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…
Seager now has six homers to go along with his .284 batting average at Triple-A. That gives him 11 homers on the year across two levels. The Dodgers would probably like to see him get as much Triple-A time as possible like they did with Joc Pederson last year, but eventually the poor play of Rollins could force them to make the switch. It could be a similar situation to what the Orioles did with Machado a few years ago (but as a shortstop), which would put Seager’s ETA somewhere around the first week of August.
An injury temporarily derailed the Olivera train, but even without the injury I’m having a harder time seeing where he’ll get at bats given how Justin Turner has played this year. I’m still confident he’ll be up in the second half, but shared time and questions around his defense may limit him to an NL-only play instead of an immediate mixed-league add.
Schwarber is an injury or position change away from contributing again this year. The bad news is that the position change still hasn’t happened. Schwarber continues to play at catcher and designated hitter as he has all season long. In his first nine games at Triple-A he’s hitting .313 with a home run.
I don’t think there is another pitcher in the minors right now who could come up soon and offer the fantasy impact that Berrios could. With Buxton and Sano now promoted, I’m confident the Twins will give Berrios a look next. He struck out another six batters in his last start, and now has 92 strikeouts in just over 90 innings pitched on the year. The strikeout upside is what separates him from the others on this list for me.
With potential trades of both Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang looming, we could see Nola reach the majors shortly after this year’s deadline. Since his promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Nola has posted a 1.53 ERA with 18 strikeouts and five walks in 17.2 innings pitched.
Sure, why not? Let’s say that the Yankees hold on to Judge at the trade deadline (they should). That would make him a viable option for their club in August and September. He’s got the type of power that would be a nice addition to any fantasy squad, as it’s in the same tier as players like Sano and Gallo. Through his first nine games at Triple-A, Judge is hitting over .300 with a homer and two doubles. This might be kind of a reach (we may not see him until September) but it’s time to start paying attention to The Judge, especially with old man Beltran nursing an injury.
Through his first 36 innings at Triple-A, Severino has posted a stellar 1.73 ERA with 24 strikeouts and ten walks. He could probably stand to add some more polish at the level, but if a need arises in New York, he’s most likely the next in line.
The Mets have all the pitching you could ask for, but their offense (86 wRC+) ranks 27th in baseball. That’s not going to cut it if they really want to contend for a playoff spot, and an answer may be sitting in their own organization. A first round pick last year, Conforto can hit and hit for power. Since being promoted to Double-A, he’s hit .330 with three homers and 16 runs batted in. It’s a long shot since he’s only had a handful of games above Single-A, but with Cuddyer stinking up the joint and now injured, it’s at least worth keeping this kid on the radar.
Both Jace Peterson and Cameron Maybin continue to play well, so at this point it’s looking like a trade or injury are needed to get Peraza to the majors. The Braves really have no reason to rush him, but at the very least Peraza should provide some late-season SAGNOF this September. Another guy in this organization to look for in September is Mallex Smith. He’s also blocked at center field but has elite speed.
Matt Boyd leap-frogged Norris to the majors this time around, which made sense given how well Boyd had pitched before his Red Sox shelling on Thursday. Norris has shown better control lately though, with just two walks or less in each of his last three starts while striking out 17 batters. The Blue Jays have been linked to Jeff Samardzija, but Norris could also be in the mix.
Unfortunately, O’Brien has cooled off considerably since the last ranking. He’s hitting just .129 with one home run over his last ten games. Those stats won’t force the Diamondbacks hand any time soon, although I still think we’ll see him later this summer.
I’m a little surprised we haven’t seen Gray already, but I guess I shouldn’t be too shocked considering he got shelled for 11 hits and six earned runs in his last start for Triple-A Albuquerque. Despite all the positive reports on his talent, he’s still an iffy play in fantasy thanks to his home park.
Justin Masterson pitched well enough, but Johnson is still lurking at Triple-A Pawtucket. The southpaw left his last start after just a few pitches, but it was reportedly due to illness and not injury, so his fantasy owners can take a breath. I’d still expect to see him at some point in the second half.
14. Sean Nolin, LHP | Athletics
If the Athletics happen to do something crazy like make a trade this month, it should open up a rotation slot for Nolin. Scott Kazmir is a name I’ve seen floated around as a trade chip, and Nolin has a 2.67 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 33.2 innings pitched. I’m a sucker for lefties and he’ll get a favorable home park, so this could be a sneaky little pickup in the second half – even in 12-teamers.
Second base is one of those positions we could all use a little help at from time to time, so it’s worth looking at Johnson given that Carlos Sanchez is batting .176/.216/.237 on the year. Let’s be real, Johnson can’t really hit either, but at least he’d be good for some SAGNOF – he’s stolen five bags in his last ten games. Another second baseman to know is Rob Refsnyder with the Yankees, whose only roadblock currently is Stephen Drew.
I excluded Gallo on purpose since he was just recently demoted and already has 87 at bats under his belt. He’d slot into the top five on this list, likely between Olivera and Schwarber. What we saw is basically what he is right now…big raw power with a lot of swing and miss.