It is time to drop Fantasy's most-owned minor-leaguer.
That statement won't shock some of you, but it is noteworthy now nonetheless. Aroldis Chapman is no longer worth owning in non-keeper leagues this season.
It is rare we can say that and give up on such a talent that isn't injured, but the Reds have a glut of starting pitchers (for once) and figure to bring Chapman along slowly this season in a Joba Chamberlain-like apprenticeship -- as a middle reliever. With Homer Bailey (shoulder) and Edinson Volquez (Tommy John elbow surgery) targeting mid-July returns, the Reds have decided Chapman can serve them better as a reliever in the second half.
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"We may look at that," Reds GM Walt Jocketty told MLB.com. "If Volquez comes back and Bailey isn't far away, the best opportunity will be out of the bullpen. But we could still possibly use (Chapman) as a starter."
This now makes someone owned in 60 percent of CBSSports.com's leagues relatively worthless in mixed Fantasy formats the rest of this season. Sure, he could get some spot starts in the final weeks, but there is no longer a good reason to wait for that possibility. Heck, another first-year pro is arriving Friday for the Tigers, Andrew Oliver, with much less fanfare and far more Fantasy value.
Chapman has struggled with his command anyway and his numbers in Triple-A would qualify as marginally helpful even if you played a Fantasy league of minor-leaguers, if those even exist. The 22-year-old Cuban defector is a mere 5-5 with a 4.12 ERA. While he does have 79 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings (14 appearances, 13 starts), he has walked an alarming 41 batters. Lefties take longer to develop -- mostly with regard to command -- and Chapman looks like a long-term project and merely a keeper stashee at this point.
Yes, we have potentially single-handedly ruined all trade value Chapman might have had in your single-season league.
It leads us to this question: Who are the next actual impact arms? Oliver has already been announced for a Friday debut, but the Giants' Madison Bumgarner, 21, is the next most-owned minor-leaguer on our website. He is long overdue for a callup, which is expected to come this Saturday.
Joe Martinez has tentatively held down the Giants' No. 5 starter's job, but he was used in relief Wednesday, which would bump Bumgarner off his Triple-A start Friday to return to the majors to start Saturday against Boston. That is a tough, tough matchup for anyone, much less a 21-year-old, but Bumgarner would then draw a Troy Tulowitzki-less Rockies in Fantasy Week 13 (June 28-July 4). Bumgarner, up to 38 percent ownership, is a must-have in all NL-only formats and a decent flier in mixed leagues, too.
Bumgarner is the anti-Chapman lefty, having far less issues with command. He has walked just 21 in 82 2/3 innings and is 7-1 with a 3.18 ERA and 59 strikeouts. He struck out a season-high 11 in his past Triple-A start June 20.
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Once Bumgarner makes his arrival, the next most-owned minor-leaguers will be retreads like Rick Porcello and Alex Gordon, worth stashing because of their talent but not exactly prospects that make your socks go up and down anymore.
Andrew Oliver, owned in just 2 percent of CBSSports.com's leagues as a 2009 second-rounder out of Oklahoma State, is taking Porcello's rotation spot Friday at Atlanta. He is a nice sleeper in AL-only formats immediately and perhaps even a flier to take in mixed leagues. The hype really hasn't reached him yet, but a solid debut will get his ownership rising in a hurry. He is a rare pitching prospect who is worth more than his ownership suggests.
Perhaps the best part of all in Head-to-Head leagues that allow you to slot starters in your relief spots, Oliver was drafted as a reliever and has that as his primary position on CBSSports.com. He could be a useful sleeper there. Pick him up.
So, if Oliver and Bumgarner are coming this weekend, where do we go in the minors from there?
Enter Jeremy Hellickson, owned in 27 percent of leagues. He is actually our pick as the best pitching prospect in the minor leagues right now. Hellickson is a blistering 9-2 with a 2.33 ERA and 90 strikeouts to just 21 walks in 88 2/3 innings. Batters have mustered only a .234 average against him and he has allowed just three homers all season, despite being a flyball pitcher.
The question is how long do the sliding Rays stick with Wade Davis? Davis has lost four consecutive starts and is now 5-8 on the season with an ERA approaching 5.00 at 4.90.
"I've got to get it going again," Davis said. "I've had some bad times. This is definitely nothing to panic about. I feel good, the body feels good. My delivery's still good. It's just a couple of tweaks here and there we've got to make in the bullpen and keep on going."
We have believed Hellickson was going to get the Pitch-22 treatment in the second half: good enough to start, but too valuable in relief. But Davis could be pitching his way to the bullpen himself. Let's give Davis and the Rays through the All-Star break before considering Hellickson a true threat to start in the major leagues and for Fantasy owners.
But, if you're holding Chapman in non-keeper leagues, you absolutely have to cut him for the likes of Oliver or Bumgarner (if you want someone now), or Hellickson (if you want someone later). Heck, if those are gone, you should own a Daniel Hudson, Michael Pineda, Simon Castro or even a Sean West over Chapman.
(As a matter of full disclosure, I have dropped Chapman for Oliver on every single team.)
