There’s been a bunch of players called up over the last week. Why are teams promoting rookies now? Well, we’ve reached the time of the year in which prospects don’t accrue service time when called up to the majors. That would be why we saw Kyle Harrison for the San Francisco Giants, Everson Periera for the New York Yankees, Noelvi Marte for the Cincinnati Reds, and Parker Meadows for the Detroit Tigers all make their debuts. There were a few others as well who’ve made the jump to MLB lineups. But, just because they’re in MLB lineups, can we count on them for fantasy baseball rosters going forward? That’s what we’ll be talking about in this week’s Prospect Report.
Prospects Called Up to MLB
We at Fantasy Alarm have been on Harrison for a while now. He’s previously been my top left-handed pitching prospect in my rankings for a while, until this year that is. He took a step back, there’s no way around it. The problem? His control, or should I say lack thereof. The walk rate skyrocketed despite the stuff still being electric and ace caliber. The strikeouts are still there but the problem has been the walks costing him pitches and thus innings in his outings. He’s failed to go more than five innings a lot this year at Triple-A. Even with all this, the Giants elected to call up Harrison for his MLB debut earlier this week. It went fine, by his standards, with five strikeouts in 3.1 innings and a few hits, HBP, and a walk. The hope is that he can sort out the control issues and get back to his standing as a future ace for the Giants with a major strikeout potential for fantasy baseball.
This might sound a bit strange but the Yankees do have a sub-six-foot outfield prospect high in their system — Pereira. We’re so used to seeing the large Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge but what about a 5-foot-11 toolsy prospect? That’s Pereira. This year has been an all-around breakout for him with a .300/.373/.548 slash line in 81 games between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with 18 HR, 64 RBI, 53 R, and 11 SB. When he was signed in 2017 it was expected he’d be a plus-hitter with average power and that’s not flipped a bit. He’s instead an average-to-above-average hitter with above-average-to-plus power. His defense is still solid and that allows him to profile in any of the three outfield spots though he’s come up as a centerfielder. He should get an extended look the rest of this year given the state of the Yankees’ lineup currently.
Noelvi Marte, SS/3B, Cincinnati Reds
Just how many good, young, infielders do the Reds have at their disposal? Well, Marte is one for sure. He was received as part of the return from Seattle in the Luis Castillo trade and has been progressing well through the Cincinnati system since. Over three levels in 2023, Marte slashed .279/.358/.454 with an .812 OPS in 92 games with 11 home runs, 69 R, 45 RBI, and 18 SB. He also put up very similar numbers and slash line in 115 games across two levels in 2022 including the same AVG at .279. In general, he’s an average hitter with plus power and above-average speed. That plus power also doesn’t take into account his home park — Great American Ball Park — and it’s generous home run rates. Where he fits in the rest of the year in Cincinnati is hard to figure out since he played more 3B at Triple-A Louisville than SS this year and it’s not like the Reds are hurting on the left side of the infield. He’s more in the wait and see category for the rest of the season based on the cluttered at-bats and playing time situations in Cincinnati.
Sometimes guys take a little while to develop, that’s the case with Meadows. At 6-foot-5, there was hope that the lefty-hitting outfielder could be a middle of the order bat for the Tigers, especially once his older brother Austin Meadows joined the organization, and the last two years have borne that hope out. In 2023, over 113 games at Triple-A Toledo, Meadows nearly went 20-20 (19-19) with a .256/.337/.474 slash line and 78 R and 65 RBI prior to his call-up to Detroit. You might think because of his size that he wouldn’t be a base running threat, but he grades out at plus Speed with plus Power though with a slightly below-average Hit tool. The young core that Detroit is slowly but surely building is starting to come and Meadows’ promotion is the first part of that with a chance for Colt Keith to be the next piece.
All it took for Busch to come up to the majors was the injury to J.D. Martinez. Call me nuts but you’d think a slash line of .323/.432/.615 in 88 games at Triple-A this year with 24 home runs, 82 RBI, 76 R, and three steals would be enough to get a taste of the majors earlier. That also doesn’t include last year’s 111 games at Triple-A in which he slashed .266/.343/.480 with 21 homers and three steals. Hmmm, I wonder what else he needed to do to impress the L.A. decision makers? Now that he’s up with the Dodgers he should be used in a few different positions the rest of the way and offers an interesting combination of Hit and Power tools.
The Dodgers already piecemeal pitching staff received a blow with Tony Gonsolin’s injury. That’s where Pepiot comes in. He won a job in the starting rotation out of spring training and then injured an oblique. Now he’s back in Los Angeles and will be a factor down the stretch whether it’s in the rotation as a spot starter or as a bulk reliever. Either way, Pepiot should provide enough strikeouts and solid ratios to make him worth rostering in fantasy baseball.
Hot Prospects Being Promoted
Ethan Salas, C, San Diego Padres
The meteoric rise of Ethan Salas has been remarkable. He’s at Double-A, having just been promoted by San Diego, at just 17 years of age. It was an interesting promotion though. Salas played just nine games in High-A and hit .200 with 10 Ks and just two walks. It’s possible that he was moved up to help with a playoff push at Double-A or fill a roster gap, but either way it wasn’t necessarily a performance based promotion. So those expecting this to bump up his timeline to make the majors shouldn’t get overly excited yet as he’s still a 17-year-old catcher with a lot of maturing left to do.
Dylan Crews, OF, Washington Nationals
Class-A Fredericksburg just wasn’t enough of a challenge for Crews it appears. The best bat, and for some overall player, in the 2023 MLB Draft, Crews slashed .355/.423/.645 in 14 games at Class-A with five homers, 24 RBI, 16 R, and a steal. He then singled and walked twice in his first game at Double-A Harrisburg. With him now at Double-A, he joins possibly the best outfield in the minors next to James Wood and Robert Hassell III III and the future core of the Nationals’ middle-of-the-order. There is a reasonable chance that Crews makes a case for a starting outfield spot next spring training.
Paul Skenes, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Like his former teammate above, Skenes has been moved up to Double-A Altoona for the Pirates. It hasn’t taken him long to get there, and rightfully so. He’s thrown just four innings between Complex League and Class-A before showing up to Altoona. In that span he’s struck out five, walked none, and given up just one hit. He’s clearly the best pitching prospect in baseball but this fast of a path is still a bit surprising for a team like the Pirates who are traditionally slower to promote even their most talented prospects to a new level.
The highly-touted Dominguez is now at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after 109 games at Double-A Somerset. It’s an interesting promotion for Dominguez. Why? Well, he was hitting just .254 in those 109 games while striking out 130 times. While he did draw 77 walks and hit 15 homers while swiping 37 bags, it’s still not a typical slash line that gets a prospect moved up. The skills for the switch-hitter have been drooled over for a while now but it’s taking a bit longer than some had thought for all of his ability to make an appearance. Dominguez has a shot to be up in the Bronx mid-2024 at this point.
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