In January, I selected and profiled one player from each NL team to be the next breakout prospect for their organization, which can be seen here. At the conclusion of the minor league regular season, I wanted to check back in on each of these prospects and offer alternate prospects who grabbed headlines with noteworthy performances this season. Check out the previously published AL midseason edition here. And, make sure to visit the Real McCoy eBay store and exciting Real McCoy card breaks on Twitter brought to you by our esteemed head honcho Mark Nikolov!
Jhoan Duran, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks-Traded to Minnesota Twins
Duran really took a step forward this year, enough to be one of the centerpieces in the trade deadline return for Eduardo Escobar. In Duran’s 15 starts for Kane County (A, Midwest League), he had 71 K: 28 BB in 64.2 IP. He was a bright spot following the trade, as the first 6 starts in his Twins career for Cedar Rapids squad resulted in a sterling 2.00 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and 44 K: 10 BB in 36 IP. I am even more excited for Duran to develop in the Twins system, and he could find his way into the edges of the Top 125 overall prospects in the game next season.
For the Diamondbacks, Jasrado Chisholm has emerged as one of the clubs’ top prospects, putting together a year that makes him look to be the future SS in the organization. Former Yankee farmhand Taylor Widener dominated AA with a blistering 11.5 K/9, and could help the big league team with perhaps a September bullpen stint in the pennant race, but more realistically a mid 2019 callup.
Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 3B, Atlanta Braves-Traded to Baltimore Orioles
Maybe this column should be called “next wave of prospects to be traded at the deadline,” because JCE was dealt as part of the Kevin Gausman trade to the Orioles. Before the deal, Encarnacion socked 10 HR, 57 RBI, 25 2B’s, and 7 3B’s in 97 G. The early days in the Orioles organization have been an adjustment, as he sported a 34 K: 3BB ratio and a .218/.240/.356 triple slash. Encarnacion gives the Orioles one of their new top prospects, and he could be an impact power bat in the confines of Camden Yards.
For the Braves, Drew Waters has really impressed this year, ranking among top 100 midseason lists with his excellent all around play. The switch hitter got rave reviews from Sally League guru John Calvagno (@SALNotes): “A fast bat with premium exit velos paired with stellar up the middle defense. Left handed he’s a terrific young hitter and definitely deserving of the #2 spot [behind Juan Soto in Sally League play this season], by a pretty good margin.” Waters should safely be owned in all dynasty baseball formats.
Charcer Burks, OF, Chicago Cubs
In 125 games at AA Tennessee (Southern League), Burks had a solid .330 OBP and has split time between LF and CF. Burks finished 74% successful in SB attempts (14/19), up from last season’s 57% mark.
For the Cubs, 19 year old catcher Miguel Amaya really blossomed in the system. The Panamanian backstop had 12 HR and an .342 OBP playing in the Midwest League. Amaya is emerging as one of the top offensive prospects for the Cubs and one of the better catching prospects in the game: a must own in deeper or two-catcher leagues at this point.
Michael Beltre, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Beltre split time between A and A+ this season, and all the while has kept his OBP around the .400 mark at .397 for the season. Beltre was also successful on over 80% of SB attempts (22/27), and ran into 5 HR and 8 3B’s.
While Beltre has been an excellent contributor in the Reds’ farm, Tony Santillan has emerged as one of the organization’s bright young pitching prospects with great results in his 11 starts so far in AA, in addition to Jeter Downs taking the next step this year in A ball, where he hit 13 HR to go along with 37 SB and a .351 OBP. Downs gets a bump in OBP leagues, as he could be a top flight option moving forward.
Breiling Eusebio, LHP, Colorado Rockies
Eusebio has missed most of the 2018 campaign due to injury, but the lefty had 11 K: 3BB in his 9 IP of work this season. He will be one to monitor upon his return to the mound.
For the Rockies, second baseman Garrett Hampson has been one to watch, as he started in AA and even has seen time in the MLB this year. Hampson’s hit tool, speed, and defense helps secure that he will be a fixture in the middle of the field for many years and be the successor to free-agent to be DJ LeMahieu.
