Everyone has an area in life where they like a little risk/reward proposition. Some like to play the stock market. Some people are into blackjack. Some like the literal proposition scene found in pickup bars. Scouting prospects is mine, so each week I'm going to bring you five prospects who are an injury or slump away from making the big club and getting their chance to contribute. I'll also provide you with five more prospects who are more like gold nuggets (or fool's gold). They're likely to be irrelevant in standard leagues, but if you play in dynasty leagues (I'm in 7) or leagues with a high number of keepers, these prospects might be worth a shot. At worst, you should have them on your radar.
It's been a short season so far, and the small sample size is making some people look really good, and some look awful. Once we've got a month of numbers to work with, I'll start ranking the top five and giving you some deeper numbers to look at.
These players are definitely investments, and you have to play smart. You have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. You have to know when to stop with the analogies. Here we go...
5 MLB Prospects to Follow Closely & Pickup
There are a number of players who have a legitimate shot at making a 2014 season appearance and an impact for their club. If these seem a little obvious, you're already ahead of the game. If not, welcome to the world of prospecting.
1) George Springer - CF, Houston Astros
On the list last week - .353 BA/3 HR/9 BB at AAA. Called up yesterday. Enough said.
2) Dylan Bundy - SP, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles hoped their late off season acquisitions would help them to stay competitive in the AL East. Although they've definitely done a good job hitting the ball, throwing it has been a different ballgame altogether. Cue two young guns just waiting to help the big club. Kevin Gausman will be addressed shortly, but first lets take a look at the highly touted Dylan Bundy.
Before Tommy John surgery sidelined his 2013 campaign, Bundy played at four levels in 2012, ending his season with a couple of innings of work in Baltimore. He's maintained a double digit K/9 rate, has a plus fastball and cutter, and is now throwing off a mound. Expect to see Bundy in an Orioles uniform near you, and soon.
3) Kevin Gausman - SP, Baltimore Orioles
Part of the super duo about to energize the Orioles' pitching staff, Gausman brings a 95-96 mph fastball that can run up to 98, a tough slider and a developing change that sits in the mid-80's and low 80's, respectively. His stuff didn't get him through his most recent game at AAA, but that might mean that no one else will jump on him yet.
He's young, and he'll have his ups and downs, but he's got the tools that Baltimore needs. The AL East is pretty much up for grabs and a few shrewd moves (like promoting Bundy/Gausman) could mean the difference between winning the division or finishing in fourth place.
4) Marcus Stroman - SP, Toronto Blue Jays
If you'd asked in January, most people (including me) would have pegged Stroman to be a part of the Jays starting rotation in April. His trouble in the organization was in the rear view mirror and he'd won just about every internal minor league player award they had.
Stroman did not make the club after scuffling a bit in spring training, but he's ready to contribute, and like the Orioles, Toronto needs to make the right moves in order to have a chance at competing for the 2014 division title. Running Brandon Morrow and J.A. Happ out there every day doesn't cut it, and that's being gracious to Kyle Drabek and the hopes that he finally materializes into a reasonable offering every fifth day. Stroman is better than all three of those guys right now, and it won't be long before the Blue Jays make the call.
5) Jon Singleton - 1B, Houston Astros
Jon Singleton is poised to finally make good on the potential that once had him as the #2 ranked prospect in the Phillies system. It's been a rocky road to this point, but he and the Astros are certain that the well documented difficulties are behind him. He's got no one between him and the Houston 1B starting job and, like Springer(oops), is probably just waiting for the Super Two date to pass.
Opinions are mixed with Singleton, but he's got patience at the plate and massive power...two things you like to see in a first baseman. While he might not have the impact Jose Abreu (4 years older) is having for the White Sox, he's got loads of potential and is worth a flier if you've got room on your bench.
Five MLB Prospects to Scout
- Mookie Betts - 2B, Boston
- Niko Goodrum - SS, Minnesota
- Ketel Marte - SS, Seattle
- Renato Nunez - 3B, Oakland
- Gabriel Guerrero - OF, Seattle