Fake Teams provides you with some excellent prospect coverage, from a fantasy perspective on a daily basis. Jason, Craig, Andrew and Kevin do a great job providing player profiles. reviews of the top prospects at each level, some up and coming prospects, along with rankings throughout the year. With the midseason rankings and July 31st trade deadline upon us, I wanted to take a look at five prospects who could benefit from a midseason trade or call up.
Five Impact Prospects still in the minors
Christian Yelich, MIA
I recently traded for Yelich in one of my NL only keeper leagues with the thought that we could see Yelich called up within the next month or so. Yelich is recovering from an injury to his abdomen and played in his first rehab game on Wednesday night. He was recently named to the U.S. team for the upcoming MLB Futures game to be played at Citi Field during the All Star Break weekend.
The Marlins are not afraid to call up their top prospects at an early age (read rush). Case in point: Jose Fernandez made the Marlins rotation out of spring training after making just 27 starts in various levels of the minors. He made just 11 starts at High A last season, and has been terrific in his 15 starts in the big leagues this season.
The Marlins currently have an outfield of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcel Ozuna and Justin Ruggiano, with Juan Pierre still in the mix, but Ruggiano is more of a fourth outfielder and Pierre is probably trade bait. A future Marlins outfield of Stanton in right field, Yelich in center field and Ozuna in left field gives the team one of the youngest outfields in the game, if not the youngest.
Yelich can provide fantasy owners with a solid bat, some power and some stolen base potential as well. He stole 20 bases in 2012 and 32 bases in 2011, so double digit steals are a possibility if he is called up in early August.
Kevin Nielsen recently wrote a piece on Yelich back in late May discussing Yelich and you can read that here.
Xander Bogaerts, BOS
With the injury prone Stephen Drew already dealing with an injury, the Red Sox could be considering calling up top prospect Xander Bogaerts in the next month or so. Bogaerts was recently promoted to AAA, which was a bit of a surprise for me. But, with the way Bogaerts demolished AA pitching this season, it was just a matter of time. Bogaerts hit AA pitching to tune of .311-.407-.502 slash line with 6 HRs, 12 doubles, 6 triples, 40 runs, 35 RBI and 5 stolen bases. In 19 AAA games, he is hitting .254-.346-.423 with 4 HRs, 10 runs and 11 RBI. His bat will certainly play at the big league level, either at shortstop or at third base.
The Red Sox are playing very well this season, and are in a win now mode, so calling up Bogaerts and wasting a year of service time is certainly a consideration, but they may have no choice should they decide they need help on offense.
Andrew Ball recently discussed Bogaerts in his Three Possibly True Outcomes piece back in mid-June.
Erasmo Ramirez, SEA
Ramirez pitched well for the Mariners in his 16 appearances in 2012, including 8 starts. That is why it was a surprise for Mariner fans, and fantasy owners, that the team decided to start him in AAA in 2013. In his 6 starts in AAA thus far, Ramirez is 2-3 with a 2.62 ERA and 1.15 WHIP pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He is striking out just under nine batters per nine, and walking under two batter per nine. With guys like Aaron Harang and Jeremy Bonderman in their rotation, it is just a matter of time before Ramirez gets the call.
George Springer, HOU
Springer is going to strike out quite a bit, as he continues to strike out near 30% of his plate appearances in AA and AAA this season. But unless you are in a head to head league where strike outs hurt you, Springer has the potential to be a fantasy monster, capable of putting up 20 home run, 20 stolen base seasons year in and year out. Springer was recently promoted to AAA, after crushing AA pitching to the tune of a .297-.399-.579 slash line with 19 HRs, 56 runs, 55 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 73 games. He was the MVP of the Texas League All Star game after hitting two home runs, and has continued to hit in AAA, where he is triple slashing .353-.522-.765 in six games in the PCL.
The Astros probably don't want to rush Springer and don't want to waste a year of his service time, but they also have to make an attempt to sell tickets in the offseason, and giving fans a look at what Springer can do could create some excite among the fan base and increase season ticket sales for 2014.
Craig Goldstein highlighted Springer in his Waiting in the Wings piece back in mid-May.
Nick Castellanos, DET
If a team is built for the World Series, it is the TIgers, and calling up Castellanos would make sense for a team that runs Andy Dirks in left field on most days. Castellanos is answering questions about his power and his plate discipline against AAA pitching this season. In 87 games at AAA, Castellanos is hitting .296-.373-.479 with 11 HRs, 59 runs and 43 RBI thus far. More importantly, he is walking in 11% of his plate appearances, up from 4% last season, and has reduced his strikeout rate to 15.5% from 22.3%. In addition to the bump in home runs, he has 27 doubles already this season, and should eclipse the 32 doubles he hit last season.
Kevin Nielsen profiled Castellanos is his Has Anything Changed piece back on June 17th.