Imminent Arrivals: Top 10 Prospects for Redraft Leagues, May 24

Imminent Arrivals: Top 10 Prospects for Redraft Leagues, May 24

This article is part of our Imminent Arrivals series.

A reminder that this list is only players who still maintain rookie eligibility, and also only players who are still in the minors qualify.

With those caveats out of the way, here's a look at the Top 10 prospects still in the minors who offer the potential for fantasy contributions in 2023.

1. Royce Lewis, INF, Minnesota Twins

2023 stats that matter:  26 AB, .308/.357/.692, 3 HR, 3 SB, 1 BB, 9 SO for Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul.

Proximity matters. Lewis isn't the most talented prospect on this list – which is no insult to him, just compliment to some of the names below – and doesn't offer quite the same kind of fantasy upside the two names below him do. What he does offer, however, is a borderline guarantee to be playing for the Twins in the next week, as he's eligible to come off the 60-day injured list on May 29. On top of that chance for immediate playing time, Lewis also could be a hitter who hits for average, power and steals some bases. I would be rostering him right now, if the opportunity still exists. 

2. Elly De La Cruz, INF, Cincinnati Reds

2023 stats that matter: : 114 AB, .281/.374/.588, 7 HR, 7 SB, 16 BB, 37 SO for Triple-A Louisville.

De La Cruz has hit .297/.469/.595 over his last 10 games coming into Tuesday, and his reward is moving down a spot on the list. Life isn't fair. The

A reminder that this list is only players who still maintain rookie eligibility, and also only players who are still in the minors qualify.

With those caveats out of the way, here's a look at the Top 10 prospects still in the minors who offer the potential for fantasy contributions in 2023.

1. Royce Lewis, INF, Minnesota Twins

2023 stats that matter:  26 AB, .308/.357/.692, 3 HR, 3 SB, 1 BB, 9 SO for Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul.

Proximity matters. Lewis isn't the most talented prospect on this list – which is no insult to him, just compliment to some of the names below – and doesn't offer quite the same kind of fantasy upside the two names below him do. What he does offer, however, is a borderline guarantee to be playing for the Twins in the next week, as he's eligible to come off the 60-day injured list on May 29. On top of that chance for immediate playing time, Lewis also could be a hitter who hits for average, power and steals some bases. I would be rostering him right now, if the opportunity still exists. 

2. Elly De La Cruz, INF, Cincinnati Reds

2023 stats that matter: : 114 AB, .281/.374/.588, 7 HR, 7 SB, 16 BB, 37 SO for Triple-A Louisville.

De La Cruz has hit .297/.469/.595 over his last 10 games coming into Tuesday, and his reward is moving down a spot on the list. Life isn't fair. The exit velocities continue to impress for the switch-hitting infielder, and while he has struck out in seven consecutive contests, he's helped compensate with a good amount of walks on top of his hits. As good as Lewis is, if we're just talking about fantasy upside for the remainder of the 2023 season, De La Cruz should be the prospect you add. If there could be a 1A, 1B scenario, I would do that, but that's illegal in prospect fantasy writing. De La Cruz has a chance to be special immediately. 

3. Jordan Walker, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

2023 stats that matter: 83 AB, .217/.313/.337, 2 HR, 3 SB, 9 BB, 21 SO for Triple-A Memphis; 73 AB, .274/.321/.397, 2 HR, 2 SB, 3 BB, 20 SO for St. Louis.

Walker's numbers still aren't where he – or anyone else – wants them to be at this point, but keep in mind that on May 13 he was slashing .154/.286/.231. That gives you an idea of how much better he's been over the last week or so, and he's picked up multiple hits in his last pair of games for Memphis. Walker is widely considered the top prospect in baseball, and if this were a list that considered dynasty/keeper implications, he might just rank ahead of both of the names above him because of a chance for 70-grade hit and 80-grade power (on the 20-80 scouting scale). He's a little riskier than those options right now for just 2023, but he's still an absolute must-get when the Cardinals add him back to the roster. 

4. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, INF, Cincinnati Reds

2023 stats that matter: 108 AB, .361/.386/.722, 10 HR, 0 SB, 3 BB, 30 SO for Triple-A Louisville.

Encarnacion-Strand continues to see the hits fall, and he also continues to show that he can make an impact even when he isn't homering. Over his last 10 contests with Louisville, the 23-year-old has slashed .357/.378/.738 with three homers, but just one roundtripper over his last eight contests. That last stat isn't concerning, but rather an example of Encarnacion-Strand having a hit tool that can potentially help fantasy teams even when the ball isn't going over the fence. Don't expect it to not go over the fence for very long, as this is a player with top-of-the-scales power who will be playing his home games in a very friendly home park. 

