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Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. The variables involved are constantly in flux — talent emerges, talent regresses… opportunity comes, opportunity goes… clubs get cold feet because of service time, clubs don’t give a shizz about service time. So, given the fluid nature of this prospect business, we’re going to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a biweekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.

1. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (Previously Ranked #2):  Over the past month at Triple-A Memphis, Taveras is hitting .336/.380/.564 and it’s looking increasingly likely that he’ll make his big league debut on June 4th, when St. Louis begins a 7-game stretch in AL ballparks. Folks are already calling it an audition, speculating about whether or not he’ll stick with the Cardinals for more than a week. I’ll gladly gamble on Oscar’s talent, though, as well as the Cardinals’ ability to find him regular playing time during league play.

2.  Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates (#1):  After a phenomenal opening month, Polanco has expectedly regressed, batting .292/.365/.469 over his last 25 ballgames. Mind you, that line over the past month is still quite strong, and his path to Pittsburgh hasn’t changed — the Bucs continue to eye the presumed Super Two date for Polanco’s arrival, so expect to see him in the bigs within two weeks.

3.  Jon Singleton, 1B, Astros (#4):  Singleton has been struggling of late, posting a batting average at .238 over the past month. During that stretch, though, the 22-year-old is still managing to reach base at a .374 clip, which is an encouraging sign of development. He’ll join the George Springer show in Houston in the coming weeks.

4.  Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (#6):  Baez has snapped out of his early-season slump and is currently riding an 11-game hit streak, during which he’s batting .422 with 4 HR. I was tempted to slot him ahead of Singleton, but Baez’s struggles over the first 6 weeks of the season likely did too much damage to salvage a June call-up. Even so, he remains the highest upside fantasy prospect in the game, and arrival around All-Star break isn’t out of the question.

5.  Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (#8):  In 11 IP since his promotion to Triple-A, Heaney has posted a 14/0 K/BB while allowing only 1 run. At this point, it would make sense for the Marlins to keep Heaney down until after the Super Two date has passed, but I can’t image they’ll hold him back much longer than that.

6.  Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (#3):  His spot start with the big club didn’t turn out as well as we hoped, but Gausman remains in the O’s plans for this season. Baltimore will monitor his workload closely at Triple-A until a permanent rotation spot becomes available at the highest level.

7.  Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays (N/R):  Yes, Stroman’s MLB debut in the Blue Jays ‘pen was awful, but don’t let that stint distract you from the fact that Liam Hendricks is holding down a rotation role in Toronto, and that, eventually, will have to change. Stroman’s upside remains huge, and he’ll be starting big league games before long.

8.  Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Cubs (N/R):  Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Baez’s springtime slump is his teammate, Arismendy Alcantara, who’s batting .281/.321/.520 with 25 XBH and 10 SB in 187 PA at Triple-A Iowa. After presumably beginning the year behind Baez on the organization depth chart, it would seem that Alcantara is now next in line when an infield need arises in Chicago.

9.  Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (Next 5):  Carl Crawford’s injury doesn’t create an immediate need in LA for an outfielder, but it does move Pederson one step closer to an opportunity. In 50 games at Triple-A Albuquerque this season, the 22-year-old is batting .347/.454/.642 with 15 HR and 13 SB.

10.  Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (N/R):  They were my #1 fantasy farm system in the preseason, so it’s no wonder that Cubs would have eventually landed three prospects in our power rankings. Bryant’s position here has much more to do with upside than with opportunity — the Cubs will allow him some time at Triple-A before pushing him through to the bigs. Still, it’s tough to ignore his line Double-A line to this point: .335/.440/.637, 14 HR, 6 SB.

