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.
1. Kevin Gausman (#18)
BLOCKED BY: Miguel Gonzalez, Bud Norris
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: Late May
Gausman is down at AAA Norfolk, but was scratched from his start on Thursday based on the potential for a rain out in Detroit this weekend. He ended up pitching on Friday night after the Orioles were able to play their game that day, so he's not likely to be available in the case of another rainout in the next two days.
That said, with Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris holding down the final two spots in the O's rotation, I think it's possible we see Gausman by Memorial Day if one of them struggles. He can provide similar stats to a top 40 starting pitcher once he is in the majors, and for a team with playoff aspirations would likely be an improvement on either of those starters.
2. George Springer (#10)
BLOCKED BY: Astros Management, not being on the 40-man roster, also L.J. Hoes
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: Likely mid-June
It's abundantly clear that the only thing keeping Springer from being in the majors is the Astros' desire to keep him under team control for another season. Offering him a long contract extension prior to being in the majors didn't do the team any favors, but we're only concerned with his contract status to the point that it costs him playing time. Even if he arrives after Flag Day, Springer could still hit 10-15 home runs with 10-15 stolen bases over the last 90 games or so.
3. Gregory Polanco (#14)
BLOCKED BY: Travis Snider, Jose Tabata
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: Late May
Polanco is another candidate where the service time could be holding him back somewhat, but the fact that he has only played three games at the AAA level speaks more to why he isn't in Pittsburgh. Snider and Tabata are splitting the platoon in right field right now, but it really is just a matter of time before Polanco takes over. I can see Polanco hitting 8-10 home runs and stealing 20 bases if he does come up by June 1st.
4. Archie Bradley (#7)
BLOCKED BY: Randall Delgado not having options; Not being on the 40-man Roster
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: July
Randall Delgado made the Diamondbacks' rotation in the 5th spot, and realistically Bradley wasn't ready to make the team out of Spring Training. That said, I don't think that it is in the best interest of Bradley long term to spend a majority of the season in Reno, and could provide a strikeout per inning once he is called up. The key will be the scouting reports rather than the statistics, and we should start to get an idea of what he still needs to work on starting Sunday with his first start of the year.
5. Javier Baez (#3)
BLOCKED BY: Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Not being on the 40-man Roster, Arismendy Alcantara
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: All-Star Break
I actually think that Baez has the biggest impact of any prospect not currently in the majors this year if he is given the opportunity. He could hit 15+ home runs in half a season at shortstop (at least for your league anyway), but there are a number of options ahead of him right now. Castro isn't going anywhere, so Baez will have to move to another position. The most likely spot (second base) has Darwin Barney ahead of him, and the best way for Baez to get reps at second might be to move Alcantara up to the bigs.
HM: Oscar Taveras, Joc Pederson, Marcus Stroman, Eddie Butler,
Taveras and Pederson are both about as blocked as you can be for a top prospect, so unless someone gets hurt (or is completely ineffective), both seem likely to be at AAA until after the All-Star break. Stroman could be the first call if the Blue Jays lose someone in their rotation, but with a number of options available that are already on the 40-man roster (Drabek, Nolin, Hendriks and McGuire), they seem unlikely to bring him up unless it is definitely a long-term injury.