12 Popup Prospects You Should Consider Rostering In Dynasty As Of Early July

Image credit: Anthony Volpe (Photo by Brian Westerholt/Four Seam)

Panning for prospects is a year-round endeavor in dynasty leagues. New ones pop up all the time, and those who are quickest to click “add” and ask questions later are rewarded.

The dozen prospects in this report caught my eye with their June performances. Some could be available in your dynasty leagues.

The statistics displayed with each player are for June only. The advanced metrics are simply park-adjusted OPS+, similar to what you see at Baseball-Reference, and FIP, as you would see at FanGraphs.

XB+ measures extra bases per plate appearance, indexed to league average, and SB+ measures stolen bases attempted per (estimated) times on first base, again indexed to league average.

Anthony Volpe, SS, Yankees
Low-A Tampa (Southeast)

96 PA: .395/.521/.855 • 252 OPS+ • 7 HR (331 XB+) • 8-for-10 SB (223 SB+)

A breakout season for the Yankees’ 2019 first-rounder out of high school keeps breaking his way. Scouts are bought in on Volpe’s tools and outstanding competitive makeup, and he joined the Top 100 Prospects in June. If you were smart, you grabbed Volpe in dynasty leagues a month ago, but since then he has upped his power production significantly while showing high-end exit velocities, advanced pitch recognition and promising speed indicators. A move to High-A will tell us a lot. Age: 20

Joe Gray Jr., OF, Brewers
Low-A Carolina (East)

114 PA: .311/.439/.700 • 200 OPS+ • 4 HR (275 XB+) • 6-for-6 SB (118 SB+)

The Brewers’ 2018 second-round pick out of high school, Gray entered the season with a mere 55 games of pro experience because of injuries and the pandemic. It took him just 51 games this year to hit his way to High-A. Gray actually hit more home runs in May, but his overall production spiked in June thanks to improving pitch recognition. His OBP climbed as he improved both his walk and strikeout rates, cutting the latter from 30% to just under 25%. Gray has raw tools few can match, giving him huge upside if he continues to make quality contact. Age: 21

Josh Smith, SS, Yankees
High-A Hudson Valley (East)

113 PA: .355/.469/.699 • 201 OPS+ • 6 HR (226 XB+) • 11-for-14 SB (262 SB+)

This has been a big year for Yankees player development, between the emergence of Smith, Anthony Volpe, Oswaldo Peraza and a few pitching prospects. Smith had produced perhaps the loudest overall numbers and took over the minor league lead for wRC+ in early July. Drafted in the second round out of Louisiana State in 2019, Smith handily advanced from Low-A Tampa to High-A Hudson Valley and wowed the Yankees with both his on-field performance and off-field work ethic. Fantasy owners should be excited by his career .328 average, gap power and baserunning acumen. Age: 23

Joe Perez, 3B, Astros
High-A Asheville (South)

97 PA: .352/.412/.705 • 174 OPS+ • 7 HR (233 XB+) 

The Astros drafted Perez as a pitcher in 2017, but Tommy John surgery put a kibosh on his mound career. A two-way player in high school, Perez refashioned himself as a hitter—and a good one. After wrapping up 2019 in short-season ball, Perez ripped through two levels of Class A this season to earn a late-June bump to Double-A. He has big righthanded power that will profile on a corner, and the big arm to keep him relevant at third base. Age: 21

Jesse Franklin, OF, Braves
High-A Rome (East)

85 PA: .338/.412/.757 • 228 OPS+ • 8 HR (266 XB+) • 6-for-6 SB (186 SB+)

Franklin helped propel Michigan to the College World Series finals in 2019 but missed the truncated 2020 season with an injury. The Braves stayed on him and drafted him in the third round of the five-round draft. Atlanta liked Franklin’s power-speed potential and was rewarded in June, when the right fielder slugged eight homers and stole six bases in 22 games. If he keeps raking, he should get a chance to prove himself at Double-A in the second half. Age: 22

Curtis Terry, 1B, Rangers
Triple-A Round Rock (West)

