The Prospect Watchlist: Week 12 (June 25 – July 1)

4 Hidden Gems to Know Before the Rest of Your League

With 120 teams and 5,000+ players spread through four levels (not to mention the Dominican Summer League and the Rookie Complex leagues in Arizona and Florida), identifying the next prospect breakout can be difficult.

If you wait until end-of-season wrap-ups, a prospect may get too much coverage and no longer be available. You can scout stat lines all year, but that can be tedious, and it’s difficult to keep an eye on every tweet and post.

We may have renamed this column but fear not, intrepid dynasty league manager, this is still THE place to find your potential prospect diamonds in the rough.

For those unfamiliar, this is a weekly column where I’ll select four prospects (typically 2 hitters and 2 pitchers) who performed outstandingly in the prior week. Not only will you get a name, but also we’ll dive into what powered their results and where their future value stands.

“But,” you may think to yourself, “what makes this column so different than any of the countless other blurbs, rundowns, and general prospect lists that are published?” Glad you asked!

First and foremost, this column is dedicated to the deep dynasty manager. If you’re in a 18 team league, or rostering 30+ minor leaguers, then this is your spot.

Secondly, and I don’t want to honk my horn (toot toot) but in year 1, we had a pretty solid track record of recognizing some names that have risen in value entering this season including: Kyle Manzardo, Yainer Diaz, Evan Carter, Justin Dirden, and Will Benson.

With that said, let’s get to this week’s prospects…


Player of the Week: SS Ryan Ritter, COL, Low A

Stats: (5 games) 10-19, 3 HR, 1 double, 7 RBI, 9 runs, 0 SBs


There still seems to be a debate in the prospect community about the value of Rockies hitting prospects (I think we’re all on the same page about their pitchers); some still adhere to the “Don’t bet on Colorado” mantra while others like, myself, find myself becoming more interested in a selective number of their minor league hitters.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to grab a recent video but I did find this tweet from May.

Ritter’s calling card out of Kentucky was his stellar defense at short, including amazing range and footwork to cover a ton of ground. If this offensive output can stabilize at all, he could easily move through the system to plug into the Rockies infield, potentially allowing them to move Ezequiel Tovar to 3B.

There should be some hesitation, the California League is known for giving a boost to young hitters’ counting stats, but I’m always interested in glove-first types who start to show a competent hit tool. The path to the majors is generally easier because teams know that they won’t lose on both sides of the ball while a young hitter continues to mature.

Look for Ritter to get a promotion soon and then we can start to get a better idea of his profile.


Honorable Mention: 3B Sal Stewart, CIN, Low A

Stats: (5 games) 8-21, 2 HR, 2 doubles, 7 RBI, 5 runs, 0 SBs


Stewart, a 1st round compensation pick in 2022, has received a couple of comparisons to former slugger Troy Glaus, and it’s not difficult to see it. A large-bodied 3B, Stewart showed great raw power as a prep bat from Miami, posting max EVs around 106MPH.

As a pro, he’s continued putting up phenomenal metrics; in the 105 balls in play we have measured in Savant, he has a 90th percentile EV of 101.6MPH. 

The biggest question for Stewart, as it always is for this player profile, is around hit tool, specifically pitch recognition and plate discipline. So far, we’ve seen an in-zone contact rate of 87.2% combined with a chase rate of 29.8%. Good contact in the strike zone, less than average chase rate but not surprising for a 19-year-old.

One major point in his favor, since June 1st he’s seen an incredible increase in launch angle and FB rate. After hitting a 65% GB at a LA of -2.1° during the first two months of the season, Stewart has posted a 33% GB rate, 28% FB with a more tolerable 10.2° LA.

I think Stewart has plate skills beyond a huge power stroke and I’m expecting him to continue making adjustments as this season progresses.


Pitcher of the Week: SP Mason Black, SFG, AA

Stats: (2 starts), 9.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 hits, 2 BBs, 13 Ks


While not nearly as hyped as his Giants compatriot Kyle Harrison, Black has put up a very solid season and is worth more attention. He capped a standout week with 5 innings of perfection vs. Reading.

H/t to @giantprospectiv for the video

Black’s appeal lies in his effective low-release arm slot coupled with an effective slider with horizontal movement (we’ll have to wait for Savant data to determine if it’s an actual “sweeper”). As you can see from the above tweet, his FB velo is steadily increasing but I’d imagine the high 90s is his ceiling.

I actually was able to see Black start for Richmond vs. a good Erie team (including Colt Keith) and he looked good for much of what I saw. He has an SP3 profile, likely able to post a K/9 around 9 but making up for that in good ratios as he induces soft contact.

Black is probably still a year or so away but now is a great time to search him out for a cheap addition to help pump up your pitching prospects.


Honorable Mention: SP Drew Thorpe, NYY, High A

Stats: (1 start) 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, 2 BB, 7 Ks


100% biased as I roster Thorpe in my home league, but this start is a perfect illustration of what appealed to me when selecting him in the most recent FYPD. Thorpe’s delivery is low-effort and he’s able to throw strikes (46.5%) while limiting hard contact (4 HRs allowed, .593 OPS).

Thorpe has a lower ceiling than other Yankees pitching prospects due to a lack of huge stuff but he has three major league level pitches (4-seamer, slider, change-up) that can be thrown to both sides of the plate against lefties and righties. 

Thorpe is a good target, similar to Black, if you’re looking to boost your farm’s pitching based on proximity and high floor. He may not wow, but he’s likely to get to the majors within the next couple of seasons.

Worst-case scenario, he can hold down the back end of a rotation but if he maintains his new gains in FB velo (and perhaps even add one additional pitch, perhaps a sinker for lefties?) he could legitimately become a mid-rotation type a la 2021 Logan Webb or this year’s Mitch Keller.

LaMar Gibson

A lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan that still hasn't forgiven Jeffrey Maier, Tony Fernandez, the 2014 Royals, or Edwin Encarnacion...and has no interest in doing so in the foreseeable future. You can read more of LaMar's thoughts by subscribing to his free monthly newsletter, Inside Fastball, for all things prospects.

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