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Dynasty Baseball Stock Watch: Fast-Track Prospects

With notable dynasty prospects Adael Amador, Tyler Locklear, Adam Mazur, and Drew Thorpe all making the leap to the majors since the outset of June with very limited (or zero) experience at the Triple-A level, this week’s article examines a couple of prospects that have risen up the Fantrax Top 500 Dynasty Rankings since the start of the regular season and could be on the verge of ascending to the majors at some point in the coming weeks.

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5 Fantasy Baseball Prospects on the Fast Track to MLB

Tink Hence, P, Cardinals
Fantrax Top 500 Dynasty Ranking: 223

The top-ranked prospect in the Fantrax Top 500 Dynasty Rankings (overall) in this article by a considerable margin, Hence has been a bit of a divisive prospect among the fantasy community. However, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that he’s going to make an impact at the highest level since he’s started missing more bats and his control has taken a step forward this year. The biggest question for dynasty managers at this point is when the Cardinals front office decides that he’s a superior option over current fifth-starter options like Andre Pallante and Steven Matz. Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told reporters last week that Hence was lifted after just 35 pitches over two frames in his most recent outing for Double-A out of an abundance of caution due to cramping, but the 21-year-old righty has been extremely impressive of late with a pristine 3.19 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 71/16 K/BB ratio across 53 2/3 innings (11 starts). It wouldn’t be unprecedented for the Cardinals to rapidly accelerate one of their top prospects to the majors, especially if they find themselves in playoff contention, and the asking price for some of the top starters on the trade market becomes astronomical.

Ben Rice, C/1B, Yankees
Fantrax Top 500 Dynasty Ranking: 478

Rice didn’t skip a beat, homering in three straight contests last week following a well-deserved promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and is currently hitting .444 (8-for-18) with three homers, nine RBI, and one steal in just five games. It’s admittedly an extremely small sample, but the 25-year-old burgeoning slugger put himself on the doorstep to the big leagues by slashing .261/.383/.511 with 12 round-trippers and eight steals in 218 plate appearances for Double-A Somerset. He’s likely to wind up at first base long-term but has the ability to fill in occasionally behind the plate. He doesn’t strike out a ton for a power-hitting backstop and also offers a little bit of speed as well for fantasy purposes. Given the logjam of hitting prospects in the upper levels of New York’s system, including Jasson Domínguez, Spencer Jones, and Agustin Ramirez, it wouldn’t be shocking if he wound up being moved in a couple of weeks. If he’s part of the long-term plan for the Yankees, he’s probably going to get a look in the majors at some point in the near future, especially if he stays sizzling hot in the upper minors.

Logan Evans, P, Mariners
Fantrax Top 500 Dynasty Ranking: 458

Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto told reporters last week that they’re legitimately considering fast-tracking Logan Evans to the majors to pitch in relief for Seattle after the All-Star break. The 23-year-old righty, who went from unranked on Opening Day to borderline top-450 overall status in the latest Fantrax Top 500 Dynasty Rankings, has excelled since shifting to a relief role for Double-A Arkansas over the last few weeks, on the heels of a stellar 10-start stretch to open the year, in an effort to expedite his timeline to the majors. There isn’t a ton of strikeout upside, but his stuff should play up in shorter bursts as he’s hurled three scoreless frames in a pair of relief outings since the start of June. Evans appears to be on the precipice of ascending to the majors in a couple of weeks and should be rostered in all dynasty league formats until further notice.

Jacob Wilson, SS, Athletics
Fantrax Top 500 Dynasty Ranking: 240

Wilson is pretty much a household name at this point after being selected sixth overall by the Athletics in last July’s MLB Draft. However, he hasn’t been a highly-touted fantasy prospect since he doesn’t possess a ton of over-the-fence pop or blazing speed on the bases. The 22-year-old shortstop has been on the shelf since mid-May with a minor knee issue, which seemingly put the brakes on his rapid ascent. He was off to a remarkable start at Triple-A Las Vegas with nine hits in 24 at-bats over six games after posting a sublime 1.178 OPS with three homers and two steals in 22 games for Double-A Midland. Assuming he comes back fully healthy in short order, the case for Wilson reaching the majors is fairly straightforward as Oakland doesn’t exactly have a long-term solution at shortstop in the majors. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him in the big leagues at some point following the All-Star break.

Braxton Ashcraft
Fantrax Top 500 Dynasty Ranking: 496

Ashcraft made some headlines last week with a 12-strikeout gem for Double-A Bradenton that earned him a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis. The 24-year-old righty, who was a second-round pick back in 2018, appears to finally be making the leap with a 3.69 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 63/8 K/BB ratio across 53 2/3 innings (11 appearances, 10 starts) this season at the Double-A level. The Pirates find themselves squarely in the mix for a Wild Card Playoff spot and it would make sense for them to push Ashcraft to the majors to help at some point in the second half if he’s ready. It took some extra time in one case, but both top pitching prospects Paul Skenes and Jared Jones are currently contributing in the majors, with Mitch Keller really rounding back into form of late. It wouldn’t be shocking if the Pirates front office decides to give Ashcraft a shot in the near future.

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