The call-ups have been come at a steady clip in this young season and rookies are establishing themselves much sooner than ever before. Now more than ever teams are bucking the trend of keeping their young stars down in the minors due to financial concerns and bringing them up to the show in hopes they can contribute right away. It seems as though more top prospects broke camp with the big league club this year than usual and they have shown they belong, both in the majors and on your fantasy baseball squad. Only a couple of these dudes found themselves dropping off the list this week and one guy in particular surpassed even the wildest of expectations.
1) Eric Hosmer – KC (LW:5)
Not a bad first week in the bigs for the heralded Royals prospect. All Hosmer did in his first six games with the Royals is bat .333 with two home runs and five RBI while finding time to swipe the first base of his career as well. This kid is clearly not intimated by the bright lights at all and has already made Kansas City look real good in calling him up earlier than anticipated. He has shown an adept batting eye and patience well beyond his years. His defense has also been top notch and he has cemented his spot in this Royals lineup for the rest of the season and for many years to come. Any owners that were lucky enough to scoop him off waivers are surely going to reap the rewards all year long. He is going to be mighty tough to unseat from the top spot on this list for the foreseeable future.
2) Michael Pineda – Sea (LW:1)
To steal a line from the The Raconteurs, Pineda has been steady as he goes (I know its “she”…poetic license). Week after week Pineda continues to churn out solid starts that have kept his team in the game each time out. Pineda allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk Tuesday, striking out six. Unfortunately, the bullpen cost him the victory when it blew the lead in the eighth inning and he left with a no decision. Six out of his seven starts this season have been of the quality variety and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down one bit. He gets the white hot Indians his next time out so it will be interesting to see how he fares.
3) Zach Britton – Bal (LW:3)
One of the focal points of this weeks column is Zach Britton. After getting off to a fast start to the season many were concerned that the league would catch up to him quickly. He tossed out a couple mediocre starts with low strikeout numbers and had fantasy baseball owners jumping ship, but they are surely going to regret that decision. Britton is not going to be an overpowering presence on the mound amassing impressive strikeout numbers, but his stuff is undeniable and must be observed. Many scouts are projecting a career path for Britton that is similar to that of Trevor Cahill of the Oakland A’s which would be some impressive company to be in.
4) Brandon Beachy – Atl (LW:4)
Brandon Beachy holds steady at four this week and has done nothing of late to suggest his numbers will regress all that much. He hasn’t started a game since May 5th on account of some rotation juggling by manager Fredi Gonzalez, but he is set to face the Phillies at home on Friday which will prove to be his stiffest test yet. If he can continue to show the pinpoint control he has displayed thus far and keep his peripherals near where they presently are, success is sure to follow. The Braves love what they have in this kid and he should be featured in their rotation indefinitely.
5) Alexi Ogando – Tex (LW:2)
I had no choice but to drop Ogando down a bit in the rankings this week because he hasnt started a game in over a week. A pesky blister has kept him out of action for over a week, but he was able to throw a side session on Wednesday and has himself set up to face the Angels on Friday. It figures to be his toughest test yet as he will square off against early season Cy Young favorite Jered Weaver. Fantasy owners should note that, while Ogando’s ERA currently stands at 2.17, his Expected FIP which is more predictive of future ERA is listed at 3.99. Ogando should continue to find success, but temper your expectations going forward.
6) Domonic Brown – Phi (LW:7)
Brown has homered in four of his first 14 games in the minors as he returns from a broken bone in his wrist and has shown that he is ready to step into an everyday role for the Phillies. “The way he’s playing, he’ll earn his way into the big leagues,” manager Charlie Manuel told the Wilmington News Journal this week. That’s quite a ringing endorsement from the guy who will be penciling his name into the lineup card every day. You can expect to see Brown back up with the big league club any time now and he should be able to add value to your fantasy lineup as the season progresses.
7) Anthony Rizzo – SD (LW:8)
The rumblings are growing louder out in San Diego as the natives are getting restless and continue to call for change. This team clearly isn’t in a position to win anything this year so there is certainly something to be said for bringing up the kids and letting them get their feet wet. Whether or not Rizzo will end up being useful to fantasy baseball remains to be seen, but he is absolutely deserving of a shot. Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu continue to scuffle at the plate and Kyle Blanks is not really tearing the cover off the ball in his rehab assignment so Rizzo could get the call quicker than anyone expects.
8) Kyle Drabek – Tor (LW:6)
Kyle Drabek falls down the rankings this week and much like Jeremy Hellickson last week, he is in grave danger of losing his spot on this list entirely. Drabek continues to sabotage himself with erratic control that betrays him more often that he would like. He has been unable to get past the fifth inning in any of his last three starts and has walked as many batters and he has sat down by way of the K. At this pace, Drabek will continue to be a liability out on the mound because he leaves his bullpen exposed on account of his high pitch counts that don’t allow him to go deep into games. He needs to turn it around fast or risk demotion.
9) Danny Duffy – KC (LW:NR)
Danny Duffy is another prized prospect currently grabbing experience down in the Royals minor league system and he is knocking on the door for a promotion any time now. Duffy has a 41-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in six starts this season with a 2.25 ERA and has shown an ability to pitch to both parts of the plate effectively. Duffy’s fastball sits in the 92-95 mph range with some natural lefty tail and his curveball comes in at 71-74 mph with a nice 1 to 7 break. He needs to control that particular pitch more efficiently in order to be a factor at the major league level, but he looks poised to make a contribution before the season is through. Expect to this kid up in Kansas City before the All Star break.
10) Trayvon Robinson – LAD (LW:NR)
Here is an interesting prospect who came in well under the radar in most preseason rankings, but Trayvon Robinson is showing that he is deserving of a promotion soon. The switch-hitter is hitting .328 with seven homers in his first 30 games and has the type of speed that makes him an intriguing option at the top of the Dodgers lineup. With the Dodgers presently lacking a true leadoff hitter and a couple of veterans not hitting as well as they should, don’t be shocked to see Robinson at Chavez Ravine before the month is out.
Dropped Out: Ben Revere (Min), Jeremy Hellickson (TB)