Minor Developments: Dynasty diamonds

Rob Steingall
Yahoo! Sports

Some unfortunate personal events kept me from giving you our normal update last week. But we’re back full speed ahead to look at prospects that need to be on your fantasy radar.

The Diamondbacks have a special talent in pitcher Archie Bradley, a guy who very well could make a push to be a top-five prospect by the end of this season. He’s been utterly dominant thus far and recently earned a promotion to Double-A, where he didn’t skip a beat (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO). The biggest change in Bradley this year appears to be improved command, as he’s gone from a BB/9 in the mid-5.00 range last season to the low-3.00 range this year. It’s still early, but the current data is encouraging. His calling card is his fastball-curveball combo, which allows him to rack up strikeouts due to the plus grade on each pitch. Bradley is coming on strong and could push for a rotation spot by early next year, perhaps arriving even sooner than that.
In search of bullpen help, the Cardinals promoted Double-A pitcher Carlos Martinez to the majors, with the hope that his power arsenal will play up at the major league level. Martinez has always had explosive stuff coming through the minors, with an effortless upper-90s fastball, hammer 12-to-6 curveball and developing circle change. Some ridiculous Pedro Martinez comparisons have been thrown around when talking about the Cardinals prospect, which are complimentary, but certainly not fair to the young hurler. Martinez reminds me more of injured Rangers pitcher Neftali Feliz, a fireballer who also didn’t log many minor league innings due to durability concerns, but with top-notch nasty stuff. The Cardinals track record for developing pitchers is outstanding, so this is a guy worth snagging in dynasty formats if you’re starved for top-flight pitching.
Twins third baseman Miguel Sano is putting on a monster power display, as his .385 average and 10 home runs are certainly proof of what he can do to inferior High-A pitching. The power has always been legit for Sano, but the knock on him is his propensity for whiffs and the tendency for his swing to get a little too long. Sano is an elite talent that should continue to progress with more coaching and experience, but could struggle as he moves up the minor league ladder as he makes adjustments. If he struggles initially upon his future promotion to Double-A (which could be very soon if he keeps mashing like this), it would be prudent of you to convince his dynasty league owner to sell.
Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman is putting up some extremely impressive numbers at Double-A Bowie, with the most eye-popping being his 32-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Yes, you read that correctly; Gausman has only walked a single batter in his first 35.2 innings this year. He was a polished pitching prospect coming out of college, with a big fastball and change-up that had plus potential. But it’s been the progress of his slider that could make him a workhorse in the majors. With fellow prospect Dylan Bundy nursing an elbow injury, it could be Gausman who is next in line to claim a spot in the Orioles rotation.
While he’s a known commodity among the scouting community, there are plenty of people who still don’t realize the immense talent of Mets outfield prospect Brandon Nimmois. Coming out of Wyoming, where he didn’t play on an organized high school team, Nimmo’s natural ability carried him along the showcase circuit. Now in his second season in the minors, experience and advanced instruction seem to be reaping major dividends, as Nimmo is working over South Atlantic League pitching (.322, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 2 SB, .421 OBP). While the power is still developing, this is a major step in the right direction for Nimmo, who should only continue improving as he sees more pitches and scenarios. He’s at least two or three years away, but is worth the add in deep dynasty league formats.
A name to keep an eye on in AL-only formats later this summer is Astros outfielder George Springer, who is already up to 10 home runs for Double-A Corpus Christi. The UConn product was simply awesome across two levels last year (.302, 24 HR, 87 RBI, 32 SB), and has picked up right where he left off (.289, 10 HR, 25 RBI, 7 SB). All the guy does is hit, which is exactly what the Astros need to jump start their anemic major league offense. Springer reminds me a lot of a young Hunter Pence. While he might strike out a bit more, he makes up for it with more advanced base running. I’d expect to see Springer make his debut later this summer, with an eye on a regular gig for the 2014 season.
Rob Steingall is a syndicated fantasy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/rsteingall) and email prospect questions to MinorDevelopments@yahoo.com

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