Fantasy Baseball: Bone Thugs and September Call-Ups
I love holidays, especially those in which it is socially acceptable to unabashedly imbibe until the liver's content. Days such as New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, the Fourth of July, Flag Day, etc.
Yet it is not the communal intoxication which make holidays so enjoyable. The consensual mass celebration of a shared pleasure is a beautiful attribute of society.
Therefore fellow fantasy baseball fanatics, get ready to crack open a bottle of the Champagne of Beers because the date teams expand their rosters is rapidly approaching.
Consider this a friendly reminder from myself and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony to wake up, wake up for the First of September when Major League teams swell from 25 players to 40.
Many minor leaguers have been raking all summer but have not had the opportunity to display their talents on a national stage. I've compiled a short list of such players who could have an immediate fantasy impact, allowing you to cash your checks and get up in the standings.
Eric Young, Jr. 2B Colorado Rockies
Son of the Colorado Rockies original second baseman, Young is the type of player who can change a game the moment he enters a lineup.
Young is a lethal combination of hitting and speed. Stolen base starved owners should drool at the 87 bases he pilfered in 2006. Granted all of them were at the Single A level, yet one has to admit 87 swipes is a daunting amount.
This year for the Rockies' Triple A affiliate, Eric has accumulated a .303 BA and 102 runs while stealing 54 bases through 102 games. Young is an absolute must-have in N.L. only and deeper mixed leagues when he finally gets his promotion.
Matt LaPorta OF Cleveland Indians
Last year LaPorta was the prize prospect the Cleveland Indians received when they traded C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee.
LaPorta got a brief shot at the bigs in May this season but was sent back down after batting a meager .190. However, in his 13-game stint he had eight hits (one of which was a homer) and scored 10 runs.
Since the demotion, LaPorta has gone back to his usual role of terrorizing minor league pitching. In 2009, the former Florida Gator is hitting .297 with 14 home runs for the Colombus Clippers.
LaPorta has a classic Billy Squier power stroke. Expect him to be a perennial 20/80 performer once he gets the call-up for good.
Tim Hudson SP Atlanta Braves
I understand Tim Hudson is not an up and coming player. Consider him the raspberry sorbet palette cleanser for this article.
Currently amidst a minor league rehab assignment for Tommy John surgery, the 146 career game winner Hudson is primed to rejoin the Braves in the near future.
However, as long as Atlanta remains in the playoff picture, he will return as a member of the bullpen.
But rostering the DL-eligible Hudson now could be a pleasant surprise later. Much like finding money in a winter coat after the first cold snap.
Mat Gamel 3B Milwaukee Brewers
Considering the success Casey McGehee has had at the hot corner for the Milwaukee, it is hard to get excited about Mat Gamel returning to the Brew Crew to be a back-up.
Couple this with the fact he has been hitting well below the Mendoza line after being sent back to Triple A Nashville in mid July, and prospective owners will avoid him like a landlord when the rent is past due.
Fear not, Gamel's future seems much brighter after the Brewers' absolute roster shake up on Wednesday.
Milwaukee designated 3B/OF Bill Hall for assignment, meaning the lefty batting Gamel could become part of an outfield platoon or at third when McGehee needs a day off.
Those playing in keeper leagues should take notice of the Brewers' top-hitting prospect, if they have not already. Gamel has a career .287 BA in the minors with a pop in his bat that will translate into serious power with age.
Hector Rondon SP Cleveland Indians
Though the name Rondon has taken a backseat to other uber-hyped pitchers, such as Porcello, Tillman or Hanson, does not mean it should be ignored.
The Venezuelan-born Rondon has been quietly dominating the minors all year. Sporting a 2.69 ERA and a 9.08 K/9 ratio, he more than deserves a September shot for the deplorable Indians.
The 21-year-old starter possesses a mid-nineties fastball, a good changeup and is currently working on a slider.
Other players I would love to discuss at length but are presently not included on their respective teams forty man roster: Justin Smoak (TEX), Madison Bumgarner (SF) and Phillipe Aumont (SEA).
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