Welcome to Fantasy Baseball Prospect Watch! This weekly feature will list and give updates on the best minor-league prospects that are trending up, with a chance to make an impact in the MLB – and for your fantasy baseball teams – sooner rather than later.
Fantasy Baseball Prospect Watch Week 22
C Kyle Teel, Boston Red Sox
The 14th overall pick in the 2023 draft is off to a fast start in the Red Sox’ minor league system. Teel finished his final season at Virginia slashing .407/.475/.655 with 13 home runs and 69 RBIs. After three games in rookie ball, in which he slashed .429/.556/.857, the Red Sox quickly moved him to A+ Greenville. Through 11 games, the young left-handed hitting catcher is slashing .405/.509/.476. Teel’s sense of the strike zone has been impressive, especially given his combined nine walks to seven strikeouts. Along with power, he has shown the ability to drive the ball to all parts of the field, and this will play well as he ascends through the minors. Teel’s possession of one of the strongest arms among catchers in this draft class made the decision easy for the Red Sox to select him in the first round. Collegiate catchers have historically moved fast in the minors, and Teel could be well on his way to Boston by next season. The fact that he has featured in the outfield could also play well for fantasy teams, as he could end up having dual-position eligibility.
C Ethan Salas, San Diego Padres
The average age of hitters in A and AA is 22.5, and this catching prospect is an anomaly as he was recently promoted to AA at the age of 17. The move could be a publicity stunt to some after Salas slashed a combined .233/.296/.358 with nine home runs between low-A and high-A, and he is currently slashing .182/.250/.227 through six games for AA San Antonio. Still, his left-handed swing is light years ahead of his peers and he has shown better arm strength than nearly all minor-league catchers his age. It was 12 short years ago that Bryce Harper reached the Nationals at 19, but his offensive minor league numbers were far superior to Ethan Salas’ at the same age. However, Salas should start the 2024 season in AA, and the end of this season should give him an idea of how to handle opposing AA talent at the plate and while catching. He is the Padres’ top prospect and possesses all the tools to turn into a generational talent from the catching position. While the best trajectory sees him reach the Majors in 2026, there he could put it all together quickly and reach San Diego by 2025 at the age of 19. Fantasy players should monitor his movement because Salas could be the next great fantasy catcher.
LHP Trey Dombroski, Houston Astros
Selected in the fourth round of the 2022 draft, Trey Dombroski is a prototypical finesse left-handed pitcher. Yes, fantasy players are eager to read about the next flamethrowing prospects, but Dombroski’s stuff is very similar to the Cubs’ Justin Steele. Just as Steele’s best weapon is his slider, Dombroski’s slider has earned high grades due to its depth and ability to get hitters chasing off the plate. Along with his slider and low-90s fastball, Dombroski’s curveball has been nearly as effective as his slider. In his first minor league season, at A Fayetteville, Dombroski has registered a 3.80 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 135 strikeouts in 109 innings. His strikeout total is very impressive given his minute margin of error due to the fact his fastball rarely reaches over 93 MPH. Dombroski is an interesting prospect to watch as he makes his way up the Astros’ minor league system, and he should be looked at as a back-end starter with a very high ceiling.
RHP Trevor Martin, Tampa Bay Rays
A third-round pick in the 2022 draft, Martin is another Tampa pitching prospect that is quickly moving up the rankings. At 6’5” and 240 lbs, Martin’s fastball sits in the mid-90s while topping out around 98 MPH. The young righty has spent the entire season at A Charleston producing a 3.53 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, and 127 strikeouts in 102 innings. One area of improvement will be Martin’s secondary pitches. He throws a hard slider but has issues locating the pitch and it frequently becomes too flat. This season has seen him attempt to throw a curve and a changeup, but both pitches need a lot of work during bullpen sessions. Given his size, and the strikeouts he has racked up early into his minor league career, Tampa would love to see him stick as a starter, but he will undoubtedly need to develop two secondary offerings to become a starter at the Major League level However, should Martin only handle the development of one secondary pitch, he could be headed for a high upside spot in the bullpen, even as the closer of the future for Tampa. Martin may not be a prospect fantasy managers watch as closely as other prospects, but he is still a name to have on a shortlist given his talent and potential even if he becomes an electric late-inning reliever in the Majors.