12 Dynasty Prospects You Need To Know In September, Plus Five MLB Stash Ideas
We are now four full months into the 2021 minor league season—and it feels great to say that.
Players have recovered from or come down from out-of-character May performances. The Futures Game highlighted 50 of the brightest prospects. The 2021 draft imported a host of new names to track.
Now, as the minor league season enters its final leg—most full-season leagues end on Sept. 19—we have more performance data to apply when considering the authenticity of players' breakouts. Baseball America also has information gleaned from minor league managers in annual Best Tools voting.
This installment of the monthly BA dynasty stock report begins with a pair of young hitters who have dominated lower-level competition the past three months and look like future MLB regulars. Both are buy-high candidates if the team rostering them is skeptical of the players’ upside potential.
Nick Yorke, 2B, Red Sox
In 2020, Yorke was the rare first-round pick out of high school drafted as a second baseman. This year, he has proven the Red Sox prescient. During a 60-game span from June 1 to Aug. 29, Yorke hit .379/.466/.630 with 31 extra-base hits, including 12 home runs, and a 34-to-34 walk-to-strikeout ratio. That home run total was especially impressive for a young, disciplined hitter whose home park at Low-A Salem is spacious and had played that way this season. The 19-year-old Yorke hit his way to High-A Greenville in late August and could be ready to jump on a fast track in 2021.
Dustin Harris, 1B/3B, Rangers
Texas pulled off a heist last August when it traded Mike Minor to the Athletics for two players to be named, one of whom turned out to be Harris. The 22-year-old lefthanded hitter has blossomed this season at Low-A Down East and now High-A Hickory. In 70 games from June 4 to Aug. 29, he batted .349/.429/.623 with 16 home runs, 21 stolen bases in 22 tries and 35 walks against 48 strikeouts. He’s an athletic hitter who handles velocity and runs and throws well enough to handle a potential move to right field.
Joey Wiemer, OF, Brewers
The Brewers liked Wiemer’s raw power and athleticism when they made him a fourth-round pick in 2020 out of Cincinnati. In the early stages of his pro debut in 2021, Wiemer appeared ordinary at Low-A Carolina. Through 51 games he was hitting .238 and slugging .349. It was around this time that he abandoned his big leg kick in favor of a toe tap. In 40 games from July 13 to Aug. 28 he hit .361/.428/.755 with 15 homers, nine steals, 16 walks and 31 strikeouts. Wiemer earned a bump to High-A Wisconsin during this hot streak and had continued hitting at the higher level. His power and new hitting mechanics make him an exciting prospect to monitor, especially if he continues to produce at Double-A.
Gabriel Gonzalez, OF, Mariners
Seattle signed Gonzalez out of Venezuela in January, drawn to his righthanded swing and offensive upside. He’s a 5-foot-10 right fielder who has produced some of the best offensive numbers in the Dominican Summer League. Among his peer group of 17-year-olds who signed in 2021, Gonzalez had produced the fourth-best wRC+ of 155. He had hit .302/.391/.557 with 15 extra-base hits in 32 games to go with eight steals and 15 walks against 23 strikeouts. The Mariners’ international pipeline has flowed with talent in recent years, including DSL standouts Julio Rodriguez in 2018 and Noelvi Marte in 2019. Could Gonzalez be next in line?
Coby Mayo, 3B, Orioles
The Orioles spread their bonus pool money around in the 2020 draft, with Mayo being the biggest beneficiary. Drafted out of high school in the fourth round, he signed for more than $1 million over slot. The 6-foot-5 third baseman was making good on that evaluation this year by hitting for high-end power while showing advanced control of the strike zone, especially for a tall, long-levered hitter. Mayo quickly hit his way out of Rookie ball to reach Low-A Delmarva as a 19-year-old.
Hendry Mendez, OF, Brewers
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in January, Mendez became the rare 17-year-old to reach domestic Rookie ball when the Brewers promoted him to the Arizona Complex League on Aug. 16. In the Dominican Summer League, Mendez had shown supreme bat control with seven walks and just two strikeouts in 21 games. That discipline has translated to the ACL in the early going. Mendez continued to make contact, hit for average and draw walks. How much power he develops will be key, but his 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame hints at promise on that front.
Eddys Leonard, SS/2B, Dodgers
It wouldn’t be a dynasty update without an emerging Dodgers hitting prospect. Leonard had not appeared in a game above the Rookie level prior to this season, but he quickly outpaced expectations by hitting his way to High-A Great Lakes as a 20-year-old. Leonard has a balanced offensive profile that should enable him to continue hitting for average and power while staying on the middle infield. He most likely settles in as a multi-positional player who hits enough to play regularly. Leonard took an important step this season because he is in his 40-man roster evaluation year. He figures to be added to the Dodgers’ roster this offseason or be traded to a club that will add him.
Evan Carter, OF, Rangers
Carter hasn’t played since June 13 and was officially shut down for the regular season in late August with a stress fracture in his lower back. He could return during instructional league. However, Carter checks a lot of boxes if you’re looking for a buy-low candidate in dynasty leagues. He’s an athletic lefthanded hitter who handles center field and manages the strike zone like a veteran. Carter is a high-character player who faces some questions about power projection, but his swing works, he is disciplined and he hits the ball hard. There’s a lot to like.
Promising Pitchers Of Note
Pitchers are so risky that I hesitate to recommend them in dynasty leagues unless they have No. 1 or 2 starter upside and a track record for endurance. You can find those pitchers' identities by scanning the top of the BA Top 100 Prospects ranking.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to throw a few darts at rising pitching prospects if you have roster room and the stakes are low enough. Young pitchers with promise often help round out dynasty trade proposals.
