Five young players to place on your fantasy radar in deep dynasty leagues.
Jake Cronenworth, SS/1B, Padres
Infield versatility? Check. Track record of hitting? Check. Growing power? Check. Cronenworth, the reigning Triple-A International League batting champion, took over as the Padres’ primary first baseman with Eric Hosmer on the injured list and made a dazzling array of defensive plays while hitting for enough impact (six extra-base hits in nine games) to be moved to the No. 5 spot in the Padres’ lineup. With Hosmer back in the lineup, Cronenworth, a shortstop by trade, becomes a prime candidate to take over as the Padres’ everyday second baseman with Jurickson Profar off to a slow start.
Humberto Mejia, RHP, Marlins
Mejia got an early chance in the big leagues on Aug. 7 because of the Marlins’ roster shuffling after an outbreak of the novel coronavirus left the team with a bare-bones roster. Despite making just five appearances at high Class A to finish his season, the 6-foot-4 righthander was impressive against the Mets on a rainy night in Queens. He used a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a high-70s, downer curveball to whiff six in 2.1 innings in his debut. He tunneled both pitches off of each other to deceive and change the eye levels of hitters over the course of his outing. His future with the big club is unclear, but his talent is deserving of a place in your league’s farm system.
Chadwick Tromp, C, Giants
It remains to be seen whether the Aruba-born Tromp can handle the defensive demands of catcher, or whether the Giants will start him regularly, but the 25-year-old can mash. He hit no-doubt homers in consecutive games early last week—one in Oracle, one in Coors—after putting on power displays in summer camp. Tromp has shown encouraging batted ball metrics early (caveat: small sample) with a 12.5 percent barrel rate and a 98.5 exit velocity on fly balls/line drives. A complicating factor in the Giants organization is that Buster Posey is still under contract and first-rounders Joey Bart and Patrick Bailey are in the system.
Josh Staumont, RHP, Royals
The Royals have three former closers in their bullpen between Greg Holland, Trevor Rosenthal and Ian Kennedy. Plus they have a veteran manager in Mike Matheny, who once managed Rosenthal in St. Louis. So far the bullpen hierarchy in Kansas City has been fluid, to say the least. But if the Royals were to trade one or more of their closers, that could create opportunity for others. The deep sleeper in the Kansas City bullpen is the 26-year-old Staumont, who has seemingly been a Royals future closer candidate forever because of his triple-digit heat and unnerving wildness. He throws one of the fastest fastballs in the majors—up to 101 mph this year—and his curveball has one of the highest spin rates in the majors. All Staumont needs is a modicum of command, which is obviously easier said than done. But the early signs in 2020 offer hope, particularly his Aug. 3 outing against the Cubs when he struck out Javier Baez, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber on 13 pitches.
Dylan Moore, OF/3B, Mariners
Moore has played his way into an everyday role with the Mariners, appearing at first base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field while providing thump at the plate. A good athlete who was known primarily for his speed coming out of Coastal Carolina, Moore has added power to his game and is off to a hot start. He has six extra-base hits through his first 10 games. He doesn’t have a great track record of hitting, but with power, speed and experience playing every position but catcher in the majors, he offers versatility, playing time potential and the chance for marginal extra home runs and stolen bases in deep leagues.
—A change of scenery has worked wonders for righthander Thomas Hatch, whom the Cubs traded to the Blue Jays last July in the David Phelps deal. He immediately looked like a new pitcher after the trade, making six starts for Double-A New Hampshire and recording a 2.80 ERA with 34 strikeouts and two walks in 35.1 innings. The 25-year-old Hatch made the Blue Jays roster as a reliever but could be in line for starts this season in Toronto after opening in his first appearance on July 26. He has an athletic delivery and a wide repertoire, the most notable of which are his high-spin 95 mph fastball and high-spin slider, but he has also been generating whiffs on his changeup this season. Priority: Medium