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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Watch: Zac Veen, Agustin Ramirez, Tink Hence

Kyle gives an update on four prospects you need to know for your fantasy baseball teams.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 08: Tink Hence #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at T-Mobile Park on July 08, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Welcome to Fantasy Baseball Prospect Watch! This weekly feature will list and give updates on the best minor-league prospects who 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

OF Zac Veen, Colorado Rockies

The Rockies outfielder positioned himself for a breakout 2023 campaign after finishing the 2022 season slashing .245/.340/.384 with 12 home runs, 67 RBIs, and 55 stolen bases. That is not the most eye-popping slash line, but he gave the Rockies organization and fantasy baseball players a glimpse of his great potential that made him the ninth overall pick in the 2020 draft. However, things did not plan out as expected, and his 2023 season was cut short to only 46 games as he underwent surgery on his left wrist. Veen is back healthy for 2024 and gotten off to a hot start this season, slashing .341/.434/.593 with five home runs, 12 RBIs, and nine stolen bases through 26 games at AA Hartford. At 6’3” and 190 lbs, he will fill out over the upcoming years, and his swing should provide more power as he develops. Veen’s main calling card is his plus, pure speed. Should Veen keep up the hot production, a call to AAA should happen within the upcoming months, and he has a real shot of getting his first call to Colorado by the season’s end. Hitting in Denver will only help his overall power numbers, where he can be a perennial 30/30 player. Do not sleep on Veen, as the wrist injury looks to be a thing of the past and fantasy winners will be the managers who did not write him off.

C Agustin Ramirez, New York Yankees

Ramirez entered the 2024 season seeing his stock rise on the Yankees prospect list. Stereotypical to many Yankee catching prospects before him, Ramirez finished the 2023 season slashing .271/.364/.455 with 18 home runs and 69 RBIs across three minor league levels. This season, through 29 games for AA Somerset, Ramirez has slashed .259/.389/.602 with 11 home runs and 24 RBIs. His .991 OPS sees him third among qualified batters in the Eastern League. At 22 years old and destroying the baseball, Ramirez could jump to AAA within the upcoming weeks and find himself in New York by the end of the 2024 season. While Ramirez lacks defensive abilities behind the plate, he does possess an above-average arm that could allow New York to tinker with a left-field spot, although he most comfortably projects as a first baseman at the Major League level. The right-handed slugger projects as a 30-HR and 80+ RBI hitter, which would be very valuable if he can hold onto his catcher eligibility. Now is the time for fantasy owners to add Ramirez to their short list if they have gotten abysmal offensive production from the catcher position.

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RHP Tink Hence, St. Louis Cardinals

Hence’s 23 starts a season ago were the most he has made during his minor league career, and he managed 99 strikeouts in his 96 innings. His 4.31 ERA and 1.33 WHIP are not ideal, but he is raw and relies heavily on his high-90s fastball that touches 99 MPH. His changeup sets him apart from other prospects as it is one of the best amongst his minor league peers. Should he gain more confidence in the pitch and use it when ahead in the count, he should see a drastic drop in both his ERA and WHIP. Early into this season, the righty has a 3.21 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and 37 strikeouts in 33.2 innings for AA Springfield. The potential is there, but Hence is in the phase of thrower compared to pitcher. His mechanics and abilities are very similar to Chris Archer’s, and the Cardinals would gladly welcome Hence transforming into a Chris Archer-esque dominant starting pitcher.

LHP Ky Bush, Chicago White Sox

The White Sox organizations find themselves in “purgatory” in terms of lack of talent at both the Major League and Minor League level. A great way to start digging out of the rough will be developing starting pitching, and last year’s acquisition from the Angels, Ky Bush, could be a diamond in the rough. The former second-round (2021) pick entered the 2023 season after ending 2022 with a 3.67 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, and 101 strikeouts in 103 innings. Looking to build off his 2022 campaign, Bush had a subpar 2023 season, finishing with a 6.91 ERA, a 1.64 WHIP, and 78 strikeouts in 71.2 innings. However, his 16 home runs and 81 hits surrendered in 71.2 innings are directly correlated to a lat issue he dealt with. He saw a dip in velocity, working around 91-94 after sitting around 93-95 during his collegiate years. Health, developing his changeup, and not relying on his curveball as an out pitch will be a major focus during the 2024 season. Thus far, Bush owns a 2.20 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP, and 41 strikeouts in 32.2 innings at AA Birmingham. There may not be much faith in the White Sox organization developing starting pitching, but Bush has the potential to be a solid middle-rotation arm and a reliable left-handed starter is something the White Sox have lacked for a handful of years. Bush is worth monitoring as he looks to have rebounded from his lat issue. Should he put it together in the upcoming seasons, he could be a steal in fantasy leagues.

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