He looks like he’s ready to be a Matt Holliday-sized bat in the middle of the Cardinals order. He looked that way last year too. Oscar Taveras had numerous setbacks this year due to a high-ankle sprain that occurred on May 12th. In 46 games in Triple-A, he hit 5 homers and stole 5 bags while hitting .306. It was a lost year like your sophomore year in college. He’s still plenty young enough that it shouldn’t matter. He’ll turn 22 years old in June. Here’s what I said last year, “From what I’ve heard (read), Taveras’s biggest strike against him is he doesn’t see any strikes — turn of a phrase point! He’s being compared to Vladimir Guerrero without having knees like Mama from Mama’s Family. Taveras swings and hits everything. Also, like Vlad, his swing is long, unwieldy and it looks like he could swing at pitches above his head and in the dirt on two consecutive pitches. (Google video of Oscar Taveras if you don’t believe me; what, you don’t believe me? My feelings are hurt.) What wasn’t mentioned above, his stats also look like a young Vlad. I will call you, Vladimir Guerrerito. He can hit for power and steal bases. At twenty years old, he hit 23 homers in 477 ABs with 11 steals in Double-A in 2012, his last full year of minor league ball.” And that’s me quoting me! Nothing’s changed on any of that but the calendar date, assuming you flip the months and don’t wait for them to magically flip themselves. So what can we expect of Oscar Taveras for 2014 fantasy baseball?Please, blog, may I have some more?
This is always painful, but it’s also necessary. What follows is a look back at my preseason prospect rankings — a self audit, if you will. To be clear, this isn’t a re-ranking or anything, but it should suffice to remind all of you that I am mostly stupid. Please keep in mind that these guys are very early in their careers, and there is plenty of time for each to either figure it out, or get figured out. Anyway, let’s cut to it. Here’s the list as it appeared back in February:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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 and all the money involved, 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 suggest that some concerns popped up regarding Gonzalez’s elbow, and as of today, he remains unsigned. Whether it’s with the Phillies or elsewhere, M.A.G. figures sign for a much more reasonable sum ($60 mil was a little ridic).Please, blog, may I have some more?
As veteran players are shipped out at the trading deadline, it’s inevitable that opportunities will reveal themselves for several high profile prospects. The Phillies are set to trade away Michael Young, and they’ve already called-up third base prospect Cody Asche to fill the soon-to-be vacant hot corner. The Cardinals are looking to bolster their starting pitching for the stretch run, and reports suggest that MLB-ready prospects like Carlos Martinez and Kolten Wong could be dealt out of town and into situations that provide them with regular big league roles immediately. This is an important time to monitor the various deadline deals that are bound to take place today. Pay close attention to the implications of each deal as it passes through the commissioners office, as these swaps are likely to result in at least a few high-impact prospects stepping into full-time roles. Such arrivals can be hugely important to your stretch-run success.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Quite a bit has changed since the 2013 MiLB season began in April, and folks have been clamoring for a mid-season prospect list. Well, here it is, 50-deep. But before we get into it, a quick primer on the criteria for this top 50: There was no specific timetable considered, so the rankings below can be considered a dynasty league list. You’ll notice that the ETA’s here range from this season all the way to 2016. To prevent any overlap with lists that Grey and JayWrong put together last week, I’ve included only prospects who are currently in the minor leagues. That means I had to remove Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick from the board after news of their call-ups — Yelich was #7, Marisnick #40. It also means I couldn’t list Carlos Martinez, who’s currently working in relief for the Cardinals — he would’ve been ranked right around #20.
