It seems that every season, major league clubs are calling up their top prospects earlier and earlier and 2011 has already proven to be no exception.
On Thursday, the Royals called up their top prospect in first baseman Eric Hosmer. But Hosmer is far from the first highly touted prospect to make an appearance this season. He joins a list that already includes Brandon Belt, Zach Britton, Jerry Sands, Trevor Plouffe, Tyler Chatwood, Michael Pineda and more.
But it isn't usually the top prospects that we've all heard about who make the biggest fantasy baseball impact. It's those bounce-back players who were forgotten about who usually step up and are the greatest of waiver wire acquisitions. So, let's take a walk around the minor leagues and see just who is positioning themselves to be on a big league roster in the near future.
Saturday will mark the debut of another top prospect in the Braves RHP Julio Teheran. Teheran will make his debut against the hard-hitting Phillies but if he is true to form, no team should intimidate the 20-year-old right hander.
It is unclear whether Teheran will start more than one game for the Braves but you would have to believe that this isn't a spot start call up. As good as Teheran is and as well as he's been in the minor leagues I wouldn't consider him a must add fantasy player right now. Teheran has a tendency of getting riled up and bit and overthrowing in attention grabbing situations. I'd let him go to one of the other owners in my league and let them deal with cutting another starter while hoping this isn't just a one time start.
Good news for Orioles' top prospect shortstop Manny Machado, who collapsed and had to be carried off of the field after going from first to third on a base hit Thursday night. Machado is an exciting player who reminds some scouts of a young Alex Rodriguez. He was the Orioles' first-round draft pick last year and is expected to move through the system quickly. X-rays taken on his injured left knee were negative but MRI results were not known at this time. Machado is expected to miss three to seven games for class A Delmarva.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Twins minor league infielder Trevor Plouffe moving to second base and that this moved seemed to be an indicator that he might be called up soon to cure the Twins' infield woes.
Well, that is exactly what happened this week as Plouffe was not only summoned to Minneapolis, but was also anointed by manager Ron Gardenhire as the Twins' new starting shortstop. Turns out the Twins were trying to fit Plouffe in either as a replacement to Tsuyoski Nishioka at second base or as their new starting shortstop. Plouffe homered and stole a base in his first game on Friday night.
The Diamondbacks are going to have to figure out a way to get outfielder Collin Cowgill's hot bat into their big league lineup sometime soon. Cowgill has been as hot as anyone in minor league baseball hitting in at a .358/.438/.611, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 24 runs and 6 steals. Cowgill can play all three outfield positions and has flashed good power the past two seasons while maintaining a solid batting average. Keep an eye on Cowgill over the next couple of weeks. You just may find yourself a quality NL only player who nobody else in your league has heard of.
Mets' top prospect Jenrry Mejia will miss the rest of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his injured right elbow. Terrible news for an organization that has had a terrible year so far. This sort of injury definitely affects my thoughts of Mejia going forward as power pitchers often lose run and/or sink on their fastball after having Tommy John surgery.
The Tigers' search for offense led to the promotion of second baseman Scott Sizemore, who went 3-4 in his debut in Detroit. With the constant health concerns of Magglio Ordonez and the struggles of Austin Jackson the next call up from Toledo could be outfielder Andy Dirks. Dirks doesn't flash any outstanding tools but he does just about everything on a baseball field well. He is currently hitting .330/.385/.575 with 6 HR, 17 RBI, 24 runs and 10 steals. Dirks would be a decent gamble on a fantasy team because of his across the board potential.
Lastly tonight, the Rockies' struggles to find a third baseman this season could lead to a former college QB in Josh Fields. Fields is currently slugging his way back onto the radar for AAA Colorado Springs and if Ian Stewart doesn’t make good on this opportunity Fields could get his chance before the All-Star break. With all of the injuries to National League third basemen, any live body is worth a look.
Domonic Brown - OF- AAA Lehigh Valley (Phillies) - .385/.436/.686, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 runs, 1 steal, 16 at-bats
Jeff Baisley - 3B - AAA Salt Lake City (Angels) - .389/.430/.722, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 30 runs, 1 steal
Anthony Rizzo - 1B - AAA Tucson (Padres) - .393/.438/.741, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 26 runs, 4 steals
Louis Coleman - RHP Reliever - AAA Omaha (Royals) - 0-1, 3.86 ERA, 2 Saves, 7 IP, 16 K's, 1.14 WHIP
Danny Duffy - LHP Starter - AAA Omaha (Royals) - 2-0, 2.08 ERA, 26 IP, 33 K's, 0.97 WHIP
Jeff Mans is a co-host of The Fantasy Alarm Show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, the Senior Writer at Fantasy Alarm and a contributor to Bleacher Report.