kansas City Royals

2018 Level: N/A, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

Finding a proper scouting report of Brady Singer is difficult, as he didn’t pitch in a professional league after the Royals signed him. The right-hander did have an impressive career at the University of Florida, putting up a 2.90 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over 36 starts in his sophomore and junior years. He boasts a 95 mph fastball and a plus slider, though his changeup has a ways to go before it’s a useful offering. His delivery is also a bit rough, but if he can tighten it up and make it more repeatable, Singer could move quickly through the Royals system.


Estevan Florial, OF, New York Yankees

2018 Level: R/A+, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

Estevan Florial was a hot name after the 2017 season, showing tantalizing upside with power and speed. However, 2018 showed another side of Florial: his swing-and-miss tendency. He hit only .255 at High-A last year with a 26% K rate. With his impressive tools but poor bat-to-ball skills, I’ve seen a few comparisons to Yoan Moncada, which doesn’t exactly bode well. Florial’s tools are enticing, but he’ll need to show improvement in his hit tool before I’m ready to invest.


Nick Solak, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays

2018 Level: AA, Age: 24, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

Power development saw Nick Solak’s stock rising this past season. Solak put up an impressive .282/.384/.450 slash line along with 19 home runs and 21 steals at Double-A in 2018. His 12% walk rate and 20% K rate are noteworthy as well, though Solak’s path to big league at-bats seems bleak. Without a standout skill and playing in an organization rife with young, interesting middle infielders, Solak may find it difficult to prove himself on the biggest stage. However, talent always finds a way; if he truly belongs there, that’s where he will find himself.


Brandon Marsh, OF, Los Angeles Angels

2018 Level: A+, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

2018 saw marked improvement in Brandon Marsh’s plate approach, as his walk rate pushed up over 12%. He still needs to improve his bat-to-ball skills, though, as his 27% K rate against A-ball and High-A competition is a bit concerning. Marsh does boast plus raw power and speed, which keep analysts hopeful. If the contact skills can improve in 2019, his raw tools will be able to shine through.


Xavier Edwards, SS/2B/OF, San Diego Padres

2018 Level: R/A-, Age: 19, Expected MLB Arrival: 2022

The Padres took Xavier Edwards in the supplemental round of the 2018 draft. An athletic high school hitter, Edwards features 80-grade speed along with plus bat speed and a decent plate approach. He put those skills to use right away, hitting .346 with a .453 OBP and 22 steals in his first 45 professional games. It’s hard to project his position at this point, as his speed may play best in center field, but I think the Padres want him in the infield if possible.


Jordyn Adams, OF, Los Angeles Angels

2018 Level: R, Age: 19, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

The Angels’ first pick in the 2018 draft, Jordyn Adams‘ elite athleticism is obvious. He has 80-grade speed and impressive bat speed that analysts project to develop into plus power. He is still raw, though, and an injury-shortened season due to a broken jaw from an outfield collision didn’t help. There is significant risk in Adams’ profile, but the upside is that of a 15-homer, 40-steal outfielder. I’m definitely interested.


Shed Long, 2B, Seattle Mariners

2018 Level: AA, Age: 23, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

Shed Long was acquired by the Yankees in the deal that sent Sonny Gray to Cincinnati and then immediately flipped to the Mariners in a pseudo-three way trade. Long is a stocky athlete, listed at 5’8″ and 186 pounds. He does have decent raw power and speed, along with a solid plate approach, though, earning an 11% walk rate. Now in the Mariners system, he may have a decent opportunity to make an appearance in the majors in 2019 at second base or DH.


Kevin Smith, SS, Toronto Blue Jays

2018 Level: A/A+, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

Evaluators seem split on Kevin Smith. The Joe Schmo-named prospect has his believers who loved what they saw in 2018 and those who aren’t convinced he can be a major league regular. In 129 games across Low- and High-A, Smith hit .302 with 25 home runs and 29 stolen bases. While those eye-popping numbers stand out, much of the production was at the beginning of the year in A-ball, where he was older than most of his competition. It will be interesting to see whether Smith will continue to give up contact skills for power in 2019 and beyond.


Khalil Lee, OF, Kansas City Royals

2018 Level: A+/AA, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

After a breakout performance in 2017, Khalil Lee took a step back in the power department but a major step forward with his plate approach. In 2017, Lee hit 17 homers but struck out in 32% of his plate appearances. This past season, Lee only hit six home runs but cut his strikeout rate to a manageable 24%. He also showed fantastic pitch recognition, posting a 14% walk rate. Lee has the potential for a .260-.270 batting average with 20-20 power-speed combo.


