Here are the four types of players eligible for inclusion:
Minor leaguers: anyone currently in the minors.
Major leaguers on the DL: anyone currently on the disabled list who is owned in fewer than 25 percent of ESPN leagues.
Closers-in-waiting: any reliever who is not actively getting saves and is owned in fewer than 25 percent of ESPN leagues.
Others-in-waiting: any other player who is not currently active in the role that would net him the most fantasy value.
Maybin returned to the top of the Angels’ lineup Friday and swiped four bags, followed by another pair the next night. With Mike Trout out for a while, it makes sense for the Angels to turn Maybin loose on the bases in an effort to manufacture runs.
Pederson was activated from the disabled list Tuesday and started in center, batting eighth. With Adrian Gonzalez heading back to the DL as the corresponding move, there’s enough room in the Dodgers’ lineup to keep everyone in the lineup who should be in the lineup. If Pederson still isn’t hitting by the time Gonzalez is ready, he could be looking at a strict platoon at best.
Brinson made his major-league debut Sunday and has started each game since. Five strikeouts in 13 plate appearances means very little, but does underscore the longstanding swing-and-miss concerns among scouts. Despite the reports, Brinson ran an entirely acceptable 22.1 percent strikeout rate in Triple A prior to his call-up. I expect Brinson to remain in Milwaukee for the balance of the season and provide power and speed, even if growing pains result in some ugly stretches.
Fisher is getting the call, and it’s not yet clear if he’s replacing Josh Reddick, who has a concussion, or Nori Aoki, who is bad. If it’s the former, it probably will be a short stay for Fisher. I’m hoping he sticks, as there’s not much left for him to prove in the minors after tearing through Double A and Triple A over the past season and a half. Like Brinson, Fisher brings a power-speed combo. Fisher has been thrown out 10 times in 23 steal attempts this season, but was far more successful in past years. Given the quality of Houston’s bats, there’s not much reason to let Fisher run if he’s not efficient, so be cautious with your expectations on the bases.
Weaver was lifted from his previous start with an injury, the nature of which still hasn’t been disclosed. I’m dropping him until we know more. De Leon strained his oblique in his previous turn and landed on the minor-league disabled list. No word yet regarding a timetable.
1. Yoan Moncada (2B)—White Sox (Previous Rank: 1)
Moncada continues to struggle since returning from his thumb injury, striking out 26 times in 18 games (for a 32.9 percent strikeout rate). I’m not at all worried about what that means for his projected performance whenever he gets the call, but it could well draw out his time at Triple-A Charlotte.
2. Julio Urias (LHP)—Dodgers (Previous Rank: 2)
The Dodgers announced they are sending Urias to their team physician in L.A. after the lefty complained of shoulder soreness. It’s never good news when a pitcher complains of shoulder or elbow discomfort, but we'll keep Urias' ranking here until more information becomes known. It's too bad he's hurt, because Urias’ previous start at Triple-A Oklahoma City was his most encouraging yet. He struck out eight over 5 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs. More importantly, he only walked one. It’ll probably take more proof that his command has sharpened before he heads back to Los Angeles, and this business with his shoulder—even if it’s just inflammation—probably will delay a return to the majors.
3. Wilson Ramos (C)—Rays (Previous Rank: 3)
4. Manuel Margot (OF)—Padres (Previous Rank: 5)
5. Tom Murphy (C)—Rockies (Previous Rank: 9)
Ramos notched his first home run of 2017 on Tuesday as his rehab moved to Triple-A Durham. He’s split his time equally behind the plate and designated hitter, and is expected to join the Rays on June 25. Margot reportedly is heading to a rehab assignment this weekend. Murphy has six extra-base hits in seven games at Triple-A Albuquerque. I still believe Murphy ends up with the bulk of the playing time by mid-summer; with Tony Wolters getting on base at a 40 percent clip, he’ll have to earn it.
6. Blake Snell (LHP)—Rays (Previous Rank: 8)
Snell is up to 44 strikeouts against 12 walks in 32 Triple-A innings. His stuff is too overwhelming for minor-league hitters. While I get what the Rays are trying to do in concept, this could just be a situation where Snell needs to do his learning at the major-league level. That’s easier said than done, as long as the Rays stay competitive. Their third-order winning percentage is third highest in the American League.
7. Carlos Rodon (LHP)—White Sox (Previous Rank: 7)
Two starts, seven innings, nine runs, six walks for Rodon as he works back from a biceps injury. Yikes. He was slated for only four turns before activation. If the next two go as poorly as the first two, it’s hard to imagine him back in Chicago on time.
8. Amed Rosario (SS)—Mets (Previous Rank: 10)
9. Rhys Hoskins (1B)—Phillies (Previous Rank: 12)
10. Austin Meadows (OF)—Pirates (Previous Rank: 13)
11. Rafael Devers (3B)—Red Sox (Previous Rank: 15)
12. Gleyber Torres (SS/3B)—Yankees (Previous Rank: 17)
We graduated Brinson from this elite prospect group this week. Who’ll be next? Torres is worth singling out here, as he has 12 hits in his past eight games. It didn’t take him long to warm up to Triple A. If there’s a concern, it’s that his defense isn’t ready—and that he has 10 strikeouts in those eight contests, plus a 28.4 strikeout rate since moving up a level.
13. Cam Bedrosian (RHP)—Angels (Previous Rank: Unranked)
14. Yasmany Tomas (OF)—Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: Unranked)
15. Asdrubal Cabrera (SS)—Mets (Previous Rank: Unranked)
16. Brandon Finnegan (LHP)—Reds (Previous Rank: 16)
17. Brad Miller (IF)—Rays (Previous Rank: Unranked)
Injured major leaguers are the new rage. Bedrosian’s placement atop this group shows my firm belief that he’ll wrest the closing gig back from Bud Norris sooner rather than later. Finnegan is the only other player here with a rehab stint underway. He pitched three scoreless frames at Double-A Pensacola on Sunday, striking out one. The Reds are hoping for a late-June return.
18. Raul Mondesi (SS)—Royals (Previous Rank: 19)
19. Dustin Fowler (OF)—Yankees (Previous Rank: 20)
20. Dan Vogelbach (1B)—Mariners (Previous Rank: 21)
21. Ketel Marte (SS)—Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: 22)
Marte has four home runs in June. It’s almost certainly a PCL mirage, but his total of five is a new career high. As the strikeouts pile up for Barreto, I’m softening on his ability to offer much fantasy value in 2017.
23. Chance Adams (RHP)—Yankees (Previous Rank: Unranked)
24. Drew Smyly (LHP)—Mariners (Previous Rank: Honorable Mention)
25. Reynaldo Lopez (RHP)—White Sox (Previous Rank: 25)
Adams is a new entrant this week. He’s been dominant at every stop since being drafted two years ago, including six Triple-A starts since being promoted in mid-May. With CC Sabathia headed to the disabled list, Adams could well be one of the first-place Yankees’ five best starters right now, and has the requisite strikeout stuff to make a fantasy impact. Smyly is slated to throw his first full bullpen Saturday and is targeting a July return. On account him being Drew Smyly and a Seattle Mariners starter, I’m not holding my breath.