Time can be such a cruel mistress and more often than not it gets away from us before we can fully grasp it. Some people use their time wisely, while others would much prefer to squander their precious time and pay the consequences. One caveat is that time can also be used to ones benefit if treated properly and tactfully. Jeremy Hellickson exploded onto the scene at the onset of the season and had his fantasy baseball owners expecting this youngster to anchor their respective staffs. After hitting a rough patch after the first month, many had written Hellickson off for the near future (including me), but he has stormed back and proven just about every doubter wrong. Eric Hosmer continues to show why he will undoubtedly win a batting title someday while his teammate Mike Moustakas finally joins him on the big league level. Check the words, peep game.
1) Eric Hosmer – KC (LW:2)
For the sake of conversation I’ve opted to flip flop Hosmer and Pineda in the rankings this week even though each of them is quite deserving of the top spot. What Pineda has been able to do thus far in his young career is impressive, but what Hosmer has done is nothing short of incredible. There wasn’t a ton of doubt out there that Hosmer could get up to speed at the major league level quickly, but for him to become acclimated this quickly and display this type of poise has been remarkable. He currently sports a .309/.349/.485 slash line which isnt eye popping, but still very impressive for a rookie. I would love to see him even up that BB/K ratio, but that is surely coming soon. He has also flashed some slick glove work around the bag which has left his game with very few flaws. He could win a batting title this season.
2) Michael Pineda – KC (LW:1)
Pineda slides back down to the two spot in this weeks list, but he has been chugging right towards an AL ROY award and hasn’t shown any signs of wearing down. The swagger that he brings to the mound is undeniable and his confidence is up in the sky. His emergence has the Mariners thinking they can compete with that 1-2 punch in the rotation sooner rather than later. If management could only find some talent to put some runs on the board, these two aces could get them real far. Pineda is going to force the Mariners to make a decision regarding his “innings cap” sometime after the All-Star Break so it will be interesting to watch that unfold.
3) Alexi Ogando – Tex (LW:4)
Alexi Ogando has just about locked up his spot on the AL All-Star squad with the only suspense being how many innings he will actualy throw this year for the Rangers. Fantasy baseball owners would surely love to see Ogando pitch right on through the season without any restrictions, but the Rangers may have other ideas. He has still yet to take his first major league loss and with the way he’s is presently pitching it could be awhile. Eight of his last Nine starts have been of the quality variety and he continues to limit baserunners as well, which his 0.90 WHIP can attest to. His next outing will be on the road against a Yankees lineup that is licking it’s wounds after a sound beating from the Red Sox earlier in the week. This will absolutely be a huge test as we judge whether or not Ogando can hold up in the hot summer months moving forward.
4) Anthony Rizzo – SD (LW:5)
The day has finally arrived for Padres fans, the day to cheer for something other than the “dog days of summer” promotion. Anthony Rizzo finally outlasted the super two deadline and packed his bags for San Diego. After embarrassing opposing pitchers in the Pacific Coast League for the better part of three months, Rizzo assumed his spot in the Padres lineup on Thursday night. He celebrated this occasion by going 1 for 2 with two walks and a triple. While the triples wont come all that often, the home run he nearly hit on the way to that triple surely will. Even in spacious Petco Park, Rizzo has the type of raw power that will translate to plenty of gap shots and in turn, RBI. The Padres are counting on this young kid from Florida to anchor their lineup for years to come and he promises to do just that.
5) Zach Britton – Bal (LW:3)
As much as I want to slid Britton down these rankings further I just cant bring myself to do it. The aspects that make his numbers “un-sexy” are the very same reasons why he just continues to push along unfazed by his surroundings. Nothing Britton does is all that remarkable, unless you consider his ability to frustrate hitters into pounding the ball towards the ground every other at bat an impressive feat (hint: it is). With Brian Matusz finally back from his early season injury, the Orioles have got to feel pretty good about this 1-2 punch they finally get to witness. Britton will never be as flashy as some of the other youngsters on this list, but he sure gets the job done.
6) Rubby De La Rosa – LAD (LW:10)
Upon his call-up, many people thought De La Rosa would be a factor at the back end of the Dodgers bullpen and toss his hat into the ring for the closers gig. An injury to Jon Garland changed all of those ideas in a hurry. DLR was wild, but electric in his first start of the season against the Phillies on Tuesday. He lasted only five innings and walked more batters than he struck-out, but he routinely baffled some of the best hitters in the game in one of the toughest parks to pitch in. His next test comes on Sunday at yet another brutal venue for young pitchers, Coors Field. This outing will go a long way towards determining if De La Rosa is going to be able to help the Dodgers with any sort of consistency this season.
7) Mike Moustakas – KC (LW:NR)
After weeks of being talked about in the same light as every other top prospect who hasn’t received his call to the show yet, Mike Moustakas has finally arrived. The Royals called him up to the big leagues on Thursday night which sent fantasy baseball owners scrambling to the waiver wire. Moose has been raking down in AAA since correcting a “drifting” problem that was found in his swing and apparently showed the Royals brass enough to warrant a promotion. He has the ability to make the exact type of splash that his buddy Hosmer made a few weeks back. With the third base pool being as putrid as ever this year, you could do a lot worse than take a flier on this young star in the making. It’s finally exciting to be a Royals fan again…
8) Jeremy Hellickson – TB (LW:NR)
After becoming a bit of an afterthought following his quick start earlier this season, Hellickson is back and proving why he belongs in the discussion for AL ROY. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any start dating back to early May and certainly warrants the attention he is sure to receive. He has compiled a very impressive 7-3 record thus far and has taken the last month as an opportunity to reassert his dominance league-wide. His ERA sits at a very healthy 2.64 and his WHIP is threatening to dip below 1.00 as well. I’m still a bit weary of the amount of walks he is allowing per start, but so long as he keeps the ball in the park and strikes out 6+ per game, he’s going to be just fine. Those smart owners who stuck with him through the rough patch are about to be rewarded in a massive way.
9) Brett Lawrie – Tor (LW:8)
Brett Lawrie holds steady in the rankings this week after an untimely hand injury delayed his much anticipated call to the bigs. Lawrie picked up a non-displaced fracture after getting hit a week back which figures to keep him out for an additional two to three weeks. His highly awaited arrival in Toronto will have to wait until around the All-Star break, but there was some hope within the organization he might make it back sooner than that. If he gets two plus months to get his feet wet at the major league level this season, he will still be given plenty of time to make a mark.
10) Kyle Gibson – Min (LW:NR)
Since it appears the Twins have just about thrown in the towel this season, it might be time for them to consider calling up top prospect Kyle Gibson. The Twins made Gibson the 22nd pick in the 2009 draft after he wrapped up an impressive collegiate career at Missouri. There were some injury concerns with Gibson that forced him to slip to the end of the first round, but the Twins are certainly pleased they took the risk. He has struck out better than one per inning down in AAA over the course of 12 starts and has displayed the type of pinpoint control required of a young kid trying to gain success in the majors. With the Twins in shambles and their chances of making the playoffs all but smashed, they would be best served to bring Gibson up the next time a rotation spot becomes available.
Dropped Out: Danny Duffy (KC), Brandon Belt (SF), Juan Nicasio (Col)