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Eye on the Minors: June Call-Ups for Fantasy Baseball


 

Recent MLB Prospect Call-Ups

In the past week, we finally got some big name MLB prospects called up, headlined by St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who homered in his second major league at bat Saturday. Not to be outdone, Houston 1B prospect Jonathan Singleton homered in his first major league game after getting the call-up (and a five-year contract) on Tuesday. The Braves seemingly ended the Dan Uggla era in Atlanta with the callup of second-base prospect Tommy La Stella.

I’ve covered these guys over the past few weeks, so I won’t go into too much detail on their benefits for fantasy baseball, but they should be picked up off the waiver wire as sleepers in all formats as they figure to be productive members of their teams for the remainder of the season. Taveras is the more well-rounded hitter, projected to be a 300+ hitter with 30-homer potential.

Singleton is more of the slugger. I’d expect an average around the .260 range, but with 30-35 homer potential in that ballpark. La Stella won’t provide big power numbers or the steals you might like from the position, but the kid can hit. Plan on a high-average, and if the Braves decide to quit batting B.J. Upton second, a chance to bat near the top of the lineup where he’ll score some runs.

 

June Prospect Call-Up Watch

Eddie Butler, RHP, COL

Eddie-Butler-MLB-Prospects-Rookies-Fantasy-BaseballThe Colorado Rockies announced that they will call up pitching prospect Eddie Butler to start against the Dodgers today. The Rockies had enough of Franklin Morales in their rotation, so they sent him to the bullpen and reached for Butler to fill the spot in the rotation. I wrote about Butler several weeks ago and pointed out that he may be as Coors-proof as any pitcher, since his ground ball rates in the minors have been close to 60 percent.

He relies on a plus-fastball (which is really three pitches – a two-seam, a four-seam and a cutter), a nasty slider and a put-away changeup with sink. I saw him pitch in the Futures game last season and he abused Xander Bogaerts with that pitch. Colorado pitchers always make me skittish in fantasy, but with his deep arsenal, Butler is worth a shot if you have room on your staff. He is not going to strikeout enough guys to make him a top-20 fantasy option, but he’ll be able to get major leaguers out and will not walk many guys either. I’d expect a low WHIP, but maybe a higher ERA than he deserves, considering his home park. I picked him up off the waiver wire in any leagues where he was available.

Jonathan Gray, RHP, COL

With Butler in the bigs, the Rockies are showing that they are serious about making at least a wild card run this season. With that said, the next big arm on the horizon is top pitching prospect Jonathan Gray. Gray was the number three overall pick in the 2013 draft, out of the University of Oklahoma. Butler’s double-A teammate with the Tulsa Drillers, Gray has a 5-3 record and a 3.86 ERA in the Texas League this season. Unlike Butler, Gray is not a groundball pitcher. Nonetheless, he may be Coors-proof as well. The former Sooner is a power pitcher with sharp command, something the Rockies have coveted for years. He’s Ubaldo Jimenez without the walks. His fastball is a mid-90’s offering, though he can reach back for triple-digits. He owns a late-breaking slider, thrown in the high 80’s, which will be a strikeout pitch, and a straight changeup. All three pitches project to be plus offerings at the major league level and should serve to keep the baseballs from flying out of Coors Field. While Butler’s ceiling is a number two starter in the big leagues, Gray has the stuff to be an ace.

Eugenio Suarez, SS, DET

Also this week, the Detroit Tigers called up shortstop prospect Eugenio Suarez to try to fix their woes at shortstop. As a fantasy option, Suarez doesn’t have much upside. He put up good (not great) numbers in the minors this season, batting .288 across two levels, but he doesn’t have much power or speed to speak of. Though he may be an asset to the Tigers at a weak position, he’s not the type of guy you reach for to help your fantasy team down the stretch.

 

More June Call-Up Options

With Taveras, Singleton, La Stella and Butler graduated to the bigs, the list of impact players in the minors is dwindling. Here’s how the next wave of call-ups is performing lately.

Gregory Polanco, OF, PIT: .355 BA, 6 HR, 48 RBI, 14 SB at triple-A Indianapolis, Polanco has hit in six straight games with multi-hit efforts in four of them. He’s ready.

Andrew Heaney, LHP, MIA: He’s started three games at triple-A New Orleans and won two of them, with 18 strikeouts and one walk in 17 innings. He had one hiccup – a six-run, 11-hit outing at Colorado Springs – but no one should be downgraded after giving up some runs in that ballpark.