WATCHLIST: Prospects on Fast Track to September Call Up

The WatchList offers a weekly quick-hit look at position players and pitchers with potential to impact fantasy rosters throughout the 2019 regular season, whether that be due to injury or outstanding performance. The WatchList aims to illuminate prospects who are not regularly featured in "top prospect" columns, but rather, those prospects who are on the fringe of the HQ100 or lower. Call-ups are often difficult to predict, but these are players to keep in mind if your league rules allow minor-league pickups.

*All statistics current through August 22, 2019* | 2019 WatchList Production Tracker

Hitters

Bobby Dalbec (3B, BOS)
MLBA19 Prospect Grade: 9C
5x5 Impact Category: HR

A former closer and third baseman at the University of Arizona, Dalbec's pro career has been headlined by prodigious power output that could soon translate to fantasy production in a near future. The 24-year-old slugged 32 HR and a 59% x/h% across 129 games in A+/AA last year, and this year has posted similar numbers (23 HR, 41% x/h%) in the upper minors. His power plays to all fields easily, and a 48% fly ball rate in AA (10th highest among his counterparts) earlier how to lift the ball consistently. You'll have to stomach some strikeouts, and a below-average AVG seems likely with his fringy contact skills (65% ct% in 350-plus pro games), and he doesn't bring speed to the table. He shows good plate skills (0.57 Eye, 14% bb% in 2019), however, and should have added value in OBP formats or deeper AL-only formats moving forward.

Ryan McBroom (1B/OF, NYY)
MLBA19 Prospect Grade: N/A
5x5 Impact Category: AVG

As New York's injured list has grown this season, the opportunity for PT has been afforded for several former quad-A types such as Mike Tauchmann, Gio Urshela and Mike Ford. Could McBroom be next? After all, the 27-year-old has performed quite admirably in AAA this season, slashing .319/.400/.564 (143 wRC+) with 21 HR and a 41% x/h% across 104 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Among the handful of things that make McBroom an intriguing fantasy option moving forward are his above-average contact ability (79% vs. 75% league average), his penchant for fly balls (41% vs. 35% league avg), and a marked improvement in patience (11.1% bb% in 2019, a career-best, and up from 6.4% in 2018). He's also cut his overall strikeout rate by about seven points from PY. As a 1B-only, he'll need to hit, but there's AVG/HR value lurking here.

Zack Granite (OF, TEX)
MLBA19 Prospect Grade: 6A
5x5 Impact Category: SB

Granite made his ML debut back in 2017 with his original draft club, the Twins, hitting to the tune of a .237/.321/.290 slash with 1 HR/2 SB in 40 games mostly in the second half. The 26-year-old OF was acquired by TEX via trade last March, and he has yet to crack a major league roster since 2017, but he could be on his way to Arlington soon. After a cold month of April to open the season, Granite owns a .303/.344/.399 triple slash over his last 381 PA with 3 HR and 18 SB in that span. The Seton Hall product will have a chance to impact AVG and SB right away, owning one of the highest contact rates in the upper minors (91%) with a mostly ground-ball profile (51% GB%). His power is almost non-existent, but he shows good discipline and his ability to play a plus CF. He's worth a look in AL-only formats or 15-team mixed.

Keibert Ruiz (CA, LA)
MLBA19 Prospect Grade: 8B
5x5 Impact Category: AVG

Will Smith has become a revelation for the Dodgers since being recalled from the PCL (80 AB, 10 HR, .325 AVG, 141 BPV), but Ruiz being promoted to AAA over the last few weeks should have fantasy owners at the ready (though he's currently on the 7-day IL down there). Only recently turning 21 years old, Ruiz owns by far the lowest strikeout rate (6.7%) along with the best Eye (1.36) among qualified hitters in the upper minors this year and despite hitting a combined .261/.331/.347 with 6 HR in 85 games, he projects to be a plus AVG/OBP contributor right from the get-go. A former July 2 international signee, Ruiz doesn't possess much speed or power and his batted ball profile still leans heavily on grounders (43-45% as a pro). He is, however, an above-average CA with a plus arm and that should allow for him to acquire some PT next month.

Jazz Chisholm (SS, MIA)
MLBA19 Prospect Grade: 8C
5x5 Impact Category: HR

Acquired by MIA from ARI in the trade that saw former WatchList dude Zac Gallen head to the desert, Chisholm is a lean, wiry SS prospect whose offensive game is predicated on big-time power but also some swing-and-miss. Prior to the trade deadline deal, the former July 2 international signee had put up a slash line of .204/.305/.427 with 18 HR and 13 SB across 89 G in AA (and a .245/.351/.510 slash in 14 G with his new org). While MIA may wait until 2020 to call up him for a cup of coffee, Chisholm should be on the radars of 15-team or NL only owners right now. At 5-11, 165, Chisholm produces fly balls at a 48-50% clip and has plus raw power for impact as an everyday SS, and is a good enough athlete to steal 15-20 bags a year. As mentioned, his contact remains a concern (62% ct% in 2019), but if that improves, look out.

