While the idea of the Picks to Click article is to answer the common question Eric and I get of who we think will move up the prospects rankings and appear on the top 100 next year, the 2019 Impact Prospects list is the answer to which prospects will make the biggest impact in the big leagues this season. The standard I’m using is my own personal projected WAR, so position, defense, anticipated health, and opportunity to play all matter. In most cases, my projections and Steamer match pretty closely, but there are instances where a playing time variance, or an in-depth knowledge of a player’s tools, have shaped my projected WAR and caused them to diverge.
This isn’t explicitly for fantasy purposes, though I’m sure some of you will use it for that, as Paul Sporer has already told me he plans to. I like this exercise more as a chance to project which of the prospects Eric and I spend so much time thinking about will do best just in 2019. It also gives me a chance to offer some early insight into how the Rookie of the Year race might shake out. (You’ll be shocked to learn I think Guerrero (AL), and Robles and Senzel (NL) will feature prominently in those conversations.) I’m sure you could drive a truck through the holes this list will have at the end of the season, but that’s never stopped me before.
|Player Name||Pos||Age||Team||FV||Proj. WAR|
|1||Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.||3B||19.9||TOR||70||3.8|
|23||Fernando Tatis, Jr.||SS||20.1||SDP||65||0.6|
Others of note: Dylan Cease (RHP, CHW), Luiz Gohara (LHP, ATL), Keston Hiura (2B, MIL), Mitch Keller (RHP, PIT), Andrew Knizer (C, STL), Jonathan Loaisiga (RHP, NYY), Francisco Mejia (C, SDP), Casey Mize (RHP, DET), Sean Murphy (C, OAK), Keibert Ruiz (C, LAD), A.J. Puk (LHP, OAK), Kyle Wright (RHP, ATL)
Vladito continues to lead our rankings. He’s the best prospect in the game, he should spend essentially the whole year in the big leagues, he’s polished, and he offers some defensive value. The top ten or so on my list all appear to be solid, everyday players who have the inside track on an everyday job starting on or around Opening Day, and I think they’ll be able to keep those jobs if they get them.
The next half dozen or so players have a good chance of spending most of the year in the majors (Nate Lowe), only need one injury to get serious playing time (Tucker), or have an uneven enough past that we aren’t sure they’ll be able to stick and stay healthy the whole season. Honeywell, Luzardo, and Reyes all have elbow surgery in their injury history, so even with a great season, they may be on an innings limit; James may be a bullpen fit.
The last group of players are either part-timers (Hampson looks like a utility guy, Toussaint and Sheffield could start and relieve, and Riley may begin the year in Triple-A and wait for an injury on the big league roster), or are top prospects who project to come up for the second half of the season (Tatis, Paddack, and Whitley).
Kiley McDaniel has worked as an executive and scout, most recently for the Atlanta Braves, also for the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. He's written for ESPN, Fox Sports and Baseball Prospectus. Follow him on twitter.