Esteury Ruiz, 2B/3B, San Diego Padres

2018 Level: A, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2022

The addition of Esteury Ruiz at this time isn’t surprising after the 2018 season he just had. In 117 games at A-ball, Ruiz put up a .253 average with 12 home runs and 49 stolen bases. He is yet another interesting prospect within the Padres system and is touted by some analysts as the best hitter in the system aside from Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias. He has the potential to be a high-batting average hitter with decent pop and steals potential but is still a few years from major league consideration.


Joey Bart, C, San Francisco Giants

2018 Level: A-, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

The Giants really seem to value strong production at catcher, as they drafted Joey Bart to be the heir apparent to Buster Posey with the second pick in the 2018 draft. He’s a plus defender with an impressive offensive profile, especially for a catcher. In his first 51 pro games, Bart hit .294 with a .364 OBP and 13 home runs. His hit tool is still a question, as Bart was a bit prone to strike out and rarely walked. Yet, even if his plate approach doesn’t improve much, a good defensive catcher who gives his team a .250 average with 20 home runs will have a starting role.


Elehuris Montero, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals

2018 Level: A/A+, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

After a hot start to 2018, Elehuris Montero has put his name on the map. Montero hit for a .322 batting average along with 15 home runs in his 108 games at A-ball, earning a promotion to High-A where he continued to hit well—to the tune of a .286 average. He controls the strike zone well, walking at near a 10% rate for most of his career while striking out around a 20% clip. Plus bat speed and projected strength gains indicate a potential for a 20-25 home run hitter with a .270-.290 batting average at his peak.


Cavan Biggio, 2B,/3B, Toronto Blue Jays

2018 Level: AA, Age: 24, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

The case of Cavan Biggio is an interesting one, to say the least. Not many evaluators seem to know exactly what to do with him—myself included. The son of Craig Biggio, Cavan made a name for himself in 2018 as he reportedly increased his launch angle to maximize his power output. That approach led to 23 home runs in 132 Double-A games, but it also came with a 26% K rate. However, Biggio’s plate discipline is impressive, as he produced a nearly 18% walk rate in 2018 as well. He even stole 20 bases, making his high-OBP profile even more tantalizing. Again, there are plenty of prospect evaluators who aren’t sure this profile will translate to the big league level, but it seems like we may get an answer to that question as soon as midseason 2019.


Gavin Lux, SS/2B, Los Angeles Dodgers

2018 Level: A+/AA, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

2018 was the tear that Gavin Lux finally figured out how to stop hitting ground balls. After a 2017 season that saw 53% of his batted balls on the ground, Lux was able to decrease his GB% by 11 points. While most of that change will not result in home run power, Lux’s new and improved swing is line-drive oriented, which makes his .370 BABIP seem much more believable and sustainable. While Lux may wind up at second, he has a chance to be an impact middle infield bat in fantasy leagues.


Grant Lavigne, 1B, Colorado Rockies

2018 Level: R, Age: 19, Expected MLB Arrival: 2022

The Rockies selected Grant Lavigne as the 42nd player of the 2018 draft, and he took to professional baseball quickly. Touted as a power hitter, Lavigne impressed more with his advanced plate approach for a teenager. In 59 games of rookie ball, he slashed .350/.477/.519 with six home runs and 12 stolen bases. While the steals probably won’t be a part of his big league profile, the rest is all exciting. Lavigne even walked more than he struck out—another impressive feat for a teenager. He will need to raise his launch angle (53.5%  ground-ball rate) to maximize his power potential but at 6’4″ and 220 pounds (again, at just 18 years old), the power will come. It should also be mentioned he’s in the Rockies system and will have the opportunity to play half of his games in Coors Field. I like Lavigne; I like him a lot. Still, he is only 19 years old with a while until he hits the majors, and a lot can happen between now and then.


Jordan Groshans, 3B/SS, Toronto Blue Jays

2018 Level: R, Age: 19, Expected MLB Arrival: 2022

Another 2018 draftee, Jordan Groshans was selected by the Blue Jays with the 12th pick of the first round. His carrying skills are his plus bat speed and raw power, which led to success in his first season of professional ball. As an 18-year-old, Groshans hit .296 with five homers in just 48 games this past season while also mitigating strikeouts. Groshans has an advanced plate approach and plus power; I expect he’ll develop into a .260-.275 hitter with 25+ home run power, though steals will likely never be a part of the equation.


