This season the South Atlantic League is loaded with top-tier talent on both sides of the baseball. Offensively, which is my focus, most of these guys happen to be outfielders that are already well-recognized prospects in the fantasy community. To provide a more in-depth analysis, today’s list is going to feature some of the slightly lesser-known prospects that may fly under the radar of shallow dynasty and keeper league owners. However, the top tier talent deserves recognition.
This group of top-tier prospects is lead by Leody Taveras of the Texas Rangers. He is an eighteen-year-old international signee out of the Dominican Republic that has legitimate five-category potential. The other international stud is Juan Soto, who the National signed out of the Dominican in 2015, and last year he won the Gulf Coast League MVP as one of the youngest players in the league. He is a pure hitter with an advanced approach and ability to hit for both average and power.
There are also two very high-ceiling domestic prospects floating around the SAL. Mickey Moniak was selected first overall in last year’s amateur draft and is a polished hitter. Right now he’s a stolen base threat with limited power but the script may flip a bit if he puts on some muscle. The other guy from last years draft is Blake Rutherford, who the Yankees scooped up after he slipped on draft day due to hefty signing bonus demands. He may end up in left field long term but is a pure left-handed hitter that projects to hit for both average and power at a high level.
These four guys are must-own prospects in leagues with any minor league roster depth at all, and if you’re looking more information on them check out our preseason outfield rankings here. Now, on to our list of more under the radar prospects.
Age: 20 Bats/Throws: R/R Position: OF Height: 6-0 Weight: 200
The injury bug has been cruel to Lindsay as he missed nearly all of his senior season with a hamstring strain and then reinjured it last year in his first year of professional baseball. However, an elite athlete that already shows a quality, polished approach in the batter’s box with plus bat speed, Lindsay’s offensive potential is through the room. His plus run tool has been hindered so far by the hamstring injuries but there is no reason to believe it won’t return has he regains comfort on the bases. The history of injury increases Lindsay’s risk but, as a plus hitter with above-average power and the potential to steal bases, his ceiling is an elite fantasy outfielder.
Age: 21 Bats/Throws: R/R Position: 3B Height: 6-4 Weight: 225
The Red Sox drafted Dalbec in the fourth round of the draft after he helped lead the University of Arizona to a berth in College World Series last year as a two-way superstar, but he is now a full-time third baseman. At the plate, he has above average bat speed but consistency, both mentally and physically, is the key to his development. He began to transition away from his previously pull-power oriented approach last season in Lowell and needs to find comfortable swing mechanics that he can begin repeat on a regular basis. Dalbec’s offensive potential offers a high ceiling and hinges on his ability to develop both mental and physical consistency and polish his offensive skillset.
Age: 19 Bats/Throws: L/R Position: OF Height: 6-1 Weight: 185
Florial had a little identity crisis before signing out of Haiti in 2015 that led to a suspension and a tough hit to his signing bonus. Morale of the story – don’t try to deceive MLB. He’s settled into professional baseball now and as a 70-grade runner with plus-power offers an exciting combination of power and speed. This biggest deficiency in his game right now is a robust swing and miss issue, which common in unpolished hitter but certainly a concern. Florial projects as fantasy stalwart that can provide both home runs and stolen bases, but is a classic high risk, boom-or-bust international prospect.
Age: 19 Bats/Throws: R/R Position: SS Height: 6-2 Weight: 190
Kieboom was selected 28th overall in last year’s draft and is off to a blistering start to the season for the Hagerstown Suns with a .333/.398/.586 slash and six home run. He doesn’t have the jaw-dropping tools like Florial or Lindsay but is a well-rounded ball player. He is a pure, natural hitter with above average bat speed and a gap-to-gap approach at the plate, and he projects as a solid-average runner with average power production in the future. Kieboom doesn’t offer that “tools through the roof” type of prospect profile but passes the eye test as a middle-of-the-order run producer with a well-rounded offensive skill set.
Age: 18 Bats/Throws: L/R Position: SS Height: 6-0 Weight: 165
The best way to describe Gimenez is a gamer. He is known for his high baseball IQ and laser-like focus on achieving his goals and was rewarded with an aggressive assignment to the SAL in his first experience of professional baseball stateside. He has smooth, contact-oriented stroke from the left-handed batter’s box which allows him to take advantage of his above-average speed on the bases. For now, he sprays line drives to all fields but his plus bat speed and projectable frame offer the potential to hit for average power in the future. Gimenez may end up at second base as a Major Leaguer, but his offensive skill set profiles as the future two-hole hitting table setter in Queens.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join guest host Andrea Lamont, and Kyle Amore live on Monday May 15th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #87 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.
Our guest this week is Lenny Melnick. Lenny is fantasy baseball pioneer, current FSWA Hall of Famer, and the host of his daily podcasts on lennymelnickfantasysports.com Mon-Fri at 9am EST. He also co-hosts a show every Sunday morning from 7-10am EST with Craig Mish on the fantasy sports station on Sirius.
You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”
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@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.