Now is the time in the 2023 MLB season that your league mates start to nod off managing their fantasy baseball lineups. With all of the family plans and vacations over the summer people tend to stop paying attention to their fantasy rosters. We can use this time of year to our advantage to snatch up all of the lesser-known and followed prospects to get ourselves loaded for years to come. In fact, just last night I caught my dynasty baseball league mates sleeping and nabbed four young prospects who are on the verge of being in the top-100 MLB prospect rankings. We’ll talk about the Cleveland Guardians calling up rookie pitcher Gavin Williams to replace injured Triston McKenzie and what to expect from him. Then we’ll get into the prospects who are on the verge of being top-five prospects in their MLB farm system rankings and top-100 MLB prospect rankings.


Recent MLB Prospect Call-Ups

Gavin Williams — RHP Cleveland Guardians

At the end of May, I wrote Gavin Williams was likely to come up very soon. It’s now three weeks later and he’s gotten the call to Cleveland. It’s unfortunate that the elbow inflammation injury to Triston McKenzie is what opened the roster spot for Williams, but the righty would’ve pushed his way to the majors either way. Talent always plays and he has plenty of that. The 6’6”, 250-pound righty is as imposing as it gets on the mound and that’s before his stuff comes out of his hand. The velocity and spin his real and leads to a ton of strikeouts. The Cleveland Guardians’ top prospect has produced 81 Ks in 62 innings on the mound this year across two levels while walking just 24 batters. Williams has a four-pitch mix with three above-average and one plus offering which profiles him as a number two starter when he reaches his ceiling. He’s an immediate add in all formats.

MLB Prospects To Know

Colt Keith — 3B/2B Detroit Tigers

It’s not often that taking a high schooler in the fifth round, with a college commitment in hand, results in him joining the minor leagues. For Colt Keith it did though. The 6’3”, mostly, third baseman has been progressing rapidly through the Detroit Tigers’ system becoming one of the Tigers top prospects. His above-average Hit and Power tools are playing well as is his strong arm at third base. In 2023, Keith is slashing .322/.392/.588 with 14 homers, 47 RBI, 42 R, and two steals in 56 games at Double-A Erie. That follows a .301/.370/.544 slash line in 48 games at High-A West Michigan in 2022. We talked about Jace Jung previously but Keith has arguably the higher upside of the next round of Tigers’ farm hands.

Lazaro Montes — OF Seattle Mariners

The international signing period of 2022 was a loaded one. We’ve already talked about a few of those signings and Lazaro Montes is another one. The 18-year-old outfielder signed with the Seattle Mariners for $2.5 million and the tools are there to make him worth every bit of that. Montes possesses at least an average Hit tool, plus-Power, above-average Run and Arm tools as well. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with the tools because the swing does need some work. Montes has been a tad too likely to strikeout but he also walks a healthy amount indicating the swing gets a little long and out of sync at times. Over 62 games at two different Rookie League affiliates, Montes has slashed .282/.423/.564 with 10 homers, 46 RBI, 38 R, and three steals. There were 83 strikeouts in that span with 39 walks but the K-rate is too high right now. The raw tools are there to make him a middle-of-the-order hitter capable of a .270-.280 AVG and 30-plus homers in a few years but at 18 years old, Montes’ ETA isn’t till at least second-half of 2026.

Jaison Churio — OF Cleveland Guardians

If the last name sounds familiar, his brother, Jackson Churio, is a top prospect in all of baseball for the Milwaukee Brewers. Jaison Churio, the younger one, was signed in the 2022 international signing period by the Cleveland Guardians. While he’s not quite as toolsy as his older brother, let’s not assume he’s just here for his last name. Churio is still growing into his 6’1” frame but the Hit, Power, Run, Arm, and Field tools all have the potential to be above-average if they’re not already there. That means that Churio, once rounded out, should be a 25-20 outfielder with the ability to hit for a .280 average. If he wasn’t in such a deep farm system like Cleveland’s, he’d be more known. At the start of 2024, he should be a top-five Guardians’ prospect and top-150 overall MLB prospect.

Luis Morales — RHP Oakland Athletics

One of the newest additions to the prospect ranks, Luis Morales’ signing might have been overshadowed by all of the Las Vegas talk with the Oakland A’s. The 20-year-old righty has a four-pitch mix with three of them being at least above-average if not plus and still time to develop even more. Morales, a Cuban defector, struck out 161 batters across 82.2 innings in the Serie Nacional before moving to Mexico and signing with Oakland for $3 million in January. If he can keep refining his control there’s no doubt his stuff makes him a frontline arm with a 99-mph fastball with run and two distinct, above-average breaking pitches and a developing, currently MLB-average changeup. Morales doesn’t have bullpen risk thanks to the pitch mix and the control is at worst a tick below-average. In 2.5-3 years he’ll be a frontline starter for the A’s no matter where they call home.

JR Ritchie — RHP Atlanta Braves

There’s been a lot of young pitchers coming up to Atlanta this year in AJ Smith-Shawver and Jared Shutter and Dylan Dodd but there are more to pay attention to. One of those is JR Ritchie who was a Competitive Balance Round A pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. Ritchie has an interesting combination of pitches with most grading out as at least above-average. His best pitch is a sharp mid-80s slider that pairs well with his solid, but not spectacular, heater. He folds in a curveball and changeup as well with the former being ahead of the latter. The 19-year-old righty has so far posted 35 Ks in 23.1 innings at Class-A with eight walks. Ritchie profiles as a number three starter in a few years for the Braves.

Jackson Ferris — LHP Chicago Cubs

Like the Braves, the Chicago Cubs have been making news this year with some young arms like Justin Steele, Hayden Wesneski, Ben Brown, Jordan Wicks, and Cade Horton all being rookies or top Cubs’ prospects. There’s one more we should at to that list to watch, who is shaping up to be just as them in Jackson Ferris. The lefty who was drafted in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft has all the makings of a number three starter. Ferris’ three-pitch mix is anchored by his mid-90s carrying fastball with deception and then is played well off of with his curveball and sweeping changeup. The delivery is a bit wonky but with time will be cleaned up and repeatable. Over the next two yers Ferris should reach the point of a call-up and slot in well with some of the names above to make a good young Cubs’ rotation.

Joendry Vargas — SS Los Angeles Dodgers

We’re going deep, like OceanGate Titan deep, though still recoverable, for this one. Previously we talked about Josue De Paula as another young Dodgers’ prospect who cracked the top-100, we’ve got another one. Joendy Vargas was signed this January in the 2023 international signing period and joins one of the deepest farm systems in the league. In my latest Top-400 MLB Prospect Rankings list, he’s 250th and the 15th-ranked Dodgers’ prospect. The 6’4”, 17-year-old shortstop possesses five above-average traits with a few burgeoning on plus with time. Vargas may ultimately be too tall to stick at short, though he has the smooth actions to stay there if L.A. chooses, but profiles well as a high-Average, plus-Power third baseman. Regardless of defensive spot, Vargas has the tools to be a Corey Seager-esque left-side of the infield hitter who hits in the two-hole or middle-of-the-order.


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