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 Houston Astros called up one of their top prospects not named George Springer yesterday. His name is Max Stassi. Carlos Corporan landed on the 7-day disabled list with a concussion, so the 'Stros need a backup backstop to Jason Castro.
Stassi, 22, hit .277 with 17 home runs and 60 RBIs in 289 at-bats with Double-A Corpus Christi this year. The former fourth-round pick is an excellent defensive squatter with a strong arm behind the dish, which is nice to see following shoulder surgery in 2011. A short, quick stroke with the stick supplies him with plenty of pop for a catcher, although he'll need to refine his two-strike approach; Stassi had only 19 free passes in 323 plate appearances.
Stassi was likely due for a September call-up anyway, even without any action at Class AAA. The only problem: Castro is ahead of him. Castro has been one of the most consistent hitting receivers (.270-14-46) and won't relinquish much PT to Stassi. However, if you're in an AL-only format and need help at the position, Stassi is worth throwing a few bucks at.
Jace Peterson was making some noise for High Single-A Lake Elsinore with a .303 average, seven home runs, 13 triples, 66 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 113 games. First and foremost, he's an excellent defender at arguably baseball's most demanding position, shortstop. Second, he has the type of speed that should interest any fantasy baseball owner; he's stolen at least 39 bags in his three minor league seasons. And third, he can swing the bat a little.
Not only can he get on base with the lumber, but Peterson, 23, has an advanced understanding of plate discipline and strike-zone judgment. Although it's been at the low levels of the minors, his lowest on-base percentage came at Low Single-A Eugene in 2011 at .360. This year, he's worked 54 walks and struck out 58 times. Regardless of what position he'll play as he moves up, he's going to get on base and run.
Unfortunately, it was announced today that an arch issue in his foot will end his season. The San Diego Padres are always looking for speedy top-of-the-lineup players to tailor toward their pitcher-friendly ballpark, and Peterson fits the bill. A September call-up is obviously out of the question, but this kid could move up quickly next season.
The Miami Marlins may very well have the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year on their roster in Jose Fernandez. The kid can deal, no doubt. Problem is, he's young, and the Fish intend to shut him down at around 170 innings. Fernandez is currently at 145 2/3 frames thrown. That means Miami will look to their promising minor league pitching crop to toe the rubber in the season's final month.
Unfortunately, we probably won't be seeing Andrew Heaney, Justin Nicolino or Anthony DeSclafini. We could, however, see Brad Hand, Brian Flynn or Sam Dyson, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Flynn, the team's No. 10 prospect, according to MLB.com, dominated Double-A Jacksonville earlier this year and is 6-10 with a 3.00 ERA and 114 K's in 126 innings at Triple-A New Orleans.
Hand has the most experience, but. ...
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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