Here are four young pitchers who have popped this season and have a standout pitch or two. All carry varying degrees of reliever risk, which is why they may be available in your league.
Spencer Strider, RHP, Braves
Drafted in the fourth round last year out of Clemson, Strider quickly pitched his way to Double-A Mississippi with a mid-90s fastball with elite metrics. He sits 95-96 mph and touches 98 and is nearly unhittable when he locates his fastball up. Strider’s 21.3% swinging-strike rate leads all full-season minor league starters with at least 50 innings. The rest of his repertoire needs to come up, especially his changeup if he’s going to stick in the rotation, but he has the competitive makeup and inquisitiveness to make it work.
Matt Brash, RHP, Mariners
Brash’s slider was a popular choice among minor league managers in Best Tools voting. It’s a power pitch with outstanding spin and tilt that had helped him rack up 120 strikeouts through 80.1 innings and dominate his way to Double-A Arkansas in July. Brash pitches in the mid 90s and and bumps 99 mph with a high-spin fastball. The 23-year-old even flashes a quality changeup. He needs to sharpen his command to tie everything together, but even if he doesn’t he has high-leverage reliever upside. The Mariners added Brash in a 2020 trade with the Padres that sent reliever Taylor Williams to San Diego.
Ryne Nelson, RHP, D-backs
Nelson became a full-time pitcher as an Oregon junior in 2019 and was drafted by the D-backs in the second round that year. He has risen to Double-A this year while showing off a three-pitch mix headlined by a mid-90s fastball that gets up to 98 mph. His curveball is an out pitch when he’s commanding it, and he shows feel for a changeup. Give him the benefit of the doubt at Amarillo, which is a pitcher-hostile environment. He had pitched to a 2.73 ERA with only one home run allowed in five road starts.
Ryan Murphy, RHP, Giants
Low-A West managers were impressed with Murphy’s control and slider as he carved up competition with 116 strikeouts in 76 innings. That’s not necessarily notable for a college pitcher like Murphy, who was a 2020 fifth-rounder out of Division II Le Moyne (N.Y.), the same program that produced Josiah Gray. Murphy pitches in the low 90s with feel to move his fastball, slider and changeup around, so he will need to be as precise as possible or add velocity as he combats upper-level hitters. He reached High-A Eugene in early August and his 156 strikeouts led the minors as the month closed.
30 MLB Prospects Who Improved Their Stock In 2021
Here are 30 players—one from each organization—who really improved their stock in 2021.
Five MLB Stash Suggestions
These unheralded MLB rookies could be freely available in your dynasty league and would qualify as minor league eligibles in most leagues. Don’t let the lack of hype lead you astray. It’s worth dropping a low-probability prospect to speculate on these players, who all could return 2022 value.
Jake Meyers, OF, Astros
The 25-year-old put up big numbers at pitcher-friendly Sugar Land this season, totaling 16 homers, 17 doubles, 10 stolen bases and a 144 wRC+ in 68 Triple-A West games. He had produced for Houston in August, making the most of his time in center field following the Myles Straw trade and injury to Chas McCormick. Priority: High
Riley Adams, C, Nationals
The Nationals acquired their potential catchers of the future in 2021, trading for the Dodgers’ Keibert Ruiz and also swapping Brad Hand for Adams, who was at Triple-A in the Blue Jays’ system. Adams rocked a near .250 isolated slugging at Triple-A, and power is his carrying tool. The 25-year-old put that on display in his MLB debut, albeit in a small sample. Adams’ barrel rate per plate appearance was nearly 10%, which ranked 24th in baseball at the threshold of 25 batted balls. Adams has scattered experience in left field and at first base in the minors, and the universal DH could come to the NL in 2022. These scenarios present potential playing time opportunity when he's not catching. Priority: Moderate
Lars Nootbaar, OF, Cardinals
The 23-year-old corner outfielder impressed big league coaches this spring to put him on a fast track to St. Louis. Nootbaar produced at Triple-A Memphis and has received three callups this season. He got some run in August when Dylan Carlson went on the injured list and performed in a small sample, hitting .326 with power and strong discipline. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, who has a background as a hitting coach, has lauded Nootbaar’s altered swing and hitting approach. St. Louis could use a productive lefthanded hitter in its outfield. Priority: Moderate
Carlos Hernandez, RHP, Royals
Hernandez has topped out near 100 mph this season and pitches in the mid 90s. His slider and improving control give the 24-year-old a chance to stick in the rotation after beginning his MLB time this season in the bullpen. Hernandez has pitched to a 3.38 ERA, 20% strikeout rate and 1.10 WHIP in seven starts this season. It’s worth seeing if he can hold his gains in September. Priority: Moderate
Yonny Hernandez, 3B, Rangers
More of a middle infielder at Triple-A Round Rock, Hernandez drew attention from Triple-A West managers for his strike-zone judgment, baserunning acumen and defensive play at second base. Hernandez has settled into a regular role as Texas’ third baseman and is making the most of his high-contact hitting approach, plate discipline and basestealing aggressiveness. Priority: Moderate
More MLB names to consider stashing:
Thairo Estrada, INF, Giants
Ramon Urias, SS, Orioles
Curtis Terry, 1B, Rangers
Glenn Otto, RHP, Rangers
Aaron Ashby, LHP, Brewers
Manuel Rodriguez, RP, Cubs