I mean, I guess I should have known. The signs were all there. The team made a big splash in the offseason in free agency and also via trade. But I don't know that I really believed that the Cubs were really going to make this kind of push in 2015. If I had, I would have ranked the newly-minted starting second baseman Addison Russell in my top 5 fantasy prospects for the rest of the season last week. I don't really see the Cubs sending him back to AAA unless he really, REALLY struggles at the plate, because Russell at 50% of his potential future value is still probably a better option than Jonathan Herrera, and likely also a better option than Tommy La Stella too. La Stella is hurt though, and if you haven't already grabbed Russell, I'd recommend that fairly soon. I would have him as an option around the 10-15 range at both shortstop and second base for the rest of the year, and I don't know that I necessarily see him giving the job back.
We also saw the team on the South side bring up their top prospect as well, with Carlos Rodon sliding into the bullpen for the Sox. Hector Noesi hasn't done anything to convince me that the White Sox will continue to give him the ball in the fifth spot, and I think his leash is rapidly running out.
So who's next? Which prospect is still worth holding onto now for when they are called up to the majors later?
Week 3: Kris Bryant, Yasmany Tomas
Week 4: Carlos Rodon, Addison Russell, Kevin Plawecki
1. Noah Syndergaard - Mets (+1)
Currently at: AAA Las Vegas
Likely Call Up: End of May
Syndergaard struggled again in his second start, walking five but with five strikeouts over just 3+ innings. He'll be pitching late Friday night, so hopefully that start goes well. The path to a starting role in the majors isn't really any clearer than last week, but I'm still of the believe that they figure out a way to use him in the majors within the next month.
2. Andrew Heaney - Angels (+2)
Currently at: AAA Salt Lake City
Likely Call Up: Spot starts unless there's an injury
The Angels called upon Nick Tropeano to make a spot start in place of C.J. Wilson, and Tropeano pitched well in his first start with the team. I still like Heaney as the better option, and I wouldn't necessarily read anything into them selecting Tropeano beyond the fact that Heaney would have been on two days' rest and Tropeano was on his normal rest.
3. Maikel Franco - Phillies (+1)
Currently at: AAA Lehigh Valley
Likely Call Up: mid-May
In the past week, Ryan Howard has managed to raise his batting average up to .196 and added a home run, but I think the Phillies see how well Franco is hitting at AAA and find a way to get his bat into the lineup in the majors soon.
4. Rusney Castillo - Red Sox (+1)
Currently at: AAA Pawtucket - Disabled List
Likely Call Up: Closer toward the end of May now
Castillo has started swinging the bat as he recovers from his injuries, and Daniel Kelley talked a little bit about his (and Mookie Betts') potential future value this week.
5. Corey Seager, Dodgers
Currently at: AA Tulsa
Likely Call Up: early June
The Dodgers are playing Seager a game or two each week at third base right now, and while he is clearly hot, I don't think that the long-term answer to Juan Uribe's struggles is Alex Guerrero. I think this timeline moves up rapidly if Guerrero starts to struggle with the bat.
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