You Fantasy Baseball owners are truly a fickle bunch. Take a user feedback on CBSSports.com for Alexei Ramirez on Thursday: "Sorry. He's hitting a buck-30 and no walks. He killed me all last year, too. He's ... outta here! Juan Uribe ... COME ON DOWN!"
So, a player who was picked No. 129 overall in a standard CBSSports.com Rotisserie league is on the waiver wire for a journeyman that wasn't drafted in the top 395 players on average. Someone in your league thanks you for cutting that streaky Cuban Missile that could pop off big time this summer.
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That knee-jerk overreaction extends to prospects as well. While baseball front offices use the first third of the season (two months until June 1) to evaluate "what they have," the impatient Fantasy owners clamor for the next big things to arrive before May 1. They just hate watching veteran has-beens and never-will-bes block the elite prospects. We agree, albeit with far more patience.
Before we feed further into that phenomenon, we figured we would drop a quote on you from manager Terry Francona on Wednesday with regard to the yet again slow-starting David Ortiz:
"It's not Fantasy Baseball, and it's not like chess pieces," Francona said. "Guys need time to settle in. If I don't let 'em settle in, it's just going to prolong what we're going through."
Amen, Tito. You Fantasy knee-jerks, listen up.
Now to the hot tub hype machine ...
There are a few players who have gotten off to good starts in Triple-A while their major league counterparts are playing their way to the bench, or the highway. We outline them here:
1. Indians catcher
Who's hot: Carlos Santana homered four times in the first four games of the Triple-A season and is a combined 11-for-26 (.423). He is the slugging catcher of the future for the Indians and that future figured to be June 1. It could come before now, because ...
Who's not: Lou Marson, the Indians' current starting rookie catcher, has started 1-for-16 (.063). It shouldn't take much to make him Santana's full-time backup backstop, if not switching lockers between Triple-A and the majors.
2. Blue Jays first baseman
Who's hot: Brett Wallace is playing first base in Triple-A instead of third, but it might not matter. Both of those positions are struggling out of the gate for the Blue Jays. Wallace isn't. He is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with three homers (in his past five games).
Who's not: Lyle Overbay entered the season as one of the least impressive starting first basemen in baseball and has made that statement hold up by going 3-for-34 (.088) through play Wednesday. His lack of pop or consistency make it difficult for a team to slot him as a first baseman. That is a run-producing position, not an out-producing position. Edwin Encarnacion isn't that much more impressive across the diamond at .219, but he has been better in recent games at least. Also, Wallace apparently is not capable enough defensively to play third in the majors.
3. Mets first baseman
Who's hot: Ike Davis, the son of former major league Ron Davis, had the New York media buzzing this spring, but didn't do enough to force the scuffling Mets to slot him as their everyday first baseman on opening day, even with Daniel Murphy (knee) opening the season on the DL. Davis' impressive spring has carried over in Triple-A, where he has gone 8-for-23 (.348) with two homers and four doubles (.739 SLUG). The more impressive part of his fast start is seven walks and just three strikeouts to date. The former first-round pick could be real good after his power breakthrough in 2009 (.298 with 20 homers) in 429 at-bats between high Class A and Double-A.
Who's not: Mike Jacobs has pop from the left side, but it comes at the expense of a terribly low average and on-base percentage. He is in the Overbay class of out-maker, hitting .167 (3-for-18) and playing his typical butcher-quality first base with what should otherwise be a pretty good Mets infield defensively.
4. Pirates third baseman
Who's hot: Pedro Alvarez came out like gangbusters in Triple-A, hitting three homers with seven RBI in his first two games. He hasn't homered or driven in a run since, but his 7-for-28 (.250) with a .364 OBP and .607 SLUG is still pretty threatening to the player the Pirates have in the majors.
Who's not: Andy LaRoche started the season 1-for-13 before stringing some hits together and getting his statline up to .222 (6-for-27) with a homer, four walks and four runs scored. It isn't great, but it is perhaps enough to fend off the eventual full-timer Alvarez from getting his name chanted during blowouts in Pittsburgh.
5. Rangers first baseman
Who's hot: Justin Smoak homered twice in the first three games and has gone 8-for-24 (.333) with a .500 OBP (eight walks to two strikeouts).
