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Minor Developments: New York state of arms

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The Yankees farm system has taken a beating over the course of the last few years, with a number of top prospects falling victim to injuries or poor performance. Pitcher Luis Severino is looking to change that, and he’s done an admirable job thus far in his first three turns at Double-A, posting an a 1.84 ERA through his first 14.2 innings, while striking out 20 and walking only four. Severino throws a three pitch mix highlighted by an explosive mid-90s fastball, complimented by a slider and changeup that both flash above-average potential.

It may not be long before we see Mets top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in Queens, with some speculation being that he’ll arrive at some point in August. It’s been a rough year on the surface for Thor at Triple-A (5.16 ERA), but keep in mind that Las Vegas is an offensive paradise that can make mediocre hitters look like stars (Ike Davis, for example). Despite the ugly ERA, Syndergaard has kept his K/9 above 9.00 (9.38) and BB/9 below 3.00 (2.91), which are elite numbers that should translate well to the major leagues. If you’re looking for a late season addition to your pitching staff that could push you over the top, give Syndergaard a look.

The Astros made a puzzling move in promoting pitching prospect Mark Appel to Double-A, while also causing a stir in their clubhouse by having him throw a bullpen session at Minute Made Park. Appel has been nothing short of a nightmare this season, posting a 9.74 ERA at High-A Lancaster, while battling inconsistency for much of his first full season as a professional. The bullpen session drew the ire of a handful of Astros players who accused the club of babying the former top overall pick, and giving him special treatment due to his draft status. It’s been a tough few months for the Astros, with the leaking of their trade discussions and failure to sign this year’s top pick, Brady Aiken. We’ll see how this move pans out, but for dynasty purposes, all you can really do is hold Appel and hope for the best.

A few weeks back, I traded Carlos Correa in a deal that netted me Stephen Strasburg in one of my dynasty leagues where I needed pitching for the stretch run. One of the driving factors behind this deal was the belief I have in Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford to become a star, who I also own in that league. Crawford hasn’t missed a beat since being promoted to High-A Clearwater, posting a .276 average with four homers and four steals through his first 35 games. While those numbers may look pedestrian, it’s his understanding of the strike zone that really catches my eye, as he’s posted a 17/21 BB/K rate since his promotion. The potential is there for 15 home runs and 20 or more steals in his prime as a top of the order hitter, totals that would make him a strong fantasy play at short.

In a move that could signal things to come, the Cubs have started playing Javier Baez at second base at Triple-A Iowa. Couple that with the trade of Darwin Barney and audition of Arismendy Alcantara in center field, and it’s looking more likely that we’ll soon see Baez manning the keystone in Chicago. After a slow start to the season, Baez has really turned it on in the second half, batting .333 with five homers in 14 games. If you’re in search of some middle infield power and can afford to lose a bit of batting average, Baez makes a ton of sense when he gets the call.

In another move that could be seen as a look toward the future, the Indians promoted shortstop Francisco Lindor to Triple-A Columbus. With incumbent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera gone, it’s time to get a look at Lindor. Through his first seven games at Triple-A, Lindor is batting a scorching .370 with two home runs, speeding up the Cabrera trade process.

We close with Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo, who could soon sign with a major league club and be a contributor during the final month of the season. An outfielder by trade, Castillo also took some balls in the infield during a workout over the weekend, fueling speculation that he may be a middle infield option for the team who signs him. Castillo has been labeled “Brett Gardner with power” by scouts, which makes the 27 year old an intriguing fantasy target. Rumors are he could command a contract in the range of Yasiel Puig’s seven-year/$42 million. Dynasty owners should be all over him as soon as he becomes available, if he isn’t already.

We’ll be back in a month to cover this year’s crop of September call-ups. Best of luck to all as your fantasy baseball season comes to a close.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rsteingall

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