For those who missed it, we took a brief look at a handful of draft prospects earlier in the week, highlighting players who, by my estimation, have the quickest paths to fantasy baseball relevance. Without knowing who would end up where, it would have been a stretch to try to peg specific timetables on anyone listed. Even now, before signing bonuses have been agreed to, that sort of exercise seems silly. There is one ETA, though, that I can’t help but speculate over. The White Sox drafted Carlos Rodon third overall, and have begun the process of negotiating signing terms with Rodon’s agent, Scott Boras. Given Boras’s reputation, there are many who wonder if the Sox will even be able to sign the 21-year-old, but I’m not overly concerned on that end. Chicago established a precedent in 2010 when they pushed Chris Sale through to the big club only two months after drafting him in the first round, revealing a distinct willingness not to pinch pennies over service time. A similar fast-track for Rodon puts him (and Boras) one year closer to payday. I believe the “screw super two” attitude displayed by Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams will be a valuable bargaining piece for Chicago, and could lead to a bonus in the neighborhood of MLB’s slot suggestion. Granted, such a scenario would involve the lefty pitching in a relief role, it still wouldn’t derail any plans to have him join the starting rotation next spring. This is all to say that Carlos Rodon pitching at the highest level this season is not out of the question. Keep that possibility in mind during your upcoming dynasty drafts.
Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox: The addition of Rodon to the White Sox farm probably bumps Tim Anderson to #2 on their prospect list, but that’s no guarantee. Anderson brings a high-impact fantasy ceiling, and he’s on fire as of late, collecting 14 hits in his last 32 at-bats.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins: Berrios has made tremendous strides this season with regard to command and control, reducing his 1.40 2013 WHIP to 1.15 this season, and ramping up his K’s in the process. The 20-year-old brings a front-end arsenal, and he’s been unhittable over the past month at High-A Fort Myers: 1.14/0.92/54 in 39 IP.
Jake Lamb, 3B, D’Backs: Lamb is on quite a heater, batting .609/.640/1.174 over the past week. That stretch includes 9 XBH in 23 AB. Goodness.
Rob Kaminsky, LHP, Cardinals: Through 5 starts at Low-A Peoria, Kaminsky has posted a 1.71 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, and a K/9 at 7.9. The 2013 first-round pick is looking like yet another impressive SP prospect in St. Louis’ never-ending stream of front-end arms.
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers: Seager is making a push for an upper levels assignment, drilling four homers over the past week to bring his to-date line to .348/.397/.620 at High-A Rancho. Should this level of production keep up at the next level, you can expect to see him in the top 15 overall fantasy prospects by year’s end.
Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros: Foltynewicz hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in a start since April 11th, and he was truly impressive in his most recent outing, striking out 10 and walking zero through 7.2 frames of 1-run baseball.
Carlos Correa, SS, Astros: Correa’s all-around skill set has been on display at High-A Lancaster, as the 19-year-old has posted a mouthwatering line at .321/.407/.491 with 41 R, 51 RBI, 5 HR, and 18 SB.
Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals: Still working his way back to full strength from TJ surgery, the Nats have been monitoring Giolito’s workload closely all year long, and even kept him out of game action for a stretch from May 11th to June 3rd. It’s the prudent thing to do, and lord knows Washington is well versed in TJ recovery, but the 19-year-old’s last two outings include 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, and 12 K, and hooooo boy I can’t wait until they loosen the reigns next season.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs: Bryant has been the best player in Minor League Baseball over the past month, hitting .393/.492/.832 with 13 HR through his last 107 AB at Double-A Tennessee. I’ve said it before, but a September call-up is looking increasingly likely for last year’s 2nd overall pick.
Ben Lively, RHP, Reds: Gauging the top MiLB hitter to-date leads to a conversation involving names like Polanco, Betts, Gallo, Pederson, Bryant, Taylor, and others, each of whom carries a healthy claim for the title. On the pitching side of things, however, the scene is far more clear. Ben Lively has unquestionably been the top arm in the minors this season, posting a 1.95 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP, and a K/9 at 10.5 through 12 starts at High-A Bakersfield. Keeping in mind that the California League is an extremely hitter-friendly environment, Lively’s year — his first full-season as a pro — looks even more impressive. I’m anxious to see what he can to at Double-A.