Nats' Turner, Rays' Snell top list following big league cameos
By Mike Rosenbaum
The 2016 season has already seen several Top 100 pitching prospects make their debuts in Robert Stephenson, Blake Snell and Aaron Blair. That trend continued on Wednesday with the arrival of Twins No. 1 prospect and No. 16 overall prospect Jose Berrios -- the top-ranked fantasy prospect in this series' previous installment -- who yielded five runs in four innings against the Indians at Target Field. Though he was saddled with the loss, the 21-year-old righty showcased impressive stuff en route to striking out five hitters.
Two more Top 100 hurlers are scheduled to make their debuts today, with Sean Manaea (No. 65) going for the A's and Michael Fulmer (No. 50) for the Tigers. Both hurlers rank as their respective team's No. 1 pitching prospect, and, much like Berrios, have the potential to be immediate fantasy contributors.
Who might be next to get the call and make a fantasy impact? That's what this weekly feature is all about. Here is a Top 10 list of fantasy prospects currently in the Minor Leagues, ranked based on potential impact this season. Talent is obviously a big factor, but opportunity also figures heavily into the decision-making process. In parentheses is where each prospect ranked in our previous fantasy rankings.
1. Trea Turner, SS, Nationals (Previous rank: 2)
Turner has lit up Triple-A pitching to begin the season, batting .342/.410/.507 with seven extra-base hits in 19 games. The 22-year-old shortstop leads the International League in runs scored (17), is third in hits (25) and fourth in steals (6) and owns the sixth-highest OPS (.916). Danny Espinosa, meanwhile, has hit just .172 (10-for-58) in 21 games for the Nationals.
2. Blake Snell, LHP, Rays (Previous rank: 3)
Snell impressed last Saturday in his big league debut at Yankee Stadium, tossing five innings of one-run ball during which he allowed just two hits and struck out six. The outing confirmed that the 23-year-old lefty is ready for permanent residency in the Rays' starting rotation, and he'll likely be called on the next time Tampa Bay needs a starter.
3. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Previous rank: 4)
Glasnow fanned a season-high 11 batters and walked one in six scoreless innings on Tuesday for Triple-A Indianapolis, giving him an impressive 30/7 K/BB ratio in 21 innings as well as a Minor League-best K/9 rate of 12.8. He doesn't have a clear path into the Pirates' starting rotation, but that could change should Juan Nicasio or Jeff Locke continue to struggle.
4. Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers (Previous rank: 5)
The Dodgers' deep rotation will grow even deeper with the eventual returns of injured starters Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but that shouldn't preclude Urias from forcing his way into the mix. The 19-year-old lefty has done his part so far in Triple-A, where he's recorded a 2.50 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 23/3 K/BB ratio in 18 innings (four appearances).
5. Orlando Arcia, SS, Brewers (Previous rank: 6)
Arcia's recent hot streak in Triple-A has seen the electric shortstop raise his batting average to .310 from .242 in a span of 11 games, during which he has two home runs (including a grand slam) and 13 RBIs. Current Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar is merely a stopgap for Arcia, who has the potential to contribute in multiple fantasy categories as a top-of-the-order hitter.
After his disappointing 2015 campaign, Gallo has hit the ground running this season by hitting .262/.410/.662 with 16 RBIs over 19 games in his return Triple-A. The 22-year-old slugger is striking out less (21) and walking more (17), while his seven homers are just one behind the Minor League lead. He represents an important depth piece for the Rangers, with ability to play either third base or left field.
7. A.J. Reed, 1B, Astros (Previous rank: NR)
Reed has five home runs and 17 RBIs in 17 games in Triple-A, and his .340 average last year suggests that his current .254 mark will soon improve. Tyler White, meanwhile, has cooled off quickly after a hot start and is hitting just .148/.230/.296 in his last 15 games for the Astros.
8. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds (Previous rank: NR)
Stephenson has already made two starts for the Reds this season, the latest saw him record his first big league win with seven innings of one-run ball against the Rockies. Expect the 23-year-old to return to the Majors the next time Cincinnati needs a starter.
9. Cody Reed, LHP, Reds (Previous rank: 8)
Hot on Stephenson's trail is the left-hander Reed, who, after nearly breaking camp in the Reds' rotation, has pitched to a 2.79 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings across two Triple-A starts. Given the Reds' lack of rotation depth, Reed, like Stephenson, could spend a large portion of 2016 in the big leagues.
10. Jesse Winker, OF, Reds (Previous rank: 9)
Winker has been his usual steady self this season in Triple-A, where he has a .323/.416/.415 batting line, 12 RBIs and more walks (11) than strikeouts (8). The 22-year-old could arrive ahead of schedule, too, as Cincy's left-field platoon, Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler, has combined to hit .194 (21-for-108) with a 9/41 BB/K ratio.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.