It takes a lot of work to have success in fantasy baseball. Aside from the need to make the right picks on draft day, it’s also important to observe which MLB prospects can make an impact. For those who are in search for a sleeper name to watch, or ready to move on to 2024, here’s a look at five hitting prospects that fantasy players should keep an eye on in July.
This is around the time where fantasy players should look towards prospects that can make an impact in 2024. Former second-round pick Tyler Black falls under that category. The former Wright State star excelled at the college level, and he’s continued to produce in the Minors. Across 315 plate appearances in Biloxi (AA), Black hit .287/.427/.524 with 13 home runs, 29 extra base hits, and 42 stolen bases. The Ontario native loves to work counts, and his contact and speed tools could propel him to be a leadoff hitter in the Majors.
A versatile infielder that can play second, third, or in the outfield, Black’s likely ETA is 2024. However, the 22-year-old may be an option should the Brewers be in desperate need of an infielder.
Dodgers infielder Michael Busch did reach the Majors earlier this year, as he made his MLB debut in April when Max Muncy went on the paternity list. The 25-year-old did get another quick look in June, but he’s spent most of the year in Oklahoma City (AAA). With the baby Dodgers, Busch hit .305/.427/.571 with 13 home runs and 33 extra base hits across 59 games.
At some point, Busch will likely get a longer look at the MLB roster. Between his power and ability to work counts, the former UNC star could very well be a key piece of the Dodgers’ future. It could come at some point this season, should one of the Dodgers’ starting infielders get hurt between now and the end of the season.
Former Mississippi State star Justin Foscue was drafted in the first round by Texas three years ago, and he’s started to knock on the door. The 24-year-old hit .276 and posted a very respectable .397 OPS through 70 games. There’s power there, as well, and his .232 career ISO in the Minors is indication of that.
The primary issue with Foscue is that the 24-year-old has no clear path to the Majors. Foscue primarily plays second or third, but Texas has Marcus Semien and Josh Jung entrenched in those positions, respectively. The former MSU star could, however, be a trade piece this summer for a Texas team in first place of the AL West. If the Rangers do move him for a piece, Foscue could get a look later this year.
Last month, we profiled Orioles prospects Colton Cowser and Jordan Westburg on our prospect watch list — and both are now in the Majors. Orioles 1B/OF Heston Kjerstad could join them in the near future, given how well he’s hit in AAA. Across his first 29 games, the 24-year-old — a talented hitter with above-average power and plate discipline — hit .327/.415/.564 with five home runs and 14 extra base hits in 29 games.
The big question that has to be asked about Kjerstad is whether the Orioles, who took over first place in the AL East on July 19, would be willing to part with the former Arkansas for the right addition to the Baltimore roster. It would likely take a lot, however, given his skillset.
The Tigers have two potential prospects that could man the hot corner in the near future. One is 2B/3B Colt Keith, who we profiled last month after he tore through the Eastern League. The other is 3B/OF Justyn-Henry Malloy, acquired from the Braves for Joe Jimenez last winter. The 23-year-old Malloy’s performed well in Toledo (AAA) this season, as he recorded a .275/.401/.472 slash line with 15 home runs and 29 extra base hits over his first 83 games.
A versatile infielder/outfielder that could profile as a top-of-the-lineup hitter with his skillset, Malloy may not have elite power but can be a good overall hitter when it’s all said and done.