Every 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. This week we give you statistics through play Wednesday, June 23 for selected players in Double- and Triple-A, seperated by hitters and pitchers.
|Chris C. Carter||OAK||1B||14||Triple-A||71||263||49||62||18||1||15||53||40||83||0||0||.236||.342||.483||.825|
|Aroldis Chapman||CIN||SP||60||Triple-A||67 2/3||13||1||5||5||0||79||41||62||4.15||1.533|
|Madison Bumgarner||SF||SP||38||Triple-A||82 2/3||14||1||7||1||0||59||22||88||3.18||1.338|
|Jeremy Hellickson||TB||SP||27||Triple-A||88 2/3||15||0||9||2||0||90||21||76||2.35||1.100|
|Chris Tillman||BAL||SP||18||Triple-A||57 2/3||10||1||5||4||0||47||12||55||3.15||1.171|
|Daniel Hudson||CHW||SP||11||Triple-A||76 1/3||14||1||9||3||0||92||25||70||3.90||1.248|
|Tanner Scheppers||TEX||SP||6||Triple-A||30 2/3||3||0||1||0||1||39||13||26||3.28||1.291|
|Carlos Carrasco||CLE||SP||5||Triple-A||74 2/3||12||0||5||3||0||63||25||74||4.25||1.334|
|Brad Bergesen||BAL||SP||4||Triple-A||14 2/3||3||0||1||0||0||10||3||17||4.44||1.409|
|Michael Bowden||BOS||RP||4||Triple-A||72 1/3||14||0||2||3||0||51||26||61||4.24||1.207|
|Phillippe Aumont||PHI||SP||4||Double-A||49 2/3||11||0||1||6||0||38||38||55||7.50||1.890|
|Hector Rondon||CLE||SP||3||Triple-A||31 2/3||7||0||1||3||0||33||10||48||8.65||1.859|
|Jake McGee||TB||SP||3||Double-A||52 2/3||12||0||2||5||0||53||21||51||4.31||1.379|
|Simon Castro||SD||SP||3||Double-A||75 1/3||13||0||4||2||0||63||26||58||2.88||1.119|
|Aaron Poreda||SD||RP||2||Triple-A||7 1/3||0||0||0||0||0||7||5||3||0.00||1.127|
|Jeff Samardzija||CHC||RP||2||Triple-A||38 1/3||3||0||5||0||0||33||22||24||1.89||1.207|
|Sean West||FLA||SP||2||Triple-A||23 2/3||5||1||3||1||0||22||6||21||1.94||1.164|
|Adam Ottavino||STL||SP||1||Triple-A||47 2/3||9||0||5||3||0||43||12||43||4.00||1.165|
|Anthony Slama||MIN||RP||1||Triple-A||41 1/3||0||0||0||1||14||46||20||17||1.53||0.900|
|Brad Mills||TOR||SP||1||Triple-A||71 1/3||13||0||4||4||0||67||34||74||4.68||1.519|
|Brandon Erbe||BAL||SP||1||Triple-A||70 2/3||14||0||0||10||0||50||22||86||5.77||1.539|
|Brandon McCarthy||TEX||SP||1||Triple-A||32 2/3||5||0||1||0||0||23||6||24||2.52||0.932|
|Chuck Lofgren||MIL||SP||1||Triple-A||78 1/3||15||0||7||4||0||49||35||83||5.30||1.511|
|Daniel McCutchen||PIT||SP||1||Triple-A||60 2/3||10||0||4||5||0||29||14||57||3.89||1.179|
|Danny Cortes||SEA||SP||1||Double-A||53 2/3||12||0||4||2||0||51||28||55||5.41||1.560|
|Felix Doubront||BOS||SP||1||Triple-A||16 2/3||4||0||2||1||0||16||5||15||1.11||1.235|
|Glen Perkins||MIN||SP||1||Triple-A||66 2/3||14||0||1||8||0||53||22||98||8.16||1.813|
|Jess Todd||CLE||RP||1||Triple-A||31 1/3||0||0||2||2||4||33||11||33||3.18||1.415|
|Joe Savery||PHI||SP||1||Triple-A||71 2/3||13||0||1||7||0||40||34||88||5.18||1.714|
|Kevin Mulvey||ARI||SP||1||Triple-A||78 1/3||14||0||3||5||0||53||28||80||4.84||1.383|
|Kevin Pucetas||SF||SP||1||Triple-A||58 1/3||12||0||1||3||0||41||24||80||5.73||1.790|
|Lance Lynn||STL||SP||1||Triple-A||85 2/3||15||0||5||5||0||63||35||86||5.28||1.420|
|Luke French||SEA||SP||1||Triple-A||81 1/3||12||1||7||2||0||44||18||72||2.22||1.110|
|Mark Rogers||MIL||SP||1||Triple-A||4 1/3||1||0||0||0||0||3||3||3||2.20||1.463|
|P.J. Walters||STL||RP||1||Triple-A||29 2/3||5||0||1||2||0||29||10||23||2.47||1.130|
|Ryan Tucker||FLA||SP||1||Triple-A||33 2/3||7||0||0||5||0||19||17||41||6.24||1.747|
|Sammy Gervacio||HOU||RP||1||Triple-A||10 1/3||0||0||0||0||0||10||5||6||3.56||1.089|
|Scott Mathieson||PHI||SP||1||Triple-A||30 2/3||0||0||2||2||12||35||13||21||2.38||1.126|
|Will Inman||SD||SP||1||Triple-A||62 1/3||11||1||2||4||0||52||27||54||3.62||1.304|
Here are the rest of the most-owned minor-leaguers on CBSSports.com along with their ownership percentage.