Anyway, I’ll be writing notes on all of these fellas during the off-season, once the dust has settled on the 2013 season and I’ve had a chance to take a more thorough look at depth charts, injuries, etc. For now, I’ve included only a few pertinent details: age, current level, fantasy impact categories, and ETA. Each player is linked to his player card on Baseball-Reference.com, or his Razzball player card where possible. My hope is that this list will help dynasty leaguers sort out their rosters as keeper deadlines approach. Enjoy.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We haven’t spent much time discussing Henry Urrutia in these parts, and that’s a factor of two items: (1) I really don’t know that much about the guy. The Cuban-born prospect signed with Baltimore way back in 2009, but defection issues followed by visa troubles delayed his stateside debut until this season. (2) What I do know about Urrutia — or at least what I’ve seen reported most consistently about the 26-year-old — is that he’s a defensive liability, a well below-average outfielder with game instincts that probably mirror yours and mine. Those reports, I thought, didn’t bode well for a hasty arrival in the bigs. Don’t get me wrong, I knew the O’s had planned to use him in a DH/PH capacity this season, but I was thinking that’d be more of a September thing. In any case, Nolan Reimold’s injury has sped up the timetable, and beginning yesterday, Henry Urrutia is Baltimore’s DH. The fantasy implications of this arrival are tough to gauge. Urrutia hit .365/.427/.531 with 28 XBH (7 HR) through 288 PA between Double- and Triple-A, which is a nice line, reflective of an advanced approach and modest power. That skill set should help him adapt quickly to big league pitching, but there’s little upside here outside of OBP and AVG. Still, Urrutia is a guy to keep an eye on, and he’s maybe even worth a speculative grab now if you have room. He’s certainly not another Puig, but his stick is probably advanced enough to provide some help to those in need.Please, blog, may I have some more?
A couple items before we get started: (1) Carlos Martinez is currently on the big league roster, so I can’t really rank him here and break the rules I established to begin the season. Now, I suppose I could always rewrite the rules, but I’m an honorable dude, and that wouldn’t be right. Anyway, Martinez is still an extremely stashable arm as the Cardinals decide on his future role. There’s a good chance he’ll end up in a starter’s role before long, and he’ll be a must-own if that should be the case. (2) George Springer is currently torching Triple-A pitching, and there’s little doubt that he’s ready for Major League Baseball. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but he’s not gonna surface this season. The Astros are giving Springer the Wil Myers treatment, and it’s very unlikely that we’ll see him in the bigs before next June. Now for the top ten:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Futures Game will take place on July 14th at Citi Field as part of the MLB All-Star Game festivities. Rosters were announced earlier this week. Of the various all-star contests throughout Minor League Baseball, the Futures Game is King. Instead of league-specific all-stars, the Futures draws its talent from leagues at all levels, class-A to Triple-A. What we’re left with, then, are rosters that are crammed with real-deal prospects. The format is USA versus the World, and there’s still time to vote on the final roster spot for each squad, although that poll closes today. I went with Nick Castellanos and Javier Baez on my ballot. Who you got?Please, blog, may I have some more?
Angel Pagan might be out the season, but will definitely be out until September. Too bad, so sad, don’t forget to write, don’t write too often, waste of paper. Hey, Gregor Blanco, come on down! You are the next contestant on The SAGNOF Is Right. How many steals can you steal this year? Peter Bourjos says 20. Not bad, but seems a little low. Jacoby Ellsbury says 60. Whoa, that’s way too high; you’re not gonna win a trip for two to Mount Rushmore like that. Michael Bourn says 35. That’s not bad; he’s practiced this at home with his grammy. Oh no, Darin Ruf says 1. Damn you, Darin Ruf! Now I have to guess exactly or go with 2, but then Marlon Byrd can say 3 and I’m screwed. I’ll say…28. Byrd goes with 2, and Ruf gives him the stink-eye. Drew Carey says… Oops, when he pulled out the card an eight ball of coke fell out of his pocket. The correct answer is 32! I win! Next up, Plinko! Fitting since Gregor sounds like a Pinko. Sure, Blanco’s not an exciting name and is only the lede because there were four games yesterday, but he still has lots of value. This news is the equivalent to a new closer taking over. Blanco won’t kill you in average, and has been hitting near .500 in the last week. Blanco is a guy I’d grab in every single league if I needed speed. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?