NEXT FIVE:  Alex Meyer (RHP, Twins); Maikel Franco (1B/3B, Phillies); Noah Syndergaard (RHP, Mets); Archie Bradley (RHP, D’Backs); Jake Buchanan (RHP, Astros)

GRADUATES:  Kolten Wong (2B, Cardinals); Nick Franklin (SS, Mariners); Trevor Bauer (RHP, Indians)

From Around The Web

  1. Principal Blackman says:
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    Great read as always, Scott. What line will you give to Tommy La Stella ROS given that the Braves decided to call him up today?

    • ashtray says:
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      @Principal Blackman: The almighty Steam projects him at 270/340/380 but only 111 ABs. They’ll probably boost that I would think.

    • I’m not a big believer in La Stella for fantasy — he can help in average & OBP, but the rest is meh… 280/345/350

  2. Swfcdan says:
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    Good to see the midweek column back. Been mighty impressed with Betances this season as a Yankee fan, do you think he could work his way into a starters role anytime soon (he ait closing). Been thinking about offering C-Mart for him, who do you think has the most value starting next year?

    If Oscar arrives and sticks, who do you think the loser of playing time is? As an Adams owner im worried it might be him (Craig shifting to 1B) as Craig has never been an OF.

    • Yeah, my schedule has been a hectic lately, but I’ll do my best to keep the Wednesday posts coming throughout the season. Betances seems perfectly suited for short stints right now & I’m not sure the Yanks will pursue him as a SP, so I’d hold C-Mart.

      I see Adams/Bourjos/Jay losing the bulk of the playing time. Craig & Holliday will be able to take days off here & there, but their time on the field shouldn’t be impacted too much.

  3. Josh says:
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    I love the prospect pieces, thanks for all the work you put into them. Do we have an ETA on Joc Pederson? I want to own him when he comes around, but what are the chances he gets called up in June vs called up in September?

    • Thanks, Josh. Pederson’s ETA is entirely dependent on the health of Ethier, Puig, Crawford & Kemp. Crawford is already on the shelf… if one of the other three joins him, it’ll be Joc time.

  4. Scooter G says:
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    Should I drop K Davis for Taveras or hold?

    • I’d gamble on Taveras over Davis.

  5. BTXJ

    BTXJ says:
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    do you have kyle parker (col) on your radar? most sites have him solely as OF, but he’s now being groomed at 1B. if something were to happen to morneau he would be an immediate must-add. very real 30 HR power esp. at coors

    • Jason says:
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      @BTXJ: I have Parker on my “sleeper prospects” list, and do hope his long term future is at 1B, but he’s not being groomed at the position all that much. He hasn’t played there in two weeks (he’s continuing to start in the OF, where he’s in the lineup again tonight), and has played 9 games at 1B all season, where he’s had 3 errors already. I’m sure the organization wouldn’t mind him taking over for Morneau next season, but I wouldn’t expect much from him this year unless they can somehow convert him to 3B in the near future.

      • Jason says:
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        @Jason: Oh, his hitting has also fallen off lately after a nice hot streak (just a .256 OBP/.556 OPS in his last 10), and his home/road splits for the season are unfortunately pretty dramatic (.929 OPS at home, .668 away).

        I could see him getting a call up in September, but barring a Morneau injury, I don’t see much happening this year.

    • Parker can rake & the Coors factor only adds to the intrigue, but crowded OF in Colorado & blocked for now at 1B, so opportunity might be tough to come by this season.

  6. BTD says:
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    He’s a couple/few years out, but what are your thoughts on Hunter Harvey? Dude’s killing it in the minors. He’s 19 and is over-powering single A ball.
    10.9 K/9
    .986 WHIP
    57/18 K/BB ratio
    9 HBP! (Effectively wild, wild, bulldog, or working on a pitch?)

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=harvey002hun

    • Love Harvey. One of the highest upside arms in the minors… also went over him a last week in my minor league report…

  7. Jake says:
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    Hey Scott when do you see noah syndergaard being called up & does him going on the DL in the minors make him not as attractive for a waiver add when he’s called up/ close to being called up? Would you take a chance on him this season or next season?
    Also, I picked up polanco awhile ago as a stash do you like polanco or taveras as a better option? I still like polanco just want to see what you think

    • Syndergaard’s flexor strain is deeply concerning, as is Archie Bradley’s. I’m taking a wait & see approach with both of them, but I’m not confident either contributes this season.

