June 1st is just around the corner. There are many prospects that are just waiting for that deadline for their major league call-up. From Ackley to Moustakas to Rizzo to Belt and Jennings, the fantasy world will clamor at their availability and set grandiose expectations for performance. Remember, ma’ always said rookie-nookie should be ingested in small doses to prevent statistical indigestion. If excitement last more than four hours, offer your fellow league mate a turn, just don’t let your eyes meet.
Eric Thames | TOR | OF: Was called up as of 5/16/11. See Friday’s Buy/Sell post, or read past the link for where I quote Grey, “If I were in an AL-Only league, I’d grab Thames for a little HBI (Hot Bat Injection), but he’ll probably strike out a ton and I’d hold for now in mixed leagues.” I’d concur, especially since his M.O. is power and strikeouts.
Jay Buente | FLA | RHP (AAA): Will start today, Sunday, filling in for the injured Josh Johnson. Has a career 9.4 K/9 with a 3.6 BB/9. At 27 years old, his prospect status isn’t very high, if at all. Throws a low to mid 90s fastball and split-finger that induces a fair amount of groundballs. With a 44:10 K:BB ratio at Triple-A this year, he could be quiet source of strikeouts.
Jordan Lyles | HOU | RHP (AAA): Doesn’t have the ceiling of Julio Teheran, or the sexy appeal of Micheal Pineda. However, Lyles’ ability to control his 88-93 mph fastball, low 80s slider and a strong cutter project him as a number three starter. His strikeout rate has dropped progressively at each level of the minors. Will be more valuable in real baseball than in fantasy-world.
Dustin Ackley | SEA | 2B (AAA): Report on May 17 is that Seattle’s brass want him to improve his defense before considering calling him up. GM Jack Zduriencik followed that comment up with an equally vague statement that he wants Ackley up “sooner rather than later.” So June? Has 12/12 potential over the remainder of the year; at second base, you can do much worse.
Brett Lawrie | TOR | 3B (AAA): Continuing on the quoting trend, Yahoo’s Blue Jay report stated, “Asked about possibilities [of] the regular third baseman, manager John Farrell said, ‘We’ve got three options there. (INF Jayson Nix, INF John McDonald and 3B/1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion.) And when Brett Lawrie comes up, there’s another one.’” Here’s hoping that everyone knows Lawrie-salt makes everything better, including fantasy line-ups.
Brandon Belt | SF | 1B/OF (AAA): Since returning to Triple-A, Belt has .373/.509/.602 in 83 at-bats with a 24:26 K:BB ratio and 11 XBH (4 Hr). His scouting report states he makes consistent contact and has good strike zone judgment with ability to make quick adjustments. Appears he just needs some more time to adjust to major league pitching and could provide a .300 average and 20 to 25 home runs.
Anthony Rizzo | SD | 1B (AAA): Continues to hit well (.325/.391/.650 in last 10 days), and looks poised for a June first call up.
Desmond Jennings | TB | CF (AAA): Starting to show power and the strikeout rates that come with it (31 in 152 at-bats). Nothing to be too worried about for the time being. With Sam Fuld continuing to regress and disappoint, look for Jennings to finally get an opportunity soon. Think .275 with 12 to 15 home runs and 15 to 20 steals for the whole year.
Zach McAllister | CLE | RHP (AAA): Josh Todd got the call-up to replace the injured Alex White, but Tood is a reliever. McAllister has been brilliant this year at Triple-A with a 7.3 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 52 innings and a 1.02 WHIP. That said, his stuff is mediocre and is an end-of-the-rotation starter.
Mike Moustakas | KC | 3B (AAA): Starting to heat up at just the right time. In the last 10 games, he has slashed .333/.413/.718 (39 AB). During this time he has 9 XBH (3 Hr) and is making better contact (5:5 K:B). Be forewarned, his tendency to swing often and frequently making contact should be noted. His swing is solid and is learning to lay-off the breaking pitches. Should be owned when called up.
Mike Montgomery | KC | LHP (AAA): Slowly improving upon a disappointment start of the year. It seems that every step forward is met with another step backwards. Last Saturday, he was rocked 8 ER in 4.1 IP and a 4:3 K:BB. On the 19th, he dazzled with 7 strikeouts and 9 baserunners in 7 innings. Pitches better at home than road, which makes sense as Omaha is a slight-pitchers park. I don’t expect to see him up until mid-to-late summer.
James Darnell | SD | 3B (AA): Continues to lace the ball at Double-A in San Antonio, which is historically a strong-pitchers park. Bolstered by a solid 19:29 K:BB ratio and a .299 ISO, Darnell is pushing hard for the case to be promoted to at least Triple-A. With a career .206 ISO, strong plate discipline and good contact skills, Darnell could be a solid play in deeper mixed leagues by the end of the year, and in the near future.
Paul Goldschmidt | ARI | 1B (AA): Paul Bunyan’s nephew go yard yet again. 15 home runs on the year. Please Arizona, dump Miranda and Branyan so Brandon Allen and Goldschmidt finally get an opportunity. (Rudy: Your Branyan wish came true but Miranda and Xavier Nady are still around….)