Minor League Monitor - AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Tyler Flowers - AAA / C / 01-24-86

The White Sox intended to have Flowers take over the everyday catching job at some point last season but he struggled to hit for AVG and prompted the organization to re-sign AJ Pierzynski. In 2011 he has managed to raise his AVG .038 points to a better .258. His walk rate remains high and he is hitting for as much power as he ever has. After 221 at bats he has 15 home runs and a .885 OPS.

Dylan Axelrod - AAA / SP / 07-30-85

Axelrod is now 9 games into his AAA career and he has recorded quality starts in 5 of them. After 54.2 IP his ERA stands at 2.14 with a 1.00 WHIP and 45/11 K/BB. If you factor in his 11 AA appearances he has a 2.76 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and 7.6 H/9. The Edwin Jackson trade leaves Axelrod next in line for starts unless the Sox decide to try Zach Stewart in the bullpen. Either way, Axelrod should see the majors before 2011 is over and he should be in the competition for a rotation spot next April.

Jared Mitchell - A+ / CF / 10-13-88

Mitchell enjoyed his best month by far in July but it wasn't without its flaws either. When you have a .492 BABIP for a month you would expect to have a higher AVG than .298. But that's what Mitchell did thanks to his still sky-high 34.1 K%. His .231 ISO in July is promising and his 105 wOBA+ suggests that his season may not be as bad as many think it is. Still, striking out 32.3% of the time this year in A+ is not a good thing and it will take more than good luck for him to succeed at the higher levels.

Cleveland Indians

Nick Weglarz - AA /  LF / 12-16-87

Weglarz showed a lot of promise when he hit .274 with 24 HR and 83 BB in his pro debut at age 19. He has hit well at each stop along the way but has dropped in most prospect lists due to worries about his durability. His plate appearances have dropped each season as a pro and it appears like the rust may be affecting him at the plate. In 141 plate appearances this year he has just 2 HR and a measly .168 AVG. His BB% is elite at 22.7 but his ISO has dropped nearly .100 points to .122. He has spent the last 2 weeks back on the DL after spending two months on it to begin the year. If he can prove to be healthy he has the potential to be an impact middle of the order bat.

Zach McAllister - AAA / SP / 12-08-87

McAllister leads a group of Indians pitching prospects breaking out at each level. Jeanmar Gomez, Brett Brach, Breily Puerta, Anderson Polanco, Scott Barnes and T.J. McFarland have all emerged as potential future additions to Cleveland's rotation. McAllister made a spot start in July but has spent the rest of his season in AAA where he has fixed the problems that made him hittable last year while in the Yankees organization. In 20 AAA starts he has a 1.18 WHIP and 3.17 ERA. Unfortunately he will be hard pressed to maintain those numbers at the major league level due to a lack of strikeouts. Major League hitters will tee off on his average stuff but he should be able to limit the damage with his solid control and average to above average groundball rates.

Chen Lee - AAA / RP / 10-21-86

Lee is now 12 appearances into his AAA career and has displayed the same domination he has shown at each level along the way. He has 29 strikeouts in 19.2 innings and only 5 walks. The Indians could call on Lee down the stretch and he could be a surprising source of WHIP and strikeouts. He probably won't give many holds until he earns the manager's confidence but could become a key piece of the Indians bullpen in time.

Detroit Tigers

Jacob Turner - AAA / SP / 05-21-91

Turner was called up on the 30th for a spot start and the 20 year old went 5.1 innings, allowing 3 hits, 3 walks, 2 earned runs while striking out 6. He was promptly sent back to the minors and will wait for another opportunity while pitching in AAA. In 17 AA starts this year he has a 3.48 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Turner isn't a big time strikeout pitcher so he may not be a must have fantasy player for a few more years but making his MLB debut 2 months after his 20th birthday points to a successful big league career to come.

Drew Smyly - AA / SP / 06-13-89

Smyly handled A+ hitters easily in his pro debut this year and has earned a promotion to AA. His first AA start went well as he lasted 7 innings, allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, 0 runs and struck out 8. In 14 A+ games the lefty went 7-3 with a 2.58 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, with 77 strikeouts in 80.1 IP. The second round pick doesn't have top of the rotation stuff but he has good control and keeps the ball on the ground that could make him a nice mid-rotation addition to the Tigers.

Alex Burgos - A / SP / 12-01-90

the Tigers decided to be a little aggressive by starting Burgos in A ball this year and the 20 year old has responded. In 10 starts he has just one in which he has allowed 3 runs. In 59 innings he has 64 strikeouts and a 2.14 ERA. At 5'11" he doesn't have the frame of a starting pitcher but even at A ball he is showing he can last deep into games. Burgos should spend the rest of the year in West Michigan and could start next year in A+ and move up a level each year until he reaches the majors. He still has a lot to prove before he can be considered for pick-up in most leagues but his early performance makes him worth following.

Kansas City Royals

Noel Arguelles - A+ / SP / 01-12-90

Arguelles has used pin-point control to register a 2.90 ERA in his first 96.1 innings as a pro. In 19 games he has had just 3 starts where he allowed multiple walks and has made 8 appearances without allowing a single free pass. Strikeouts and groundballs are not his forte so he could have some trouble as he moves through the Royals system. Higher level hitters will be able to hit him often and more of those hits will leave the park. He isn't going to develop into a fantasy game changer but his excellent command means he has a solid chance of popping up in the big leagues one day.

Lorenzo Cain - AAA / CF / 04-13-86

After hitting .306 in 147 MLB at bats in 2010 many thought it was a fluke and he would fail to repeat. So far in 2011 he hasn't been given a chance to repeat, he has been stuck in AAA. The speedster hasn't let it affect his game, however. In 416 plate appearances he has launched a career high 13 HR while batting .319/.387/.520. True centerfielders are hard to come by and Cain could turn into one as he has the speed and defensive chops to stick there. His bat has developed nicely and his power now profiles as average. Once given a full time job in KC he should be above average in AVG and SB and could be a strong source of runs if planted at the top of the Royals order.

Johnny Giavotella - AAA / 2B / 07-10-87

Chris Getz was good for about 2 weeks but it may be time for the Royals to give Giavotella a look. The contact hitter is batting .342 with 9 HR, 33 2B, and 72 RBI. The second baseman has a great hitting profile for the #2 spot which would mean big things for his fantasy value. He has the potential to hit .300 in the majors and has enough pop to be more than a one trick pony. If the Ackley's and Kipnis' in your league are taken you could do a lot worse than picking up Giavotella.

Minnesota Twins

Eddie Rosario - RK / CF / 09-28-91

A 4th round pick in 2010, Rosario has built on a fine debut where he hit .294/.343/.438 with 22/5 SB/CS in 51 Gulf Coast League games. He went right back to work in 2011 and added more power to his repertoire, slugging 11 home runs. All of that power comes at a price as Eddie's BB/K went from 16/28 in 2010 to 15/41 in 2011 with 33 plate appearances to go before he reaches 2010's total.  Still, his strikeout rate is at a decent 23.0% but if it rises further it could become a problem.

Aaron Hicks - A+ / CF / 10-02-89

Hicks had his best month in June only to struggle in July. His wOBA went from an excellent .419 to a below average .243. His main offensive weapon is his ability to get on base which will make him more valuable in real life compared to most fantasy formats. He will likely peak as a OF 3 due to a lack of power and stolen base totals that will stick in the 20s. In keeper leagues that count OBP he becomes quite valuable due to the fact that he will get on base a lot and hit at the top of the Twins order when he arrives.

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