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.
If you didn't catch it Tuesday, the Washington Nationals brought third base prospect Anthony Rendon back up. This time, the scenario surrounding his call-up is more conducive to a prolonged stay on the big-league roster. The writing was on the wall last weekend when they promoted him from Double-A Harrisburg to Triple-A Syracuse to transition to second base.
Danny Espinosa has been a disaster at the keystone in D.C. while battling through shoulder problems and a fractured wrist. They finally disabled him yesterday, and he'll likely spend time in the minors when he's healthy. The Nats love Steve Lombardozzi for his versatility on the diamond, but he's more of a fill-in. They intend to use Rendon at second base for the foreseeable future.
You're in luck! Rendon's .240 average (6-for-25, one extra-base hit) in his first taste last month likely tempered excitement for the prospect. He'll come at a cheaper price this time around and is in a better situation to thrive and let his pure-hitting skills surface. His above-average power should come around with enough at-bats to get acclimated. Eligibility at third and, eventually, second base will be a plus. Pick him up while he's still available.
Speaking of pure-hitting prospects, the Tampa Bay Rays' Wil Myers is probably the best one out there yet to step foot on a major-league diamond. He was extremely close to getting an audition with the Kansas City Royals last year. But a trade to the Rays in the offseason has set back his MLB clock. Before spring training started, Tampa was set on getting a look at this kid with their own eyes and not rushing him to the bigs.
The Rays are quite good at this: developing prospects - or reclamation projects - and providing them with everything they need to succeed at the next level. Myers didn't need much help to begin with, but with excellent tutelage and guidance in the Rays system, you better believe he'll be ready to contribute immediately when they decide he's ready.
The 22-year-old was second in the minors in home runs last year. We know what kind of potential he has: middle-of-the-order, run-producing talent. A hot week at Triple-A Durham has put him back on the prospect map for, really, the first time this year. He hit four bombs and knocked in 15 to earn International League Player of the Week honors last week, and he's hitting .281 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs in 244 plate appearances.
While it may seem like the Super Two deadline is the only thing holding him back right now, don't be so sure. The Rays won't let the hype force their hand. Regardless, keeper leaguers and owners in AL-only formats should be hot on this guy's scent already. Keep him one click away in the rest of leagues.
Royals southpaw John Lamb, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, is a young hurler to keep an eye on. Before allowing four runs in five innings Monday, Lamb had a scoreless streak of 14 frames in which he struck out 13 and walked just three with High Single-A Wilmington.
He's only 22 (23 in July) and is in his first full year since elbow reconstruction, but the tall (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) lefty can command his fastball anywhere in the zone and complements it with above-average changeups and curveballs. He's currently still rebuilding strength in his arm and velocity on his pitches, though, sitting in the 86-88 mph range with his heater.
The Royals know he has plenty of work left to do, and they'll likely keep the kid gloves on him this year to limit his innings, but Lamb could develop into a mainstay in KC's rotation for years to come. Look for him to move up the minor league ladder quickly when he regains velocity and confidence in his pitches.
Lamb probably won't be a fantasy baseball option this year, but next year will be a different story.
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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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