There hasn’t been much turnover from our last revision until now, so the names here are pretty much the same ones we’ve been talking about for a few weeks. There are a few exceptions, though: Grant Green was on the list much earlier this season, but disappeared from these ranks for the last several weeks. His recent hot streak in conjunction with Oakland’s need of a reliable second baseman has propelled him all the way up to #3. Xander Bogaerts also makes his top 10 debut this week. Other than that, there’s a little bit of shuffling around, but the core group (Erasmo, Yelich, C-Mart, Taveras, Castellanos, Hamilton) is still intact.
1. Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Mariners (Previously Ranked #1): Erasmo has looked much more hittable since our last revision, allowing 10 earned runs and 20 hits over his last three starts. Still, Ramirez has posted a 20/4 K/BB during that stretch and firsthand accounts suggest that his stuff hasn’t lagged. Jeremy Bonderman couldn’t make it through four frames his last time out, and Erasmo’s call-up now appears sooner than ever.
2. Carlos Martinez, RHP, Cardinals (#5): The Cards are giving Michael Wacha a little breather in hopes of saving his arm for the stretch run in case there’s a need. That would put Carlos Martinez next in line for starts in St. Louis. Joe Kelly will fill the immediate gap in the rotation, but as soon as he falters, C-Mart will step in. Filthy dirty stuff will make him a premium fantasy option as soon as he’s starting ballgames.
3. Grant Green, 2B, Athletics (N/R): Just two days ago I wrote this: “Green is on fire at Triple-A Sacramento, hitting .455/.489/.909 with 4 homers through his last 10 games. On the year, he’s batting .320/.377/.511 with 11 long balls. The A’s could use a steady option at 2B, and Green could be an above average fantasy MI as soon as he arrives in Oakland, which could be soon. Expect to see him in my prospect power rankings revision this coming Wednesday.” And here he is.
4. Michael Wacha, RHP, Cardinals (#2): I just explained the Cardinals’ plan to pace out Wacha’s workload, which is a clear indication that the 22-year-old is a still in their 2013 plans. Wacha’s upside isn’t quite as good as Martinez’s or Ramirez’s, but we’ve seen what he can do, and I have little doubt that he could make for a steady August/September option in the fantasy game.
5. Nick Castellanos, OF, Tigers (#6): Castellanos continues his solid production at the plate, now hitting .301/.378/.488 on the year. The Tigers can use reinforcements in the outfield, and I think it’s only a matter of time before the 22-year-old takes over full-time left field duties in Detroit.
6. Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds (#4): Hamilton has cooled off somewhat since our last revision, but the Reds situation hasn’t changed much. He needs to calm his approach and find his way on base more often, which is typically a strength of his. As soon as he can string together a couple good weeks, the Reds will be forced to consider him.
7. Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins (#8): Yelich has returned to action after missing three weeks with an abdominal injury. The Marlins are easing his way back with a few rehab games in the GCL complex league, but he should return to Jacksonville before long. He’s the type of high-impact talent that can catch a heater as soon as he’s back in Double-A. Arrival in Miami might not be too far off, if that’s the case.
8. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox (N/R): Will Middlebrooks has been demoted. Granted, he’s been mashing since he was sent down, but it still leaves an aura of uncertainty surrounding Boston’s 3B situation for the last few months. My guess is that Middlebrooks returns to the Red Sox for another look as their regular third baseman, but if he continues to struggle at the big league level, Boston will have to consider other options. Xander Bogaerts should be at the top of the list.
9. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (#3): Taveras returns to the DL after aggravating his ankle injury. His ROS status isn’t clear at this point, but I can’t justify removing baseball’s best fantasy prospect (yeah, I still like him more than Buxton) off this list just yet.
10. Archie Bradley, RHP, D’Backs (Next 5): Bradley leaps past Tyler Skaggs this week, not because he’ll be quicker to arrive in Arizona than Skaggs, but because his upside is better than any other pitcher we’re covering here. Many folks around baseball consider the 20-year-old baseball’s best pitching prospect, and it’s tough to argue against that sentiment given Bradley’s 2.02 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 9.0 K/P through 11 Double-A starts. His fastball-curveball combo is ready to draw whiffs in the bigs right now.
NEXT FIVE: Tyler Skaggs, LHP, D’Backs (Next 5); Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics (Next 5); Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians (Next 5); Mike Olt, 1B/3B, Rangers (#10); George Springer, OF, Astros (N/R)
DROPPING OUT: Gary Brown, OF, Giants (Next 5)
NOTEWORTHY MLB ARRIVALS: Kyle Gibson, RHP, Twins (#7); Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (#9); Brad Miller, SS, Mariners (N/R); Martin Perez, RHP, Rangers (N/R)