I typically don’t provide any notes on the Next Five section of this feature, but there are some intriguing names popping up there this week, one in particular being Carlos Martinez. With recent injuries to Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and John Gast, the Cardinals have already turned to Michael Wacha and Tyler Lyons to fill rotation holes, but they’ve also optioned Martinez to Triple-A where he’s being stretched out as a starter. Coming into the season, there were plenty who graded the 21-year-old as the best arm in St. Louis farm system — better than Shelby Miller, better than Wacha. It might be a little farsighted right now, but be sure to keep a close eye on Martinez as he gains stamina in Memphis. He could be a hugely valuable commodity for the stretch run of the fantasy season.
1. Wil Myers, OF, Rays (#2): I wrote a little about Myers in my MiLB report this past Sunday. The MLB-ready slugger is heating up at precisely the right time. Expect arrival in Tampa no more than two weeks from now.
2. Zack Wheeler, RHP, Mets (#5): Reports suggest Wheeler’s next start with Triple-A Vegas will be his last before he’s summoned to the bigs. The 23-year-old is an elite pitching prospect, and his fantasy-impact figures to be worthy of consideration in every format. He’s a must-stash right now if you can still find him on waivers.
3. Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Mariners (Next 5): After one start at Double-A, The Eraser was bumped to Triple-A. He’s made just one start with Tacoma so far, but he looked extremely sharp through the first four innings before losing stamina in the fifth and sixth. As soon as he’s back to full strength, there’ll be an opportunity for him in the M’s rotation. I expect arrival before the end of the month.
4. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (#4): Taveras still suffers from an ankle injury and hasn’t played since before my previous revision of these rankings, but he stays at number four because he is The Lord of Fantasy Prospects and he will strike vengeance upon those who don’t own him when he surfaces.
5. Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins (#3): After putting up insanely awesome numbers through his first 30 Double-A games, Yelich has cooled considerably. Through his last 10, hes batting .171 with zero homers. Still, the odds are good for call-up this month, especially if he can snap his slump within the next week or two.
6. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates (#8): From my MiLB report on Sunday: “Cole allowed no runs and only 3 baserunners in 7 IP his last time out, whiffing 5 in the process. He’s not far from a call-up, but he needs to show some consistency first.” Cole is scheduled to pitch tomorrow for Indianapolis, facing Durham’s Jake Odorizzi. Should be an interesting match-up to follow.
7. Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds (Next 5): Hamilton is finding more consistency at the Triple-A level, reaching base now at a far more acceptable clip. To me, he seems like a guy on the verge of a prolonged heater, and a subsequent MLB arrival. The Reds could really use him now, but I don’t imagine we see Hamilton in Cincinnati before the All-Star break.
8. Tony Cingrani, RHP, Reds (#6): Mike Leake keeps pitching wonderfully, so Cingrani takes a step back in these rankings. It looks like he’ll need an injury to a rotation arm ahead of him in order to move back into the fantasy picture.
9. Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins (N/R): Arcia should return to Minnesota this year. He played well enough to stay up, but irregular playing time and some nagging shoulder soreness influenced the decision to demote the 22-year-old. Let’s hope the injury is nothing serious, because Arcia will return to fantasy relevance as soon as an opportunity presents itself.
10. Mike Zunino, C, Mariners (Next 5): Zunino’s power stroke has returned, but he’s still whiffing too often, and it doesn’t seem like he’s ready for the highest level just yet. Tweaking approach can be a difficult, long-term process, but Zunino’s “gym rat”, “off-the-carts makeup” reputation could help fast-track the adjustments. The M’s will call him up as soon as hes ready.
NOTEWORTHY MLB ARRIVALS: Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (#1); Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals (#9); Michael Wacha, RHP, Cardinals (#10); Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners (Next 5); Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers (N/R); Chris Archer, RHP, Rays (N/R); Tyler Skaggs, LHP, D’Backs (N/R)
NOTEWORTHY MLB DEMOTIONS: Carlos Martinez, RHP, Cardinals; Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Rays; Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins