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MLB Prospects to Watch in the 2024 Complex League

The minor league season is not far away and for dynasty managers, the grind of searching the waiver wire for upside prospects is never-ending. In this article, we will be diving into five prospects who played in the Complex League in 2023 and who you should keep your eye on heading into the new season. Getting in on the ground floor with prospects like this is key to building a sustainable winner for dynasty managers and this article should help you get a leg up on your competition.

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Complex League Prospects To Watch

Willy Montero, OF NYY

(47 GP, .331/.389/.436, 2 HR, 30 R, 43 RBI, 5 SB)

The New York Yankees have an interesting prospect in Willy Montero. Standing at 6’4” and listed at 202 pounds this 19-year-old outfield prospect put up interesting numbers in the Complex League in 2023. In 47 games played Montero slashed .331/.389/.436 with two home runs, 30 runs scored, 43 RBIs, and five stolen bases. The approach at the plate was solid as Montero walked 7.9% while striking out just 17.7% of his 203 plate appearances. Despite the lack of home run output, you can see Montero hitting for power as he had 13 extra-base hits out of his 60 total.

Dynasty managers should take note of Willy Montero as he appears to be on the upswing. Continuing to fill into his frame I wouldn’t expect much in stolen bases as Montero progresses. When it comes to future power Montero could be an above-average power bat if he lifts the ball more. The cost to acquire this is a minimal investment that could pay off as he should start the season in Low-A Tampa.

Josue Briceno, C/1B DET

(55 GP, .319/.402/.529, 7 HR, 48 R, 38 RBI, 3 SB)

There is a sneaky prospect coming up in the Detroit Tigers organization by the name of Josue Briceno. The 6’4” and 200-pound Catcher and First baseman impressed in his debut stateside. Briceno has power to all fields and an advanced eye at the plate hitting at every level he has gone so far. In 44 games played in the Complex League Briceno slashed .325/.404/.550 with seven home runs, 40 runs scored, 37 RBIs, and three stolen bases. What stood out the most was the 11.6% walk percentage while striking out just 14.1% of his 198 plate appearances.

The production was so good the Tigers moved Briceno to Low-A Lakeland where he played 11 games. While with the Flying Tigers Briceno slashed .293/.396/.439 with eight runs scored and one RBI in 48 plate appearances. The walk percentage remained high at 14.6% and the strikeout rate was still a low 16.7%. For dynasty manager’s Briceno should move to first base long-term and has the potential to be a plus power bat as he continues to fill out. While in the complex league, he hit 22 extra-base hits in 55 total hits making him an interesting stash going into 2024. There is little doubt to me that Briceno will start the season back in Low-A Lakeland which is fine as he could get as far as High-A by the end of the season.

Fernando Perez, RHP TOR

(11 GP, 10 GS, 49.2 IP, 57 K, 2.72 ERA)

The Blue Jays have seen some success with developing pitchers like Ricky Tiedemann recently and Fernando Perez might be another arm to watch. This is the second time I’ve brought up Fernando Perez this offseason and for good reason what he was able to do in the Complex League is nothing short of impressive. Standing at 6’3” and listed at 170 pounds the 20-year-old Perez features a fastball, curveball, and change-up. These three offerings paired with above-average control have resulted in high strikeouts and low walk rates.

In 11 games pitched (10 starts), Perez struck out 57 batters across 49.2 innings pitched good for a 10.33 K/9. Opposing batters hit just .198 off Fernando Perez while he limited the walks to just 2.17 BB/9. Perez finished the complex league with a 2.72 ERA and a 3.00 FIP further confirming that the numbers he put up were sustainable and not just luck. Long-term Perez has an upside depending on how he fairs against advanced hitters will determine the ceiling. From what I’ve seen in the footage as well as by the stats this looks to be a high-floor pitcher who should find success as long as he continues to limit the walks. Fernando Perez should start the season in Low-A Dunedin in 2024.

Echedry Vargas, 2B/SS TEX

(53 GP, .317/.388/.568, 11 HR, 47 R, 39 RBI, 17 SB)

If there is one prospect on this list you should make a priority to get its Echedry Vargas. The 19-year-old infielder is listed at 5’11” and 170 pounds and has displayed a blend of power and speed to go along with an advanced eye at the plate. Vargas impressed back in 2022 while in the DSL slashing .301/.368/.510 with four home runs, 40 runs scored, 27 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases in 54 games played. It seems he just continued to do the same thing once he made it to the Rangers Complex League in 2023. In 52 games played Vargas slashed .315/.387/.569 with 11 home runs, 46 runs scored, 39 RBIs, and 17 stolen bases in 20 attempts.

Of Vargas’s 62 total hits at the Complex 26 of them were as extra-base hits. Echedry Vargas showed discipline at the plate walking 9.5% while striking out at 24.3% of his 222 plate appearances. The Rangers promoted Vargas to Low-A Downeast where he played just one game recording a hit and a run scored in two plate appearances. For dynasty managers, this is an under-the-radar prospect who won’t remain one for very long. The potential for above-average bat-to-ball skills paired with plus power and above-average speed is enticing to any dynasty manager regardless of league size. The Rangers should be starting Echedry Vargas back at Low-A Downeast to start the 2024 season.

Esteban Gonzalez, OF CLE

(36 GP, .300/.410/.569, 6 HR, 51 R, 26 RBI, 21 SB)

Cleveland continues to sign and develop excellent talent and Esteban Gonzalez might slide under the radar for so long. Gonzalez is recently 21 years old and is listed at 5’8” and 150 pounds. Back in 2021, Gonzalez played the entire season in the DSL where he slashed .298/.420/.465 in 35 games played walking 12.3% and striking out just 19.6% of his 138 plate appearances. Once he came stateside in 2022 he was assigned to the Guardians Complex League where the results were only alright. In 38 games played Gonzalez slashed .263/.355/.316 with one home run, 21 runs scored, and five stolen bases with a 9% walk rate and 20.6% strikeout rate. The second time in the Complex League in 2023 seemed to be the trick as Esteban Gonzalez improved substantially.

In 36 games played Gonzalez slashed .300/.410/.569 with six home runs, 51 runs scored, 26 RBIs, and stole 21 bases in 21 attempts. In addition to the higher home run output, we saw the power come through in extra-base hits as well. Of Gonzalez’s 39 total hits 19 of them were for extra bases with four coming as triples. The eye at the plate remained solid as he walked 10.9% while striking out just 24.4% of his 156 plate appearances. For dynasty managers, this is a solid prospect to pick up in deeper dynasty formats as a player who is gaining strength in power as well as the ability to have speed on the base paths. The next logical step for Gonzalez is Low-A Lynchburg but don’t be surprised if we see him finish the year at High-A Lake County if things continue at this pace.

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