There is a buzz beginning to hover around major league baseball. Once again we’ve reached that time of the year where highly touted prospects begin to make their ascent to the big leagues. Hot prospects that got a taste of the show in spring training have either proven their value or shown they need more seasoning. The excitement around teams with prized prospects is certainly palpable. Fresh faces bring with them the promise of new hope and renewed optimism as well as the invigorating presence of youth. The rankings got a bit shaken up this week with news that one of the most highly regarded prospects in the game was arriving on the scene. Eric Hosmer was called up to Kansas City on Thursday, much earlier than anyone had anticipated. The Royals have put an exciting product on the field this year, centered around their seemingly unlimited supply of prospects. Hosmer has an opportunity to do something special and show fantasy baseball owners why he is well worth the investment. Its time to get with it or get lost.
1) Michael Pineda – Sea (LW:1)
Another week, another notch in the belt for this young righty. Pineda continues to dazzle and amaze every step of the way and his development is right on track. Even though he suffered a loss against the Rangers his last time out, he deserved much better. He surrendered four runs over seven solid innings of work, but was done in by his teams inability to put runs on the board in support. He will surely be subject to the same fate that has plagued King Felix for the better part of two years, but his ceiling has still yet to be reached and a Cy Young Award could very well be in his future. His peripherals are still very impressive and he is striking out batters at an amazing clip, he will be just fine.
2) Alexi Ogando – Tex (LW:2)
Ogando also continues to impress and has proved worthy of his status at the top of these rankings. He is coming off a no-decision in Seattle on Tuesday, but he certainly pitched well enough to grab a victory. Ogando fired six innings of one-run ball with six punchouts, but was unable to factor into the decision. His ERA sits at a sterling 2.17 on the season and his WHIP is a microscopic 0.88. Those are the type of stats that will prove to make him successful this year even when the heat begins to climb and the ball begins to jump out of The Ballpark in Arlington. Neftali Feliz is also returning to the bullpen this week so any lingering concerns about his removal from the rotation can be put to rest.
3) Zach Britton – Bal (LW:3)
Zach Britton has turned out to be exactly what scouts and personnel people around the league advertised him as. He is an extreme ground ball inducing pitcher who locates his pitches well enough to keep his team in games. With the way baseball is headed, people generally tend to favor the flashy strikeout artists over the control machines. Britton has set out to destroy that notion and has done well thus far. His ERA and WHIP are both hovering in the above average zone and he doesn’t figure to lose those numbers any time soon. A normal regression is to be expected, but this guy is for real and can be trusted from here on out in your fantasy baseball rotation.
4) Brandon Beachy – Atl (LW:5)
Beachy gets a slight bump in the rankings this week due to his solid performance for the entire month of August. He last pitched on Thursday and took a no-decision for his efforts. He was once again solid and deserved a win, but his offense betrayed him. He posted six shutout innings and struck out nine while walking just one batter. He finishes his first month of major league ball with an ERA under 3.00 and a WHIP under 1.00. Those are the types of numbers that will lead his manager to maintain confidence in him for the duration of the season.
5) Eric Hosmer – KC (LW:7)
Now we find ourselves talking about the hottest prospect to arrive this year by a wide margin. The Royals opted to start his professional service time clock much earlier than expected and called Hosmer up on Thursday night. Kila Ka’aihue had finally run out of time/chances up in Kansas City and was ultimately sent down to make room for the young slugger. The Royals are certainly sending a message with this move and that message is that they are ready to contend now. With a plethora of top prospects in their farm system, the Royals are going to be a problem in the very near future. Eric Hosmer possess the ability, swagger and determination to make big plays from jump. Align yourself with his movement right away because his resume is fixin to fill up fast.
6) Kyle Drabek – Tor (LW:4)
Kyle Drabek takes a slight fall this week as his last performance was not an indicator that he has gotten over the control issues that have plagued him thus far. Control issues have led to outlandish pitch counts which have inevitably led to Drabek being yanked out of games far too early to be a factor. He only lasted into the fifth inning in his previous outing against the Rays and threw a whopping 105 pitches (only 59 for strikes). He has walked at least four batters in five of his seven starts and has had problems controlling his impressive arsenal of pitches. No one is denying the talent, but the results seem to be farther off than originally hoped.
7) Domonic Brown – KC (LW:8)
Domonic Brown is still biding his time down in AAA while the Phillies decide if they want to bring his speed back up the the majors. There isn’t a ton of new information to report on Brown as of now, but he is still doing this thing down in Lehigh Valley for the IronPigs. He has five hits in his first 13 at-bats and stolen a base as well. If and when he gets called back up to the show, he is sure to provide his fantasy baseball owners with a nice mix or speed and average while playing in a very potent lineup.
8) Anthony Rizzo – SD (LW:NR)
If you have yet to hear about Anthony Rizzo don’t feel embarrassed because you are not alone. Rizzo was the other major piece the Padres received last winter from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez swap. Many inside the Padres organization figured Rizzo would need the better part of the 2011 season to grab some extra experience and seasoning, but boy is he proving them wrong. He is presently sporting an outlandish slash line of .393/.448/.741 in AAA and is pressing hard for a promotion in the near future. With the Padres sorely lacking any other worthy first base candidates we could see Rizzo any day now. He would become an instant fan favorite and slide right into the middle of a punch-less lineup. Keep a close eye on this kid as he is about ready to blow up big.
9) Ben Revere – Min (LW:NR)
Ben Revere is a highly touted prospect from the Twins system who is regarded as more of a speedster than anything else, but he projects to hit for a great average and is known for his above average plate discipline. He was bringing a solid .293 average to the table before his recent call-up and was able to swipe seven bags in just 23 games. With the Twins mired in a season long slump at the plate they are looking for any spark they can possibly find and Revere may just be that guy. Dont sleep on this dude because he will be given every chance to take a job and run with it, literally and figuratively.
10) Jeremy Hellickson – TB (LW:9)
I will admit I was just about ready to hand the Rookie of the Year award over to Hellickson before the season was much more than a week old, but now that seems like it was a bit of a reach. Hellickson was believed to be the most major league ready talent among this years rookie class coming into the saeson, but now he seems to be a bit over matched. He turned in decent start his last time out against the Twins, but it was the Twins after all and they haven’t been able to hit much of anything thus far. His strikeout numbers needs to climb and his ERA needs to drop or he’s going to fall off this list entirely.
Dropped Out: Desmond Jennings (TB), Brett Lawrie (Tor)