Happy Sunday gang – I’ll be stepping into the box now on Sundays (in addition to my weekly Panning For Gold installment on Wednesdays), and will continue to at least somewhat mirror Scott’s Sunday updates. Moving forward, Minor Accomplishments will stay mostly the same (with tweaks here-and-there at times). But as you’re used to, I’ll be pointing out some of those (often) more-heralded prospects that are on the verge of promotions or are worth consideration of addition to your roster. Like all the rest of the Razzball crew that has always done such a good job before I became involved, my goal is the same; to bring you guys as much information and insight as possible to help make those tough calls you make regarding your teams at least a little easier!
As is always the case this time of year, we’re now entering the stretch where everyone needs to begin to keep closer tabs on the near MLB-ready prospects that have been climbing their respective ladders – we’re well past the point that most MLB GM’s have to worry about players’ Super Two statuses (in most cases), so you can start to expect to see more of those true “impact” names begin to surface as contenders look to fill holes before having to consider going outside their own organization for extra firepower as they begin to make their stretch runs.
Without further ado…
Dylan Bundy — Scott touched on him last week, and if you haven’t found a way to tuck him away yet, the time is here. Following another spectacular start last night – 5 shutout innings, 3 hits allowed, 7 Ks, and 2 BBs – his ERA is now down to 0.60, and he’s got a 13.20/1.80 K/BB Ratio to go along with his 0.87 WHIP. With the Blue Jays hiccup at home this weekend against the White Sox (losing Friday and Saturday), Baltimore is going to be in contention and Bundy WILL be in the rotation coming out of the All-Star Break – Peter Angelos will not OK the financial expenditures that are going to be necessary to retain either David Price or Jeff Samardzija, and if Bundy keeps this up no one will blame him (for once).
Mookie Betts — He’s already here (called up by the Red Sox Saturday morning), and he’s GOING to play. Where may be the question at first, but given Boston’s putrid OF production thus far he’s not being called up to watch and learn. He’s now logged time at SS, 2B, CF, and RF during his quick run through the Sox’ system, Stephen Drew and Jackie Bradley aren’t producing AT ALL, and the “steal” Boston got in the Shane Victorino signing prior to last season doesn’t look like quite as much of a steal right now – Victorino’s been on the DL since May 24th and just got an injection this morning in the hopes that the lingering back discomfort that has kept him from even trying to start a rehab assignment will subside. Betts will make the type of impact that the Boston brass had hoped the combination of Bradley and Grady Sizemore might when the year started – he can affect a game in multiple ways.
Marcus Stroman – Small in stature but big on guts, it may be time to consider adding Stroman to the back of your fantasy rotations before everyone else starts to gobble him up. After today’s strong outing against Chicago – 6.2 IP, 2 earned runs, 2 hits, 6 Ks, 2 BBs – he’s seemed to get comfortable, dominating the Yankees and South Siders in back-to-back outings. The word on the street is that the Jays are interested in adding Chase Headley to their already potent offense, presumably making things even easier for anyone on their staff during the second half. You have to figure that Andrew Friedman will demand an absolute mint in return for trading David Price within the division and it would seem that the Padres will be looking for some of the same names that Theo and Jed will be asking for in return for Samardzija, making deals for both Headley and Samardzija highly unlikely.
Taijuan Walker — Another “must stash” impact SP for the second half – Erasmo Ramirez has been officially removed from Seattle’s rotation, and was on the same schedule as Walker. It would be a huge surprise if Taijuan doesn’t toe the rubber for the Mariners tomorrow following his complete game four hit dismantling of Oklahoma City on Thursday night (4 hits allowed, 8 Ks, 1BB and maybe most importantly 75 out of his 109 pitches were strikes). Look for the official announcement today.
Rob Refsnyder — Everybody associated with the Evil Empire hoped Brian Cashman might catch lightning in a bottle yet again by gambling that the Yankees could somehow milk enough health (and offense) out of Brian Roberts/Kelly Johnson/Yangervis Solarte to go along with the expectations hung on Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran to outscore opponents enough WITHOUT the $240 Million Man to hide an aging and weak pitching staff (behind Tanaka The Great, of course). It worked for awhile but Beltran’s showing his age, McCann’s seems to be trying to do a little too much, Ellsbury’s really not a $153 million impact bat, and let’s face it – Johnson, Solarte, and Roberts are, well, Johnson, Solarte, and a 37 year old Brian Roberts. Refsnyder’s hitting .483/.625/.848/1.423 over his last 10 games in Scranton – which is even better than before his promotion to AAA. If his time isn’t here yet, it’s not far away.
Arismendy Alcantara — The Cubs’ embarassment of position player riches is going to have to start being cleared up soon. Assuming Theo and Jed are going to keep Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo (both under contract through 2019), decisions loom about where everyone else is going to play. Darwin Barney’s done and might at least bring some kind of lower-level arm in return if they’ll move him prior to the deadline. Alcantara’s a natural SS, but one has to expect that either Castro or Javier Baez is the long-term answer there with the other sliding over to 3B. Keeping Rizzo (if that’s the case) would signal a permanent move of Kris Bryant to one of the corner OF spots and would leave Alcantara as the obvious 2B of the future. A switch-hitter with wheels, some pop, and a solid OBP, Alcantara would fit nicely in front of all that firepower, and he’s coming off a .423/.467/.808/1.275 week for AAA Iowa.
Remember, you can always hit me up on Twitter @clvclv, as well as in the comments section here.