      As for Taveras/Polanco… that question is answered in this post.

      • Jake says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        Thanks for the response, yes I saw them both in the post that’s why I brought them up considering how close they are in the rankings looks like a flip of the coin, just didn’t know which one you’d rather own or you’d be happy with either one

        • Jason says:
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          @Jake: I’d go with the order he ranked them.

        • It was more of a flip of a coin 2 weeks ago… Taveras has proven more consistently dominant & I always preferred his upside over Polanco’s. When Greg was hitting 400/500/600 near the end of April, it was tough not to rank him at the top.

  8. Elliot says:
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    Is it worth stashing Kris Bryant in an NL-only redraft league?

    • Not unless your rosters are deep.

  9. Braun Weasleys says:
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    I was riding michael saunders and seth smith’s hot streak, is it time to drop em and stash 1/2
    Of the too prospects?
    None are owned right now,
    And who will make the biggest impact this season?

  10. fri-guy says:
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    With Baez and Alcantera on the cusp and Bryant a little behind what happens to Castro long term? Heck, how do you project their 2015 infield? Thanks, great read as always.

    • Alcantara 2B, Castro SS (or vice versa), Baez 3B, Bryant OF

      • Kenneth says:
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        @Scott Evans: What do you make of Alcantara getting reps out in CF?

        • Cubs would like to make room for both Alcantara & Baez this season & they’d like to do their best to keep Olt, Rizzo & Castro in the lineup as often as possible. If Alcantara can cut it in the OF, it’d certainly add some flexibility.

  11. jack says:
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    In a 6×5 H2H each category league with OBP and Errors. I am punting SB’s.

    Assuming the prospect is up today…

    Butler, Polanco or Traveras (Polanco seems to be somewhat error prone)?

    Lind, Francisco or Singleton (Francisco and Singleton do seem a little error prone)?

  12. MB says:
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    Boy polanco has sucked past 10 games. Think that affects his callup at all?

    • Jason says:
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      @MB: I concur with Scott, it’s all about the Super 2 date. (It looks like he got back on track today btw, reached base all 4 times with a double and a stolen base).

  13. Matte Black says:
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    Does webster get the call up if Buchholz is removed from the rotation? If that were the case would you rather workman or webster? Finally, what are your thoughts on Blake Treinen? Thank you!

    • Webster over Workman. Treinen is commanding his arsenal & showing great savvy on the mound, but his upside is rather slim, and I fear a significant production drop off is in the cards…

  14. ragman says:
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    When do you think Mookie Betts gets the call up? Sept?

    • Jason says:
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      @ragman: Betts is an interesting case – he’s forcing his way to the majors with an extraordinary season at AA, so much so that they are attempting a switch to the OF, which is clearly his best path to the majors since SS is apparently not an option. If he keeps it up, given how poorly the Bradley/Sizemore platoon has been, coupled with Victorino’s issues, I could actually see him getting a June call up. Unless they pull off a trade for an Ethier type, it’s much closer to a reality this year IMO than it was in April.

    • Betts is close to making this list, but I suspect he’ll require significant development time in CF before Boston will be comfortable using him. I’d be surprised if we see him before August, but I won’t count it out completely.

  15. Dkohn says:
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    Scotty, can I call you Scotty? Fucken love your posts man. Well written, great information, and you know your shit.

    I want a top 20! (I’m greedy yo!)

    Just awesome though. I know this is a dumb question but what would you set the over under date at for Kris Bryant?

    • Thanks! I’ll say Aug 1 & I’m leaning toward the over.

  16. Eric says:
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    Great stuff!

    What is the super two date on Heaney? I needs that pitching!!!!!!

