No prospect in baseball brings a higher ceiling than Javier Baez. That much is noted. He gave us a glimpse of theÂ limitless potential last summer when he reached Double-A, drilling 35 XBHÂ (20 HR) in 240 plate appearances during the season’s final two months. Then he showed up at big league camp this spring andÂ knocked 5 HR in 18 games, and baseball began to wonder how long the Cubs could keep a talent like this in the minors. I drank the Baez Kool-Aid — I drank lots of it. I fantasized about scenarios that would’ve had Javy in the bigs by now, and I advised you to stash him in redraft leagues, and not let go.Â But thenÂ the cant-miss 21-year-old proceeded to miss. He missed just about everything that was thrown to him, to be clear, racking up a K% at Triple-A Iowa north of 35% through the first month and a half of the season. Throughout it all, though, I told you to be patient. I told you he’d turn it around, and once he did, he wouldn’t be long for the minors. I admit, anxious feelings about Baez began to creep into the back of my mind in recent weeks, and to a degree, they’re still present. TheseÂ past 10 days, however, have provided much needed relief, as Baez has posted a slash line at .414/.419/.897 with 3 homers and 5 doubles. It’ll take several more weeks like this one to repair his line on the year, which sits at .201/.268/.388, but I believe Javy will be up to the challenge. AndÂ if, by chance, too much damage has been done to salvage the Triple-A line, he’ll still have a clean slate to work with when he surfaces at Wrigley later this summer.
Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins:Â Heaney was promoted to New OrleansÂ earlier in the week and was superb in his first Triple-A start, striking out 7 and walking zero across 5 frames of 1-run baseball. A few more sharp outings should earn him a look in Miami.
Michael Taylor, OF, Nationals:Â Taylor has displayed plus baserunning ability at all stops so far, but for the first time in his professional career,Â he’s showing some game pop this season, and significant game pop at that. Through 43 games at Doulbe-A Harrisburg, the 23-year-old has collectedÂ 12 homers, posting an ISO at .283. A .296 average and 12 stolen bases round out his line.
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers:Â Seager is 18 for his last 30 at High-A Rancho Cucamonga, with 9 of those hits going for extra bases (3 HR). Sure, he might be 3B by the time he pushes his way through to LA, but this sort of stickÂ will bring high-end fantasy impact at any position.
Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers:Â Julio Urias, a teammate of Seager’s, has been hittable this season at High-A Rancho, but it’s difficult to be too discouraged by the results considering he’s just 17-years-old and he’s on the cusp of pitchingÂ in the upper levels. In any case, Urias appears to be finding his groove — the southpaw phenom has posted a 10/2 K/BB through his last two starts, allowing only 1 run and 4 hits along the way.
Bubba Starling, OF, Royals:Â Starling is on a 12 game hitting streak at High-A Wilmington. Keep in mind, though, that this stretch only includes 2 XBH, and zero HR. With a slash line on the year at .198/.305/.302, the 2011 5th overall pick has much work to do before he can shedÂ the “bust” label.
Francellis Montas, RHP, White Sox:Â The White Sox snagged Montas from Boston as a part of the Jake Peavy trade last summer, and they must be pleased with the results so far. The 21-year-old features an exciting power arm, and while he’s made only 4 High-A starts this season, each one hasÂ been impressive: 1.54/0.77/26 through 23 IP. Thursday’s start was particularly nice, as Montas tossed 8 innings, allowing just 3 baserunners while whiffing 11.
Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals:Â Oscar is on fire at Triple-A Memphis and his line on the year is up to .326/.374/.543. Stash him now if he’s still available, as we’re only 10 or so days from his big league debut.
Mookie Betts, 2B/OF, Red Sox:Â Realizing the enormous offensive potential that Betts brings to the organization, the Red Sox have decided to begin exploring the 21-year-old’s defensive versatility — the career middle infielder has made 4 starts in center field over the past week. Betts, age 21, is hitting .361/.443/.572 with 6 HR and 20 SB so far this year. A successful transition to the outfield could put him on the MLB radar later this season.
Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs:Â Bryant continues his steady dominanceÂ at Double-A Tennessee, now hitting .333/.427/.620 with 12 HR. The Cubs will allow him some time at Triple-A before they call him up to Chicago, but a late-season call-upÂ still seems within reason.
Jake Buchanan, RHP, Astros:Â The Astros farm is stacked with high-impact talent, and 24-year-old arms like Buchanan justifiablyÂ go overlooked, but it’d be wise to includeÂ him on your fantasy radar, as he’s posted a 2.63 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP through 9 Triple-A starts this season. TheÂ last 3 outingsÂ are quite remarkable: 23.2 IP, 13 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 19 K.
Alex Guerrero, 2B, Dodgers: Guerrero had homered 6 times in his last 6 games at Triple-A Albuquerque before a teammate bit off his ear, leading to plastic surgery which will keep the 27-year-old off the field for 5 weeks. That’s right — 6 homers in 6 games. Unbelievable, right?