Pitchers

Michael Peoples (RHP, CLE)
MLBA19 Prospect Grade: N/A
L5 PQS (AAA): 4 1 4 2 5

The likelihood of the Indians requiring rotation help may be unlikely at the moment with one of the best 1-through-5s in the big leagues, but Peoples could be in a position to contribute if called upon in a few days. The 27-year-old RH has put up some solid ratios in the AAA this year, headlined by a 7.4 Dom/1.9 Ctl mix that ranks fifth-best among qualified starters, an above-average ground-ball rate of 44% and the lowest overall ball-rate (33.6%) of his pro career. He won't blow anyone away with stuff, and his margin for error is smaller than most, but he works efficiently and knows how to sequence his pitches. People's FB sits 88-92 mph with arm-side run and his 76-78 mph CB and CU are average offerings. Peoples' delivery is balanced, repeatable and low effort and despite his SwK ability (9%), he could be of utility in 15-team formats.

Thomas Jankins (RHP, MIL)
MLBA19 Prospect Grade: N/A
L5 PQS (AAA): 3 1 1 2 2

The Brewers could opt to get creative with their struggling rotation in the coming weeks, and despite not currently being on the 40-man, Jankins is an arm that provides some peripheral ability to get some outs next month. The 23-year-old righty is 10-3 with a 4.35 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 6.3 Dom/2.5 Ctl tandem across 100-plus innings in the hitter-friendly PCL this year. Jankins operates with three pitches that grade out as at least average, including a low-90s sinking fastball, above-average fading change-up and a slurvy breaking ball. Among his attractive qualities for fantasy play are his elite 55% ground-ball rate at AAA this season along with his ability to control the strike zone. His swing-and-miss ability is fringe-average right now (10%), but his Dom has improved with each month this season and he could be an option in NL-only formats.

Cristian Javier (RHP, HOU)
MLBA19 Prospect Grade: 7D
L5 PQS (AA): N/A

Armed with arguably the best and deepest rotation in baseball, the Astros may not call up on Javier for many high-leverage innings next month, but the 22-year-old possesses some skills and upside that make him an intriguing option moving forward. Overall, the 6-foot-1 right hander has pitched the bulk of his 2019 innings with AA-Corpus Christi, posting a 2.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 13.9 Dom/4.7 Ctl mix across 17 appearances in the TL. He has shown a marked ability to miss bats as both a starter (15% SwK%) and reliever (17%), utilizing a four-pitch mix that includes a low-90s fastball, mid-80s slider, flashes of a plus change-up and a curveball. Javier won't blow anyone away with a dominant offering, but he mixes his pitches well and has good feel on the mound. He's a future #5 SP/swingman type but the whiff history is intriguing for all formats.

Wil Crowe (RHP, WSH)
MLBA19 Prospect Grade: 7C
L5 PQS (AAA): 2 4 0 3 0

A 2017 second-round pick out of South Carolina, Crowe put himself on the map by scooting up three levels in 2018 and performing admirably on the whole (3.40 ERA, 7.3 Dom, 21 GS), and he's followed it up with another productive campaign in the upper minors (4.32 ERA, 8.2 Dom, 23 GS). Thick and strong at 6-2, 230, Crowe shows an ability to pitch deeper into games than most fringe prospects along with a SwK (10%) and GB% (42%) that are right around-league average. His above-average FB will touch 95 mph and sit 91-94 with sinking action, and his power slider has the action required to miss bats when it's on, and his change-up has trended toward an above-average grade in two pro seasons. Overall, this isn't a high-ceiling arm, but one that could rack up innings as a #4/5 SP type with potentially average Dom output.

Keury Mella (RHP, CIN)
MLBA19 Prospect Grade: 7C
L5 PQS (AAA): 1 1 1 2 3

The Reds are in full "experimentation mode" for 2020, and for Mella, who has pitched sparingly at the big-league level each of the past two seasons, another cup of coffee could be in the works with the way he has pitched in AAA this summer. The 26-year-old right hander has gone 8-12 in 25 starts and owns a 4.80 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 6.4 Dom/3.5 Ctl combo in that span. A dip in strikeouts from 2018 (8.4 Dom) has fueled some concern about where he long-term projection might be, as he owns #5 SP stuff but could fit a setup RP profile better moving forward. He still sits 93-95 mph with a sinking 2-seam FB, flashes of an above-average 12/6 CB and an inconsistent CU. He has been one of the most prolific ground-ball artists in pro ball this year (53% gb%) which, along with the previous Dom, should pique the interest of deep-league owners.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.