Caleb Ferguson, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ferguson is currently contributing to the Major League squad in the heat of a three team NL West pennant chase. Though primarily serving out of the bullpen for Dave Roberts, Ferguson has amassed 53 K in 43 IP and a low 1.14 WHIP, where his stuff is playing up in shorter stints. Ferguson also has 10 starts in AAA, dominating to the tune of a 1.53 ERA in 47 IP. He looks to be fit to stay in the bigs, where he will be one of many back of the rotation/bullpen arms that the Dodgers have currently constructed within their roster.
For the Dodgers, it has been the year of Gavin Lux, the club’s 2016 first round selection. Lux has made the jump to AA, where he lit the world on fire with a .324/.408/.495 in 28 games with Tulsa. Lux is certainly among the deep and talented crop of Dodgers prospect core, and is a good option for middle infield depth in your dynasty minor leagues if you missed out on many of the top options. He is a good piece to deal in dynasty if your window for competing is within the next couple of seasons because the Dodgers are very deep at the MLB level and are keeping down ready prospects such as Alex Verdugo.
James Nelson, 3B, Miami Marlins
While Nelson didn’t play to the level of his 2017 Marlins minor league player of the year status, he still projects to be an MLB contributor for the Marlins in late 2019 or 2020 and a talented hitter.
One of the more interesting seasons in the Marlins system came from Sean Reynolds, who looks like Joey Gallo-lite. Reynolds lead the New York Penn League in HR, RBI, BB, and K, while having a batting average of .193. The 6’7″ Reynolds also stole 13/14 bases for the Batavia Muckdogs in what was a truly intriguing year for the converted pitcher. Reynolds is a good dynasty name to monitor in deeper leagues, and Realy McCoy colleague Mark Firkins has also written extensively on the young slugger this season.
Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers-Traded to Chicago White Sox
Add another to the trade deadline board! Medeiros boosted his value enough this season to be moved at the deadline for Joakim Soria. For the Brewers, Medeiros indeed turned a corner: serving primarily as a starter, he had a 3.14 ERA, and 107 K in 103.1 IP. Mederios faced some control issues after the trade, but overall, he figures to be a backend starter option in late 2019 for the White Sox. He was a good name to headline a deal for the effective, but older Soria.
In the Milwaukee system, it really has been all about Corey Ray this season. After moving lots of prospects in the offseason in trades, Ray really solidified his place as a former 1st round talent with an eye-opening 27 HR, 37 SB season. While the Milwaukee OF is still comically deep at this point, Ray nonetheless has emerged as a true top prospect talent who should contribute to the big league club next season.
Corey Oswalt, RHP, New York Mets
Oswalt has pitched well enough in the Majors this season to lose prospect eligibility as he stands at 50 IP. Oswalt hasn’t racked up a ton of K’s at the big league level, but has contributed out of the rotation and bullpen for the Mets. HR’s have been an issue, as he has surrendered 12 bombs, but Oswalt will continue to serve as a guy who can be a useful arm in the organization.
The Mets have had a big improvement in the farm system this year. A pair of middle infielders have really drawn some attention: Luis Santana and Shervyen Newton. Santana is somewhat limited defensively to 2B, but his hit tool has been fantastic. Newton has been a little more under the radar, but has the ability to stay as a SS and could provide great power and OBP from the position. The 6’4″ Newton could move to 3B and is a great name to circle for 2019 dynasty drafts or an end of season add in deeper leagues.
Victor Arano, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Arano has been a consistent bullpen option for Gabe Kapler’s Phillies in 2018. While there was a flicker of a chance he could be a closer this year, Seranthony Dominguez flew ahead of all of the bullpen arms in Philly to claim the top spot on the depth chart for saves. However, Arano has put together a solid season, where he has a 2.60 ERA and 55 K: 14 BB in 52 IP. Arano has 9 Holds and 3 Saves.