Hudson Potts, 3B/1B, San Diego Padres

2018 Level: A+/AA, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

One of the best power prospects in the impressive Padres system, Hudson Potts had a great year in 2018. At age 19, Potts hit .281 with 17 home runs in 106 games of High-A ball. He stills needs to develop his plate discipline skills and rein in the swing-and-miss a bit, but at 19, Potts was one of the youngest players in the AFL. Still, there is a lot to be excited about; Potts could be a 30-homer guy in the majors if he can improve his plate skills.


Will Smith, C/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers

2018 Level: AA/AAA, Age: 24, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

Will Smith was pushed off the catcher position halfway through the year by his teammate, Ruiz; he instead played third base, where his strong arm and athleticism made him passable. Smith hit for more power in 2018 than we’d seen in the past, hitting 19 home runs at Double-A across 73 games. If Smith has the opportunity to play catcher, he’ll actually compare well to former Dodgers backstop Yasmani Grandal, with 20-25 home run power, a .250 batting average, and strong OBP and BB%. If he sticks at third base, that same profile does not play nearly as well in fantasy leagues.


Cal Quantrill, SP, San Diego Padres

2018 Level: AA/AAA, Age: 24, Expected MLB Arrival: 2019

Cal Quantrill spent the majority of 2018 in Double-A, where he pitched to a disappointing 5.15 ERA, 1.42 WHIP line with only a 19% K rate. This was especially disheartening after an encouraging 2017. Quantrill boasts a plus fastball that touches 97 mph on the high end, but his secondary stuff still needs work, as does his command. While I do expect we’ll see Quantrill make starts at the major league level in 2019, I’m hesitant to endorse him as a fantasy asset until I see his secondary stuff and/or his command improve.


Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta Braves

2018 Level: A+/AA, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

Defense-first players are always difficult to evaluate for fantasy purposes. Cristian Pache is a prime example; he is touted as having maybe the best center field glove in all of professional baseball, let alone the minors. On top of being a fantastic defender, Pache also has great speed, though he’s been sporadic in attempting to steal bases, only making 15 attempts in 122 games in 2018. He has shown solid bat-to-ball skills but is very aggressive at the plate, walking very little and striking out a bit too often. Pache is a perplexing player, but he could be a fantastic asset to the Braves, even if only defensively, giving them ample reason to give him playing time. He could be a .270 hitter while swatting 10-15 home runs and stealing 20-30 bags, but the risk that the offensive profile doesn’t develop to that point is present.


William Contreras, C, Atlanta Braves

2018 Level: A/A+, Age: 21, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

The younger brother of Willson ContrerasWilliam Contreras has been identified as a defense-first catcher for the past few years. In 2018, he showed offensive promise after shortening his swing for a more compact stroke.  The result was a .285/.346/.436 slash line with 11 home runs in 105 games at both A-ball and High-A. Many analysts are high on Contreras, citing a fairly high floor and solid tools at a weak position. He could project as a .260 hitter with 15-20 homers, which, at catcher, is valuable.


Miguel Amaya, C, Chicago Cubs

2018 Level: A, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2022

Another catching prospect, Miguel Amaya is mainly included here because he’s widely regarded as the Cubs’ top prospect. That’s no longer high praise, as their farm system is among the worst in the league, but Amaya did have a good 2018. In his age-19 season, Amaya hit .256 with a .349 OBP and 12 home runs in 116 games of A-ball. As a teenager, those numbers are definitely impressive; however, this is not a prospect I would recommend investing in outside dynasty leagues that require two catchers to start. Amaya is still a few years away, and with Willson Contreras under team control through 2022, Amaya’s path to playing time will be a long one.


D’Shawn Knowles, OF, Los Angeles Angels

2018 Level: R, Age: 18, Expected MLB Arrival: 2022

A Bahaman import, D’Shawn Knowles impressed in his first taste of professional ball. Playing all year at age 17, Knowles hit .311 with five homers and nine steals. He has 70-grade speed and a short, compact swing that is line-drive and contact oriented. He likely won’t develop a lot of power, but he showed a propensity for taking a walk (11% BB rate), even at his young age. He has the potential to develop into a 30-steal contact hitter at the top of a lineup.


Victor Victor Mesa, OF, Miami Marlins

2018 Level: N/A, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

Listed on ESPN as “Victor Mesa,” I have to believe that refers to Victor Victor Mesa, as opposed to his younger brother Victor Mesa Jr. Victor Victor has yet to make his minor league debut, but his age-20 season in the Cuban baseball league shows his upside: .354/.399/.539 with 40 stolen bases. He boasts plus-plus speed and a good hit tool with a bit of pop. Mesa gets frequent comparisons to Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, so take that as you will. I see his upside as a .260 hitter with 10-15 home runs and 30-40 steals.


