Minor League Monitor - NL Central

Chicago Cubs

Jae-Hoon Ha - AA / CF / 10-29-90

I stumbled upon Ha while playing Baseball Mogul when this young center fielder was kicking ass for me down the stretch run. It turns out his real-life counterpart isn't that bad either. The 20 year old has already reached AA and has managed to keep his head above water. In 123 at bats he has a .276/.321/.423 triple slash after putting up nearly identical numbers in 294 at bats in High-A. Ha doesn't have blow you away skills which will make him a tough sell in fantasy. His power is about average as is his speed. He has excellent contact skills but unless he learns to draw more walks he will likely spend much of his career hitting near the bottom of the batting order.

Houston Astros

Jared Cosart - AA / SP / 05-25-90

Cosart's numbers have yet to catch up to his stuff. In 114 innings this year he has just 83 strikeouts and has walked 43. The free passes are a bit surprising for someone who was advertised as having great control of his plus offerings. He walked only 16 in 71.1 innings last year. The Astros are probably going to be aggressive with their new addition and have already sent him to AA. He has made his first appearance and pitched 6 scoreless innings. Since the Astros will be moving him quickly his numbers may not be impressive but he should develop into a very good pitcher and if you are patient you should have a nice addition to your fantasy team in about 5 years. He is a guy worth monitoring because if his numbers appear bad enough you may be able to pry him from a competitor for next to nothing then reap the rewards when he puts it all together. Either that or he flames out all together. But that's the game we play.

Milwaukee Brewers

Scooter Gennett - A+ / 2B / 05-01-90

The Brewers scrappy middle infielder is having a solid season even if it is a bit of a step down from his debut last year. In 2010 the 5'9" Gennett surprised many when he slugged 38 doubles and 9 home runs while batting .309. In 2011 he is still hitting for a high average with .296 but the power numbers are down. He has hit 7 home runs but only 13 doubles so far. Power isn't what is expected of him so it's not a major problem, although the power would have been nice for fantasy purposes. What the Brewers do expect out of him is lots of contact and that has been just what he has done. He cut his K% down to 11.3% from 17.3% in 2010. His offensive profile is similar to that of another undersized middle infielder, David Eckstein.

St. Louis Cardinals

Kolten Wong - A / 2B / 10-10-90

The Cardinals took little time to sign Wong and were eager to see what he had so they were aggressive and sent him to A ball. Wong has responded and hit .299/.367/.442. He has 10 doubles and 3 home runs in 35 games and his BB/K is 15/16. With that plate discipline and above average power he should move fast and could be helping out in St. Louis sometime around 2014. I've featured a few second basemen in today's article but Wong has the highest upside by far. If he can translate his skills into results he could hit 10-15+ HR a year while sporting a .275+ AVG and swiping 20 bags.

Cincinnati Reds

Tony Cingrani - RK / SP / 07-05-89

He may be doing it as an over-aged player in rookie ball but the results for Cingrani as a pro so far has been exceptional. A 3rd round pick in this year's draft, Cingrani has a 2.11 ERA after 7 starts. In 21.1 innings he has allowed only 13 hits, walked 2 and struck out 30. The tall lefty had strong performances in high school and junior college but struggled in Division 1 college ball.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Jarek Cunningham - A+ / 2B / 12-25-89

Cunningham is one of my favorite prospects even if his chances at becoming a fantasy star are slim. He does still have a chance because his pop is well above average for a middle infielder. The problem with Cunningham is he strikes out a lot and this is while he's still in High-A. The high whiff rate will keep him from having a decent AVG and could be the thing that keeps him from nailing down a starting role with the big club. He is still 21 so there is plenty of time to work on his game before we can write him off. Despite his contact troubles he has been quite impressive with 23 doubles, 6 triples and 15 home runs. Ideally he would fulfill his potential and become something similar to Dan Uggla.

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