Willy Adames (SS - TB)
Of course I’m going to start with a Ray, right? Adames figures to be the next hyped Tampa Bay youngster to get the call to the show. The righty infielder is a 6’0” 200 pound professional hitter, who profiles both at shortstop as well as second base. While I don’t anticipate his power growing much beyond what he has shown to this point, a 20 homer middle infielder is a safe bet. The 22 year old has hit at every level of the minors, and is off to a blazing start to begin 2018 at Triple - A Durham (.355/.455/.581). He doesn’t figure to be a burner on the basepaths either, but there’s potential here for 8-10 stolen bases when he arrives in the majors. The biggest issue is playing time, as the shortstop position is a deep one for the Rays. Adames did play 11 games at second base in 2017, committing just one error, so a position switch could be in the works, and could also be his quickest path to the Trop. He offers a great middle infield option that will provide a high average, a high OBP, and figures to hit in the middle of the lineup upon his arrival.
Brendan Rodgers (SS - COL)
Let’s stick with the middle infield theme here, shall we? Unfortunately, we also stick with the roadblocked to the majors theme as well. Rodgers is another prospect whose bat is going to force the major league clubs’ hand, most likely in 2018. The third overall pick in 2018, the 21 year old is currently slashing .292/.321/.486 with three homers, 13 RBI and two steals in 19 games. In fantasy baseball, we don’t care if you can play defense, but Rodgers plays hard on defense, and may not be the most athletic defender, but hustles to make plays. Drafted as a shortstop, he profiles better as a second or third baseman. No matter how you slice it, he is blocked at every spot, with third base being occupied by one of the best in the game in Nolan Arenado. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether he becomes the big club’s second baseman or shortstop. I feel he fits better at second, but I also feel Trevor Story would be a player the Rockies wouldn’t mind moving. As we have seen with fellow top prospect Ryan McMahon, just because you’re kept on the big club, doesn’t mean you will see regular at-bats. My gut tells me they make more of an effort to get him in the lineup once he gets the call.
Dustin Fowler (OF - OAK)
We all know the the result of Fowler’s 2017 call up with the Yankees, which cost him the remainder of the season. Being dealt to Oakland was the best thing that could have happened to him, as the Yankee outfield is loaded. Oakland has far less talent there, and it’s just a matter of time before Fowler gets called up. In 20 games this season, he is posting numbers that I think are an excellent representation of what we will see at the big league level. Currently, the 23 year old is slashing .280/.310/.354, with a homer, nine RBI, nine runs and five steals. I think at his peak the pop maxes out in the 20-25 homer range. His ability to limit strikeouts will make him a valuable source of runs, RBI and steals, even though I would like to see the walk rate increase a bit. His center field defense is said to be above average by scouts, although he will be able to play all three spots well. With names like Jake Smolinski and Matt Joyce manning the Athletics outfield, Fowler is one of my favorite minor league stashes.
Chris Shaw (OF - SF)
70 GRADE RAW POWER!!! Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about a little man named Chris Shaw. By little man I mean a large man, at 6’3” 225 who is a first baseman by trade, but has been manning left field in Triple - A this season. This is a good thing for those who own him, as it accelerates his timeline to the majors. Upon his call up, home runs and RBI will be his main contribution. Shaw strikes out in the neighborhood of 30%, and doesn’t take a ton of walks. If he can find a way to become more patient at the plate, it will make him more valuable in OBP leagues. Currently, he has five homers in his first 19 games, and figures to be a 30 home run guy in the major leagues. The Giants appear to be heading nowhere, and may try to unload some pieces once they figure that out. This could open some spots for the slugger to get the call, and is worth an add when that happens if you need some bombs and can withstand the K’s.