Minor Developments: NL call-up primer
After covering the American League last week, we now dive into the National League and look at some of the more intriguing names from the minors that may help your fantasy baseball team this summer:
Julio Teheran(notes), SP, Atlanta Braves: Many have asked “Where does he fit in the Braves rotation this year?” And those questions are certainly valid. The reality is, Teheran needs more time in the minors to refine the command of his arsenal, evident by his first few turns in the major league rotation. While he may be called upon for future spot starts, the best chance he has for a fantasy impact in ’11 is out of the Braves’ bullpen later this year.
Chris Marrero, 1B, Washington Nationals: Mike Morse is one of the hottest hitters in the majors, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a road block for Marrero, a former first-round draft pick. Marrero has done well at Triple-A this year, batting .278 with six homers while showing improved defense at first base. He’s more of an NL-only target for this season, but could eventually get his feet wet later this summer.
Yonder Alonso(notes), 1B, Cincinnati Reds: His transition to the outfield has been positive, paving the way for Alonso to eventually land in a corner outfield spot in Cincy. He’s batting well above .300 with good power (seven homers), and is displaying solid on-base skills (.381 OBP). His best minor league season couldn’t have come at a better time for the contending Reds.
Jordan Lyles(notes), SP, Houston Astros: He made his major league debut last week, and so far through two starts, he looks solid (4.91 ERA, 11.1 IP, 7/1 K/BB). Lyles commands his low-90s fastball well, and has a slider and changeup that grade out as plus pitches. He’s a great NL-only target the rest of the way, and is a flier for those in deeper mixers.
Brett Jackson(notes), OF, Chicago Cubs: With injuries depleting the Cubs’ outfield, you have to wonder when the club will turn to Jackson and his five-tool abilities. While his .264 average and five homers don’t jump off the page at you, he plays great defense and runs extremely well (13 steals) – skills that should help his transition to the majors. He has the on-base skills (.388 at Double-A) to hit at the top of the order.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks: He’s one of the frontrunners currently for player of the year in the minors, and deservedly so. Goldy is batting .341 with 19 homers in the pitcher friendly Southern League, and could soon be in line for a promotion to Triple-A, or even a rumored jump to the Arizona. He’s made incredible strides in pitch recognition to go along with his plus raw power, making him a prospect to nab in dynasty and NL-only formats.
Dee Gordon(notes), SS, Los Angles Dodgers: With Rafael Furcal(notes) on the disabled list yet again, you have to wonder when the Dodgers will summon their top position prospect. Gordon is an elite rabbit now after working closely with stolen base guru/Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes. While he may never hit for power, he’s currently carrying a .315 batting average, and could carve out an offensive career similar to Juan Pierre(notes) once he reaches the majors.
Anthony Rizzo(notes), 1B, San Diego Padres: Rumors are swirling of an impending promotion, so I quickly added him to our Yahoo! F&F League. The slugging first baseman has been the best player in the minors all season, batting .365 with 16 homers and 63 runs batted in through his first 52 games. Petco Park is spacious, but Rizzo uses the field well to spray hits around, and has enough raw power to be the big bat the Padres are desperately in need of following the Adrian Gonzalez(notes) trade. He’s the name to target in mixed leagues this week, if he hasn’t already been scooped up.
Devin Mesoraco(notes), C, Reds: He’s a late-bloomer, but has been excellent the past year and a half, showing tremendous offensive potential. He’s off to a scorching start, batting .322 with six homers and 33 runs batted in. He’s been very selective at the plate also, boasting a .422 on-base percentage, while keeping his strikeouts down. His development path mirrors the Cubs Geovany Soto(notes), and he may offer a similar offensive profile upon reaching the majors.
Brandon Allen(notes), 1B/OF, Diamondbacks: With the emergence of Goldschmidt, it seems Allen’s days as the Diamondbacks’ future first baseman may be over. His bat should fit into a corner outfield position, and his versatility is also a way for him to see more playing time. He’s mashing yet again down at Triple-A, with a .302 average and nine homers. Allen badly needs an opportunity to play since at age 25, he really has nothing left to prove in the minors.
Charlie Blackmon, OF, Colorado Rockies: Lots of solid tools here, but where does he fit in the Rockies outfield? Blackmon is batting .337, showing pop (10 homers), and intriguing wheels (12 steals). He’s a name to monitor in NL-only leagues if he eventually earns a promotion, and could be a sneaky power/speed guy this summer playing half his games in offensive friendly Coors Field.
Have a prospect question? A player you want to see covered? Send it to MinorDevelopments@yahoo.com
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Rob Steingall is a nationally syndicated fantasy analyst whose work has appeared in newspapers including The Providence Journal.