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Prospects Who Should Be On Your Watch List For This Season And Beyond

Joe Gallina Staff Writer September 3, 2016 11:18AM EDT
With Major League rosters having expanded from 25 to 40 on September 1, many high pedigree prospects have been called up given the opportunity to showcase their talents. In the coming days more potential future stars may get a chance to also make it to the big show.  Some have an opportunity to help their teams get into the playoffs. Others are auditioning for starting jobs for 2017 either for their teams, or for an unknown team that they might get traded to during the offseason. The following nine players have a good chance of either seeing big league action before the season is over, or at the very least, of fighting for a Major League roster spot come next spring.

All stats and roster information are accurate as of the morning of September 2, 2016

The Mets are hoping that Gavin Cecchini can develop into their second baseman of the future. Photo Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

The Mets are hoping that Gavin Cecchini can develop into their second baseman of the future. Photo Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

Rio Ruiz, 3B, Braves

Rio Ruiz is expected to finish his 2016 baseball season on the Atlanta Braves’ roster. Throughout his five-year minor league career, the 22-year-old Ruiz has been a patient hitter who owns a lifetime 12.1 percent walk rate and .354 OBP. Ruiz is a contact hitter who has excellent hand-eye coordination. He has developing power and can hit the ball to all fields. Although he is projected to hit for average in the Major Leagues, he will need to do a better job of hitting lefty pitching going forward if he aspires to be the Braves’ third baseman of the future.

Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets

Although all but one of his minor league career starts has been as a shortstop, Gavin Cecchini is being pegged as the New York Mets’ possible second baseman of the future. The 2012 first round pick did start one game as a second baseman this season and is expected to start many more during his time in the Arizona Fall League this offseason. Cecchini has a good bat, and his .286/.352/.398 minor league triple slash line suggests that he could be an excellent offensive force coming out of a middle infield spot. He has emerging gap power, and he rarely strikes out (13.75 career K rate). Over the past year, he has shortened his swing, and that has helped him become a better contact hitter. Cecchini has earned a promotion to the big leagues and should be owned in dynasty Fantasy Baseball leagues.

Jon Kemmer, OF, Astros

Jon Kemmer is another Astros home grown talented prospect who could be wearing a big league uniform before long. Like many young sluggers, Kemmer tends to strikeout a bunch, but he’s still managed to compile a .284/.356/.493 triple slash line through four minor league seasons. He initially struggled against Triple-A pitching, batting just .248 with five HRs and 27 RBIs in the first 68 games of the 2016 season, but he’s since raised his season average to .266 with 17 HRs and 63 RBIs. Although he is primarily an outfielder, he has played some first base throughout his minor league career. A.J. Reed and Tyler White both still probably have a future as Astros corner infielders, but they have slumped badly in the Majors this season, and that may leave a small window of opportunity for Kemmer to still make a mark for himself.

Jesse Winker, OF, Reds

With the Reds in rebuild mode this offseason, it makes sense for them to give as many of their prospects, like Jesse Winker, a chance at showing what they can do against big league pitching before the season grinds to a close. Although Triple-A pitchers have made his power bat magically disappear, Winker is still batting .301 with a .395 OBP this season. Winker will likely either join the Reds before the season is over or at least be given a long look this upcoming spring. He’s a line drive hitter with a quick compact stroke. In five minor league seasons, Winker has compiled an outstanding .294/.397/.453 triple slash line. Winker also has excellent strike zone recognition as revealed by his 16.24 K rate and 13.93 BB rate. He forces opposing pitchers to throw strikes against him, can make contact with pitches wherever they are thrown and he can spray the ball to all fields. As a future corner outfielder, he’ll need to rediscover his power bat, but he projects as an eventual Major Leaguer who can hit for average.

Casey Gillaspie 1B Rays

Casey Gillaspie, the Rays’ 2014 first round pick, could end up being the power hitting first baseman that they’ve been looking for. He was promoted to their Triple-A affiliate in mid-July and never skipped a beat. Overall this season, he has batted .282, while maintaining a high OBP (.387) and continuing to hit for power (.473). Although Gillaspie is not expected to hit for high average as a Major Leaguer, he has exhibited good strike zone awareness throughout his minor league career. He’s a switch hitter who has exhibited good power from both sides of the plate and his good defensive skills should help keep his bat in the lineup.

Jaycob Brugman, OF, A’s

A’s Executive VP Billy Beane needs to turn the A’s fortunes around if he wants to keep his aura intact. Jaycob Brugman isn’t the kind of uber prospect that can make an immediate impact on a ball club, but the power hitting corner outfielder could be one of the pieces of a puzzle that turns the A’s into contenders again. Brugman has demonstrated good discipline at the plate and can steal the occasional base. The A’s recent trades of Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp signifies that they may be setting themselves up to revamp their outfield for 2017. Brugman may still have a chance at getting a few Major League at bats before the season is over, but he may have a better opportunity to win a job come the spring.

Tom Murphy C, Rockies

Tom Murphy has earned a spot on the Rockies’ Major League roster and he was actually recalled to the bigs as I was writing this article.  He already played in parts of 11 games for the Rockies earlier this season, but a catcher with a lifetime .282/.347/.537 triple slash line deserves to get additional regular at bats with the parent club. Although his aggressiveness at the plate might cost him in terms of overall batting average, he has immense power and decent defensive skills. The Rockies need to determine if his raw power can translate to the big leagues and if he can handle a Major League staff and be their catcher of the future.

Jack Reinheimer, 2B/SS, Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks made due with Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings playing shortstop for most of the 2016 season, but their level of play has left the door open for prospect Jack Reinheimer to end up getting some playing time at that position before long. Reinheimer is a speedy contact hitter who doesn’t have the kind of power numbers that you want from your Fantasy shortstop, but he is capable of stealing 20 to 30 bases per season, and we all know what a top commodity speed has become. He doesn’t strike out much (16.48 K rate) and he does a good job of getting on base (.346 career OBP). Reinheimer’s excellent defense and ability to play both middle infield positions might help him get regular at bats once he is called up from Triple-A, but if his Fantasy stock is going to rise, he is going to have to tack on some muscle and hit for a bit more power.

Mike Tauchman, OF, Rockies

Mike Tauchman is another prospect whose biggest asset is his ability to steal a base. His skill set translates into him becoming a traditional leadoff type hitter. He has a career .292/.361/.386 triple slash line and he’s averaged just over 20 stolen bases per season in his four-year minor league career. His lifetime K rate of just under 15 percent is outstanding and his above average walk rate of just under 10 percent should help him to take advantage of his natural base stealing abilities.

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