As expected, the passing of the Super Two deadline has decimated our list here. Six of our previous top ten are gone. Poof. That means lots of turnover. We’ve got a new number one and we’ve got some guys making big moves up the board. The overall upside of the list has sunk for obvious reasons, but there’s still plenty of fantasy help looming in the minor leagues. Also, notice two exciting names in the Next Five group — Gary Brown is on fire at Triple-A, finally unlocking some of his five-tool potential, and Archie Bradley continues to pitch too damn well to be ignored.
1. Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Mariners (Previously Ranked #3): Erasmo continues to pitch well at Triple-A, although last night’s start was his worst yet with Tacoma (6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K). Jeremy Bonderman and Aaron Harang are the only people standing between Ramirez and a full-time gig in the M’s rotation. Bonderman pitched last night and turned in another solid performance. Still, I have to imagine that either he or Harang will revert to their old ways, and make space for the Eraser before long.
2. Michael Wacha, RHP, Cardinals (N/R): Last night, Wacha made his first MiLB start since being demoted. The 21-year-old tossed 5 decent frames, allowing 8 hits, 3 runs, and no walks while whiffing 6. Tyler Lyons currently occupies the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation, but he’s coming off of his worst start of the season, and another poor outing could reopen the door for Wacha.
3. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (#4): Taveras has only collected 2 XBH in 9 games since returning from an ankle injury, but he’s still Oscar Taveras, and he’ll be up near the top of this list until the day the Cardinals summon him to St. Louis. Oh, what a glorious day that will be.
4. Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds (#7): Hamilton still has some things to iron out at Triple-A, but he’s been much improved over the past month and he’s finally stealing bases at a more familiar clip (11 SB though his last 10 games). The Reds are still in need of outfield help, and, provided he continues his upward trend in the meantime, the 22-year-old could be roaming center field at Great American Ballpark before August.
5. Carlos Martinez, RHP, Cardinals (Next 5): Three Cardinals in the top five? Is Joe Buck writing this? No, I’m not Joe Buck, although I do enjoy Mr. Buck more than most. In any case, the Cardinals have the best farm system in baseball — this is no secret. They’ve also got questions in their rotation, and, as I mentioned Sunday, C-Mart is stretching out more quickly than I originally anticipated. His last outing wasn’t his prettiest (5 hits, 4 walks, 3 runs), but he’s pitching deeper into games, and arrival before August isn’t out of the question.
6. Nick Castellanos, OF, Tigers (N/R): Castellanos is an immediate upgrade in left field over Andy Dirks, and he continues to hit well at Triple-A Toledo, now up to .293/.368/.477 with 10 home runs in 72 games. I can only guess as to when the Tigers will call him up, but the 21-year-old is a lock to arrive in the bigs this summer. He’s not Wil Myers or Oscar Taveras or anything, but an advanced approach should allow him to adapt quickly once he reaches Detroit, offering good AVG, good OBP, and occasional power.
7. Kyle Gibson, RHP, Twins (Next 5): I’ve been reluctant to put Kyle Gibson into the top ten here, but with several of the other arms like Cole and Wheeler out of the way, Gibson moves up the board. He’s also a guy who has reportedly been held back because of Super Two sensitivity. I expect the Twins to call him up soon, and when they do, he’ll be an intriguing option right away.
8. Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins (#5): Yelich is still working his way back from an abdominal injury, but it shouldn’t be long before he returns to action at Double-A Jacksonville. Excluding Taveras, no one on this list brings more upside than the Marlins’ 21-year-old outfielder.
9. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (N/R): Gausman seems to have blown his opportunity, but he’ll resurface in Baltimore as soon as there’s a need. He remains a top pitching prospect, and he resumes his Triple-A season today, starting for Norfolk versus Indianapolis.
10. Mike Olt, 1B/3B, Rangers (N/R): Olt appears to have put his eye troubles behind him. He’s back in Triple-A, and he’s on a mini-heater, having hit four homers in his last seven games, including a two-homer game the other night. As we know, Olt is a streaky dude. This, I think, is just a taste of what’s ahead.
NEXT FIVE: Tyler Skaggs, LHP, D’Backs (N/R); Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics (Next 5); Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians (Next 5); Archie Bradley, RHP, D’Backs (N/R); Gary Brown, OF, Giants (N/R)
DROPPING OUT: George Springer, OF, Astros (Next 5);
NOTEWORTHY MLB ARRIVALS: Wil Myers, OF, Rays (#1); Zack Wheeler, RHP, Mets (#2); Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates (#6); Tony Cingrani, RHP, Reds (#8); Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins (#9); Mike Zunino, C, Mariners (#10); Josh Rutledge, SS/2B, Rockies (N/R)
NOTEWORTHY MLB DEMOTIONS: Michael Wacha, RHP, Cardinals; Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles, Tyler Skaggs, LHP, D’Backs