2019 Impact Prospects

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.

2019 Impact Prospects
Player Name Pos Age Team FV Proj. WAR
1 Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. 3B 19.9 TOR 70 3.8
2 Victor Robles CF 21.7 WSN 65 2.7
3 Nick Senzel 3B 23.6 CIN 60 2.4
4 Eloy Jimenez RF 22.2 CHW 60 2.2
5 Danny Jansen C 23.8 TOR 50 2.1
6 Luis Urias 2B 21.7 SDP 55 1.9
7 Peter Alonso 1B 24.2 NYM 50 1.6
8 Yusei Kikuchi LHP 27.7 SEA 50 1.5
9 Brandon Lowe 2B 24.6 TBR 50 1.3
10 Alex Verdugo RF 22.7 LAD 50 1.2
11 Nate Lowe 1B 23.5 TBR 45+ 1.1
12 Brent Honeywell RHP 23.9 TBR 55 1.1
13 Kyle Tucker RF 22.1 HOU 60 1.0
14 Jesus Luzardo LHP 21.4 OAK 55 1.0
15 Josh James RHP 25.9 HOU 50 1.0
16 Alex Reyes RHP 24.5 STL 55 1.0
17 Forrest Whitley RHP 21.4 HOU 65 0.8
18 Mike Soroka RHP 21.5 ATL 55 0.8
19 Garrett Hampson 2B 24.3 COL 50 0.7
20 Logan Allen LHP 21.7 SDP 50 0.7
21 Chris Paddack RHP 23.1 SDP 55 0.6
22 Austin Riley 3B 21.9 ATL 55 0.6
23 Fernando Tatis, Jr. SS 20.1 SDP 65 0.6
24 Justus Sheffield LHP 22.8 SEA 50 0.6
25 Touki Toussaint RHP 22.6 ATL 50 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).

We hoped you liked reading 2019 Impact Prospects by Kiley McDaniel!

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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.

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Derb
Member
Derb

No Christin Stewart? I’m not expecting him to be a star or in the rookie of the year race, but being the everyday leftfielder in Detroit (hopefully), I do expect him to break 0.6 WAR.

mrmariner1
Member
mrmariner1

I think these guys are specifically 50 or higher FV’s (aside from Loaisiga 45+). I think the list would be a lot longer if they included everyone they expect to make an impact outside of their top 132 prospects.

Derb
Member
Derb

Fair enough.

Kevin Grimes
Member
Kevin Grimes

Obviously Vlad is the odds on favorite to be the Rookie of the Year before he even takes a hack in the show… and if Eloy is up, he’s #2 in the AL. But I think Christin Stewart makes a great darkhorse ROY candidate. He will probably get substantially more ABs than those other two guys, and plus Power and plus Eye feels like a recipe for a sneaky good line. Like, yeah, obviously he be overmatched and start hacking and end up sub mendoza line, that’s why he’s not a top prospect, sure. BUT if he slugs .250/.365/.465 over 500 at bats, just a bit better than his projections, he’s right there!