Fantasy Baseball Prospect Report: Hottest Names to Watch for on the Waiver Wire
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This week's Fantasy Baseball Prospect Report was made in Taijuan.
As in Taijuan Walker, the Seattle Mariners' 21-year-old right-hander and one of the best pitching prospects in the game right now.
With the Mariners having designated veteran Aaron Harang for assignment this week, per Ryan Divish of The News Tribune, Walker, who was a 2010 first-round pick, is getting called up in time to make his major league debut on Friday, according to Joshua Mayers of The Seattle Times.
The M's are doing a good job of breaking in Walker slowly, as he'll face the lowly Houston Astros. That makes for quite the fantasy-friendly debut for the phenom. If he's available in your league, pick him up for a spin.
Keep in mind: While Walker will reach the Show on August 30, teams will be able to expand from 25- to 40-man rosters just two days later—September 1—meaning there should be plenty of other intriguing promotions over the next few days.
Elsewhere in prospect news that's happened since last week's column: Right-hander Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles was brought back up to the bigs, once again to pitch in a relief role; while lefty David Holmberg of the Arizona Diamondbacks made his big league debut but was sent back down after allowing three runs on six hits in 3.2 innings against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.
You'll have to find out where those two rank in our weekly look at a batch of prospects who could make a fantasy impact from here on out in 2013.
But before we get to that, here's a reminder of the criteria for this column:
This spot will include prospects who already have been called up ("Already Up"), as well as others who are in the minors but are considered to be major league-ready and on the verge of getting the call ("Next in Line").
To allow for more turnover from week to week, the list below does not include young players who have exhausted their prospect eligibility by exceeding 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched.
1. Khris Davis, OF, Brewers (91.6 Percent Owned)
Davis, 25, continued his hot hitting by smacking two more homers last Friday, and he currently sports season stats that look like this: .311 average, eight homers, eight doubles, 19 RBI and 20 runs—all in just 90 at-bats. He's even chipped in a pair of steals.
2. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners (14.2 Percent Owned)
As discussed above, Walker gets the nod Friday. He's more than earned it, too, compiling a 2.93 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 while pitching 141.1 frames across Double- and Triple-A. A handful of big league starts from here on out seems likely, and he could help more than hurt while getting used to the majors.
3. Scooter Gennett, 2B, Brewers (28.1 Percent Owned)
The 23-year-old just won't quit. Gennett went 10-for-23 (.435) over the past week and also knocked another one out of the park, giving him five homers in 40 big league games after hitting just three in 79 games at Triple-A.
4. Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics (23.8 Percent Owned)
Gray's last outing didn't go well at all (8 H, 6 ER in 3.1 IP), but the 23-year-old will continue to get starts for a contending A's club, which makes him a worthwhile streaming option when the matchup is right, especially if he's pitching at home.
5. Danny Salazar, RHP, Indians (6.9 Percent Owned)
Cleveland is in a tricky spot with Salazar. They're trying to contend for a playoff spot, and the 23-year-old is one of their top arms on the 25-man roster, but he has a long injury history and is already at a career-high 120 innings. Still, if you're looking for a boost in strikeouts (10.7 K/9), ERA (3.67) or WHIP (1.00), Salazar can help.
6. Wilmer Flores, 3B/SS, Mets (1.7 Percent Owned)
Flores, 22, didn't do much since last time, notching only four hits in 18 at-bats to go with zero runs and zero RBI, but he is playing regularly, which is more than can be said for some other recently called up prospects. Like the next guy.
7. Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B, Red Sox (7.9 Percent Owned)
The 20-year-old managed to get only eight plate appearances over the past week of games, as Boston is rolling with Will Middlebrooks at third and Stephen Drew at short, and that's likely to continue. Hey, at least Bogaerts got his first big league double and RBI!
8. Travis d'Arnaud, C, Mets (1.4 Percent Owned)
With John Buck being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates this week, d'Arnaud has a clear path to playing time from here on out as the Mets prep him for the starting job in 2014. The 24-year-old hasn't done a ton yet (3-for-28), but he did hit his first home run and sports a spiffy 7:6 K:BB ratio.
9. Corey Dickerson, OF, Rockies (0.2 Percent Owned)
Keeping with the trend, it wasn't a good week for Dickerson, either, as the 24-year-old tallied only two hits. For the year, though, he has a .278/.328/.454 slash line to go with nine doubles, two triples and two home runs.
10. Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals (1.8 Percent Owned)
Wong's playing time has dried up—only 11 plate appearances last week—and so has his fantasy impact. At this point, it looks like an injury would be the only way for him to get in the lineup on a consistent basis and put his batting average, run-scoring and base-stealing skills to use.
Honorable Mentions: Michael Wacha, RHP, Cardinals; Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles; Brett Oberholtzer, LHP, Astros; Andrew Albers, LHP, Twins; Ryan Goins, SS, Blue Jays; Jonathan Villar, SS, Astros; L.J. Hoes, OF, Astros; Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Rays; Andre Rienzo, RHP, White Sox
Players who have exhausted their prospect eligibility since last week: Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins; Jarred Cosart, RHP, Astros
Next in Line
1. George Springer, OF, Astros (0.2 Percent Owned)
Springer's chase for the minors' first 40-40 season in the modern era is still alive, as he's already pilfered 43 bases while splitting his time between Double- and Triple-A this season. Alas, he still needs three homers to reach the mark but has only four games left in which to get them—but few players can get hotter faster.
2. Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks (0.0 Percent Owned)
Some may see David Holmberg's promotion (and subsequent demotion) as Arizona passing over Bradley, but perhaps it should be seen this way: The desperate D-backs have shown they're willing to dip down to call upon a young arm—and Bradley could be next. The 21-year-old went No. 7 overall in 2011 and has dominated High- and Double-A in his second full season: 1.84 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 9.8 K/9 in 147 innings.
3. Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Tigers (0.1 Percent Owned)
As one of the youngest players in the Triple-A International League, Castellanos has hit .273/.341/439 with career bests in homers (16), doubles (37) and walks (54), proving he's capable of handling an aggressive assignment. That's worth holding on to as hope that Detroit could give him a look over the final few weeks to see if he's worthy of a potential roster spot in October.
4. Billy Hamilton, SS/OF, Reds (0.7 Percent Owned)
Only two steals for the 22-year-old speedster in the past week, bringing his total to 75. If you're an owner searching for swipes, make sure you have Hamilton on your watch list in the event that he's called up. Even in a part-time role in the Reds' crowded outfield, he could swipe double digits in September. That is, if Cincy's front office thinks it's worth calling up Hamilton, who has hit just .256 with a meager .308 OBP.
5. Yordano Ventura, RHP, Royals (0.0 Percent Owned)
The fact that the Royals—finally—gave up on Wade Davis as a part of their rotation this week in favor of former top prospect Danny Duffy is proof they're considering options in their push for a wild-card spot. That could include giving a few starts in September to Ventura, a 22-year-old with easy upper-90s heat and a 10.4 K/9 through 134.2 frames at Double- and Triple-A. Because, c'mon, Bruce Chen?
Honorable Mentions: Erik Johnson, RHP, White Sox; Michael Choice, OF, Athletics; Mike Olt, 3B, Cubs; Henry Urrutia, OF, Orioles; David Holmberg, LHP, Diamondbacks
All ownership percentages come from ESPN Fantasy Baseball.
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