Another week means more MLB top prospects are being called up to the majors and bolstering our fantasy baseball lineups. Some of the top baseball prospects being talked about this week aren’t exactly highly rated in 2023 fantasy baseball prospect rankings nor in MLB farm system rankings as a whole. However, it doesn’t mean these MLB rookies won’t bring upside to your fantasy baseball teams and favorite team's lineups. This week, we’re going to dive into some of the top prospects that recently made their MLB debuts, including Casey Schmitt hitting a home run for the San Francisco Giants, and Jake Irvin joining the Washington Nationals rotation. Could these fantasy baseball sleepers be rising up fantasy baseball rankings and 2023 MLB projections? Plus, we'll break down the next round of MLB rookies who will be called up to MLB lineups soon, like Elly De La Cruz of the Cincinnati Reds or Henry Davis of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Some of these players could be top fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups if you have any guys on the latest MLB injury report. It's worth noting that we won't be touching on post-hype guys like Brent Rooker and Nolan Jones, or even guys getting hype in Double-A, like Jackson Churio or Jack Leiter. Let's now get to this week's Fantasy Baseball MLB Prospect Report as you look to improve your rosters. 


MLB Debuts for Top Prospects This Week

Casey Schmitt – 3B/SS San Francisco Giants

Here come the Giants calling up another solid-hitting infielder that no one pays attention to. That’s kind of their theme after all. The 24-year-old third baseman, Casey Schmitt joined the big league club for Tuesday’s game against the Nationals and homered in his second big league at-bat. He was one of the more interesting prospects in the 2020 draft class as a two-way player before being drafted in the second round and turned into strictly a hitter. The average and power are at least MLB-average traits if not better and he’s flashed both in the minors so far. Over Schmitt’s 222 games across four levels of the minors, he’s slashed .283/.349/.453 with 30 homers, 129 RBI, 127 R, and eight steals. A few things to keep in mind with Schmitt, he’s a natural third baseman playing short in place of Brandon Crawford and when Crawford returns, expect Schmitt to be either sent down or shifted to more of a part-time role. The package he offers is intriguing at the hot corner but he’s unlikely to get a full shot right now to show what he can do.

Jake Irvin - RHP Washington Nationals

With the Nationals placing Chad Kuhl on the IL opened up the fifth starter spot in the Washington rotation and in stepped Jake Irvin. The righty is mainly a two-pitch pitcher with a fastball-curveball as the main combo and a changeup peeking through every so often. While the two pitches have been enough to produce solid K-rates and very good BB-rates, it is a concern, like with most two-pitch pitchers, as to whether he can stick in a rotation long-term. For the time being he and his 0.84 ERA will stay in the D.C. rotation but his 4.07 FIP, 5.71 xFIP, 5.94 SIERA, and 5.91 BB/9 suggest he may not be long for the role.

Jake Alu - 3B/2B/OF Washington Nationals

Another Nationals’ farmhand made their debut this week in the form of Jake Alu. He is the latest drafted player to make his MLB debut in the history of the Nationals’ franchise (since 2005) being drafted in the 24th round. Alu was called up to fill the roster spot of Victor Robles as he landed on the IL with a back issue. While he mainly played third and second in the minors, his MLB debut on Tuesday night came in left field as he won’t be supplanting Jeimer Candelario or Luis Garcia at third and second respectively. Over his nearly 300 minor league games, Alu has slashed .282/.341/.452 with 33 homers, 158 RBI, 152 R, and 35 steals. That all seems well and good but in all likelihood Alu profiles as a below-average MLB hitter in power and speed, but at least average in terms of batting average. The real trick is where he fits defensively as he’s a bit too short for third, not quick enough for second, and is in a mix of outfielders. Ultimately, he likely fills the role of utility man who’s likely spending most of 2023 at Triple-A.


Top MLB Prospects Trending

Elly De La Cruz - 3B/SS Cincinnati Reds

Didn’t we just talk about Elly De La Cruz a couple of weeks ago? Yep, we certainly did, but things have changed. He’s getting even more hype as if that was possible for a No. 1 overall prospect, and his play on the field has been even more impressive. In Tuesday’s Triple-A game for Louisville, De La Cruz hit three balls with an exit velocity of 116 or more MPH. Just how rare is that? Well, since the Statcast era began in 2015, no player nor team as a whole has hit that many balls that hard in a single game. The power is frightening with him, but speed is also a huge tool at 70-grade on the 20-80 scale. He should be up soon for Cincinnati and replace Kevin Newman at shortstop as there is clearly nothing left for De La Cruz to prove in the minors.

