Welcome to Fantasy Baseball Prospect Watch! This weekly feature will list and give updates on minor-league prospects that are trending up, with a chance to make an impact in the MLB – and for your fantasy teams – sooner rather than later.

Fantasy Baseball Prospects Week 6

OF Oscar Gonzalez, OF Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians have gotten little production from the outfield position. Steven Kwan has been consistent, but he doesn’t bring much in terms of power. Myles Straw offers speed, but it remains to be seen if he can get on base enough to use his legs. Cleveland currently sits in second place in the AL Central, and should they decide they want to get some juice in the outfield, Oscar Gonzalez could be the first player they look to. He is not on their top prospect list, but the 24-year-old is coming off a 2021 season that saw him slash .293/.329/3542 with 31 home runs and 83 RBI. Even with his power stats he was able to keep his K% below 24%. Early into 2022, the righty has slashed .311/.340/.910 with eight home runs, 27 RBI and a highly respectable 14.8 K%. The Guardians need support behind José Ramírez, and Gonzalez could add a boost immediately upon his call. Consider him an under-the-radar player to watch as very few, if any, fantasy players are keeping tabs on Gonzalez.

2B Ji-hwan Bae, Pittsburgh Pirates

It is only a matter of time before the Pirates decide to throw in the towel and start calling up some of their top prospects. Naturally, fantasy owners will be looking for power bats, but Ji-hwan Bae could be an ideal piece for owners looking to increase OBP categories as well as hits and stolen bases. Bae could be the perfect addition as he gets on base consistently and is coming off two straight seasons with 20+ stolen bases. Early into this season, Bae has a five-hit game as well as nine stolen bases in 28 games. He won’t provide much in terms of power but given his keen eye of the strike zone and ability to get on base, he should immediately help fantasy owners in the stolen base category. Bae has also seen time in the outfield which could give him multiple-position eligibility when he arrives in Pittsburgh.

RHP Graham Ashcraft, Cincinnati Reds

As of Friday, only the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds have yet to reach double-digit wins early into the 2022 season. While the Reds have had dismal production from their starting rotation, they have shown the willingness to give their top prospects starts. Again, the results have been forgettable, but they could continue to give their youth chances as they deal with injuries. The Reds have already used Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo in their rotation, and Graham Ashcraft could be the next prospect given a shot in Cincinnati. The right-handed pitcher is leading MiLB with a 1.63 ERA and has fared well at Triple-A Louisville. Through three minor league seasons Ashcraft owns a 3.23 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 192.1 innings pitched. One concern to monitor are his 15 walks in 27.2 innings pitched so far this season. This is something that will need to be ironed out before he gets his call to the Majors. The Cincinnati offense sits in the middle of the pack in terms of runs scored so run support will not be a huge issue but giving batters free passes is a big no at the Major League level. Fantasy owners should start monitoring Ashcraft now as he does possess the ability to get batters out. The question is will he be able to keep them off base via the walk?

RHP Caleb Kilian, Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have one of the worst pitching staffs in Major League baseball, and their starting rotation has been brutal early into the season. However, one top pitching prospect that has shown he is just about ready to make his Major League debut is Caleb Kilian. Kilian came over in the deal that sent Kris Bryant to the San Francisco Giants, and he has pitched admirably with a 1.82 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and a 26:10 K:BB in 24.2 innings of work. During the cancelled 2020 MiLB season, Kilian worked on his mechanics and is currently hitting mid-to-high 90s on his fastball consistently and has shown the ability to wipe batters out with his secondary pitches (he uses a slider, curve and change). Fantasy owners may be hesitant to reach for a Cubs starter given the rough start they have had early into 2022, but Kilian could be the bright spot to give the Cubs pitching staff a much-needed shot in the arm. His call will come in 2022, and it could come sooner than many scouts have predicted.