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 16
C Diego Cartaya, Los Angeles Dodgers
Power-hitting catchers are highly sought after by fantasy teams, and Dodgers prospect Diego Cartaya is built for power. 2023 has been a bit of a down year for the young catcher after setting career-best marks in home runs (22) and RBI (72) a season ago. The growing pains are apparent, as he has posted a 33% K-tare while facing better pitching competition in AA. There have been weeks where Cartaya looks to be breaking out of his season-long slump, but he has faced his share of adversity through the midway point of the 2023 season. Given his strong throwing arm and plus power tool, he has the time to figure it out at the plate. With Will Smith still producing for the Dodgers, they are in no hurry to rush Cartaya until he solves the offensive issues he has faced for a better part of the season. Cartaya is still the top-ranked catcher in MLB’s prospect rankings, and fantasy managers should monitor his progression, because once he has figured out advanced pitching he will be one of the hottest commodities in fantasy baseball
1B Blaze Jordan, Boston Red Sox
Blaze Jordan has quietly made a name for himself after entering the 2023 season as an unknown to many. The former third-round pick (2020) is well on his way to having his best season in the minors as he has slashed .318/.381/.530 with 13 home runs and 58 RBIs between A and AA. Jordan was drafted with the notion his frame, mixed with a quick swing, would generate power numbers, but the most impressive part of his breakout season has been his ability to keep his K-Rate at 16%. He may not be the greatest athlete in MiLB, but his work ethic has been applauded by the organization, and fantasy investors could see production like Trey Mancini or Mark Trumbo when he reaches the Majors.
RHP Carlos F. Rodriguez, Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers may have found themselves a gem in the sixth round of the 2021 draft. The former JUCO pitcher has seen his stock rise while owning a 2.81 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and 103 strikeouts in 77 innings at AA Biloxi. Since playing in professional baseball, Rodriguez now sees his fastball sit around 95 MPH, but two other pitches have been the keys to his success: changeup and slider. His changeup is one of the best in the minors, which has aided in his success against left-handed hitters. His slider is above average and has been as effective against righties as it has against lefties. It is rare to find a young pitcher who locates their pitches as well as Rodriguez has, and fantasy managers could be in store for a pitcher that is a five or six on their staff but produces better than most middle-rotation starters.
LHP Mason Montgomery, Tampa Bay Rays
Entering the 2023 season, Montgomery was second to Taj Bradley as Tampa’s top pitching prospect. Bradley is now featuring in Tampa’s rotation, and Montgomery has assumed the top pitching spot in the Rays’ system. After finishing the 2022 season with a 1.81 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 69.2 innings for A+ Bowling Green, Montgomery is following it up with a 3.89 ERA, a 1.31 WHP and 94 strikeouts in 71.2 innings at AA Montgomery. His fastball sits in the mid-90s while topping out at 97 MPH, and his changeup and slider have been plus pitches in any count. Montgomery should make his Tampa debut during the 2024 season, and he will bring top-starter production to fantasy teams.