Who's not: (Crush) Chris Davis is looking more like his first-half than second-half self, starting 6-for-29 (.207) with no homers. We still like him, but it has to be tough for Smoak owners to watch the Triple-A guy outperform the guy blocking him in the majors, like all those guys above.
|1. Carlos Santana, C, CLE||35%||+6%|
|2. Pedro Alvarez, 3B, PIT||31%||+4%|
|3. Aroldis Chapman, SP, CIN||74%||+1%|
|4. Domonic Brown, OF, PHI||13%||+1%|
|5. Martin Perez, SP, TEX||10%||+1%|
Notice the organizations all of the names above are employed by. They are all rebuilding teams, save for the Rangers, that don't figure to go anywhere soon. We have seen some elite prospects arrive before June 1 from the minor leagues, like Robinson Cano (around May 1) and Evan Longoria (April 15), but the Yankees and Rays were contenders those years. It will take more than a one-week hot streak for any prospects on a non-contender to get a call, so merely make note of these guys or stash them in deeper leagues.
Notice we didn't mention Aroldis Chapman or Stephen Strasburg in this story, at least until now. Their pitch-count-controlled starts were impressive, but debuting in the minors has little to do with who is blocking them. They can arrive whenever their major league teams feel saucy enough to unleash them. And, no, it likely won't happen until after May 1 at the earliest.
Major league teams just aren't as overreactive as Fantasy owners.
Eeach week we break down all the minor leaguers who are owned in at least 1 percent of our Fantasy leagues. This will be your essential guide to unearthing the elite prospects before they hit the big time.
Top AL rookies to date
- Neftali Feliz, RP, TEX -- Taking over for closer Frank Francisco gives him a legit AL ROY shot and makes him a must-have.
- Austin Jackson, OF, DET -- He is way out in front of any other hitter in the AL right now and is a viable mixed league option.
- Scott Sizemore, 2B, DET -- Steady but not spectacular to date, which is about what you should expect out of him long term.
- Brian Matusz, SP, BAL -- He was outstanding for seven innings last time out, but he lost it a bit in the eighth inning.
- Joaquin Arias, RP, TEX -- He has taken advantage of Ian Kinsler's injury and has earned super utility status when he returns.
Top NL rookies to date
- Jason Heyward, OF, ATL -- He has seen some highs and lows, but his solid start makes us believe he can hit 25 HRs.
- Mike Leake, SP, CIN -- Despite the walks, a solid debut makes him a solid flier in all mixed leagues right now.
- Jaime Garcia, SP, STL -- He will fly under the radar below those two above, but he might be even more consistent.
- Alcides Escobar, SS, MIL -- He has yet to steal a base -- the main reason you bought into him -- but his bat is starting nicely.
- Gaby Sanchez, 1B, FLA -- My colleague Scott White takes Daric Barton over him, but I think Sanchez has more value.
- Honorable mentions: David Freese, 3B, STL; Ian Desmond, SS, WAS; Tim Wood, RP, FLA; Dan Runzler, RP, SF; Ryota Igarashi, RP, NYM and Antonio Bastardo, RP, PHI
Kevin S. Beer Bakersfield, Calif.: Could you add Zach Wheeler of the San Francisco Giants to your player database? He was their first round pick last June (sixth overall). Thanks for your help.
Emack: Surely. I assume you mean Zack. He was the most-often unlisted player on CBSSports.com behind expected No. 1 overall pick catcher Bryce Harper, who will go to the Nationals in June. We also added Matthew Hobgood, SP, BAL; William Myers, C, KC; and Timothy Melville, SP, KC. The same day, Cuban defectors Adeiny Hechavarria, a shortstop, and Leslie Anderson, a first baseman, agreed to contracts and were added to the CBSSports.com database, too. And, no, we aren't going to add Harper until after he is drafted by the Nationals and signs. Save for Anderson, all of these players should be owned in at least 1 percent of our leagues this season as long-term keeper stashees. Future additions will be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration buzz, proximity to the majors and unlisted player listings on our website. If you want a listing of the most common unlisted player names send us an e-mail and we will forward it to you.
You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball prospect questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Prospects in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.