While their value is highly established in dynasty and keeper leagues, there are still prospects that are worth holding onto in redraft leagues while you wait for their call up to the big leagues. Each week I'll be looking at my top five prospects from our top 200 consensus prospects who currently aren't in the majors, but could be worth holding in a bench spot given their potential value for the rest of the season. These rankings are based solely on their potential 2014 value, and do not include any players that are already in the majors as of yesterday.
Graduates This Week: None
1. Kevin Gausman (#18)
I still think that Gausman represents the most likely pitcher to be called up that can make a significant impact, and given how Norris and Gonzalez have performed thus far (the two have combined to give up 15 runs and 25 hits over 14+ innings pitched in three starts), I think it's going to be sooner rather than later.
2. George Springer (#10)
The fans are waiting for him to be called up, and even the media in Houston is starting to take notice of him not being up. This organization isn't going to be pressured to call up a player before they are ready, but another month or so of this and it's going to get a bit ridiculous to argue that Springer doesn't belong in the bigs.
3. Gregory Polanco (#14)
Polanco has done nothing in the first week to state that he isn't ready for a callup, but Snider and Tabata have hit reasonably well (.277, 1 HR between them) so far.Keeping Polanco down allows them to keep him under team control for another season, and if the production from their right fielders is at least decent, they can try to keep him down past the Super-Two deadline as well.
4. Joc Pederson (#32)
RANK LAST WEEK: HM
BLOCKED BY: The four-headed outfield machine that is Puig, Crawford, Kemp, and Ethier
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME OF CALLUP: The second that two of these four are required to go on the disabled list.
Pederson is trying to force the issue with his performance so far this year, and having Yasiel Puig miss time this week with a thumb injury could have potentially opened up a chance. Puig returned to the lineup last night, but if we get two on even semi-extended injuries, I think Pederson gets the call rather than relying upon Scott Van Slyke as a starting outfielder.
5. Archie Bradley (#7)
The Diamondbacks have stated that despite the struggles of Delgado and Trevor Cahill, Bradley will remain in AAA for the time being. To this end, they even went out and signed Randy Wolf as AAA depth in case they need another starting pitcher soon. The team has opted for now to move Josh Collmenter into the rotation and send Delgado to the bullpen. Clearly not a long-term solution, but one for now that will keep Bradley in Reno.
6. Javier Baez (#3)
Well, we all saw Emilio Bonifacio hitting like this and getting in the way, right? Jasper wrote earlier in the week about Bonifacio, and while I don't think he has any more chance of blocking Baez than Barney did, the Cubs would be wise to keep playing him until the wheels fall off.
7. Matt Wisler (#67)
Wisler was the last candidate for a starting rotation spot that ended up on the outside looking in this spring, and despite not being on the 40-man roster would likely be the first pitcher called up if a longer-term injury happens.
8. Matt Davidson (#64)
RANK LAST WEEK: NR
BLOCKED BY: Conor Gillaspie (No really, Conor Gillaspie)
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: Early June
I was honestly surprised when Davidson didn't make the team out of Spring Training. I mean, Gillaspie is out of options and would need to clear waivers to go to the minors, but he doesn't really seem all that likely to be claimed. I think that Davidson hits reasonably well over the next couple months, and forces the White Sox to move him up to the majors.
9. Trevor Bauer (#139)
RANK LAST WEEK: NR
BLOCKED BY: Carlos Carrasco, A non-belief that he really can make adjustments
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: Late May
Ok, so this one is a bit of cheating, as Bauer was called up to make a spot start as a part of a doubleheader on Wednesday. He pitched well, and has also pitched well in the minors so far. If he really is making the necessary adjustments, he still has the upside that made him the #3 pick in the draft in 2011. It really comes down to how long of a leash they want to give Carrasco, who is out of options and would likely be exposed to waivers if he is removed from the roster.
10. Oscar Taveras (#5)
It's hard with Taveras, because he has more upside than everyone on this list but maybe Baez, but there is just no clear path for him to get to consistent playing time this year. The team can rely on Jon Jay in the short-term if for some reason Craig or Adams get hurt, and then also have multiple options available on the 40-man roster besides Taveras if they want a short-term fill only (Grichuk, O'Neill, Ortega). Eventually he is going to force his way into the lineup everyday in St. Louis, it just isn't really all that clear when it will happen.
Honorable Mentions (in Alphabetical Order by Group)
Jake Marisnick, OF, MIA
Marisnick is going to be the everyday center fielder in Miami at some point soon, but with Marcell Ozuna hitting well so far, that time isn't now. I feel like they are going to give Ozuna a long leash before making this move, although it is possible that the move could be to move Christian Yelich to first base. That assumes that they believe Marisnick will do better than Garrett Jones, which isn't a huge stretch to get your mind around.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B, HOU
It's been a bad 12 months for Singleton, and the Astros will look for him to hit better than he has at AAA so far before bringing him up. He is on the 40-man roster, which makes it a lot easier for the team to bring him up if there is an injury or completely ineffective player. That said, there's not a lot of incentive to bring him up before the projected Super-Two deadline in June.
Eddie Butler, RHP, COL
Jonathan Gray, RHP, COL
I grouped these two together because the players blocking them are essentially the same. I think we see Butler sooner than Gray, but that both are up by the end of the season for sure. I don't exactly get a warm-and-fuzzy feeling about the health or effectiveness of the Rockies' rotation after Jorge de la Rosa, which could lead both of them to the majors sooner.
Montero and Syndergaard are also grouped together, as they are both pitching for the Mets' AAA affiliate in Sin City. However, Syndergaard is expected to be on a 145 inning cap this year, and I just don't know if I see the team using those innings in the majors with him. Add in that the team also has Daisuke Matsuzaka that they can add to the 40-man roster if they need a short-term fix, and I think it's very unlikely that Syndergaard hits the majors this year. I could see Montero at some point since he pitched a lot of last season at AAA, but there's no real clear path to a starting spot as of now.
Marcus Stroman, RHP, TOR
It's hard to tell when (or if) the Drew Hutchinson and Dustin McGowan show will go off the rails. McGowan recorded his first win in nearly 6 seasons last night, but a pitcher with his injury history doesn't elicit a lot of hope that he'll throw 200+ innings this year. The other thing working against Stroman is the number of other starting pitchers that are already on the 40-man roster in Kyle Drabek, Sean Nolin, Chad Jenkins, and Deck McGuire.
Jameson Taillon, RHP, PIT - You've undoubtedly heard by now that Taillon has undergone Tommy John surgery, and will miss the whole season. He would have been a candidate for a midseason callup had he been healthy, but the team is hoping that getting it done sooner rather than later will help his timeline for return next year.
Addison Russell, SS, OAK - Russell will miss the next month with a torn hamstring, which is too bad given that he was already off to a hot start at AA Midland (5-for-7, home run, stolen base).