Jeffrey Paternostro recently fired the opening salvo in what is likely to be a winter of Juan Soto feting, so it’s just as well you start getting used to seeing his name on these pages. He was a big bonus baby in 2015, receiving $1.5 million as one of the top hitting prospects in the class. The Nats were rewarded for their aggressiveness in pushing him stateside at the tender age of 17, as all he did was take down the MVP award in the GCL on the back of a .361/.410/.550 line, while flashing potentially plus hit and power tools. The swing has the ingredients you look for, with balance and fluidity into the zone, and the frame oozes with projectable present strength. In leagues where you can still make last-minute claims, he’s a guy on whom to burn a good chunk of your remaining FAAB.
Any time a scout talks about above-average present raw power in a 160-pound 18-year-old, as Brendan Gawlowski did in a recent Ten Pack, thine ears should perk up. He caught some eyeballs after launching eight homers in just 22 games following a late-season promotion to the Northwest League, and all told he managed to rack up 34 extra-base hits in 66 games between the Dominican Summer League and his stateside debut. It’s unclear whether he’ll stay at shortstop or not, but he currently projects to mix in something in the range of average speed with what should eventually be at least plus raw power. The approach is as aggressive as you might expect out of a teenager, but if it rounds into something that lets him get to most of his power in games, there’s potential for a nice power bat up the middle, and that’s always something your squad could use more of.
Trammell may slip under the radar a bit as a competitive balance pick, but the Reds ponied up nearly double slot value to buy him out of a Georgia Tech commitment. He’s built like a possession receiver, and early scouting reports from his debut indicate an intoxicating baseline of strength and bat speed. His bat-to-ball skills acquitted themselves well during his initial taste of professional pitching, and his frame offers projection for days. The speed will push plus-plus right now, and should maintain at least plus utility even as he fills out, meaning there’s ample potential here for an eventual 15/30 or 20/20 type, depending on how strong he gets. He’s ostensibly more of a raw prospect as a two-sport prep player, but don’t tell that to Pioneer League pitching.
The Ogden outfield was turnt, or lit, or whatever silly thing you kids are saying these days, and with apologies to both my own prior flirtations with Cody Thomas and Bret’s sordid love affair with Mitch Hansen, Peters may very well have the highest fantasy ceiling of the bunch. A fourth-rounder out of a teeny, tiny community college, Peters is a large human, checking in at 6-foot-6 and somewhere north of 225 pounds. But despite his length – and the requisite strikeouts that it will generate – he showed some ability to stay short into the zone, and the power is the good kind that fantasy ballers like to dream sexy dreams about. He led the Pioneer League in total bases while posting a double-digit walk rate and keeping his whiff rate in the “tolerable” range, and if that profile translates to full-season ball he’s a guy who can generate serious helium by this time next year.
An undercard international signing for the Rays during their 2014 binge headlined by Adrian Rondon, Sanchez was a six-figure bonus baby who dominated both the GCL and Appy to the tune of a combined .329/.351/.549 line in his stateside debut this season. There’s plus raw power to highlight the package, and he has ample physical projection remaining to add onto that grade. Additional gains will likely come at the expense of his solid-average speed, but that’s okay, as he hasn’t demonstrated much in the way of base-stealing capacity as yet. This is an investment in the power continuing to blossom, and if it does there’s OF2 potential here. As with, well, everybody on this list, it’s going to take him a hot minute to realize that kind of ceiling in a best-case scenario. But as a young power bat, he’s an interesting one to gamble on generating some value with a strong full-season debut next season.
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