For the Phillies, Spencer Howard has had a dominant season pitching in the South Atlantic League. The 2017 2nd Round pick capped off a breakout year as he completed a postseason no hitter, an outstanding achievement on what was a solid season for a young pitcher. Expect Howard to be a popular choice moving up rankings next season for starting pitching prospects.
Jason Martin, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
With the Pirates trading away Austin Meadows, an outfielder who was once thought to be a potential franchise cornerstone, Martin suddenly has become one of the prominent outfield prospects in the high minors for Pittsburgh. While there is certainly other OF talent with the emergence of Cal Mitchell and the drafting of Travis Swaggerty Martin thrived this year at AA by slashing .325/.392/.522 in 68 G. Martin somewhat struggled upon his promotion to AAA, but should be on track to take over a vacant outfield slot with incumbent Corey Dickerson a pending free agent.
Jordy Barley, SS, San Diego Padres
The Padres have so much talent in the low to mid minors, it is drool-worthy to think about what the future could hold in Southern California in a few years. The 18 year old SS has taken some important developmental steps this season, including a torrid streak in early July where he had a 10 game on base streak.
There are many San Diego prospects to highlight, but 2018 was really a year in the Padres system for two guys who were acquired in previous trades. Pitcher Chris Paddack, acquired from the Marlins and fully recovered from TJ Surgery, put up ridiculous video game numbers and looks to be a rotation force moving forward. 2B Esteury Ruiz, acquired from Kansas City, has drawn comparisons to a young Alfonso Soriano, was 1 SB short of the 50 mark while swatting 12 HR at A level Fort Wayne. Kudos to AJ Preller.
Sam Wolff, RHP, San Francisco Giants
Wolff primarily was a AA Richmond Flying Squirrel, and pitched as a middle to late relief arm with mixed results. Wolff surrendered 36 H in 27.1 IP, which was a bit of a concern, but only allowed 1 HR. Wolff had the K’s working as he set down 38 against a reasonable 16 BB, and locked down 5 SV.
The Giants system has taken somewhat of an upturn on their modest ranking heading into the season, particularly because of the drafting of their now top prospect C Joey Bart, who has so far looked like the second-coming of Buster Posey. One of the most improved hitters in the system was middle infielder Jalen Miller, who put it together as a Cal League All-Star with 35 doubles, 14 homers, and 11 steals and a .276/.321/.434 in 123 G. Miller is somewhat of a deeper league option at this stage, but could emerge as a more prominent name with a hot start in 2019.
Alvaro Seijas, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Seijas had a respectable first go in full season ball in his age 19 season. Seijas particularly performed better in the second half, which is a testament to the adjustments and development he made during the season. July saw Seijas produce a 3.38 ERA over 4 starts and 21 IP, with 21 K: 13 BB. It was the only month where he allowed fewer hits (19) than IP.
The Cardinals had a true breakout from young slugger Elehuris Montero, who some have hailed as one of the best hitting prospect in the system since Albert Pujols and the late Oscar Tavares. Between two levels, Montero blasted 16 HR and 37 doubles, and sported an impressive .315/.371/.504. Montero looks like a middle of the order force who should be owned in all dynasty formats at this juncture outside of the most shallow leagues.
Taylor Gushue, C, Washington Nationals
Gushue earned an All-Star nod in the AA Eastern League this season, and the 24 year old backstop looks ticketed for the nation’s capital at some point during 2019. While he ultimately may be an offense-first backup, Gushue has the chance to emerge at a position which has been a real headache for the Nationals at the big league level.
One to watch in the Nationals system is New York Penn League All-Star Jacob Rhinesmith. Rhinesmith was the Auburn Doubledays’ team MVP this season, leading the squad in R and RBI, and was 7th overall in the league in H. Rhinesmith is not quite a dynasty asset outside of deep leagues, but he could make a nice midround selection for 1st year dynasty drafts and overall looks like a solid hitter in time in the Nationals system.