5. Oscar Colas, OF, Chicago White Sox

2023 stats that matter: 70 AB, .329/.392/.500, 1 HR, 1 SB, 7 BB, 14 SO for Triple-A Charlotte; 76 AB, .211/.265/.276, 1 HR, 2 SB, 5 BB, 20 SO for Chicago (AL). 

Colas did not live up to expectations during his (relatively) short time with the White Sox, but he's looked the part with Charlotte as you can see by just looking up a line or two on your computer or cell phone. While he's hit just one homer since his demotion to Triple-A, he's also hit nine doubles, and it's reasonable to expect those to turn into roundtrippers in a short amount of time. The White Sox are terrible and likely not going anywhere, and that could be to Colas' benefit as he should get a chance to patrol the outfield on an everyday basis in a short time. Don't give up on him as a fantasy option yet. 

6. Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays

2023 stats that matter: 137 AB, .263/.362/.526, 8 HR, 0 SB, 22 BB, 33 SO for Triple-A Durham.

While Manzardo has picked up hits in his last two games for the Bulls, the overall trajectory – statistically, anyway – has been down as of late. Since May 10, the left-handed hitting first baseman has hit just .205, and his .839 OPS is inflated by three consecutive games with a homer from May 11-13. The approach remains strong, however, and based on everything he's shown in the past, it's hard to imagine Manzardo won't see those hits dropping again for the 22-year-old. Until they do, it's unlikely we see Manzardo up with Tampa Bay, but he's more than deserving of a high spot on this list. 

7. Gavin Williams, RHP, Cleveland Guardians

2023 stats that matter: 8 G, 40 IP, 1.58 ERA, 3 HR allowed, 13 BB, 56 SO for Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. 

Williams had his first ineffective start of 2023 last Tuesday while allowing six hits, three walks and two walks over just 3.2 innings against St. Paul. He bounced back nicely Sunday with six strong innings while allowing two earned runs with nine strikeouts against that same St. Paul lineup. Of the pitching prospects still in the minors, none come close to matching Williams' ability to miss bats, and the command has looked just fine for the most part. Whenever Cleveland deems him worthy of a call-up, fantasy managers should do the same. 

8. Colton Cowser, OF, Baltimore Orioles

2023 stats that matter: 139 AB, .331/.469/.554, 7 HR, 5 SB, 35 BB, 40 SO for Triple-A Norfolk.

Cowser is unfortunately out of commission right now, as he was placed on the injured list with left quad tightness in the middle of last week. It's not expected to be a long-term concern, but it obviously prevents him from being an option for the Orioles for the next week or so – possibly longer. When healthy, Cowser shows the ability to hit for average, draw walks, provide some pop and provide some steals; pretty much everything you'd want to see from a fantasy outfielder. His debut may not come for a while, but Cowser is one of the few prospects right now who has to be monitored in all eligible redraft formats. 

9. Andrew Abbott, LHP, Cincinnati Reds 

2023 stats that matter: 8 G, 40.2 IP, 2.66 ERA, 5 HR allowed, 14 BB, 73 SO for Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville. 
Abbott wasn't as good at the Triple-A level as he was in Double-A as seen in an ERA of 3.60 with Louisville compared to 1.15 while he was with Chattanooga. But he had another strong performance Friday with five scoreless innings and eight strikeouts against Triple-A Jacksonville. While Abbott hasn't gotten particularly deep into games this year with just one start over more than five innings, that has more to do with pitch-count limitations than anything else. Abbott can flat-out miss bats, and he has a chance to show that ability for the Reds this summer. 

10. Sal Frelick, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

2023 stats that matter: 56 AB, .232/.317/.321, 0 HR, 4 SB, 6 BB, 6 SO for Triple-A Nashville.

We certainly aren't running out of prospects who have a chance to contribute to 2023 redraft leagues – quite the opposite, really – but there's no denying that the arrivals aren't so imminent right now with the obvious exception being Lewis. That might help explain why a player like Frelick who struggled in his 15 games and isn't expected back until July after undergoing thumb surgery makes this list. The main reason he's deserving of being on this list, however, is he's a hitter who possesses a plus-plus hit tool along with a similar grade in speed who could be a big helper in the average, steals and run categories. He may not be a name I'd go out and get right now, but the chance to help in at least three categories makes him worth a look at the very least. 

Also consideredTyler Soderstrom, C/1B, Oakland Athletics; Curtis Mead, INF, Tampa Bay Rays; Evan Carter, OF, Texas Rangers; Endy Rodriguez, C, Pittsburgh Pirates; Jordan Westburg, INF, Baltimore Orioles; Michael Busch, INF, Los Angeles Dodgers; Ronny Mauricio, INF, New York Mets

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Crawford
Christopher Crawford has covered baseball, college football and a variety of other subjects for ESPN, NBC Sports and more.
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