Royce Lewis - SS Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins have been struck by a fair bit of injuries this year and that includes their prospects as well. Royce Lewis is working his way back from an injury and is set to finish the rehab assignment soon. Reports are that he will be playing at third base and shortstop during the rehab to add to his versatility to help the Twins’ MLB roster. Given that we’ve seen Jose Miranda be sent to Triple-A and Kyle Farmer is just back from injury and playing multiple positions, we could very well see Lewis slot in at third base. The average, speed, and decent pop would be a welcomed sight to a scuffling Twins’ lineup in search of a boost.

Bubba Chandler - RHP Pittsburgh Pirates

We’re going to divert for just a second here from guys who could be up soon to talk about Bubba Chandler. When Pittsburgh drafted him in the 2021 MLB Draft he was a two-way player like Casey Schmitt, and they gave him a shot to hit and pitch for a while; that didn’t work. Chandler has now been transitioned to pitching only and while the initial results aren’t great, he’s making strides. The four-pitch mix is all above-average including a plus-fastball with nice velocity and late life. The trick for him is getting used to being only a pitcher and just getting reps. The stuff is there for him to be a number two starter in a big league rotation eventually. Still just 20, the upside is there to make him one of the best pitching prospects in baseball that you can still get in on the ground floor of the hype.

Henry Davis - C Pittsburgh Pirates

Staying in Pittsburgh, well their system at least, let's look at Chandler’s future battery-mate Henry Davis. The former No. 1 overall pick has been showing why he was deserving of that pick while slicing up pitching at Double-A Altoona. In 21 games there this year he’s hitting .316/.464/.711 with eight homers and five steals while driving in 17 and scoring 14 times. We all get that catchers can take longer to develop than other hitters but Davis is beginning to show that he’s ready for a new challenge. The Pirates got off to a hot start this year but are in the midst of a 1-8 skid at the time of this piece. Why not call up Davis and give a boost to a struggling lineup, improve the catching on the MLB roster, and start building the rapport behind he and some of the young arms in the rotation like Mitch Keller and Roansy Contreras?

Jordan Westburg - INF Baltimore Orioles

For a guy with a shot to make the team out of spring training, Jordan Westburg has continued to show the Orioles way he belongs in Baltimore at this point. The GM for Baltimore gave a press conference on Tuesday in which he said there was more help coming from the farm if they choose to use it, well, respectfully sir, what are you waiting for? In 27 games at Triple-A Norfolk this year he’s hitting .325/.384/.596 with nine homers, 32 RBI, 25 R, and four steals and that comes on the heels of a 91-game stint at Triple-A last year in which he hit .273 with 18 homers and nine steals while driving in 74 and scoring 64. For a team that could use some help in the middle infield, specifically second base, Westburg fits there as well as short and third base. The window starts now for Baltimore and Westburg could be the next piece called up.

Colton Cowser - OF Baltimore Orioles

If it’s not Westburg that’s called up it should be Colton Cowser. Another guy on the cusp of making the team out of spring training and then performing well at Triple-A. Cowser in 31 games thus far this year is hitting .313/.456/.522 with five home runs, 36 R, 24 RBI, and four steals while walking nearly as many times as striking out (29:31). While the path isn’t necessarily as open for Cowser as it is for Westburg, there’s no reason he couldn’t come up and DH while spelling their starters in the outfield a few times a week. Kyle Stowers is struggling MIGHTILY in the DH spot and if Baltimore wants some more offensive production, Cowser could be the plug-and-play option on the farm.

Kyle Harrison - LHP San Francisco Giants

One of the top left-handed pitching prospects in the minors, right up there with Ricky Tiedemann in Toronto, Kyle Harison is starting to put things together at Triple-A. Over seven starts for Triple-A this year he’s posted a 3.20 ERA (3.83 FIP, 5.07 xFIP), a 15.56 K/9 which translates to a 38.2-percent K-rate, and a .162 BAA. That all sounds great, right? As does his mid-90s riding fastball, mid-80s sweeping slider, and low-80s sinking changeup that keeps hitters off-balance. However, there are some things that he needs to improve before San Fran thinks about putting him in the MLB rotation. What might that be? Well, his 23.6-percent BB-rate, nope not a typo, and 1.63 WHIP along with a .324 BABIP and going not even three innings a start on average right now. In the seven starts, he’s thrown just 19.2 innings making it four innings just once, his last start. There is a lot to like about a guy who profiles as a number two starter in San Francisco but we likely need to see more length in the next few starts before we’re talking about another Giant making the big leagues.


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