KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting series highlights the exploits of minor league baseball players, including top MLB prospects. Find out who'll make an impact in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game next week or in your fantasy baseball keeper league a year from now.
The Boston Red Sox were impressed enough by Jackie Bradley in spring training that he was able to win a roster spot for Opening Day. That didn't end up working so well, though, as he hit only .097 (3-for-31) with three RBIs in 12 games before being demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket April 19. As it often happens for rookies in their first taste of the bigs, Bradley looked overmatched.
He didn't sulk. At Pawtucket, he's hitting .354 with two home runs, nine RBIs and two stolen bases in 95 plate appearances, and he's in the midst of an 11-game hitting streak in which he's batting .455 (20-for-44) with a triple, two bombs, 11 runs scored and six RBIs. The BoSox are expected to call him back up today.
Should be up awhile
Bradley had a minor setback with biceps tendonitis at Pawtucket, but that hasn't slowed him down in his first action at Class AAA. Bradley's future is as a starting outfielder. It's just a matter of time before he seizes his opportunity. He may only have upside as a gap-to-gap power hitter, but what he lacks in that arena he makes up for with his great discipline at the plate, all-fields hitting approach, success against southpaws and above-average speed.
Bradley might play a bit at least through the weekend, with the team heading to a National League park and Shane Victorino (strained hamstring) on the DL. But initial reports say he might serve simply as depth. Beyond that will also be a mystery. Victorino is on track to return next week. If Bradley shows John Farrell that he learned something from his previous failure in April, there's a chance he sticks around and shares playing time with Daniel Nava.
Because of the upside with this lefty-hitting outfielder, it wouldn't hurt to own him in deep mixed leagues this week, at the minimum.
Earlier this month, I discussed the offensively challenged middle infield of the Seattle Mariners and how Nick Franklin was on the cusp of his first major league action. That became a reality Monday when they summoned him. He made his major league debut Tuesday against the San Diego Padres and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and an error.
Not the way he wanted to start, but he should stick around for a while after Dustin Ackley was sent down. Franklin has nice power potential for a second baseman/shortstop and can help shore up your middle infield depth in all formats.
Tyler Skaggs, the Arizona Diamondbacks' top pitching arm, was called up Monday to start the back end of a twin bill against the Texas Rangers. He delivered, tossing six innings of three-hit ball while walking three and striking out a career-high nine for the W. If you didn't know about this kid before, now you know. You'll want to own him when he comes up for good, possibly later this summer.
This tall lefty (6-foot-5) went 1-3 with a 5.83 ERA and 21 K's in 29 1/3 innings (six starts) last year for the Snakes after being summoned in late August. At Triple-A Reno this season, he's 4-5 with a 5.23 ERA and 54 strikeouts over nine starts (51 2/3 frames).
Although he's been somewhat overshadowed by the success of fellow pitching prospect Archie Bradley this year, Skaggs is widely considered closer to being major-league-ready. His performance Monday proved that point. An improved changeup (subscription needed) as a put-away pitch also speaks to his improved mound maturity; six of his nine punchouts Monday came via the offspeed offering.
His fastball doesn't blow hitters away, so an even more effective changeup, to go along with a curveball, should make him a successful pitcher at the big-league level. The D-backs starting rotation is currently full, but Skaggs will be the overwhelming favorite as the first name called if an injury were to occur, especially after Monday's outing.
If Skaggs resurfaces for more than just another spot start in the desert, he should attract plenty of interest in all formats. Keeper leaguers may want to get the jump on him now, if they haven't already.
Update on Oscar Taveras and....
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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