Tier A: Five Guys Who Can Help ASAP
OF Luis Robert, CWS
Robert profiles as a potential 35-40 home run hitter who should steal 20-25 bases too. With those numbers, he might seem a lock for stardom, but there is some worry that he strikes out too much and could have a lower than perfect batting average. Right now, Robert is going in the late fifth to early sixth rounds in drafts. That might end up being low if he can be more selective at the plate.
2B Gavin Lux, LAD
Lux has nothing more to prove in Triple-A after hitting .392 last season. He has a true understanding of the strike zone and can hit for both power and to all fields. Throw in the fact that he should be able to steal 20 bases each season and you are looking at the likely NL Rookie of the Year.
OF Dylan Carlson, STL
Harrison Bader feels like he is a carton of milk with an expired date. As soon as he is tossed out, Carlson will come in and be the full-time starter for the Cardinals. Carlson has tremendous plate discipline and solid power (think 20-25 HRs). Add in 15-20 stolen bases and you are looking at a player who can produce across the board. The best part of Carlson is that he has a high floor which means that he should fulfill his potential immediately upon getting an opportunity.
1B Evan White, SEA
White signed a team-friendly contract in the offseason, making him a lock to be on the Opening Day roster. He’s a terrific defensive player, who has a nice compact swing and a solid batting eye. While he might never hit 30 homers in a season, he should be able to hit .280 with 20 HRs with regularity. Think of him as a Mark Grace-type producer and you won’t be disappointed.
SP Jesus Luzardo, OAK
I love Luzardo and was crestfallen in 2019 when he was dealing with rotator cuff issues and missed most of the season. When he finally returned in September, he pitched brilliantly out of the bullpen and showed what type of impact he could have in the rotation. Look for the A’s to be careful with his innings, but I expect that he will be one of the top 15 pitchers in the AL by season’s end.
Tier B: Players To Be Called Up By The All-Star Break
OF Jo Adell, LAA
Adell profiles as a five-tool star who can have a huge impact on the fantasy baseball world. The only concern the Angels have with him is his contact rate (he only hit .264 in Triple-A last season). If Brian Goodwin starts out cold and Adell starts out hot in the minors, he might end up being called up in May.
SP Nate Pearson, TOR
Pearson projects as a SP1 for the Blue Jays and they will be very careful with him. Pearson hits 100 MPH on the radar gun and has a nasty slider. Expect him to start the year in Triple-A so he can work on his changeup and overall command. Once he is called up, he could provide a Chris Paddack-type impact.
SP MacKenzie Gore, SD
Gore has a four-pitch arsenal and there is a good chance he is in the big leagues by the All-Star break considering San Diego is in win-now mode. He is a dominant force on the mound, but it would be surprising to see him win many games since the Padres would prefer not to have him pitch deep into games.
SS Carter Kieboom, WAS
Kieboom will eventually be a starter who hits for a solid average and 20-25 HRs per season. The problem is that the Nationals have veterans Starlin Castro and Asdrubal Cabrera starting at second base and third base respectively, blocking him from a full-time role. If Kieboom starts off the year hot in the minors, he might force the Nats to move Carbrera into a utility role sooner than later.
OF Sam Hilliard, COL
Hilliard profiles as a 20-20 player who can provide the team with excellent defensive play. The Rockies are usually late to the game in allowing their prospects to play, but if the team starts out poorly, there could be an early fire sale and Hilliard would become a staple in their starting lineup.
Tier C: Five Guys I Want in Dynasty Leagues
SS Wander Franco, TB
He’s the number one overall prospect in baseball. Imagine a switch-hitter with 30-35 HR power to go along with 15-20 SB each season. He might be ready to play in the majors by late August after some early seasoning in the minors, but just know that Tampa rarely, if ever, rushes rookies to the Show.
OF Julio Rodriguez, SEA
Rodriguez was the talk of the Arizona Fall league in 2019, hitting home runs with ease. The most popular comparison for him is Nelson Cruz with more speed. Look for him to be hitting in the middle of the Mariners’ order in 2021.
SS Royce Lewis, MIN
Lewis was the No. 1 overall pick back in 2017. Despite the fanfare, he only hit .231 in 2019 in Double-A. Something might have clicked for him, though, in the Arizona Fall League where he hit .353 with three HRs and five steals in 22 games. Those numbers should translate to 20-20 when he arrives in the majors sometime in 2021.
1B Andrew Vaughn, CWS
This kid hits for POWER and could be a four-category monster. Think of him as the White Sox version of Pete Alonso. Jose Abreu and Edwin Encarnacion are in front of him, but both players are starting to age out and Vaughn could end up being a piece to the White Sox playoff puzzle as soon as September.
OF Jared Kelenic, SEA
Kelenic was the centerpiece that the Mariners got back in their deal with the Mets for Edwin Diaz. I bet that the Mets are regretting that trade! Kelenic is a tireless worker who can hit the ball to all fields and has surprising speed. He’s also a favorite of Manager Scott Servais, which means he will get the first call-up as soon as a spot opens. He could have a solid fantasy impact.