A Dozen Dynasty Prospects You Need To Know In August

Image credit: Aeverson Arteaga (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Prospect season kicked into high gear in July with the opening of Rookie-level complex leagues in Arizona and Florida, formerly known as the Arizona and Gulf Coast leagues.

The ACL and FCL served as the first stop for most of the top prospects from the 2019 international signing class. This subset of players had been waiting two years for a chance to make their pro debuts. They signed in July 2019 and, thanks to the pandemic, had seen nothing but instructional league, spring training or extended spring until this summer.

The 12 prospects highlighted in this piece caught my attention with their play in July. It’s a mix of 2019 international free agents, other IFAs making their U.S. debuts and full-season prospects raising their stock with extended stretches of production.

Jairo Pomares, OF, Giants
Low-A San Jose (West)

Pomares missed the first month and a half of the season with back issues, but the 20-year-old Cuban outfielder has absolutely raked since his June 15 return. His .353 average ranks eighth in the minors in that time, while his .687 slugging places sixth. Pomares isn’t the most disciplined hitter, but he has been making all sorts of hard contact and hitting to all fields that he has raised his dynasty profile dramatically.  

Elly De La Cruz, 3B/SS, Reds
Low-A Daytona (Southeast)

Seldom does a prospect generate buzz like de la Cruz did when observers first saw him in the Rookie-level ACL. The same was true when he moved to Low-A Southeast two weeks later. De la Cruz is a 19-year-old, switch-hitting third baseman with big raw power, great speed and acceleration and an intensity and energy level that scouts love. He is taller than his listed height of 6-foot-2 and is a shooting star in the lower minors. You don’t want to miss out while de la Cruz is freely available in most dynasty leagues.

Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Royals
Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Central)

The Royals appear to have found a legitimate prospect in the 11th round of the 2019 draft. Pasquantino is an Old Dominion product who really hits and has impressed the Royals with his work ethic. Oh, and he’s absolutely ranking in 2021. The 23-year-old Pasquantino hit his way to Double-A in July and for the season was hitting .300 and slugging nearly .600 with outstanding plate discipline indicators. Pasquantino was one of just four minor league hitters to bat at least 200 times at age 24 or younger while hitting .300, striking out less than 15% of the time and running an isolated slugging of .250. The other three were the Twins’ Jose Miranda, the Dodgers’ Keibert Ruiz (now of the Nationals) and the Rangers’ Yohel Pozo.

Aeverson Arteaga, SS, Giants 
Rookie-level Arizona Complex League

Arteaga homered in four straight games in early July and had six bombs plus six doubles through 16 games. That made the 18-year-old Venezuelan perhaps the first dynasty popup in the complex leagues this season. That’s not to say he came from completely out of nowhere. Arteaga ranked as the No. 23 international prospect from the 2019 signing period and was the Giants’ headliner that year. He has a strong foundation of bat-to-ball skill, defensive acumen and a whippy swing that has produced results.

Jose Ramos, OF, Dodgers
Low-A Rancho Cucamonga (West)

Signed as a 17-year-old out of Panama in 2018, Ramos has made outstanding progress this season and is one of the top rising prospects in a Dodgers organization with no shortage of rising prospects. Ramos hit his way out of the Rookie-level ACL after 15 games and was off to a flying start as a 20-year-old in Low-A West. His calling cards are big raw power, the ability to handle center field and a cannon for an arm. As an “older” prospect at the lower levels, Ramos needs to move. So far in 2021 he has done exactly that.

Jose Salas, SS, Marlins
Rookie-level Florida Complex League

The Marlins under CEO Derek Jeter are trying to gain a foothold in Latin America. Salas and righthander Eury Perez represent the most prominent prospects signed internationally by the current front office. Miami signed Salas out of Venezuela in 2019, when he ranked as the No. 13 prospect in the class. The 18-year-old switch-hitter has had no trouble adapting to the speed of the pro game in his debut, showing bat-to-ball skills, gap power and a disciplined batting eye. Interestingly, Salas grew up in Orlando before moving to Venezuela before high school.

Matt Fraizer, OF, Pirates
High-A Greensboro (East)

Fraizer totaled 18 home runs in June and July, which was more than all but four other minor league hitters. Sure, it would be nice to see what he could do at Double-A, given that he is 23 and his home park favors home runs to an extreme level, but Fraizer has tools and now pro track record. The Pirates made Fraizer a 2019 third-rounder out of Arizona, and after a lackluster pro debut that summer he made time in 2020 to improve his balance in the box and ability to meet the ball out front.

Austin Shenton, 3B/1B, Rays
Double-A Montgomery (South)

One mental image of Shenton that will stick with you: He homered over the center field wall at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium last summer at the Mariners’ alternate training site. That wall is 425 feet from home plate and 29 feet tall. Not many have cleared that wall before, but among them are Jay Buhner and Jose Canseco. Seattle drafted Shenton out of Florida International in the fifth round in 2019, but he saved his breakout until 2021. The 23-year-old hit .331/.442/.684 in June and July, producing a 1.126 OPS that ranked third in the minors in that time. Shenton did most of his damage at High-A Everett, a park that plays small, but he continued raking at Double-A Arkansas before the Mariners traded him to the Rays in the deal that shipped closer Diego Castillo to Seattle. Tampa Bay knows a thing or two about pro acquisitions, which boosts the signal of Shenton in dynasty leagues.

Adael Amador, SS, Rockies
Rookie-level Arizona Complex League

Only Maximo Acosta and Robert Puason ranked ahead of Amador among shortstops available in the international signing class of 2019. The switch-hitting Amador was praised for his pitch recognition and bat control as an amateur in the Dominican Republic, and those traits were on display in the ACL early this season. He had nearly as many walks as strikeouts and had gotten to his power in games. Amador is not the prototype twitchy shortstop, but his bat should play. 

Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF, Twins
Rookie-level Florida Complex League

The Twins love what they have seen from Rodriguez, a lefthanded-hitting Dominican outfielder who signed in 2019 and ranked as the No. 19 prospect in the class. He has added significant muscle since signing while remaining loose and athletic. Rodriguez has impact potential at the plate with all-fields power and a fine batting eye. He has work ethic to match. 

Jack Suwinski, OF, Pirates
Double-A Altoona (Northeast)

Drafted by the Padres out of high school in 2016, Suwinski had established a career high with 15 home runs at Double-A San Antonio at the time San Diego traded him to the Padres as part of the deal for Adam Frazier. Suwinski set that new personal standard despite an oppressive home park in San Antonio that has seen fewer home runs than all but one other Double-A or Triple-A park. While he hasn’t hit as well since coming over to Altoona, Suwinski has major league power and could grow to become the lefthanded side of a corner outfield platoon, which might work in a daily lineups league.

Deyvison De Los Santos, 3B/1B, D-backs
Rookie-level Arizona Complex League

De los Santos signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2019 and made his official pro debut this summer. While he already is appearing at first base in Rookie ball games, which raises the bar he must clear with his bat, he at least has the outline to make it work. De los Santos hits the ball very hard, takes disciplined at-bats and early in the season ranked among the 18-and-under Rookie-level leaders in home runs and walks.

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