Minor Developments: Paying Puig

Rob Steingall
Yahoo! Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers inked Cuban outfield prospect Yasiel Puig to a seven-year, $42 million contract last week, which is widely considered by most in baseball as pure insanity by the Dodgers. The deal left many scouts who have seen Puig play scratching their heads. Jim Callis at Baseball America says the Dodgers call Puig "a five-tool outfielder comparable to Sammy Sosa." Baseball America's Ben Badler adds that Puig would rank outside his Top 10 international prospects for this year and would have landed in the third round of this year's draft. Puig is worth an add in deep dynasty formats, but don't expect to see him make an impact in the majors for at least another two or three years.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Tyler Skaggs earned a promotion to Triple-A finally, and he was promptly greeted with a rough opening (7 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO). Despite this bump in the road, the young lefty is easily one of the top five pitching prospects in the minors and someone to have on your fantasy radar during the second half. Skaggs is a better option for the Diamondbacks rotation than Josh Collmenter right now, and could be an immediate fantasy asset thanks to his power arsenal and propensity for collecting Ks (9.17 K/9 at Double-A).

San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal started off his major league career in style (not counting his brief look earlier in the year), collecting home runs from each side of the plate for his first major league hits. The comparisons between Grandal and former Reds teammate Devin Mesoraco are striking, with Grandal hitting for a higher batting average and Mesoraco having a bit more power. Behind the plate, both profile as average defensively. Grandal was tearing the cover off the ball at Triple-A prior to his promotion (.335/6/35), so a hot start shouldn't be shocking. Expect his power to be suppressed due to the cozy confines of Petco Park, but that shouldn't stop him from being a fine fake backstop for your fantasy team.

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy is human, after all. In reality, one bad start on June 14 (3.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) has his ERA soaring to 3.14 at High-A Frederick. In his subsequent two outings, he's given up one run in 10 innings, so I think it's safe to say that was just a small bump in the road. It still isn't crazy to think Bundy gets a look next season at some point in June, especially if he keeps dominating the minors over the next year.

When the inevitable season ending injury hits New York Mets starter Chris Young, the club has a capable replacement waiting for him at Triple-A in prospect Matt Harvey. Harvey has really figured things out of late, walking two batters or less in his last five starts (9 BB), while also ramping up the strikeouts over that span (29 IP, 35 SO). There isn't much left for him to prove down on the farm, and considering Young's health history, you could be adding him to your roster in the very near future.

Detroit Tigers third base prospect Nick Castellanos continues to rake at Double-A and now sits at .301 with three homers since his arrival. This comes on the heels of his .405 average at High-A Lakeland. Castellanos may never hit more than 25 homers in a season, but his hit tool is so good that it likely won't matter. Once he learns to take a walk (one in 93 AB), the sky is the limit. His minor league rates suggest this is just a bump in the road (9.1% BB% at High-A), and an adjustment should be in order soon.

It doesn't appear Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley wants to spend much time in the minor leagues. Now at Double-A Portland, he's continuing the hot hitting ways that earned him the promotion in the first place, batting .364 while maintaining strong plate discipline. Bradley credits a simplified approach at to his success, and not trying to do too much when he finally sees his pitch. Keep it up, kid. At this rate, I'm sure it won't be long before we see him in Pawtucket with the rest of the Triple-A Red Sox farmhands.

We'll close this week with a hat tip to the hot hitting of Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who I was able to catch a glimpse of first hand this past Saturday night. He went 1-for-4 on the night, scoring two runs and earning two walks, in a 14-1 beat down of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Lavarnway is batting a scorching .410 during his last 10 games, and looks ready for another opportunity in the majors, whenever that time comes.

Rob Steingall is a syndicated fantasy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter and email prospect questions to MinorDevelopments@yahoo.com

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