Isan Diaz, MI, Milwaukee Brewers (Low-A Wisconsin)
If it wasn’t clear from Mauricio Rubio’s piece earlier this week entitled “Isan Diaz Is A Monster,” we’re collectively kind of high on Diaz at this point. I will refer you to that article and Mau’s accompanying scouting report for the nuts and bolts, but the punchline is that this is a quality bat-first keystone prospect, and those don’t grow on trees. One bit of warning, Diaz has thieved 11 bags this year against low-minors pitching, but that should not equate to you expecting a power-speed combo here. His efficiency rates have been poor already as a professional, and he’s likely to settle in as a pretty firmly below-average runner as he matures physically. Still, beneficial AVG and HR totals (and the R and RBI they generate) from your second baseman is where it’s at. He’ll most certainly crack our Dynasty 101 this winter, so get him now while the getting’s good.
Luis Alexander Basabe, OF, Boston Red Sox (Low-A Greenville)
You may remember I tried my best to push Basabe on you last off-season, and through the first couple months of the season the statline-scouters were probably none to amused if they obliged. But Basabe kept grinding through adjustments as one of the youngest players in the Sally, and powered by a monstrous six-week stretch in June and July he’s producing a 112 OPS+ on the season, with 25 steals in 30 attempts. The young switch-hitter has shown a prototypically immature split, with much more power from the left side but a far more advanced hit tool from the right; both aspects of his offensive game are advanced, and they bode well as a foundation for future everyday play. Let’s not pretend he’s likely to help you take down a pennant any time in the present decade, but a late-2018 or 2019 debut isn’t out of the question if his development maintains a relatively linear pace, and in the meantime his prospect value has taken a decisive step forward this year to where he’ll absolutely be in our Dynasty 101 conversations this winter. He’s a great season-ending stash in moderate-depth leagues that allow prospect pickups this late in the year.
Walker Buehler, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Low-A Great Lakes)
The former Vanderbilt ace saw his draft stock slip a bit last year after some persistent arm issues took a chunk out of his junior year, and sure enough he fell victim to ol’ Tommy John pretty much immediately after signing with the Dodgers. That led to him likely going largely ignored in most dynasty drafts last year, and he only just recently climbed the bump for his professional debut in Arizona. In two appearances since – one in the desert, and one in the Midwest League – he’s shown the same mid-90s sitting velocity that he worked with in college, along with flashes of above-average secondaries in his curve and change. If the stuff is indeed back in full, the arsenal is that of a frontline big-league pitcher. As I noted the other day, however, the frame is not. Durability questions are bound to dog Buehler until he puts them to rest with a couple 200-plus inning seasons in the big leagues, and that’s probably not happening for a few years if everything works out. But as a ground-floor investment that can likely still be made in most leagues – seriously, I just picked him up the other day in a league with 900 rostered players and no limits on the player universe, he’s probably available in your league – he’s a guy that can shoot up prospect lists very, very quickly with a healthy and productive first-half next season.
Leody Taveras, CF, Texas Rangers (Short-Season Spokane)
It’s almost like the Rangers are really, really good at signing and developing international talent. They dropped $2.1 million into Taveras’ pocket last year, and all he’s done in response is crush his way stateside, then right on through the complex level in his Age-17 season. That’s not a typo, he’s currently battling players an average of four years his elder as the youngest kid in the Northwest League. And he’s impressing while doing it. A good portion of his real-life prospect shine stems from his defensive prowess in center, but there’s an offensive skill set here that is plenty intriguing for our game as well. The hand strength and fluidity in his swing are advanced beyond their years, and he shows the ingredients for an above-average hit tool down the line, along with a frame that screams for good muscle and some legitimate power potential. Toss in plus speed and the instincts and intelligence to mold it into efficient base-stealing technique, and you’ve got the cornerstones of a delicious top-of-the-order hitter. He’s not in the range where you should be snapping him up in shallow, or even moderately deep, dynasty formats at this stage. But he’s a guy who can jump into that range right quick with a successful full-season debut next year, and in deeper formats that roster north of 150 prospects he should be in the conversation as an end-game play.
Jhailyn Ortiz, “RF,” Philadelphia Phillies (Rookie GCL Phillies)
This wouldn’t be a fantasy column of mine about the low minors without a spotlight on at least one giant human being, and Ortiz is the man, for his time and place. He currently stands 6-foot-3 and (allegedly) weighs 215 pounds…as a 17-year-old. That listed weight is down some 40 pounds from pre-sign reports, and it also presumably doesn’t include his fat pockets, filled as they are with a $4 million signing bonus. As you might expect from a behemoth of such an order, power is his calling card, with some scouts throwing present 70’s on it – remember, he’s 17 years old – and others noting that he actually shows some modicum of feel to hit, too. He has struggled, mightily at times, to identify breaking stuff, and that will be a chief issue going forward. It’s pretty likely he outgrows the grass and lands at first base long-term, so the power’s going to need to play pretty close to full to carry his fantasy profile. But if you’re looking for a young tree trunk on which to hang your hopes for homerun production in 2022, this may just be your guy.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now
What league size would you classify mine as? Trying to gauge what's the urgency on some of the above names (Diaz is sadly gone, but Taveras has been on my watchlist for a while).
For example in my 12-man farm, my "worst" four guys are Yohander Mendez, Allard, Mitch Keller and Roman Quinn. Meanwhile guys like Ray Black, Chad Hinshaw, Tyler Nevin and Adam Brett Walker are all rostered by teams that are active in the major league side, but almost ignore their farm.
Part of the reason I want to expand is to cash in on some of these names that keep popping up!