Welcome back fantasy players, to another edition of The NL Wire. You may recognize a few of this week’s players as top minor league prospects. Meanwhile, a few others you may recognize as usual suspects on the free agent wire. Either way, consider all of them as possible worthy fantasy contributors to your squad and jump on them before the competition does.
Mike Minor, SP – ATL – Owned in 6% of CBS leagues
Minor was recently promoted from the minors to take the rotation spot of another one of Atlanta’s young guns – Kris Medlen. The former first round, seventh overall pick in 2009 has realized his childhood dream of playing for the team he followed throughout his youth.
In his first start against the Astros, he had the following line: 6 IP/5 H/3 ER/1 BB/5 K and did not factor into the decision. In his brief minor league career (four starts in ’09 and 21 in ’10) Minor has shown the Braves’ brass enough to get the nod. In his starts this year, combined between AAA-Gwinnett and AA-Mississippi, Minor is only 6-7 but has put up gaudy numbers otherwise – K:BB ratio of 146:44, 3.44 ERA/1.15 WHIP and 10.9 K’s/9 innings.
The downside to his numbers is that he’s already logged 120 innings on the season and is sure to receive the so-called “rookie pitcher treatment” in the final two months. In fact, with an off day this week, the Braves are already pushing his next start to Tuesday. On the bright side, he will be on track for two starts in Week 20.
Even though Minor lacks experience (which hasn’t stopped Stephen Strasburg, Mike Leake and Drew Storen, his fellow 2009 first round draft picks), he possesses the tools to be a successful starter for Atlanta. He features a fastball topping out in the mid 90’s and a quality slider with bite.
Minor is worth a look in deeper mixed leagues, and most certainly in all keeper leagues.
Carlos Ruiz, C – PHI – Owned in 34% of CBS leagues
To be perfectly honest, I had to ask myself a number of times whether this selection was worthy of even mentioning. Ruiz, at age 31, is hardly an unknown commodity or rising star in baseball. But, he’s being added to fantasy leagues a dizzying rate, jumping from 34% ownership this week to 71% next week. This will rank him as the number one added player in all of CBS leagues (if you can believe that). It speaks more to the lack of decent options at the ultra-slim catching position than anything else.
At the same time, he’s been on a tear since he was activated from the DL right after the All-Star break. In 24 games, he’s batting .313 (25 hits) with three HR and 14 RBI and has an OPS of .858. These numbers are well above his career stats considering Ruiz is a lifetime .254 hitter with an OPS of .733.
Ruiz is worthy of a roster spot while he’s hot. Once his bat starts to cool, be prepared to jump off the Ruiz Express.
Daniel Hudson, SP ARI – Owned in 36% of CBS leagues
The market for Arizona starting pitchers has been slow to heat up and understandably so. In fact, no Diamondbacks pitcher is owned in more than 49% of CBS fantasy leagues. Last week, I wrote about Barry Enright, one of the other young promising pitchers for the D-backs.
This week, the spotlight is on Hudson, who was acquired in the July 31st trade deadline deal with the White Sox in exchange for Edwin Jackson. Hudson, a fifth round pick of Chicago in 2008, quickly swept through four levels of their minor league affiliates. He posted a 14-5 combined record with a 2.32 ERA and 166 K in 147 innings.
Hudson got his first taste of the majors in ’09 with three appearances out of the bullpen before taking over for Gavin Floyd in the rotation after Floyd was injured. In three starts for the D-backs since the trade (all wins), he has gone 22 2/3 innings, allowing only four earned runs on 13 hits with 17 strikeouts to only four walks issued.
With a combined 124 IP on the season thus far, Hudson is also approaching the rookie limit most teams impose on their young starting pitchers. Even still, he is an attractive option as the D-backs will surely want to see what he can do the remainder of the season. Pick him up in NL-only leagues, deeper mixed leagues and all keeper leagues.
Johnny Venters, RP – ATL – Owned in 8% of CBS leagues
Has done a spectacular job all season coming out of the ‘pen for ATL. In 57 2/3 innings he has posted four wins plus a save. Throw in 61 K and 1.09 ERA/1.00 WHIP and this makes him a worthy addition in deeper leagues.
Dexter Fowler, CF – COL – Owned in 21% of CBS leagues
Fowler is off to a sizzling start in August - .333 BA/.907 OPS, after a solid month in July - .287 BA/.921 OPS and 25 runs in 26 games plus five SB and 11 RBI. He’s producing across the board.
Pat Burrell, OF – SF – Owned in 9% of CBS leagues
Pat “The Bat” has resurfaced in San Francisco as an everyday player. Since the trade from TB - .282 BA/8 HR/23 RBI and a 1.102 OPS (what??). He’s become a solid contributor.
Written by Rosti Satanovsky exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. You can follow Rosti on Twitter @TheSportsFariah for more great NL Only advice!
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