Sometimes I wish the beat reporters would just ask the real question: “Do you really want to win, orrrrr is losing the new theme?”
So which minor league prospects have a chance at being called up and making a fantasy baseball impact in 2013? Let's take a look:
The Houston Astros have adopted the “money-ball” theory, more or less relinquishing the hope of winning in the present in order to construct a winning organization for the future. While this theory is sound and understandable, they have some talent at the minor league level which is being roadblocked by underachievers such as Marwin Gonzalez and Ronny Cedeno. Short stop Jonathan Villar had a chance to make the team in the spring but with a slow start he missed out on the chance to play the middle with the diminutive Jose Altuve. Villar has since gotten his act together and is one of the top producing short stops in the PCL. His .277/.323/.424 slash line, 13 stolen bases and 23 RBI surely couldn’t help the parent club right? I say wrong. Give the kid a shot and DFA Cedeno’s pathetic ass.
The Seattle Mariners have a middle infield combination of Robert Andino, Brendan Ryan and Dustin Ackley. Their woeful offensive slashline collectively sits at .197/.263/.246 (avg over all three of their lines). Nick Franklin has been rising on the prospect list over the past two seasons and has begun his season at Triple-A Tacoma with a mixed bag of results. Mixed as they may be, the results are far superior to that of the BrAckDino trio in Seattle. Franklin is hitting .318 with 4 HR, 20 RBI, 7 SB and an excellent .442 OBP due to his stellar plate discipline as shown by 30 BB in 132 ABs.
Franklin isn’t alone at Tacoma, as the team is budding with talent such as fellow middle infielderCarlos Triunfel. The 23-year-old Dominican product is sporting a .300/.351/.476 slasher with 4 HR, 19 RBI and 4 SB in 170 ABs. The promising bit about Seattle is that they have finally demoted Jesus Montero after months of lackluster production and recalled Jesus Sucre. One has to believe that Mike Zunino wont be long in waiting now. Tacoma’s roster also boasts Alex Liddi at 3B who could find his way back to Seattle soon with a strong start to the PCL season.
As for the most obvious roadblocked prospect of all Jurikson Profar of the Texas Rangers has found his way into the show by way of Ian Kinsler injury. However, Profar may not be up for the long haul as Kinsler has just a minor rib issue and should return from the DL when eligible. As for playing time going forward, it really is anyone’s guess for the talented Profar. The Rangers extended Elvis Andruswith a long-term deal in the off-season and with Mitch Moreland having a career year at First Base they aren’t hard pressed to make a move in the infield when Kinsler is healthy. There have been unfounded mutterings of Profar moving to the OF but the Rangers wouldn’t want to dilute his value and slow his progress at this point by swapping his role. Profar is the future of the Rangers at 2B, but that future may be delayed until there is a glaring need. Kinsler is enjoying a quite productive season with a .302 AVG, 7 HR and 20 RBI, so I just cannot fathom the Rangers being hard pressed to find Profar playing time. He is worth stashing in keeper formats and 14+ team mixers as he may find a way to force the Rangers hand in the next week or so.
Maybe the best raw hitter in the minors is St. Louis’ top prospect Oscar Taveras. Yet again we come to a roadblock situation where the Cardinals are atop their division and getting admirable production from their outfielders. Taveras has underwhelmed thus far with a .317 average and only 4 HR and 20 RBI. While these would be great numbers for a lesser talent, Taveras’ transition to the PCL from Double-A hasn’t been as easy as we had hoped it would be. He should warm up to Triple-A pitching soon enough but barring injury he seems to be stuck in Memphis for the time being.
Other notable top prospects:
Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson’s names popped up on the fantasy radar this week when Don Mattingly publicly put his underachieving Dodgers on blast. Andre Ethier was benched for a game but a change doesn’t appear imminent, however the Dodgers everyday players are officially on notice and Ethier could be on the trade block. Keep an eye on this situation as Puig could be an offensive threat similar toYoenis Cespedes if called upon. Speaking of Cespedes, he’s under performing currently while Sacramento’s Michael Choice is tearing up the PCL. Choice is among the league leaders in HR and RBI with 8 and 36 respectively, hitting at a .274 clip his issue is making contact consistently enough. The A’s are getting healthier but another injury could be the opening Choice needs seeing how Michael Taylor has failed to succeed when given his chances with the big club.
- Billy Hamilton CF, AAA-CIN, .246 BA, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 29 R, 24 SB (155 SB in 2012)
- Johnny Giavotella 2B, AAA-KC, .264 BA, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 3 SB
- Roger Kieschnick OF, AAA-SF, .304 BA, 6 HR, 29 RBI, .356 OBP
- Michael Wacha SP, AAA-STL, 4-0, 2.05 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 34K over 52.2 IP
- Sonny Gray SP, AAA-OAK, 4-2, 2.49 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 49 K over 50.2 IP
- Wil Myers OF, AAA-TB, .242 BA, 5 HR, 28 RBI
- Chris Archer SP, AAA-TB, 5-2, 4.00 ERA, 46 K thru 45 IP
- Kyle Gibson SP, AAA-MIN, 3-5, 3.25 ERA 1.14 WHIP, 46 K, 52.2 IP
- Michael Almanzar 3B AA-BOS, .276 BA, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 3 SB
- Kevin Pillar OF, AA-TOR, .316 AVG, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 11 SB (Stole 51 bases in 2012)
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