Tyler Nevin, 1B/3B, Colorado Rockies

2018 Level: A+, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

Yet another strong corner infield prospect for the Rockies, Tyler Nevin boasts plus raw power and a plus plate approach. He hit .328 with 13 home runs in 100 games at High-A this past season while limiting his strikeouts to a good 18.5% clip. Similar to Lavigne above, he needs to add loft to his wing to better utilize his raw power. Assuming he makes that adjustment, he could be a .270 hitter with 25+ home runs.


Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Boston Red Sox

2018 Level: A+/AA, Age: 24, Expected MLB Arrival: 2020

When the term “three true outcomes” is thrown around, thoughts usually turn to players like Adam Dunn and Joey Gallo. Well, Bobby Dalbec would like to throw his name in the ring for that discussion. The dude strikes out a lot—well over 30% at most every level he’s played. However, he also has 70-grade raw power, he’s a plus defender, and he knows how to take a walk. Dalbec hit 32 home runs in 129 games across High-A and Double-A, 26 of those coming in the 100 games he played in High-A. He had an impressive .257/.361/.558 slash line across the two levels as well. Players like Dalbec will always be divisive. He’ll have his backers and dissenters, even among MLB staff. He will have to play well to earn himself a regular role in a very good Red Sox lineup, but the power, defense, and on-base skills could put him in that position.


Nick Pratto, 1B, Kansas City Royals

2018 Level: A, Age: 20, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

Nick Pratto may not be a flashy, toolsy prospect, but he does have plus raw power and an above-average hit tool. He used those skills to have a very successful 2018, hitting .280 with 14 homers and 22 steals in 127 games at A-ball. Assuming he can control his strikeout tendency, Pratto looks to be a potential power-speed threat who hits around .270-.280.


Nico Hoerner, SS/2B, Chicago Cubs

2018 Level: R/A-/A, Age: 22, Expected MLB Arrival: 2021

The Cubs selected Stanford alum Nico Hoerner with the 24th pick of the 2018 draft. He was a career .303 hitter in college and was seen as a high-floor, low-ceiling type of player on draft day. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a prolonged look at him, as his professional debut was cut short after an elbow injury knocked him out during his 15th game of the season. There were reports of a swing change that was giving him more loft than in college, which would definitely make his profile more interesting for fantasy purposes. This is a name I’d keep in the back of your mind for now and wait to see what he looks like and what kind of numbers he is putting up next season.


Everson Pereira, OF, New York Yankees

2018 Level: R, Age: 18, Expected MLB Arrival: 2023

The Yankees signed Everson Pereira out of Venezuela on July 2, 2017. After assigning him to the Appy League, which is heavily comprised of college signees, he held his own. In his age-17 season, Pereira hit for a .263 batting average with three homers and three steals in 41 games. He did strike out 33% of the time but also walked 8% of the time. Pereira is raw but has five plus tools that very well may develop to make him a star. Even if that is the case, he won’t see the majors for years, so this is a long-term, high-risk investment.

Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

Austin Bristow II

Raised as an Atlanta Braves fan in central Illinois, Austin Bristow II attended Eureka College for undergrad and Purdue University for his master's degree in Higher Education Administration. Since co-founding his home league at age 16, Austin has been obsessed with fantasy baseball. Austin serves as the Staff Manager for Pitcher List.

4 responses to “Outlining the New Prospects in ESPN’s Player Pool”

  1. Bryan says:

    Happy Friday! Just wanted to say I appreciate the effort that went into this. There aren’t many fantasy/dynasty prospect lists out there and the ones that do exist are frequently missing this type of data and analysis (e.g., floor, upside, highest level reached, and expected MLB arrival). Thanks and keep ’em coming!

  2. Jack says:

    Luis Rengifo? Nathaniel Lowe?

  3. Jimmy Spiffs says:

    Austin, I was curious if you recall Jesus Luzardo being available on ESPN during the 2018 season? I feel like there was hype he might arrive before playoffs but never did, but I cant recall if he was.

  4. Khal Dragol says:

    Will ESPN do another add before the end of the year? I am in a dynasty league that has no alternative system for grabbing prospects, and really want to get my hands on some young arms. Some guys are rising that I want… but I can’t grab them. Frustrating.

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