1. Jesus Luzardo – Oakland Athletics SP
The young lefty out of South Florida looks to have a breakout season as the top prospect in the A’s system. He pitched 12 innings last year in relief with 16 strikeouts and only 2 earned runs. Luzardo is not in the starting rotation to begin the season because of a positive Covid test, but it will not be long before the highly touted rookie is torching the big leagues with his high 90s fastball and excellent control.
2. Dinelson Lamet – San Diego Padres SP
Lamet seems poised to have a phenomenal season atop the surging San Diego Padres rotation. After posting 10.9 strikeouts per nine and a 1.242 WHIP in his very impressive rookie season, he suffered a UCL injury that required him to undergo Tommy John surgery. Causing him to miss his entire sophomore campaign and the beginning of last year’s season. In his remaining 14 games pitched of 2019 he lowered his walk count and showed improvements in his painfully high ERA. Lamet has an uncanny ability to catch batters swinging, if he can control his runs and complete another season fully healthy, he will propel himself into the category of elite strikeout pitchers.
3. Julio Urias – Los Angeles Dodgers SP
The Dodgers signed Urias in 2012 out of Mexico at the age of 16 and he has been one of their highest rated pitching prospects ever since. He has had mixed success in his minimal time in the majors working out of the bullpen after his shoulder surgery in only his second season of his career. The Injury costed him around a year of playing time, but he is only 23 years old and the fact that the Dodgers have stated he will be in the rotation to begin the season is a huge plus. The dodgers have a reputation of producing excellent farm grown pitchers in the recent years with the rise of Walker Buehler. Urias will be able to pitch his way into the top of one of the best rotations in league this season.
4. Will Smith – Los Angeles Dodgers C
No, not the Will Smith who just got in an “entanglement” but another Dodger that makes the list but this time from the other side of the plate. The first-round pick from the 2016 draft had an impressive rookie season, hitting 15 home runs and 42 RBI in only 54 games last year. He is projected to hit eighth on an already stacked LA lineup that just added Mookie Betts after having the second most wins in the major’s last season. A guy you need to pick up in your league if you did not get one of the top four catchers.
5. Nate Pearson – Toronto Blue Jays SP
The number eight overall prospect in all of baseball and the Jays highest overall ranked, will not start the season in the majors. But it will not be long until he is called up to help the aching Blue Jays rotation. He will automatically be their second-best pitcher behind recently acquired free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu. Taken in the first round in 2017 he has worked his way through the minor league system rolling over teams with his deadly pitches. Get him in your league before it is too late.
6. Nick Solak – Texas Rangers DH
One of the most intriguing players on this list, we do not really know Solak’s permanent position he played a little third second and DH last year. He looks to start the season at left field and might play a little first base once Willie Calhoun comes back. The Rangers are desperately trying to get his bat in the lineup as they look to compete in this short season. If he can get consistent playing time with his team this year and cutdown a little on his strikeouts he is poised for a breakout year.
7. Cesar Hernandez – Cleveland Indians 2B
Hernandez has always been able to get on base and generate hits in his past with the Phillies. He accumulated 171 hits, 77 runs and a .333 OBP last season. But now that he is the starting second baseman for the Indians and projected to lead-off hitting in front of guys like Lindor, Ramirez and Carlos Santana he will have an even better chance to produce runs. Second base is always thin in fantasy and having a proven starter in the middle infield with a secure grasp on playing time will prove his spot amongst the top sleepers of this shorten MLB season.
8. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo – Tampa Bay Rays OF
The Rays signed Tsutsugo to a two-year 12-million-dollar contract in the offseason to add some fire power to their offense. The power hitter out of Japan has hit at least 23 homeruns in each season since 2014 and even hit 45 in the ’16 season. The perfect bat to add to an already impressive Tamp Bay lineup, projected to hit third and play DH and corner outfield. If Tsutsugo can cut down on his strikeouts and adjust to major league pitching he will have an everyday spot in a high run producing lineup.
Opening Day Predictions
Yankees over Nats
Dodgers over Giants