    • Some sources are estimating 6/10, but Miami could opt to play it safe & call him up a week or two later.

  17. Gene Parmesan says:
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    I echo DKohn’s sentiment, great article that’s always appreciated. I’m in a 10-team H2H keeper league (six total) and I’m pulling up the rear with a shitty roster and already retooling for next year. Would Baez even be on the keeper radar, given we can only keep six (i.e., at least two pitchers, two hitters and the other two are up to your discretion)? I’m already fairly set hitting wise with McCutchen, Cargo, Harper, Kipnis and then possibly Springer or Arenado. Just wondering if he’s worth a flyer. Could he be better than any of the aforementioned?

    • Thanks, Gene! He could be better than a few of them, but I think he’s too risky to keep in the format. Of course, he could explode onto the scene in a month or so & really change that sentiment.

  18. Bruce says:
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    Baseball America seems pretty high on Jimmy Nelson. I know he just got sent down, but how do you see him performing ROS, assuming he gets 10-15 more starts down the road

    • BA likes “safe” arms & Nelson is a very safe arm. His upside, on the other hand, isn’t too special… could bring modest value in ratios, but I wouldn’t reach for him.

  19. Anthony says:
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    @Scott: Taveras June 4 for the AL homeparks in the Royals & Jays ya ?

    • Not really sure what you’re asking.

  20. George says:
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    Hey Scott – remember me? You advised me to draft Oscar Taveras last year in my salary cap league. I have been tracking him quite closely and in my view, he is going to be the Cardinals center fielder.

    I am looking forward to deploying an outfield of Holliday-Taveras-Braun-J. Hamilton/W. Myers/B. Hamilton/AJax for the rest of the year. Now, if my team could just stay healthy (JoFer,Fielder, Profar, Avisail Garcia), and get some consistent hitting.

    Either way, other than a slight blimp on the radar in the last two weeks, we are making the playoffs and I wholeheartedly look forward to Taveras manning center field.

    • Hooo boy, I’m with you on that — very much excited for Oscar’s arrival!

      • George says:
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        @Scott Evans: Hey Scott – I have been thinking about OTav and who he is going to be his MLB comparable. I have seen a lot of people say that he is going to be like Vlad Guerrero but in my view, I think that he is going to be Carlos Beltran with a higher batting average and OBP over his prime and career but will not have as large as an impact in the stolen base category.

        • The Vlad comp has more to do with hand-eye & contact tools that are simply otherworldly. The SB potential won’t match either Beltran’s or Vlad’s, but Oscar’s ability to barrel any pitch gives him an elite-level ceiling with regard to the hit tool.

  21. 740 says:
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    Sup Scott, 10team roto 5×5. Would u drop K Davis for Tavares?

    Thank u

  22. Ryan says:
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    Hey Scott, what do you make of Odrisamer Despainge? Hearing that the padres might call him to the show soon, but what kind of impact do you think he’ll provide. Thanks

    • My outlooks on Cuban ballplayers are always cautious, and that’s mostly to do with the fact I haven’t seem much of them… I’m looking forward to watching him play a little & then I can provide some more thorough notes… anything I’d write right now would be purely speculative.

  23. Thorbs says:
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    Great read as always…prospect trade Q for you, with a handful of names I’ve picked up based on your work!:

    An owner in my 12-team, keep-25 dynasty league with Waino/Beltre/Holland/Aaron Hill is looking to trade for next year, and has mentioned my Yelich/Bryant/Heaney/Arenado/Odor as targets. Problem is I already have some depth at those positions and the upgrade may not be worth sacrificing youth.

    My pitching is pretty sound, so Waino isn’t absolutely a necessary add, and a guy like Beltre that could heat up in the Arlington summer could be a very good for me. However, I have a ton of good keepers already.

