A look at some players who could bolster your fantasy team off the waiver wire, depending on the format of the league in which you play.
Zack Cozart, SS, Cincinnati Reds
Cozart is a subpar offensive option in real life but a solid option in fantasy leagues. Among shortstops, he is ninth in HR, eighth in RBI, and fifth in runs. Dusty Baker finally gave up on the idea of batting Cozart and his lousy .276 on-base percentage second, so Cozart takes a bit of a hit, but if you’re not particularly concerned about batting average, Cozart is a better play down the stretch than a number of mixed-league shortstops/middle infielders currently on active rosters. —Mike Gianella
These young players will look to make a strong impression on their big-league employers next month, but they're not likely to help your fantasy squad.
September call-ups, when used correctly, can make for great late -eason additions to fantasy squads. When used incorrectly, though, such players can do more harm than good—especially to your rate stats or to teams with short benches.
So while the majority of columns you read in the coming days will extol the fantasy virtues of the September call-up, this one will instead preach caution. With that in mind, here are four likely call-ups—and one recent call-up—you should let other owners fight over in the coming weeks.
Notes on prospects who are having their struggles at the plate in the Caribbean Winter Leagues.
There were no games on Monday night, so to change things up a bit, I'll take some time to let you know which notable position player prospects are struggling at the plate in the Caribbean Winter Leagues. None of these guys are going to be released by their organization because they're hitting under .200 in December, but there has to be at least a little concern that one of their top minor leaguers isn't hitting in a league devoid of many top pitching prospects. Sure, there are some crafty veterans in these leagues that can be tough on an inexperienced hitter. And many of these young prospects have been playing in games for ten months straight. Fatigue has likely set in. However, there are just as many prospects, if not more, excelling under the same circumstances and the same environment.
Jason's had a busy 48 hours, and shows us what he's been up to by giving us a peek at his notebook.
“Baseball is my stereo, and this is how you set it up and this is how you make it play.” –George Washington
I spend every day of my life standing on a field watching somebody with talent do something talented, and the past two days might have been the best so far in my journey towards enlightenment. The following is going to be a no frills breakdown of the action I’ve witnessed over the past 48 hours, starting with notes on several prospects in the Padres system, and a few notes on the Dominican Prospect League’s elite travel team, a roster stacked with future July 2nd players. Many of these players will command six-figure bonuses, and a few top-tier prospects could (and perhaps should) command signing bonuses in excess of seven-figures. These are notes as they appear in my notebooks, free from the charm and bitterness of my tongue, or the context of a proper narrative. This is baseball in the raw.
A rare breed of player can stay at an up-the-middle position, and many of these center fielders have loaded toolboxes.
The minor leagues are stacked with quality center-field prospects, and some might even end up being quality center fielders at the major-league level. But the truth is most minor-league center fielders lack the necessary skill set to play the position in the majors, making the value of said skill set even more, um, valuable.
This was a difficult list to compile, as I use a mixture of industry opinion and my own eyes to sketch the report, and opinions were extremely varied. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a national platform that encourages industry correspondence and reciprocation [read: people actually return my e-mail] more than discourages it, and I’m thankful because most industry types aren’t influenced by my 70-grade smile. For this article, I polled 10 people employed by major-league teams; some were scouting directors, some were scouts, some were even higher on the food chain. I asked them a simple question: Who are the top 10 center-field prospects currently in the minor leagues?
Evaluating each pitcher who appeared in the Futures Game and identifying the most similar current major-league pitchers and pitches with the aid of PITCHf/x.
Sample size or apple pies? You can choose only one. Apple pies—that’s what I thought. A quick glimpse of a prospect might not tell us all we need to know, but it’s still plenty tempting to draw possibly premature conclusions. With that in mind, I decided to watch the Futures Game for the second straight year and make snap judgments on every single pitcher, even though none of them threw more than a couple dozen pitches. Last year, my main takeaway was that Zach Britton was the man. He still is. This year, I came to the conclusion that the only way to top a Bernie Williamsrendition of the national anthem is to catch a Sal Fasanofirst-base coach sighting.
The following table lists every pitcher who appeared in the game, in order of appearance. I’ll tackle them one by one, offering comps to current major leaguers where applicable, as well as links to videos of similar pitches.