Right about now is when I expected to start hyping the arrival of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. The 26-year-old Cuban defector reportedly signed with the Phillies in late July, and we covered his potential fantasy impact here and here. Given the nature of the contract, there was plenty of incentive on the Phillies’ part to push Gonzalez through to the bigs as quickly as possible in order to get him accustomed to performing on a MLB stage. He was set to be your savior for the H2H playoffs, your last-ditch effort at a late-season roto push. He easily would’ve been top-two on this list by now, provided he hadn’t already surfaced in Philly. Alas, folks tend to tread carefully when there’s $60 million on the table. Reports are now suggesting that some concerns popped up regarding Gonzalez’s elbow, and as of today, he remains unsigned. It’s a disappointing development, but we’re not gonna see M.A.G. in the bigs this year. If Philadelphia passes on him, he’ll be free to sign wherever, but whether it’s with the Phillies or elsewhere, Gonzalez figures sign for a much more reasonable sum ($60 mil was a little ridic).
We’ll do one more of these rankings on 8/28, prior to September call-ups. After rosters expand, there’s not much to see here.
1. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox (Previously Ranked #1): The Red Sox appear to be giving Will Middlebrooks one more chance to redeem himself at the big league level before they turn to Bogaerts. I’m not-so-secretly hoping Middlebrooks whiffs often in the next handful of ballgames.
2. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (#5): Taveras is still working his way back from a high ankle sprain, but he’s set to return to baseball action this week. He’ll need to prove he’s 100% in a hurry if he expects to surface in St. Louis this season, but given the 21-year-old’s noted high-end skill set, and also the fact that both Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran are a little banged up, I’m thinking there’s still a good chance.
3. Carlos Martinez, RHP, Cardinals (#2): Did you see Martinez’s start versus LA? Did you see the movement on those 96 MPH two-seamers? The location was a little sloppy, but it’s clear that Martinez possesses some of the filthiest stuff imaginable. It’s likely that the Cardinals will use him for a spot start or two down the stretch, but at the very least, expect to see him back the the St. Louis bullpen for the stretch run.
4. Travis d’Arnaud, C, Mets (#9): John Buck is expected to take paternity leave any day now, and word from New York suggests d’Arnaud will be his replacement. The 24-year-old has missed much of the past two seasons with lower-body injuries, but he’s a polished hitter with immediate upside in the fantasy game, and he’s ready for a look in the bigs.
5. Mike Olt, 3B, Cubs (#6): Olt’s not really performing at a level to justify this ranking, but we’re well acquainted with his streaky ways by now. He might drill 5 homers next week. You just don’t know with this guy, and you can’t rule out the possibility that he arrives in Chicago and offers a power surge for the final month.
6. Nick Castellanos, OF, Tigers (#7): Not much has changed for Castellanos since our last revision. His arrival seems more likely than most of the others’ on this list, but his fantasy impact doesn’t figure to be too extreme. Still, he’s a guy you’ll want in AL-only, and one that you should be holding in dynasty leagues.
7. Archie Bradley, RHP, D’Backs (#4): I’ve been touting an Archie Bradley call-up for some time now, but his workload has me a little concerned. Player development philosophies differ from club to club, but given a typical IP increase, I only expect to see Bradley make four or five more starts. He turned 21 this past Saturday and he’s the highest ceiling pitching prospect in the game. I just don’t see the D’Backs risking it.
8. Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds (Next 5): Need to make a late push in steals before year’s end? Billy Hamilton will soon help in that regard, and he won’t need regular plate appearances to do so.
9. Danny Duffy, RHP, Royals (N/R): Duffy’s return to the bigs last week wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t awful, either. He’s back in Triple-A at the moment, but the Royals are contenders all of a sudden, and Wade Davis is hardly reliable. Duffy brings fantasy intrigue in that he features bat-missing stuff. Expect to see him back Kansas City this season. Whether that’s as a starter or reliever is tough to say.
10. Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals (Next 5): Wong has caught a heater at the right time, hitting .333/.429/.556 with 2 homers and 2 stolen bases through his last 10. There’s no direct route to playing time, but given Matt Carpenter’s defensive versatility, Wong could fall into a 2B role in St. Louis if Carp is called upon to fill a gap elsewhere.
NEXT FIVE: Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (#10); Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners (Next 5); George Springer, OF, Astros (N/R); Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (N/R); Erik Johnson, RHP, White Sox (N/R)
NOTEWORTHY MLB ARRIVALS: Avisail Garcia, OF, Tigers (#3); Michael Wacha, RHP, Cardinals (#8); Danny Salazar, RHP, Indians (Next 5); Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (Next 5); Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics (N/R); Andrew Lambo, OF/3B, Pirates (N/R); Tyler Skaggs, LHP, D’Backs (N/R)