    With that in mind, would you give up some of those youngsters in a package deal for these old balls veterans? My depth at those positions is as follows:

    MI: Kinsler/A. Escobar/Beckham/Odor
    3B: Arenado/Frazier/J. Francisco/Bryant?
    OF: Trout/Braun/Choo/Yelich/Martin/Ozuna/Span/Bryant?
    SP: Greinke/Hamels/Shields/Samardzjia/Minor/Ryu/Salazar/Wood/Heaney/Shipley/Paxton

    I was thinking Arenado could be expendable because in a league that counts OPS and BBs he isn’t quiet as valuable, and Frazier has looked like he might be for real. If I keep Bryant he’s likely bound for the OF, but his upside is too much to give up IMO. Similarly, I also Heaney quite a bit long-term.

    If I offered something like Arenado/Wood/Shipley for Beltre/Waino I don’t think he’d accept it, but how much higher should I go for these established vets?

    • I imagine you’ll need to part with a top tier prospect like Bryant or Odor in order to land a guy like Waino. Anything less would be a bargain for you.

  24. Grant says:
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    Polanco hurry up and save my injury plagued team and one up Mike Trout in his official final call up (remember he was not good when first called up). Super 2 can not come fast enough.

    • I’d look toward Oscar over Polanco if possible…

  25. Purple people eater says:
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    I know you have taveras listed above but when do you expect him to be called up; week of June 2, week of June 9 or week of June 16? I’ve heard a lot of good things about him in the offseason & if you are a polanco owner, drop him for taveras ?

    • Purple people eater says:
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      @Purple people eater: or drop dee Gordon or Hosmer who have just been sitting on my bench for taveras

      • Purple people eater says:
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        @Purple people eater: other OF’ers are Holliday, pence, Brantley , springer & Harper on DL but I can use the utility spot too

    • I would drop Polanco for Taveras, yes. And I mention the specific date on which I think Oscar will be called-up in the write up.

  26. SoSayethI says:
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    Great stuff scott, nobody else looks at the minors like you!

    I know this is completely crystal ball stuff but do you see Buxton as even a 2015 super 2 deadline call up? 2016 opening day? Going into this year I was hoping to see him battle it out for a 2015 opening day slot and at the very least help with my squad next year during the stretch but with these 2 injuries and all the lost time I’m getting worried.

    I’m in a 14 team keeper, keep 6 players, 3 year contracts before they revert to the ADP and I’ve got him in an N/A slot signed for a last round pick price. So he’s pretty cheap for me to just keep around, but I’m trying to see if I’ll be able to get anything out of him while he’s under contract, or if I should maybe sell him to help out this year.

    • No, I see Buxton more as a late 2015 guy…

  27. Jon says:
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    Minor league rosters are going to be in flux in my league this weekend because of a June 1 “call-up” rule. These are the best prospects available:

    Alfaro
    G. Sanchez
    Vogelcheck
    Guerrero
    Gallo
    Moran
    Mondesi
    J.P. Crawford
    Fried
    Sims
    A.J. Cole
    Tapia
    Crick

    Anyone on there I should prioritize and make sure I get on my team? I have room for at least one, for sure, and more if I drop any of Aaron Sanchez, Glasnow or Stroman…

    • Gallo, Gallo, Gallo & Gallo

  28. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    GREAT POST AGAIN,AS USUALL
    ,THANKS

  29. Ryan says:
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    Hey Scott,

    Have someone in my 12 team keeper league (15 keepers) offering me Baez for Y Ventura. Love Ventura, but that arm is scaring me. Would you pull the trigger on that?

  30. Swfcdan says:
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    Hi Scott, what are your thoughts on Clint Frazier so far, upside still huge? See he’s struggled so far this year, is that anything concerning or just getting adjusted to the competition. Might have a chance to get him in a trade (OBP league).

    • Swfcdan says:
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      @Swfcdan: Or would you rather take Mookie (Betts). Only in dreamland am I getting Polanco off him.

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