There’s no doubt about it in my mind—the Futures Game is hands down the best event of All-Star Weekend. And with the entire experience being local for me this year, I was able to take advantage of my geography and head out to Citi Field to see seven members of this week’s Stash List with my own eyes. Of course, it also helped that I had the more finely tuned eyes of Zach Mortimer and Chris Mellen from the BP Prospect team, among others, with me for most of the game. And before we delve any further into this, if you haven’t checked out Zach’s Minor League Update from yesterday with notes from a number of Futures Game participants, just click there and then come back. I can wait.
It’s no coincidence that a number of the names you’ll see below were among the most impressive prospects I saw on Sunday, as Futures Game performances tend to swing toward the more advanced guys. Here are a few who caught my eye in particular for fantasy purposes:
Enough has been said about Bogaerts’ bat at this point to fill an Aaron Sorkin pilot, but two things really jumped out at me having finally seen him in person. First of all, he is a lot faster than I thought he would be. Coming into this season, he had never had a success rate stealing bases of higher than 50 percent, but he’s been successful seven out of nine times so far this year. He’s certainly not a burner, or even an above-average runner, but he’s certainly not a base-clogger. Bogaerts tried to steal second off Austin Hedges in the first inning and was gunned down, but there’s no shame in that—there will be a long list of players who learn not to try and steal against Hedges over the next decade and a half. Secondly, and most importantly, he looked the part enough on defense to have a great chance to hold that eligibility for the next few years. And in a fantasy landscape where Jed Lowrie and his seven homers and sub-.300 batting average is a top-10 shortstop, being able to put Bogaerts at short will do wonders for his value.
There’s really not much more to add here, except to add to the sentiments that already exist. Yes, his BP was great, and yes, he’s got a silky smooth swing, but we knew this already. He just looks like a guy ready for the big leagues, and as you can probably tell by him jumping back up this list, a call-up in the next couple of weeks would not shock me.
Not that there’s anything wrong with watching Noah Syndergaard and Taijuan Walker (who both looked great), but the third inning was the one I had mentally earmarked for the U.S. squad. Bradley only needed 12 pitches to complete a one-two-three inning, and while he didn’t record a strikeout, there was no shortage of weak contact. The stuff is both well known and phenomenal—well worthy of making him the best pitching prospect in the game today.
Davidson is really a forgotten prospect these days, even after taking home MVP honors at the Futures Game. It’s not a particularly sexy profile, but a power hitting third baseman who will play at the hot corner and call Chase Field home is a worthy fantasy profile. On top of that, he’s reduced his strikeout rate each month this year at Triple-A, from 33.7 percent in April to 22.8 percent between June and July. It’s yet to be seen how the Diamondbacks are going to make room for him, but Davidson is doing his part to show them that there should be a spot in the lineup for him.
Without any further ado, here is The Stash List, version 13.0:
The Graduates: Adam Eaton (2)
Don’t hold his first start against him—the Eraser will have his revenge in Seattle. It looks like his first two assignments after the break will both be at Safeco versus the Indians and Twins, which means that if someone panicked after his start against Boston, pounce on him now before it’s too late. I still like Ramirez to hold value in all leagues during the second half, despite what the people clinging to his pre-2012 scouting report might say.
Since the last Stash List, Andy Dirks is 0-for-9 with the Tigers and Castellanos continues to bide his time in Triple-A. He’s up to .309/.394/.498 with nine homers, 33 walks, and 37 strikeouts in his last 60 games for the Mud Hens.
Returning to Triple-A for a second rehab assignment, Beachy allowed two runs in three innings on Wednesday, but followed that up with a more impressive start on Monday. In his most recent outing, he allowed one run in four innings while striking out four. There’s still no clear path for Beachy to return to the Braves’ rotation, but if Paul Maholm continues to perform poorly, that could be all the room he needs.
4) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 7)
I don’t care what the Cardinals state publicly at this point, I would be pretty surprised if the Cardinals don’t start Martinez on July 27—the next day they need a fifth starter. They had C-Mart up and throwing smoke in the bullpen earlier this year and sent him down to stretch back out as a starter, so letting him play second fiddle to Joe Kelly seems like too safe of a move for a team in heavy competition for a playoff spot. And even if he doesn’t get the call on the 27th, he’s likely to get the bump on the 30th when they play the Pirates for a double dip.
5) Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins (Last week: 14)
Like I mentioned in the intro, Yelich appears ready for that next challenge—and the way the Marlins promote their prospects aggressively, I think the odds are pretty reasonable that we’ll see him in Miami in time for him to make a fantasy contribution for the current year.
Just your typical set-up guy with a sub-1.00 ERA waiting for the closer to clear out his locker and head to a contender. If you’re targeting saves in August and September, Brothers is the best guy to own who currently does not have a job.
On the bright side, his on-base percentage now starts with a three again. Fine, it technically starts with a decimal point, but you get my point. On the dark side, there’s just about everything else. I would still be pretty shocked to see him down on the farm the entire year though. If the Reds fall out of contention, he could get an extended trial in center field and if they are in contention to the end, he could get double-digit steals just as a pinch runner and occasional starter in September.
8) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 9)
On Monday, Taveras started a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, hitting a double in his only at-bat. It shouldn’t be too long before he’s back in Memphis, once again knocking on the door of the major-league roster.
This ranking is starting to get muddled with some of the latest nonsense to come out in the Biogenesis case, but I do still believe that even if A-Rod does get a suspension, it won’t affect him for the 2013 season. Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a homer in his first game rehabbing with Double-A Trenton. He’s getting closer.
10) Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox (Last week: 18)
See the glowing paragraph above. There’s enough uncertainty on the left side of the Red Sox’ infield that seeing Bogaerts in the near future is becoming an increasingly likely scenario.
After finally pulling the plug on the Gausman-as-reliever experiment, the Orioles will continue to leave him stretched out in Triple-A for the stretch run. A few more starts like the one he had on Sunday (four innings, one run, six strikeouts, no walks), and he may be a logical replacement for Zach Britton if the lefty can’t find a little more consistency.
12) Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Boston Red Sox (Last week: 10)
Jose Iglesias is finally starting to show his true colors at the plate, posting a 586 OPS thus far in July, but Middlebrooks is not taking advantage of it the way he needs to. In fact, his 670 OPS in Triple-A during July is likely less impressive than the man playing in his spot. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Xander Bogaerts is hitting .300 with three homers and more walks than strikeouts thus far in July. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the SS/3B situation plays out for Boston as they march toward a playoff spot.
The Cubs don’t appear to be playing around this trade season, so the odds of Kevin Gregg being moved very soon are much more likely than the chips from other clubs. In fact, it could happen any day now. And yes, Parker is still the guy I’m stashing if I’m playing the vacancy game.
Springer would be much higher on this list if I thought there was much redeeming benefit to the Astros calling him up this year. They may end up doing it anyway—which is why he’s ranked at all—but he’s not on the 40-man roster and looks prepared to end the 2013 season on a very high note. This ranking should then speak volumes about his fantasy potential if he does indeed find himself in Houston this year.
15) Jarred Cosart, RHP, Houston Astros (Last week: 25)
If you saw his near no-hitter against the Rays, you saw the good Cosart. The one that scouts have driven themselves crazy over the last four years thinking about. And though he’s back in the minors right now, I would be shocked if he weren’t back in Houston within a matter of a few weeks with the ragtag rotation they currently have. But as we’ve learned over the course of Cosart’s career, always expect the unexpected.
20) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 24)
21) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: NR)
It’s a pretty small chance that Bradley sees any major league time this year, but the Arizona rotation has not been particularly good or deep as of late. The NL West is unlikely to produce a wild card team this year, so if the Diamondbacks want to hold off the charging Dodgers, Bradley may have to play some sort of role.
22) Michael Wacha, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 20)
24) Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 19)