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 15
OF Johan Rojas, Philadelphia Phillies
An under-the-radar prospect, Johan Rojas possesses some of the best speed in the minor leagues. Last season he was 62 of 67 in stolen base attempts, and he is currently 30 of 38 through 76 games in 2023. Rojas is destined to be a top-of-the-order hitter, and he finished 2022 with a minuscule strikeout rate of 19.8%. He has been even better this season, slashing .306/.361/.484 with nine home runs, 45 RBIs and an 18% strikeout rate at AA Reading. The fact that Rojas has seen his K% drop after a full-time move to AA shows he can make the necessary adjustments as he faces more polished pitchers. In years past, he was content putting the ball on the ground, and this led to him being a .274 hitter in the minors, but 2023 has seen him get more lift under the baseball. He is on his way to setting a career-best mark in average, currently sitting at .306. Should he continue to progress as he reaches AAA, Rojas has the makings of an excellent lead-off hitter that will do wonders for fantasy teams in terms of hits, stolen bases and runs scored.
INF Tyler Black, Milwaukee Brewers
The former first-round pick (2021) has destroyed pitching at AA Biloxi, slashing .273/.424/.498 with 11 home runs and 41 stolen bases through 66 games. He has spent time at second base, third base and outfield, and this depth gives him a better chance at reaching the Majors at some point in 2023. With that said, Black does not possess great arm strength, so he seems destined to land at either second base or left field in the Majors. He has had a high OBP through each stop in the minors, and his left-handed swing is becoming more polished as he progresses. He posted a 45/44 BB/KK ratio in 2022, and has been equally impressive so far in 2023 at 51/63. His physical attributes are reminiscent of Mike Moustakas’, but with a lot more speed on the base paths.
RHP Will Klein, Kansas City Royals
Klein entered 2023 with a lively fastball that sits in the high-90s while frequently touching 100 MPH. The Royals see him as a future late-inning reliever, and through 28 games this season he owns a 3.96 ERA, a 1.47 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 38.2 innings between AA and AAA. This season’s success earned him a spot on the AL roster at the All-Star Futures Game. Klein could go back to starting, as he did in 2022, but given he has just two pitches, a fastball and a curve, he will ultimately land in the bullpen should he not develop a capable third pitch. However, with his current electric fastball and plus-curve, he could become a future All-Star closer for the Royals.
RHP Spencer Schwellenbach, Atlanta Braves
The Braves selected Schwellenbach in the second round of the 2021 draft. Shortly after signing, the two-way player underwent Tommy John surgery. After missing the entire 2022 season while rehabbing, Schwellenbach has made an instant impact in 2023 with a 2.63 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 41 strikeouts. His fastball tops out at 99 MPH while sitting in the mid-to-high 90s. He pairs his fastball with a slider and changeup that have both been effective at A Augusta. His performance earned him a spot on the NL Futures Game roster, and fantasy players should start monitoring his progression. He has a small sample size so far in 2023, but given his traits and the Braves’ success developing pitching, Schwellenbach could be well on his way to a dynamite career in the Majors. Scouting reports have compared him to Jacob deGrom given his frame, abilities and the fact he was a two-way player in college.