In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a bunch of MLB top prospects making their major-league debuts and becoming relevant to fantasy baseball lineups. From Mason Miller, Bryce Miller, and Brandon Pfaadt to Gavin Stone and Miguel Vargas – there have been a few notable players recently who have transitioned from 2023 fantasy baseball prospect rankings to actual MLB lineups. That doesn’t include Tanner Bibee, who might be up to stay at this point, or Logan Allen for the Cleveland Guardians. But the question is, who’s next? Because in this era, we’re never happy with what we have and are always looking toward the next group of youngsters coming up who can help our fantasy baseball teams. That’s what we’re looking at in this week's MLB Prospect Report as you update fantasy baseball rankings and MLB projections moving forward. The Chicago Cubs have a couple of MLB top prospects getting called up, like Matthew Mervis and Miguel Amaya. There's a good chance you'll be looking at these MLB prospects as top fantasy baseball waiver wire targets if you need to replace guys on the MLB injury report. So, let’s dive in!


2023 Fantasy Baseball MLB Prospects Trending Up

Miguel Amaya – C, Chicago Cubs

It feels like Miguel Amaya has been a top prospect forever. In a sense, he has been – he was signed in 2015. On Thursday, Amaya is finally slated to make his MLB debut for the Cubs. The now-24-year-old catcher has finally started to put things together over the last year or so. He's slashing .273/.411/.659 with four homers, nine runs, eight RBI, and a steal in 13 games at Double-A Tennessee. The Cubs believe that his all-fields approach will play well in games and give him solid offensive upside from behind the dish with burgeoning pop that grades out as average on the 20-80 scale. The arm and receiving have been improving to make him at least average in the key parts of the game for catchers. The Cubs are looking for help all over their lineup and Amaya is just one of the additions making his presence known. Given the wasted at-bats Tucker Barnhart is providing, Amaya should see a decent amount of at-bats with the Cubs.

Matthew Mervis – 1B, Chicago Cubs

Maybe I should put his name in all caps like Cubs fans have been doing on Twitter over the last few days. It doesn’t seem like Matt Mervis has much left to prove in the minors at this point given his 2022 season and start to 2023. He’s slashing .286/.402/.560 with six homers, 27 runs, and 27 RBI in 24 games for Triple-A Iowa. The .294 BABIP suggests he’s not getting lucky with that average either as it’s the same BABIP as Mervis posted in 57 games at Triple-A last year as well. The Cubs used Eric Hosmer to bunt late in the game on Tuesday which clearly doesn’t show a lot of faith in him to make quality contact in a key situation. It’s only a matter of time before the Cubs call up Mervis to start his big-league career and be their new first baseman.

Kyle Manzardo – 1B, Tampa Bay Rays

Oh, the Rays. Are we sure we know what they’re going to do? Especially when it comes to prospects. I mean just look at what they did with Taj Bradley. Kyle Manzardo is another interesting case. He’s been smoking the baseball at every step of the minors over the last season and change. Since starting at Triple-A Durham this year, Manzardo is slashing .305/.394/.598 with a .323 BABIP and .421 wOBA along with five homers, 14 RBI, 13 R, and seven doubles. The hit and power tools are his calling cards at 65 and 55 rating grades, respectively. Manzardo’s defense is at least average at first base and working hard to improve. His current profile matches that of Vinnie Pasquantino as a high-contact, power-hitting first baseman or DH. Right now the Rays’ offense is rolling, clearly, but given how they like to switch things up and always have depth, it shouldn’t be too much longer until he gets the call to Tampa especially if an injury crops up. Just be careful if/when he is called up given the history of the Rays and prospects and player usage.

Mark Vientos – 1B/3B, New York Mets

Is there another young bat destined for Queens? It sure looks that way given what Mark Vientos is doing to baseballs in Syracuse. Last year he played 101 games at Triple-A Syracuse and slashed .280/.358/.519 with a .350 BABIP, .379 wOBA, and 129 wRC+ in addition to hitting 24 home runs, 72 RBI, and 66 runs. Then this year in 26 games to start the year, Vientos is hitting .368/.446/.747 with nine homers, 26 RBI, and 20 runs. All of this is with a low-20-percent K-rate and double-digit BB rate at every stop since Triple-A in 2021. Who’s the top pick to be replaced by Vientos’ services? Daniel Vogelbach the DH. New York already has Pete Alonso at first base and the recently-called-up Brett Baty at third base but they could use more pop in the DH spot. Depending on your fantasy league’s settings, Vientos should qualify as a 1B/3B option rather than just a Util which makes him more valuable when he comes up as well.

Zak Kent – RHP, Texas Rangers

There is a concern with Jacob deGrom’s recent injury in Texas and how to fill the rotation spot if need be. Perhaps that spot could go to Zak Kent. He’s not a top prospect in their system by any measure, but he’s been solid enough at Triple-A to make him an interesting candidate to come up to the bigs. Kent has posted a combined 3.87 ERA over 221 minor league innings including a 1.67 ERA over five starts in Triple-A last year. He’s also posted a 248:75 K:BB ratio in that span across 56 appearances including 47 starts. The main pitch in his arsenal is his plus-slider that morphs into a cutter at times. The rest is a low-90s fastball, a low-80s curveball, and a low-80s changeup with nice fading action. The repertoire is enough to get hitters out but not to be much more than a backend rotation piece.

Cody Bradford – LHP, Texas Rangers

A second Rangers’ prospect? Sure. If deGrom is out for a prolonged period of time they’ll need rotation depth and that could include Cody Bradford. The 25-year-old southpaw was a promising prospect out of Baylor until TOS surgery derailed him for a bit. He’s been back on track since late 2022 with a 2.63 ERA in the final seven starts for Double-A Frisco. Now in 2023, he’s posted a 1.07 ERA over 33.2 innings at Triple-A Round Rock with a 30:12 K:BB ratio. He’s described as a crafty lefty with a typical low-90s fastball that can occasionally reach the mid-90s while developing a cutter to go with a slider and a changeup. The changeup is the best pitch with fade and sink and the slider is a get-me-over type pitch. Most believe he has the best feel for pitching among the Rangers’ arms and his control might also be the best. Bradford profiles as a No. four or five starter as a lefty to mix things up.

Elijah Dunham – OF, New York Yankees

The Yankees are hurting right now. It’s not hard to see that especially with Wednesday’s ninth inning that saw Harrison Bader leave the game injured and then his replacement, Oswald Peraza, leaving injured. That lack of depth might be filled with Elijah Dunham being called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 24-year-old lefty-hitting outfielder who was drafted late in the 2019 draft has played 24 games at Triple-A this year. While the numbers — .247/.368/.371 slash line with a homer, 17 runs, four RBI, and five steals — aren’t off the charts, they’re on pace with what he did at each previous level that resulted in a 17-HR, 37-SB season in 110 games at Double-A last year. Dunham profiles a depth starter for the corner outfielders who could hit .250 with 20 homers in the majors.


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