Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. The variables involved are constantly in flux — talent emerges, talent regresses… opportunity comes, opportunity goes… clubs get cold feet because of service time, clubs don’t give a shizz about service time. So, given the fluid nature of this prospect business, we’re going to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a biweekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.
1. Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates (Previously Ranked #1): I suppose you could say Polanco is slumping — last time we ran this list he was batting an even .400, and now he’s down to a piss-poor .361. He should surface in Pittsburgh sometime around the 2nd week of June.
2. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (#2): In terms of pure 2014 upside, It’s tough to say who I like more between Polanco and Taveras. I believe Taveras’s stick is better prepared for immediate success in the bigs, but he’s well behind Polanco in the speed department. The kicker, though, is the fact that Polanco’s opportunity in Pittsburgh is far more carved out than Oscar’s in St. Louis. If the Cardinals are going to call-up Taveras next month — and I believe they will — they’ll be asking him to play out of position most days in the outfield.
3. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (#7): Gausman is making his first start of the year with the O’s today, but whether or not he sticks in the rotation isn’t yet determined. Grey has more in this morning’s notes.
4. Jon Singleton, 1B, Astros (#3): Singleton is maintaining a Triple-A line at .293/.401/.629 with 12 HR. There is every reason to believe that the 22-year-old slugger will Houston’s everyday 1B within 4 weeks.
6. Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (#4): Baez is batting .153/.245/.276 and his K-rate sits north of 36%. These are disturbing figures, yes, but don’t lose sight of the upside here. Baez will get it together before long, and when he does, he’ll push his way to Wrigley in a hurry, bringing the highest fantasy ceiling of anyone on this list. The horrendous start to the season, though, probably pushes the ETA back to around All-Star break, at the soonest.
7. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians (#6): Bauer continues to impress at Triple-A, but Josh Tomlin’s success in Cleveland is delaying any imminent call-up. Let’s hope Bauer’s command doesn’t unravel before Tomlin’s luck runs out.
8. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Next 5): It sickens me to present any positive spin to the Jose Fernandez news, but I suppose there’s a silver lining in the fact that this awful development could make for a quicker path to Miami for Andrew Heaney. Heaney’s line on the year at Double-A Jacksonville sits at 2.35/1.07/44 through 46 IP.
9. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets (#8): From Sunday’s Minor Accomplishments: “Montero getting the first call-up to the Mets rotation is no surprise — he was probably ready for the bigs last summer, even. So don’t read into this decision as a statement regarding Syndergaard’s readiness or impact potential. Noah’s upside remains enormous, and he’s beginning to settle into his assignment at Vegas, allowing just 1 ER through his last two starts while striking out 15. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Montero’s arrival is the fact that we’re now one step closer to seeing Syndergaard in New York.”
10. Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals (N/R): In 15 games since his demotion to Memphis, Wong is batting .344/.382/.484 with 2 HR and 5 SB. Remember how Anthony Rendon experienced a rough stretch in the bigs last year, and then was demoted, and then quietly returned later in the season with much better results? I’m anticipating a similar pattern with Wong this year.