Top AL rookies to date
- Brennan Boesch, OF, DET -- We knew he would be a streaky slugger, but we didn't figure he could sustain it this long.
- Neftali Feliz, RP, TEX -- It is an interesting debate between Feliz and Boesch as to who is more valuable in Fantasy, but Boesch is too hot right now.
- Austin Jackson, OF, DET -- He has been overshadowed by his fellow rookie outfielder teammate, but he has been great himself.
- Justin Smoak, 1B, TEX -- He has finally gotten hot and proven to be the run producer many hoped he would have been right away.
- Alfredo Simon, RP, BAL -- He has regained his closer's role for the Orioles, for what that is worth to you in Fantasy.
- Honorable mentions: John Jaso, C, TB; Carlos Santana, C, CLE; Reid Brignac, 2B, TB; Mitch Talbot, SP, CLE; Wade Davis, SP, TB; Brian Matusz, SP, BAL; Jake Arrieta, SP, BAL; Sergio J. Santos, RP, CHW.
Top NL rookies to date
- Stephen Strasburg, SP, WAS -- It is pretty clear he is a must-start ace in all Fantasy leagues, but will be be available in the season's final month?
- Jaime Garcia, SP, STL -- If he goes wire-to-wire even close to this dominant, he deserves to be the NL ROY over Strasburg.
- Jason Heyward, OF, ATL -- He has fallen into a slump. It happens to everyone. But he will get scorching hot again and be a must-start.
- Mike Leake, SP, CIN -- He is entering the time of the year the Reds will have to limit his innings in order to keep him fresh down the stretch.
- David Freese, 3B, STL -- He has been fairly consistent, but he is getting overwhelmed in the NL ROY race by some big-time talents.
- Honorable mentions: Ike Davis, 1B, NYM; John B. Axford, RP, MIL; Tyler Colvin, OF, CHC; John Ely, SP, LAD; Jhoulys Chacin, SP, COL; Jonathon Niese, SP, NYM; Ian Desmond, SS, WAS; Starlin Castro, SS, CHC; Gaby Sanchez, 1B, FLA; Hisanori Takahashi, SP, NYM; Jonny Venters, RP, ATL; Andrew Cashner, RP, CHC; Jonathan LuCroy, C, MIL.
Mark S. Watjen: I recently read on the progress of Blake Beavan at Double-A Frisco. What are your thoughts on him? Is he going to be solid No. 2 or 3 for the Rangers? Oh yeah, can you add him to the site?
Emack: Beavan was one in a long line of hard-throwing Texas high schoolers that was picked in Round 1 of the 2007 draft. As a pro his velocity decreased, though, which make him somewhat of a bust of an early round pick. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound 21-year-old has come into his own in Double-A, though. He was 6-0 in May and has posted a 1.95 ERA in June. For the season, he is 9-4 with 2.50 ERA and a remarkably low 12 walks in 97 1/3 innings. He deserves a callup to Triple-A later this season, but we cannot yet project him as an impact pitcher for the Rangers down the stretch. Perhaps he could arrive as a reliever, but he is certainly worth owning in long-term keeper leagues because he throws strikes and could regain that high-90s heat he once had in high school. He is a fine addition to the CBSSports.com database.
Chris Gallagher, Woodstock, Ontario: Any chance you could fill me in on Juan Oramas, SP, SD? I drafted him in my keeper league based on his stats this year, but don't know much else about him. Also, could you add him to the CBSSports.com system?
Emack: Oramas doesn't appear in Baseball America Prospect Handbook, despite good stats. We will blame it on his 5-foot-10, 215-pound frame. Scouts don't tend to like pitchers under six feet tall. Oramas has been a monster in the hitter friendly high Class A California League, though, and will surely be regarded in the Padres' prospect lists next fall. He is a combined 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA with 73 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 61 innings. The 20-year-old Mexican could be a reliever once he is ready for the major leagues, but his numbers make him worth stashing in long-term keeper formats. He is also now in the CBSSports.com database.
Dennis F. Tucker: Can we get Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL added to the player pool? He's in low-A Asheville, N.C.
Emack: Arenado is hitting .352 in his first 108 at-bats this season. He hasn't yet to develop homer power, but he does have 13 doubles to go with this two homers and a .546 slugging percentage. The 19-year-old is a long way from the major leagues after getting picked in the second round of the 2009 draft out of a California high school. He is worthy as a long-term keeper stashee, though, and has been added to the CBSSports.com database.
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