Every other week Razzball ranks the prospects closest to contributing to your fantasy roster. The list is limited to players who still have rookie eligibility (less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched) and who are currently in the minor leagues. It’s not a list based on talent alone, but rather it’s a mixture of talent and opportunity. It will change frequently over the course of the season as prospects graduate to the majors, injuries occur, or service time roadblocks are passed. Here are the top 15 prospects on the cusp of the major leagues for 2015 fantasy baseball…
*Casey Kasem voice* And climbing aaaalllll the way to #1 with his new hit single, “Gee Wiz, Your Niese Sure Ain’t Pretty”, it’s…Steven Matz. The southpaw jumps both Olivera and Seager this week since there’s pretty much no way he makes it to the next one. If he’s available in your league, you know what to do.
Like Matz, Olivera is getting closer and closer, or at least he should be. In six games at Triple-A he’s hitting .444 with a homer. Also like Matz, he shouldn’t be available in most leagues at this point. The only fear is Don Mattingly and whether Olivera will get consistent playing time. I think he will, but we’re dealing with a mad scientist and not the good kind. I’ll call it Dexter’s Laboratory after watching him kill poor Alex Guerrero.
Seager’s only roadblock at this point is Jimmy Rollins, who is a shell of his former self. *Split screen…Rollins on one side, Chase Utley on the other. They each hold one half of a “BFF” heart necklace. Close-up on a single tear streaming down each of their faces simultaneously. Vaporwave plays in the background.* These guys needed each other! The Dodgers are going to roll with Jimmy as long as they can, trying to give Seager as close to a full year in Triple-A as possible a la Joc Pederson. But it’s getting to the point where a fresh Seager may help the team more than J-Roll.
Sano had been hanging around in the back half of the top ten, but with all of the graduations and the Twins’ aggressiveness with Buxton, I’m feeling more confident that we’ll see him before September. Plouffe is playing well, so the road to the majors may be through a transition to left field work or simply as a designated hitter. Sano has three homers in his last ten games, and now has 12 dingers on the year. A late July/early August call-up shouldn’t be ruled out.
I’m breaking my own rules here since he’s in the majors right now, but we’re about 99% sure he’s heading to Triple-A next week. Still, Schwarber is only an injury or two away from the majors again, even if he stays at catcher (which is apparently what the Cubs are committed to). I’d watch this one very closely for any kind of position change or inkling that they’re itchy to get him back in the lineup. He’s shown what he can do with a bat already and that’s going to help a lot of fantasy teams.
There were three show dogs. Let’s call them “Jace”, “Cameron” and “Jose”. All three seemed like they were ready to hit the show dog circuit. Jose was just as handsome as his littermates, but one day someone found matching Jesus-shaped moles on Jace and Cameron’s hindquarters. The two “miracle dogs” became a sensation overnight. Now Jose waits in the car while Jace and Cameron do photo shoots for Dog Fancy magazine.
Norris continues to pitch decently in Triple-A, but the walks are still a thorn in his side. He’s walked eight batters in his last 14.1 innings pitched. Norris is a decent stash given the Blue Jays need for some pitching depth, but Marco Estrada has done a good enough job rounding out that rotation and Scott Copeland has been solid with Sanchez on the shelf.
Nola made his Triple-A debut this week and was fantastic. Last year’s first round pick threw five shutout innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. He’s one step closer to the majors with this promotion, and since the Phils are expected to shop both Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang, a rotation spot should be cleared for Nola this July/August.
Like Nola, Severino was recently promoted to Triple-A and should see time with the big club in the second half. For a lot of these arms on the list, I’d watch for how they’re used in the minors over the coming weeks. Teams may monitor their innings, and the Yankees especially may need Severino’s services down the road – even if it’s in the bullpen at first.
Berrios coughed up the Southern League lead in strikouts this week, but he still has 83 Ks in just under 80 innings pitched and a tidy 3.09 ERA and 2.4 BB/9 to go along with them. The Buxton call-up gives us hope that both Sano and Berrios could be a little closer than we originally thought. Definitely an arm to watch for the second half of the season.
I went over Peter O’Brien in this week’s profile. I haven’t been this interested in an O’Brien since Conan started doing “If They Mated”. Where he fits with the D-Backs is TBD, but O’Brien has had a great season at Triple-A and should be up in the second half at some point.
The 24-year-old lefty has now given up five or more earned runs in three of his last five starts. Granted, he’s pitching in the PCL, but Heaney’s typically solid control has faltered lately as well. He’s walked 13 batters in his last 27.2 innings pitched, which works out to a 4.3 BB/9 if my terrible math is correct. That’s not good.
Gray hasn’t given up more than three earned runs since April for Triple-A Albuquerque, so he’s done everything right as far as prepping for a call-up to the Rockies. He’s always been a well thought of prospect. My hangup is, well, are we really going to trust him this year in Coors? If the answer is no, then we’re looking at only starting him on the road or streaming, which limits his fantasy value.
Eduardo Rodriguez has been great outside of the Toronto hiccup, and the Red Sox have more good starters waiting in the wings if they should have a need. Johnson has thrown 74 innings for Triple-A Pawtucket with 69 strikeouts and a 2.7 BB/9.
I almost went with Stephen Piscotty in this last slot, so expect to see him soon with some graduations. Blair was always in the mix for a late-2015 arrival, and his recent promotion to Triple-A Reno brings him that much closer. His first start didn’t go so well though. Blair gave up 8 runs in four innings. Ouch.
I’ve been tracking the graduates from these lists, but wasn’t happy with just regurgitating their stat lines. So we’ll try something a little different (and hopefully a little more useful). Each graduate is listed with their “Season to Date” and “Rest of Season” values from the Razzball Player Rater. I used the standard 12-team ESPN values entering Saturday night’s games and the table is sorted by $ROS.
|Player (Highest Rank)||POS||$STD||$ROS|
|Kris Bryant (1)||3B||21||36|
|Yasmany Tomas (3)||3B||1||12|
|Carlos Correa (1)||SS||-15||12|
|Maikel Franco (2)||3B||-4||9|
|Byron Buxton (3)||OF||-30||3|
|Addison Russell (8)||SS||-6||2|
|Rusney Castillo (1)||OF||-23||-1|
|Noah Syndergaard (3)||SP||-3||-1|
|Francisco Lindor (4)||SS||-26||-4|
|Carlos Rodon (2)||SP||-8||-6|
|Raisel Iglesias (13)||SP||-10||-6|
|Eduardo Rodriguez (10)||SP||0||-8|
|Alex Colome (12)||SP||-10||-9|
|Matt Wisler (10)||SP||-6||-16|
|Alex Gonzalez (12)||SP||-1||-17|
|Blake Swihart (11)||C||-13||-26|
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!