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 17
OF Jackson Chourio, Milwaukee Brewers
The 19-year-old has quickly moved through the Brewers’ minor league system after signing as an international free agent in 2021. A season ago, through A and AA, Chourio set career-best numbers slashing .288/.342/.538 with 20 home runs, 75 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 400 at-bats. He is on pace to blow past last season’s stats slashing .278/.333/.459 with 14 home runs, 61 RBI and 29 stolen bases in 338 at-bats for AA Biloxi. Along with his outstanding speed, he barrels balls to both parts of the field with ease, but one point of focus for Chourio is hitting against off-speed pitches as he has shown swing-and-miss potential. He saw his K% sit at 30% in 2021, but this has drastically dropped to 22% this season. The young outfielder, destined for an everyday centerfield role with the Brewers, turns 20 next March and there is no need for him to be rushed to the Majors. It is without question he reaches AAA next season and may have an outside chance of seeing his call-up in 2024.
SS Luisangel Acuna, Texas Rangers
The younger brother of Ronald Acuna Jr. may not have the same superstar potential, but he possesses outstanding speed and the ability to play anywhere on the field. During his first handful of seasons in the minors, he has spent time at SS/2B, but this could eventually change when he reaches the Majors and he has already started seeing time in center field. A season ago, Acuna finished with 40 stolen bases while slashing .277/.369/.426 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI. Fast-forward to this season and Acuna has seen his batting average increase while slashing .308/.371/.435 with six home runs, 48 RBI and 39 stolen bases for AA Frisco. The sky is the limit for Acuna and fantasy owners should start zeroing in on his progression as he resembles a young Rafael Furcal with the ability to have better power numbers.
RHP Brock Porter, Texas Rangers
Drafted in the 4th round of the 2022 MLB Draft, the 20-year-old is quickly making a name for himself and could move quickly through the Rangers’ system. 2023 is his first season in the minor leagues, but he has handled himself well registering a 2.55 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 68 strikeouts in 53 innings. The righty’s future already looks bright as his fastball sits in the mid-to-high 90s late into ball games, and his slider/curve combination are both plus pitches. At 6’4” 208lbs, Porter has the frame and makeup to turn into a front-line starting pitcher. His call may not come in 2024, but his stock is skyrocketing up prospect rankings lists.
RHP Drew Thorpe, New York Yankees
Pitchers drafted out of college tend to move quickly in the minor leagues and New York’s Drew Thorpe should be on a similar trajectory. Last season’s 2nd round pick has fared extremely well for A+ Hudson Valley going 10-1 (16 GS) with a 2.08 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 124 strikeouts in 99.1 innings. One specific pitch that sets Thorpe apart from other pitchers in New York’s system is his changeup. It was graded as one of the best in last year’s draft. It features great fade while garnering numerous swings and misses. He has developed his slider into another solid secondary pitch, and while he sits in the low-90s, he does have the ability to reach 95 MPH early into ball games. His simple, repeatable delivery has been a major reason for his success early into his minor league career. Hey may never overpower batters or be viewed as a front-line starter, but he has the makings of one of the better mid-rotation starters in baseball.