A couple of reminders:
First. This is for 2020 only. This is not a list of the top prospects in baseball overall. This is specifically a list for redraft leagues and redraft leagues only. Second, this is a fantasy list. It is not a list of the top overall prospects. Defense matters because it allows a prospect to play, but this list is just about the pitchers and hitters who have a chance to provide fantasy value in 2020.
With those reminders out of the way, here’s a look at the top 10 fantasy prospects for the 2020 season.
1. Deivi Garcia, RHP, New York Yankees
2019 stats: 26 G, 111.1 IP, 4.28 ERA, 54 BB, 165 SO at High-A Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
It feels a bit like cheating to put Garcia on this list, but he's assuredly still a prospect, and he's also not on the Yankees' roster because he's been called up to start doubleheaders as the extra player in both of his outings. It sounds like the 21-year-old is going to start against the Blue Jays this week, and based on what we've seen in his limited action with New York so far, he'll be worth an addition. I'd get him right now rather than risking the addition on Friday.
2. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego Padres
2019 stats: 20 G, 101 IP, 1.69 ERA, 28 BB, 135 SO at High-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A Amarillo.
The addition of Mike Clevinger to the roster by the Padres likely means that we don't see Gore make his debut in 2020. I'm still listening him as my second-best prospect for the remainder of the year, and if not for Garcia's weird situation, he'd be comfortably in the top spot. Why you may be asking? Because look at those numbers above, and then look at the fact that there's only 20 days left in the season. There's no other prospect in baseball that can give you this kind of impact on the pitching side, and if the Padres do give him a chance? He's an absolute must-add.
3. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Seattle Mariners
2019 stats: 117 G, .291/.364/.540, 23 HR, 20 SB, 50 BB, 111 SO at Low-A West Virginia, High-A Modesto and Double-A Arkansas.
Let me get this out of the way: If forced to make a guess as to whether Kelenic debuts this fall or not, I’d bet against it. The Mariners can have him be a part of their roster -- assuming the service-time manipulations are still possible next spring -- until 2027 if they wait to promote him until the middle of April in 2021. Jerry Dipoto -- Seattle’s general manager -- recently went on the record and said that while they aren’t ruling out Kelenic, they’d prefer to have him develop fully before calling the outfielder up. We all know what that really means. Still, if you have a deep enough roster, I’d consider a Kelenic add because if he does get that promotion, the potential is as good or better than any prospect on this list.
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4. Logan Gilbert, Seattle Mariners
2019 stats: 26 G, 135. P, 2.13 ERA, 33 BB, 165 SO at Low-A West Virginia, High-A Modesto and Double-A Arkansas.
I’m leaning no on Kelenic getting the call. I’m leaning the other way on his teammate. Gilbert put up dominating numbers at each level in 2019 after being a first-round pick out of Stetson the previous season -- the same school that produced Jacob deGrom and Corey Kluber, if you’re into that sort of thing -- and is one of the most underrated fantasy pitching prospects in baseball. He’s a 6-foot-6 right-hander who gets his fastball into the high 90s, and he can miss bats with three different off-speed pitches. He also throws strikes, and the Mariners should give their top pitching prospect a look before the season ends. That’ll be a win-win-win for Seattle, Gilbert and fantasy players.
5. Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B, Minnesota Twins
2019 stats: 94 G, .283/.343/.413, 9 HR, 7 SB, 29 BB, 76 SO at Double-A Pensacola.
In terms of the ability to hit for average, there aren’t many better prospects than Kirilloff. The 22-year-old has a smooth left-handed stroke with a willingness to use the whole field, and his .283 average last year -- while solid -- is not indicative of his talent; he’s better than that. The 15th pick of the 2016 draft also is tapping into his plus power, and he’s fast enough to give you a handful of steals as well. He’s not a lock to get a promotion -- I don’t know if anyone but Lux is right now, and hey, we’re still waiting, did you know that? -- but if Kirilloff gets a chance to hit in that impressive Minnesota lineup, he’s more than worthy of a roster add.
6. Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta Braves
2019 stats: 104 G, .277/.340/.462, 12 HR, 8 SB, 43 BB, 122 SO at Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett.
Pache was sent back down after a very short stint with the Braves, and he didn't get much of a chance to shine. I'm leaving him in the top 10 -- or bringing him back, anyway -- because I believe if he gets another chance, he has a chance to help. He's an outfielder who can provide some pop and makes hard contact, and while he hasn't had a ton of success as a base-stealer, the tools are there. Again, it may take an injury or trade(s) for him to get a chance, but Pache is worth an add if that occurs.
7. A.J. Puk, LHP, Oakland Athletics
2019 stats: 18 G, 25.1 IP, 4.91 ERA, 10 BB, 38 SO at High-A Stockton, Double-A Midland and Triple-A Las Vegas; 10 G, 11.1 IP, 5 BB, 13 SO at Oakland.
If Puk was coming back as a starter, this ranking would be much, much higher. That may seem like an obvious point, but I want to be sure you know that the left-hander is going to be called up as a reliever. Having said that, Puk can still help fantasy hurler - to a lesser extent, of course - in that role. He has two pitches that miss bats with the best of them, and he's generally in the strike zone with those offerings. If a fantasy player is looking for a hurler who can help with those K/9 rates, they should take a look at Puk.
8. Adbert Alzolay, RHP, Chicago Cubs
2019 stats: 16 G, 69.1 IP, 4.80 ERA, 33 BB, 94 SO at High-A Carolina and Triple-A Iowa; 4 G, 12.1 IP, 7.30 ERA 9 BB, 13 SO at Chicago
Alzolay struggled in his last outing and was sent back to the alternate training site, but I've seen enough good things from the right-hander in 2020 to put him on this list. He still owns a 2.08 ERA in his three appearances with the Cubs, and the swing-and-miss stuff is readily apparent (12 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings). This is going to be somewhat matchup-dependent, but when Alzolay gets another chance for the Cubs, he'll be worth a streaming look against a large portion of lineups. Can you tell we're deep into the season based on his placement on this list?
9. Brandon Marsh, OF, Los Angeles Angels
2019 stats: 101 G, .286/.367/.407, 7 HR, 19 SB, 47 BB, 100 SO at short-season AZL and Double-A Mobile.
Marsh has been a contender for the list on several occasions, and with a plethora of call-ups last week, it's time. Welcome, Brandon. The 22-year-old was a second-round pick back in 2016, and he's a left-handed hitter who has a chance to hit for average and steal bases thanks to his plus speed. He's not an elite power hitter despite his 6-foot-4 frame, but he's not a dink-and-dunk hitter by any means. The Angels could give their top prospect -- not considering Jo Adell, who is starting to swing the bat better as of late, just wanted to point that out -- a chance to play over these final two-plus weeks.
10. Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Bays
2019 stats: 114 G, .327/.398/.487, 9 HR, 18 SB, 56 BB, 35 SO at Low-A Bowling Green and High-A Charlotte.
Franco is the top-overall prospect in baseball, and he’s just 19-years-old until March. The chances of him getting a call-up are extremely slim. All that said, I can’t leave him off the list anymore. First of all, he’s the best prospect in baseball. He has a chance to contribute in every category. Second, the Rays are in position to win the World Series. Based on what we saw this spring, there’s a very good chance he makes the Rays better right now. Being better is a good thing. The worst thing that happens if you add Franco and he doesn’t play is you wasted a bench spot. The best thing that happens is you have a winning lottery ticket, but with much better odds than the typical lotto. Is there risk? Of course, but the reward, to me, is worth it.