This week in prospect preview we will look at two guys just last year that were ranked in the top 10 overall prospects and both in the top 3 of shortstop prospects. In 2019 both may still be in the top 10 overall rankings, but one made a position change to speed up the MLB timetable. The players we are taking a look at are Brendan Rodgers and Royce Lewis.
Brendan Rodgers (2B COL)
Scouting grades according to MLB.com: Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 60
Rodgers was drafted as the number 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft and has been their top prospect ever since. Up until this year his main position has been shortstop, while he has played at third and second as well. Obviously Rodgers was not going to dethrone Arenado from the hot corner, and with Trevor Story having a big season last year it meant Rodgers moving to second base. Being from Connecticut, I got to see Rodgers a few times last season up close at AA with the Hartford Yardgoats. Of course the first game I saw him he went yard twice and looked like a superstar, then there were games where he appeared to be struggling. It was a completely mixed bad and it lead to some controversy over his value as a prospect. From a fantasy prospective Rodgers may be viewed as a top prospect, but he isn’t treated like one. Some owners are starting to get concerned with his development and exactly what his future value will be once he gets to the majors. This season in a new 12 team dynasty league, I saw Rodgers fall until the middle of the 4th round in the prospect draft. Owners were just uncertain what they would eventually get from him and when they would see him in the majors.
At the start of the year, Garrett Hampson was the new shiny toy for Colorado’s second base job. That has not panned out so far to where he was hitting below .200 and was optioned to AAA this week. The other guy the Rockies have playing second base is Pat Valakia who is doing even worse, but was recalled from AAA as the counter to sending down Hampson. My guess is that the Rockies are trying to buy time to allow the super two (possible) date to pass then call up Rodgers. Since the start of May, Rodgers has been heating up and is now hitting over .300 AVG with 9 HR and a strike out rate under 17%. While long term I do not see Rogers with an average closer to .260, I do see an increase of power that could potentially reach close to 30 at peak. It would not surprise me to see Rodgers in a Rockies uniform within a month, if you are in a redraft league then I would stash him now.
Royce Lewis (SS MIN)
Scouting grades according to MLB.com: Hit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 70 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 65
Royce Lewis was the number one overall pick by Minnesota in 2017 and the hype behind him has been building ever since. It has been said that Lewis possesses all the tools to be an All Star and a fantasy star more importantly for this purpose. At the age of 19, Royce is currently at A+ ball where he also finished last season. It’s clear that the Twins have challenged Lewis and put him on the fast track. While his counting stats are not the most impressive so far, it is a good sign that he is walking 10.8% and a strike out rate under 20%. Last year between A and A+ he finished with 14 HR and 28 SB. That power/speed can be sustained and the power can continue to grow as he gets older. There is very real possibility of multiple 20/20 seasons. His average has been inconsistent at the different levels, though nothing to be concerned of as I would imagine his base average to be at .255. As of right now Lewis is slated to reach the majors next season, though I would imagine he would reach towards the end of the season and be full time in 2021.
If you are in a Dynasty league, then Lewis is most likely taken and has been for a few years depending on how long your league has been running. In leagues without minor league rosters, I would not think about Lewis at this point, but put him on a list for next season. As a Lewis owner, I would be very excited to have him on my team as a top shortstop of the future. Though I would be watching his production and development closely to see how Minnesota could speed up or slow down his timetable to reach the majors. If you are in a start up dynasty next season, I would very much consider taking Lewis in the first round and towards the top. There are very few players that I would have ranked ahead of him going into 2020.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday May 12th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #159 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. We will discuss spot starters for the coming week, plus a weekend update, and look ahead to next week.
Our guest this week is Kevin Bzdek. Kevin is a writer, editor, league owner, and frequent guest on majorleaguefantasysports.com shows.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday May 16th, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #160 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Cole and Kyle will discuss the latest happenings in the world of MLB and fantasy. They will take a look back on the previous few days and a preview of the coming weekend. Including spot starts, bullpens, offense, and minor league players.