A few of these guys are up as of recently. Others aren’t, but should be soon. And then a few more might not surface this year, but the mere possibility of their being called up warrants a mention. Please understand that I’m using the term “prospects” loosely here — some of the names that follow graduated their prospect status long ago. Anyway. My top ten prospect(ish) players for ROS:
1. Dan Straily | RHP, Athletics – Straily has come out of nowhere this season, but he appears to be better prepared than anyone in Minor League Baseball to make an immediate and significant impact in the fantasy game. He’ll be up soon. More on him here.
2. Brett Wallace | 1B, Astros – I’m anticipating a bit of a post-hype breakout down the stretch from Wallace. The opportunity is there for him, and I recently told you here why he could seize it. Carpe Thunderthighs.
3. Matt Harvey | RHP, Mets – At the moment, Harvey offers tremendous trade value if you’re lucky enough to own him. Don’t expect all of his starts to be as impressive as his debut, but he’ll be a nice SP option in all formats going forward.
4. Wil Myers | OF, Royals – Currently mired in his first real cold stretch of the season, this rank is more about potential than opportunity. It’s more likely than ever that we won’t see Myers this year, but if we do, he’s a must-own in all formats.
5. Domonic Brown | OF, Phillies – Brown is another post-hype type, and it looks as if he’ll be playing regularly after the Phillies shipped out Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino. He still carries big potential, and he’s coming off a hot stretch at Triple-A. Last ten with Lehigh Valley: .314/.368/.457.
6. Starling Marte | OF, Pirates – He’s offered plenty of excitement already, and many would argue that he should rank higher than Brown, but his tools still need refining, and immediate upside isn’t quite as big as Brown’s.
7. Brett Jackson | OF, Cubs – With Reed Johnson out of the way, the opportunity is there for Jackson. Grey explains here why he’s worth a speculative scoop in most formats.
8. Josh Vitters | 3B, Cubs – This was a real “put up or shut up” year for Vitters, and he’s responded with his best season as a pro: .296/.349/.496. I’ll be very surprised if the Cubs don’t offer him a call-up in the coming weeks.
9. Trevor Bauer | RHP, D’backs – He’s on a brief hiatus due to injuries allegedly unrelated to his arm, but many think Bauer was shelved temporarily due to a dead-arm period. Regardless, I thought Bauer was only a few adjustments from being a useful fantasy option when Arizona demoted him, and I still think that holds. Hopefully he’ll work his way back to the bigs this year.
10. Nick Castellanos | 3B/OF, Tigers – Since his promotion to Double-A, Castellanos has been used mostly in the outfield, rather than at 3B. The shift is a clear indication that Detroit isn’t ruling out a late-season arrival for their top prospect. Jim Leyland is old-school and prefers only major-league ready guys in the clubhouse come Septemeber — guys capable of playing everyday. So, should Castellanos get the call, one would think he’d see regular time in the Tigers’ outfield.
Billy Hamilton | SS, Reds – I’m compelled to mentioned Hamilton because rumors keep swirling that he’ll get a September call-up. And while he’s nowhere near ready with regard to hitting or defense, he is, at this moment, the fastest man in baseball, and he could be useful to the Reds as a pinch runner. He could also be useful in NL-Only or extremely deep formats if you’re hawking steals.
Oscar Taveras | OF, Cardinals – Taveras might be the best hitting prospect in the minors. He turned 20 just a month ago, and his line at Double-A is outstanding: .322/.383/.574 with 54 XBH (19 HR) in 418 PA. Word is, St. Louis might use him as a bat off the bench down the stretch, but there’s no real channel to immediate regular play, and thus, not a whole lot of immediate fantasy value. Still, if you haven’t done so already, take note of Taveras as an impact outfielder for the next decade or so.