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
Graduates So Far
George Springer, Trevor Bauer, Tommy La Stella,
Oscar Taveras, Marcus Stroman, Jon Singleton, Eddie Butler, Kevin Gausman, Gregory Polanco,
This Week's Graduates
Andrew Heaney - Heaney was promoted earlier in the week, and threw six innings of one run ball with three strikeouts in his first career start, which unfortunately turned out to be a loss.
Jake Marisnick - An injury to Christian Yelich finally freed up some playing time in the majors for Marisnick, although it's not clear that he'll be up to stay once Yelich is healthy again.
1. Oscar Taveras (#5)
RANK LAST WEEK: Graduate
BLOCKED BY: Matt Adams
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: The next injury, or late July
Taveras returns to the top of this list after being sent back to AAA when Matt Adams was activated from the disabled list. It's not entirely clear as of now when he will be back up, but it seems that the most likely reason for demotion was to give him consistent at bats to keep him up to speed. Don't drop him just yet if you can, as he could be back up quickly.
2. Taijuan Walker (#6)
RANK LAST WEEK: #1 (-1)
BLOCKED BY: Erasmo Ramirez
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: Twoweek
Walker got torched in his last start on Thursday night, giving up 7 runs (6 earned) over 5 innings against Colorado Springs. Ramirez, meanwhile, has had two solid starts of late, and Roenis Elias and Chris Young have also pitched well lately. I think the Mariners wait for one of the three of them to blow up before making a move, especially if it means letting Walker get another good start under his belt.
3. Joc Pederson (#32)
RANK LAST WEEK: 2 (-1)
BLOCKED BY: The four-headed outfield machine that is Puig,
Crawford, Kemp, Ethier and Van Slyke
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME OF CALLUP: The second that another of these four are required to go on the disabled list.
Pederson continues to destroy baseballs at AAA, with Scott Van Slyke getting time in center field at points. They seem pretty intent on keeping Pederson down in AAA until he can get every day plate appearances, which seems like it could still be a while.
4. Javier Baez (#3)
RANK LAST WEEK: 4 (No Change)
BLOCKED BY: Starlin Castro,
Darwin Barney, Emilio Bonifacio, Not being on the 40-man Roster, Arismendy Alcantara
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: All-Star Break
I wrote about my observations of Baez from his game last week, which you can find here.
5. Alex Meyer (#51)
RANK LAST WEEK: 3(-2)
Mike Pelfrey, Sam Deduno and Kevin Correia
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP:
June late July
The team finally removed Sam Deduno from the starting rotation, and called up.... Yohan Pino. Pino has pitched well, but I'm not sure what their logic is at this point. I could have seen them call up Trevor May instead, since May is on the 40-man roster and Meyer isn't, but they didn't do that. They added Pino, who wasn't on the 40-man either.
6. Jonathan Gray (#22)
RANK LAST WEEK: 6 (No change)
Franklin Morales, Tyler Matzek and Christian Friedrich
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: Early July
The team has an opening in the rotation right now, but will turn to Christian Friedrich instead of Gray. I'm guessing this is at least in part due to Friedrich being on the 40-man roster, but I still think Gray gets a shot in July.
7. Mookie Betts (#60)
RANK LAST WEEK: 7 (No Change)
BLOCKED BY: Dustin Pedroia,
Grady Sizemore, Shane Victorino and Jackie Bradley, Jr.
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: Early August
Well, we saw the DFA (and release) of Grady Sizemore, but it didn't bring Betts to the majors. I would expect that they will give him another month to get used to the outfield, and if it works as well as they hope, he could see a call up then.
8. Arismendy Alcantara (#47)
RANK LAST WEEK: 8 (No change)
BLOCKED BY: Luis Valbuena, Emilio Bonifacio
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: July
After seeing Alcantara last week, I think the Cubs SHOULD give him a shot at second base instead of what they've been doing. That said, they don't seem to be in a hurry to do that.
9. Alexander Guerrero (#78)
RANK LAST WEEK: 9 (No change)
BLOCKED BY: Dee Gordon
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: July
[Insert your best ear-biting, zombie joke here.] He'll hopefully be back on the field soon.
10. Trevor May (Unranked)
RANK LAST WEEK: Not Ranked
BLOCKED BY: Yohan Pino, I guess
ESTIMATED TIMEFRAME FOR CALLUP: Late July
May has pitched very well this year, bringing back some of the prospect shine he had when he was acquired by the Twins in the first place. I would have bet money that he'd be called up before Yohan Pino to pitch, and I'm not entirely sure how much of a leash that Pino will be given before the team looks elsewhere for another starting pitcher.
Honorable Mentions (in Alphabetical Order by Group)
Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC (#8) - The team promoted Bryant to AAA Iowa shortly after I saw the team last week, and while that would incline us to think he'll be up by the end of the year, this little nugget came over my timeline on Friday:
Theo Epstein said he doesn't "foresee" Kris Bryant being promoted to the majors this season— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) June 20, 2014
Take that for what you will, but one of the guys in charge of making that decision said it's not expected to happen.
Matt Davidson, 3B, CHW (#64)
Maikel Franco, 3B, PHI (#36) - The team activated Cody Asche from the disabled list on Friday, and with Franco continuing to hit poorly in AAA, he hasn't done himself any favors to earn that playing time.
Francisco Lindor, SS, CLE (#35)
Rafael Montero, RHP, NYM (#95)
Jimmy Nelson, RHP, MIL (#91)
Robert Stephenson, RHP, CIN (#17)
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, NYM (#19) - Syndergaard returned on the 16th, lasting just 4 innings and allowing 4 earned runs. They continue to run out Daisuke Matsuzaka in the rotation, so it really seems like it could be a matter of time if they decide they want to bring up Noah.
Matt Wisler, RHP, SDP (#67)