A 30th round pick by the PAdres, Axelrod started his pro career in the bullpen. He put up pretty mediocre numbers as a reliever but thrived as a starter once he signed with the White Sox near the end of the 2009 season. In 14 starts and 2 relief appearances between AA and AAA he has a 2.80 ERA in 90 innings with 83/19 K/BB. The White Sox are organizationally deep in starting pitching but Axelrod will be a name that is considered when the Sox need help from the minors. Axelrod is a nice underdog pick-up and he could become a fantasy asset once given a shot in the rotation.
Minor has struggled since returning to Gwinnett. He has allowed 12 earned run in 15 innings. He had allowed 15 runs in his previous 60.2 innings pitched at AAA. Minor has been one of the better minor league pitchers but when he reaches the majors he gets hit around. Give him time. Once he is in the majors to stay he will be able to find his groove and be a pitcher to grab.
Below was a promising prospect when he was named to the Midwest League All Star team in 2007 but then arm issues hampered him in 2008 before he had Tommy John surgery early in the 2009 season. His 4.93 ERA last season wasn't very promising although he did post a solid 2.6 BB/9. In 2011 he is allowing 2.3 fewer hits per 9 innings compared to last season and as a result his ERA is much better at 3.06. Below was a K per inning pitcher before the injury and is now sitting at 6.4 K/9. If he can gain some of the strikeouts back he would become an intriguing option in AL-only leagues once called up.
Earlier this season I declared the D-Train was back on track after getting off to a hot start. The D-Train is now at full steam and next stop is Cincinnati. In 13 starts he has a 2.63 ERA, a number that ranks 3rd in the IL. After 4 disappointing seasons in a row it seemed that Willis was finished as a fantasy producer and perhaps even as a major leaguer. His dominant showing at AAA this year shows that he may not be done after all. He might just be the little D-Train that could.
Guyer put up insane numbers last season in AA. He hit .344/.398/.588 with 30/3 SB/CS. This season in AAA he has been nearly as good with .318/.389/.509 and 13/4. Guyer has a solid hit tool and the power seems legit. He could be a good pick to hit .280-15-80-15 as a full timer. He has Shin-Soo Choo-esque upside.
Dayan Viciedo - White Sox RF DOB: 03/10/89
Future Futures Game participant Viciedo is making all of those defensive questions moot with the play of his bat. He is hitting .325 with 40 extra base hits. He is even making strides with his pitch selection and has a somewhat decent 25/66 BB/K. Wherever he ends up on the field or as a DH he is sure to hit. Since that's all that matters in fantasy it makes him a must own prospect.
Milone owns an awesome 107/7 K/BB ratio and deserves a shot in the majors. He has yet to have a poor season in pro ball and owns that elite K/BB ratio so there is little to suggest he won't stick in the majors. As long as his AVG against doesn't skyrocket in the majors he has a chance to become a very good fantasy performer. He has the potential to be a plus in 4 pitching categories.
Just as Montero was starting to turn his season around at the plate he went on the DL with a back injury. The injury could be to blame for his worse-than-expected performance, especially in the power department. If you're willing to bet that the injury is to blame for his numbers this year then now might be a good time to try and buy low on him.
Steve Lombardozzi - Nationals 2B DOB: 09/20/88
Lombardozzi hit his way out of the Eastern League and is now holding his own as one of the youngest regulars in the International League. In 19 AAA games he is hitting .345 with 6 doubles and 4 stolen bases in 5 tries. The one worrisome stat is his 1/13 BB/K.
Lutz has struggled with injuries his entire pro career and this season he has been no different. The 25 year old third baseman is a strong bat when healthy and is an all around hitter. In 32 games he is hitting .312/.400/.523. Keep Lutz in mind if he is called up to the Mets because he can help in AVG and the power stats. He won't be a huge HR hitter but could hit 20+ in a full time role while batting above .270.