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.
Wheeler finally turning
It was known since late last week that New York Mets prospect Zack Wheeler would be making his major league debut in the second game of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves Tuesday evening. In case you missed it, it was a success. His line: six innings, four hits, no earned runs, five walks and seven K's.
He regularly pumped 97 mph cheese against the whiff-happy Bravos, but his command was spotty, and he relied heavily on his four-seamer because his breaking pitches weren't consistent. Although it was just one start, Wheeler will need to keep hitters more honest with his secondary pitches to be successful.
Wheeler, 23, has many similarities to teammate Matt Harvey, and while he could come close to Harvey's output last season, don't expect it. If folks were hesitant to add Wheeler because of his subpar numbers at Triple-A Las Vegas, they probably have changed their tune. He should be owned in all formats.
Another Boston Red Sox prospect is making his way closer to major league action. Xander Bogaerts was promoted from Double-A Portland, where he had a slash line of .311/.407/.502 with six home runs and 35 RBIs in 291 at-bats, to Triple-A Pawtucket late last week.
At just 20 years old, Bogaerts' domination of Class AA pitching has been quite impressive, leading some to believe he may be the best prospect currently in the minors. As always, that's up for debate.
The Aruba native has all the tools, except for top-notch speed, to succeed in the bigs. He can hit for average, has monster power, has improved his plate discipline tremendously and has an excellent makeup for a player of his age. Bogaerts will be the youngest player in Boston's organization to don a Class AAA jersey.
That's impressive, but it reminds us to temper expectations when it comes to him making a splash at the big league level this year. Boston will develop Bogaerts at Pawtucket similarly to what they've done recently with Jose Iglesias - groom him at third and second base, in addition to his natural position, shortstop.
This'll give Bogaerts more avenues to crack the major league roster with position versatility, especially if Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks continue to struggle. He'll likely be an option in Beantown at some point this year, but it's safe to say that won't be until at least after the All-Star break, and a September call-up remains his best bet.
It's foolish to rely on Bogaerts for anything meaningful in deep mixed leagues anytime soon, but you should keep watch on him. AL-only managers should think about stashing him if he's available.
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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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