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.
Most fantasy baseball players will cop to enjoying the Futures Game more than the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game festivities. This year's barn-burner, held Sunday at Citi Field, saw a pair of highly touted Arizona Diamondbacks stand out among the pile of prospects.
Bogaerts close to taking off
MVP hardware went to Matt Davidson, who hit a two-run jack that pushed the United States to an eventual 4-2 win over the World squad. It gave a glimpse of the third-sacker's power, which could be among the best of any minors infielder's. He's posting a .291-14-59 line at Class AAA Reno.
The 22-year-old can take an acceptable number of walks but has struck out in 25.8 percent of his plate appearances during his first Reno action, which pegs the most unfortunate component of his makeup. Though he launched 43 homers in the previous two seasons, the Pacific Coast League consistently inflates pop, so this is probably a tad too much too soon. His .364 BABIP for Reno is hiding his hacks and might lead to a pre-emptive debut; he's more of a .270 BA type, max. Ideally, he'd spend more time establishing better plate discipline at the level before facing big-league pitchers.
Though he may sip a cup of Joe this year, he wouldn't offer everyday value unless Martin Prado switches positions. Davidson should be tucked at the far end of an NL-only bench but can't be counted on for a sustained 2013 contribution.
Starting pitcher Archie Bradley, meanwhile, continues his frantic climb toward the top of the heap among young hurlers. (Yes, including Dylan Bundy, who had Tommy John surgery recently.) The Arizona righty logged a scoreless frame on Sunday, touching the upper 90s on a four-seamer that also generates plenty of sink. At Double-A Mobile, the 20-year-old has registered 115 K's in 104 2/3 stanzas but also dished out 44 free passes, an ongoing issue. Plus, the grounder-forcing potential he carries hasn't yet manifested statistically.
The D-backs recently refuted the idea of calling up Bradley as a reliever, though his stuff would probably play up in a suffocating fashion in an area where they need help. They may revisit the idea later this summer. Still, they possess enough MLB-ready options, particularly Tyler Skaggs, to let Bradley continue shaping his command and frontline mold.
He's likely at least to receive a chance in camp to compete for the 2014 rotation. If he does see the majors this year (you never know when it comes to a contending club), he probably wouldn't be worth more than an eater of NL-only relief innings for K's, which wouldn't command anything near what he one day might cost.
A run-scoring double to deep left-center field, one of his pair of knocks, reminded viewers of Christian Yelich's power upside. Rumors of the Miami Marlins dangling Justin Ruggiano on the swap market could expedite Yelich's arrival. The 21-year-old recently came back from a strained abdominal that shelved him for five weeks and jumped into action days before the Queens showcase.
That muscle tweak, which followed a five-homer, .955 OPS performance in May for Class AA Jacksonville, marked the latest link in a chain of pain that also includes a concussion last year and plantar fasciitis in his left heel that marred an impressive showing during 2013 spring training. Finding a groove with numerous injuries can hinder anyone, even a kid boasting more tools than a Craftsman chest.
The success of Jose Fernandez and Marcell Ozuna makes fantasy players anxious for Yelich to receive the call, which could come soon after the non-waiver July 31 trade deadline. His talent would make him a pickup anywhere he's eligible, but you'll probably see a raw version of him considering how many times his development has been interrupted -- he could be whiffing plenty.
Miami would let him play, though, because ... well, what else would they have going on? He's probably resided on someone's NL-only pine all year. If you're competing for your deep mixed league's title, it wouldn't hurt to block others from owning him, at least.
Xander Bogaerts, A.J. Cole and an arrow to the Zen Master's observations of ASFG
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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