Frenemies and cohorts, it is that magical time of year where the player pool begins to grow. Summer harvest begins to reap the treasures of the seeds sown by unheralded draft pundits of years passed. The scout’s moment is now. Having spent their lives adorned with holey New Balances, wholly unrefined frozen dinners of Salisbury steak and discount diner breakfasts, they get to pound an Old Milwaukee and puff a few Doral’s as they revel in the glory of their hatred of sabremetrics. A life not fancied by us fantasy internet blogger moguls. No sirs and madams, we require a much fancier life—a life infused with excitement brought on by WHIPs and FIPs and wOBAs and WARs! The rest is mas o menos lo mismo— the same old shizz. Other than our baseball lens, the only other difference is that we stuttering B-Ball Bloggers need to score!!! Points…
Points is why we’re here, and June presents a unique opportunity where the player pool expands with talent that is usable and keepable. September offers a smorgasbord of young talent, but mostly it’s too late and the infusion of players nourish your team like an energy drink shooter with cinnamon whiskey. The hangover is awful and often begins before the luster of the buzz has worn off. The June callups are the cognacs, ladies men. Let’s take a look at these beauties.
The following players are here now and already putting up puntos in your mixed league. These guys will contribute to your team positively this year, but will have their lumps as they acclimate. If you’re in dynasty league, these guys are of great value.
Jonathan Singleton, OF, HOU – This Southern California high school draftee was drafted by Philadelphia and started rolling Phillies right off the bat. After an impressive minor league career was recently marred by his affinity for toking, many thought his high ceiling could be mellowed out by the cloud that hung over his admitted addiction. But it appears as though he’s cleared his mind and opened his eyes and is seeing the ball extremely well so far. He’s hitting .250 with 3 HRs through his first 10 games and is hitting in the middle of what is growing to be a decent run producing lineup. With Altuve, Fowler and Springer setting his table he could prove to be a very solid run producer. He’s going to K plenty as he’s struck out approximately 25% of his plate appearances over the last two years. Looking at a Ryan Howard mold player here.
Oscar Taveras, OF, STL – Taveras is the baby of this group as the only ’92 baby in the group of guys turning 23 this year. He’s probably got the highest ceiling long term of the group, but may have a few more growing pains this year. That being said, we’ve seen Bryce Harper and Mike Trout recently come up as sub-21 year olds and have extreme success. Taveras could very well end up producing like the Cardinals expected Matt Adams to this year. On the flipside he could also produce like Matt Adams has this year. He doesn’t have great plate discipline, but when he swings he hits the ball—low Ks for a rookie slugger. Huge talent from Taveras who could likely anchor the middle of this Cardinals lineup as they make a run to the playoffs as this kid can hit anything hard. Think Pablo Sandoval rookie year type production.
Gregory Polanco, OF, PIT – Polanco is a real 5 tool prospect although his size may end up limiting his SB potential long term. For this year, however, he should be able to swipe you double digit bags and possibly 25 rest of season. He’s also got nice pop from an effortless swing. Not trying to compare him to the Great Bambino, but his home run trot is awfully Ruthian. He also has nice plate discipline, emphasized by the fact that he’s batting leadoff for the Buccos in only his third start of the season. He’s the same age as Bryce Harper and is a few years later breaking into the big leagues, but I’d expect similar (or slightly less) production on a per game basis as Bryce did his rookie campaign.
Despite the horrible subtitle, the following players are all starting pitchers. They haven’t yet got the call, but it seems they each will get the call in the near future. Starting pitchers can tend to be a bit more volatile than position players in their early learning curve, but they all have big time potential to help down the stretch and can provide some good value on the open market.
Andrew Heaney, P, MIA – This guy is starting to widely become regarded as the most likely to succeed prospect of 2014 in The Show. And, really, there’s little reason to think that won’t be the case. He’s been unbelievably consistent as he’s climbed three levels of the minors in just over a year’s time dominating at each stop with a sub 3 ERA and 9 Ks per 9 at nearly every level. The Marlins haven’t been wrong often on young arms that they don’t trade away. I’m expecting him to be just a bit worse than Jo-Fer was last year. He’s my top mid-season buy if you need pitching help. He shouldn’t hurt you and should moderately help with Ks.
Alex Meyer, P, MIN – The top K candidate likely to face big league hitters this month, Meyer has struck out 75 in 62.2 IP so far in AAA. He absolutely smokes hitters with an extreme downward plane from his 6’10” frame on a fastball in the mid to upper 90s that touches triple digits. He sometimes faces command issues due to a wonky delivery, but the Twins are keen at correcting those issues. The Twinkies are also usually slow to promote their pitchers, but as they find themselves within just a few games of first place, they’ve added Kendrys Morales and are showing that they clearly want to make a run at the postseason this year. Adding Meyer could go a long way to making that happen. I’m thinking early Mat Latos type of production.
Jonathan Gray, P, COL – Gray is another very polished pitcher moving quickly throw the minors. He’s on pace to be ready this year, but probably wasn’t going to see the bigs until September. Really bad starts for Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio as well as injuries to Eddie Butler, Jordan Lyles, Brett Anderson and Tyler Chatwood may force the Rockies’ hand. He’s probably the longest shot to be a productive contributor this year, but has true ace potential long term. Of course, there’s the Coors effect to be wary of. But one day a pitcher has to be successful there right? He’s pure power at 250+ pounds on his 6’4” frame and he’s got an absolute wipeout slider to go with a high 90s heater. I’m looking at him like Kevin Gausman last year. He could absolutely come up and dominate or it could just be way too early. Your gamble.