101 PA: .318/.406/.625 • 147 OPS+ • 6 HR (150 XB+) 

Terry combines big power with a big frame and has shown he can use the whole field to hit for average and wear out the gaps. Defense is more of a challenge, but that should be easy for fantasy managers to overlook because Terry has a chance to hit for average and power. He doesn’t have the helium of some of the other names here and might be available in your league. For example, Terry is rostered on only about 1% of CBS leagues. Age: 24

Jose Miranda, 3B, Twins
Double-A Wichita (Central)

121 PA: .387/.438/.694 • 194 OPS+ • 10 HR (201 XB+) • 3-for-4 SB (72 SB+)

Drafted in the supplemental second round in 2016, Miranda has always shown a knack for contact. He has combined that knack with a powerful attack in 2021, swatting 13 homers at Double-A to receive a promotion to Triple-A in late June. Drafted as a shortstop out of Puerto Rico, Miranda now plays third base, second base and first base. He is angling for a second-half callup to Minnesota, where righthanded power would be welcome. Age: 23

Mark Vientos, 3B/1B, Mets
Double-A Binghamton (Northeast)

81 PA: .324/.407/.775 • 219 OPS+ • 9 HR (279 XB+)

The Mets challenged the 21-year-old Vientos with an assignment to Double-A. He started slow in May before blossoming in June with nine homers, eight walks and 18 strikeouts in 18 games. Vientos will probably always be power over hit, but his June outburst indicates what that power upside could look like. Age: 21

Samad Taylor, 2B/OF, Blue Jays
Double-A New Hampshire (Northeast)

111 PA: .359/.468/.739 • 228 OPS+ • 9 HR (223 XB+) • 7-for-11 SB (283 SB+)

Drafted by the Indians in 2016 out of high school and traded to the Blue Jays a year later as part of the return for Joe Smith, Taylor quietly climbed the minor league ladder until making a loud impression at Double-A this season. He spent the offseason in Australia refining his swing and expanding his defensive versatility. It has paid off in the form of a career high for home runs and a willingness to run. A potential utility role could be the end result. Age: 22

Graham Ashcraft, RHP, Reds
Double-A Chattanooga (South)

32 IP: 0.00 ERA • 0.59 WHIP • 2.07 FIP • 11.0 SO/9 • 2.5 BB/9

Forty-three innings is a long time to go without allowing an earned run, but that’s exactly what Ashcraft has done in his breakout season. The Reds moved him to Double-A in late June as the scoreless innings and swinging strikes piled up. Ashcraft ranked seventh in the minors in the latter after upping his velocity and adding a deadly breaking pitch at the alternate training site last year. Pitching prospects are most appealing when the stakes are low, so grab Ashcraft in any league of yours in which he is available. Age: 23

Zach DeLoach, OF, Mariners
High-A Everett (West)

104 PA: .363/.442/.549 • 164 OPS+ • 1 HR (134 XB+) • 3-for-3 (43 SB+)

DeLoach won a Cape Cod League batting title while at Texas A&M and looked sharp at Mariners instructional league last fall after being a 2020 second-round pick. He went on a hit barrage for Everett in June, collecting 33 of them in 21 games and tallying at least one knock in every game but two all month. DeLoach hasn’t turned up a ton of power in his pro debut, but he has a strong hitting foundation in place that he could embellish. Age: 22

Cal Mitchell, OF, Pirates
Double-A Altoona (Northeast)

91 PA: .319/.367/.571 • 149 OPS+ • 5 HR (132 XB+) • 2-for-2 SB (86 SB+)

Regarded as one of the best high school hitters in the 2017 draft, Mitchell came off the board in the second round that year when the Pirates drafted him. The Pirates lauded his work ethic, coordination and improved discipline this spring. While he doesn’t run, Mitchell showed signs of his power manifesting this season. He is on track to set a career high for home runs and amassed four bombs in his final five games of June. If Mitchell’s power is beginning to emerge, you’re going to want to buy in now before his stock takes off. Age: 22

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone