Fantasy: One Under-The-Radar Dynasty Prospect For Each Organization
The beginning of baseball season is a great time to begin paying attention to deep sleepers in fantasy leagues. Being first on an up-and-coming prospect is key to sustained success in dynasty formats.
Opening Day is also a good time to catch up on movement within Baseball America Top 30 Prospects rankings. With the help of our team of writers and sources within scouting departments and front offices, BA was able to compile a collection of one up-arrow player for all 30 organizations that you should be monitoring in dynasty leagues.
This is written with a dynasty baseball angle, so elements of this evaluation may conflict with final Top 30 Prospects rankings in our upcoming updates.
All of these players appeared outside their respective organizations’ Top 30s heading into the season. Many of the top names listed below were signed during the 2021-22 international signing period that opened Jan. 15 and were not yet with their respective organizations.
Consider this an early heads up on what Rookie-level complex league talents to stash.
Cooper Hummel, OF, D-backs
The D-backs acquired Hummel in the Eduardo Escobar before last summer’s trade deadline. Long an old-for-the-level performer, he proceeded to hit .353/.429/.575 for Triple-A Reno over his first 46 games in the organization and played his way into the Opening Day roster. Hummel is still on the outside looking in for a starting job, but he has the skills and the roster spot to make the most of his opportunities and push for regular playing time.
Royber Salinas, RHP, Braves
Signed out of Venezuela in 2018, Salinas burst onto the scene late last summer, striking out 49 batters over 25.1 innings. He made three late-season starts for Low-A Augusta, allowing only a single run over 14 innings. Salinas sits 93-95 mph with above-average vertical break on his four-seamer, pairing it with two different breaking pitches in a tighter low-80s slider and mid-to-high-70s downer curveball with good depth.
Cesar Prieto, 2B, Orioles
Signed this January out of Cuba, Prieto is 22 years old and is expected to be a faster mover than the typical international signee. He has a hit-over-power profile but has made noticeable strength gains since his time in Serie Nacional, Cuba’s top league.
Freili Encarnacion, SS, Red Sox
A player likely to make a sizable leap up in Boston’s Top 30 Prospects, Encarnacion signed for $1.1 million in January and is arguably the organization’s most exciting signee from this season. He has a balanced approach at the plate with actual game power, looking the part of future impact hitter. A fringe runner at present, Encarnacion probably will move off shortstop.
Christian Franklin, OF, Cubs
Franklin was a standout at Arkansas whose swing-and-miss concerns and elevated strikeout rate caused his stock to tumble. While he didn’t set the world on fire during his pro debut, Franklin combines power and on-base ability. He has supporting skills as well, with the ability to handle center field and average to above-average running ability. If the Cubs can make the necessary adjustments to Franklin’s swing to find more contact, he could make a big jump this summer.
Cameron Butler, OF, White Sox
A 15th-round pick out of the California high schools ranks, Butler is a twitchy, athletic outfielder with good bat speed. He struggled during his pro debut, but there’s plenty of tools to dream on and real upside.
Thomas Farr, RHP, Reds
A shorter righthander who was up to 99 mph during his single season at South Carolina, Farr is the type of power arm the Reds have had recent success developing. There’s certainly a fair amount of reliever risk, but his powerful fastball and slider combination should make him a high-strikeout pitcher. He could be worth a flier in deep dynasty leagues.
Milan Tolentino, 2B/SS, Guardians
The Guardians are one of the few organizations with legitimate major league talent outside their Top 30 Prospects. Tolentino is a 2020 fourth- rounder who debuted in the Arizona Complex League last summer, hitting .301/.362/.496 with six home runs. He then saw a late-season promotion to Low-A Lynchburg where he struggled over 16 games. There’s some feel to hit, speed and potentially more power projection than anticipated. Tolentino is worth a roster spot in any league where 300 or more prospects are rostered.
Hunter Goodman, C, Rockies
A powerful slugger from the 2021 college class, Goodman’s batting practices are the stuff of legend. Unfortunately, his whiffs have been equally legendary. If Goodman can reduce his swing-and-miss, he has the power to be a true impact masher. He’s still raw behind the plate, which leads to questions about his future position.
Javier Osorio, SS, Tigers
Over the last several seasons, the Tigers have been one of the major players on the international market, signing Roberto Campos, Cristian Santana and others. Now, Osorio has a chance to be the best among this group—or at least on par with Santana. Blessed with excellent hands and plus bat speed, Osorio shows feel to hit in games with at least average power projection. He is a player to buy in on at the ground level before he explodes later this summer.
Alimber Santa, RHP, Astros
One of the standouts from the Florida backfields this spring, Santa looks like the next in a long line of under-the-radar international pitching signings by the Astros. He’s added strength and size since signing and was up to 98 mph this spring with a hard-breaking curveball. Pitching prospects are tricky, but teenagers with this kind of stuff ascend quickly up prospect lists.
Darryl Collins, OF, Royals
Debuting in Low-A as a 19-year-old last year, Collins had a league-average season against older competition. He showed advanced plate approach with plus showings in metrics like chase rate, contact rate and in-zone swing rate. The issue is that Collins’ power is questionable, because his exit velocity data is well below-average. If he can unlock additional raw power as he ages, Collins has the underlying hitting skills to blossom into an impact regular.
Ryan Smith, LHP, Angels
An 18th-round pick out of Princeton in 2019, Smith made his full-season debut in 2021 and ascended through all four full-season levels to reach Triple-A Salt Lake for five starts. He’s an undersized lefty with an unusual operation, but he has outlier release characteristics and good separation on his pitches from a velocity and movement perspective.
Ryan Ward, OF, Dodgers
In a less talented farm system, Ward likely cracks the 21-30 range of prospect rankings. The 24-year-old is an old-for-his-level performer, but all he’s done is hit for average and power at each stop in his pro career. Assigned to Double-A Tulsa to this season, Ward could start to gain some helium if he hits the ground running. He has a chance to be a data darling prospect in dynasty leagues by midsummer.
Javier Sanoja, 2B, Marlins
An under-the-radar signing out of Venezuela, Sanjora was a member of the Marlins’ impressive 2019 international signing class alongside Eury Perez and Jose Salas. While Sanoja’s slash line during his debut in the Dominican Summer League isn’t impressive, he did walk more than he struck out and showed a knack for the barrel during minor league spring training games.
Jace Avina, OF, Brewers
The Brewers signed Avina out of the Nevada high school ranks last year in the 14th round. He signed for an over-slot deal of $255,900. Avina is a tooled-up player with the potential to stick up the middle. He’s generally lauded for his feel to hit, but there’s enough power projection to make him an interesting upside play in dynasty.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 1B, Twins
Encarnacion-Strand got off to a scorching start over the first weekend of minor league play, but he was already an intriguing upside play in dynasty leagues. Encarnacion-Strand hits the ball extremely hard and already produced good numbers in his pro debut in the Florida State League last summer. His approach is extremely aggressive, and he’s at risk being exploited by better pitchers as he climbs the minor league ladder.
Stanley Consuegra, OF, Mets
A litany of injuries and medical procedures—he missed two months in 2021 with an appendectomy—have kept Consuegra off the field for much of the last few seasons. When healthy, he flashes power, speed and outfield defense, all traits that could lend themselves to a full-time role one day in MLB.
Cooper Bowman, 2B, Yankees
The Yankees’ fourth-round pick out of Louisville last year, Bowman possesses easy plus speed, good on-base skills and average power projection. He is a standout athlete with five-category upside in the long term. He began his 2022 season with High-A Hudson Valley and follows in the tradition of the Yankees grabbing a college middle infielder early in each draft—see Trey Sweeney in 2021, Trevor Hauver in 2020, Josh Smith in 2019, Nick Solak in 2016 and Kyle Holder in 2015.
Carlos Pacheco, OF Athletics
One of the most exciting players out of Venezuela in the 2021-22 international class, Pacheco is a prospect with strong offensive projection because of a variety of offensive tools. He is lauded for his advanced approach and contact skills but should add power because of good bat speed. Pacheco is a plus runner who is projected to center field.
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Nicolas Torres, 2B/OF, Phillies
Torres is a versatile player who logged time at seven different positions in 2021 and provides a contact-driven approach. There’s not a lot of present power in Torres’ bat, but he does flash good bat-to-ball skills and the sort of utility profile that may win him opportunities as he moves up.
Esmerlyn Valdez, OF, Pirates
One of the power standouts from the Dominican Summer League last year, Valdez is already posting plus exit velocity data based on major league standards. His 90th percentile exit velocity was 106 mph, with an average exit velocity of 91.5 mph. There’s certainly some swing-and-miss present in Valdez’s profile, but his contact rates are fringe-average. If his approach improves incrementally in the coming years, he has the power to develop into an impact bat.
Won-Bin Cho, OF, Cardinals
A standout at Cardinals minor league camp this spring, Cho has a balanced swing from the left side with the ability to cover a large portion of the strike zone. His strong, sturdy frame portends future power gains, though he’s already showing at least average power in games. Cho is a pop-up name who has gained some helium since he signed out of South Korea in January.
Marcos Castanon, SS, Padres
The 12th-round senior sign out of UC Santa Barbara hit .404/.484/.716 over 28 games during his final collegiate season. His exit velocity data was above-average last spring, with good underlying plate discipline metrics. His abbreviated pro debut last summer in the Arizona Complex League didn’t go as expected, but with a fresh assignment to Low-A Lake Elsinore this year, Castanon will look to recapture last spring’s form.
David Villar, 3B, Giants
An 11th-rounder out of South Florida in 2018, Villar had a standout season for Double-A Richmond in 2021. He hit .275/.374/.506 with 20 home runs in 106 games. While his game power and exit velocity data are above-average, his plate discipline is plus and he should continue to produce above-average walk rates. He made noticeable contact and approach gains coming out of the 2020 shutdown and begins 2022 in Triple-A Sacramento.
Luis Bolivar, OF, Mariners
Bolivar is an extremely tooled-up player with 80-grade speed, above-average raw power and a center field profile. He faces significant questions around his ability to make consistent contact, but if he shows even fringe bat-to-ball skills in his U.S. debut, Bolivar could blow up later this summer.
Junior Caminero, SS, Rays
Acquired from the Guardians just before the 40-man reserve roster deadline in November, Caminero was a statistical standout in the Dominican Summer League last year. While his .295/.380/.534 line is impressive, his 89 mph average exit velocity, 104 mph 90th percentile exit velocity and 78% contact rate illustrates the special combination of power and contact Caminero possesses. Few prospects have the opportunity to explode onto the scene this summer quite like the 18-year-old Caminero does.
Davis Wendzel, SS/3B, Rangers
A former Big 12 Conference co-player of the year with Baylor—he shared the honor with fellow Rangers prospect Josh Jung—Wendzel has advanced defensive skills that allow him to play any infield position. While his 2021 production was underwhelming, he shows a nice combination of raw power—102 mph 90th percentile exit velocity in 2021—and contact. Beginning the 2022 season in Triple-A Round Rock, Wendzel has a chance to see time in Texas this season and has the sort of supporting skills that could earn him regular playing time if he hits.
Luis Meza, C, Blue Jays
The top catching prospect out of Venezuela in the 2021-22 international class has big shoes to fill with recent Venezuelan catchers Francisco Alvarez, Diego Cartaya and Garbriel Moreno ranking among the elite at the position. Meza is a standout in his own right, with good feel to hit and room to grow into more game power.
TJ White, OF, Nationals
A switch-hitting outfielder with top-of-the-scale raw power, White impressed during his small Florida Complex League sample last summer, hitting .283/.356/.547 with four home runs in 15 games. There’s certainly swing-and-miss concerns with White, and it typically takes switch-hitters a little longer to work out the kinks, but still the 2021 fifth-rounder presents a mountain of upside for a small acquisition cost in dynasty.