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Prospects Report: Who's getting the call next?

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, one team expected to be in selling mode is Philadelphia, which surprisingly sits in the basement of the NL East. It's definitely unusual to see the Phillies among the teams selling off players because it wasn't long ago they were one of the more active teams making acquisitions at the deadline.

Case in point, in the summer of 2011 the Phillies pulled off one of the bigger trade deadline deals, acquiring Hunter Pence from the Astros. In return, Philadelphia sent three minor leaguers -- Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, Josh Zeid -- and a player to be named later to Houston. At the time, Cosart and Singleton were two of the best prospects in the Phillies' system, and Zeid had some promise, though, his career was beginning to waver as he struggled with bouncing between the rotation and bullpen in the minors.

Most owned minor leaguers (as of 7/2)
Player Own %
1. Javier Baez, SS, CHC 48
2. Kevin Gausman, SP, BAL 46
3. Archie Bradley, SP, ARI 41
4. Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC 38
5. Noah Syndergaard, SP, NYM 35
6. Byron Buxton, OF, MIN 33
7. Jonathan Villar, SS, HOU 32
8. Dylan Bundy, SP, BAL 32
9. Tony Cingrani, SP, CIN 30
10. Rubby De La Rosa, SP, BOS 29

Then, just a little over two weeks after the trade was announced, Philadelphia completed the deal by sending a just-turned-19-year-old outfield prospect named Domingo Santana to Houston as the PTBNL.

Here we are three years later, and looking back it seems the Astros got the better end of the trade. While the Phillies made the playoffs in 2011, they were ousted in the NLDS by St. Louis, and eventually dealt Pence to San Francisco at the 2012 trade deadline in exchange for Tommy Joseph, Seth Rosin and Nate Schierholtz. The Astros, on the other hand, still have all their pieces from the Pence deal and all four players are on the team's 25-man roster after Houston promoted Santana to the majors Tuesday.

Santana's promotion came as a bit of a shock. Even though in last week's Prospects Report I hinted Santana was primed for a promotion, Astros general manager Jeff Lunhow said Sunday a recall wasn't imminent because Santana still had "some developing" left to do in Triple-A. He also said, "The profile doesn’t really fit what we need right now."

"The profile" kind of changed when center fielder Dexter Fowler landed on the disabled list due to a back injury, but Lunhow was basically implying while Santana's numbers looked good (.304/.383/.502/.885) for Oklahoma City, the team was concerned his long swing might be a problem at the major-league level. Well, it seems Lunhow had a quick change of heart and the Astros are willing to give Santana a trial-by-fire experience to see if he's ready for the majors.

Santana is just the latest impact prospect to have been called up this summer, and he won't be the last. With that in mind, this week we focus on five prospects that could be coming to a major-league roster this summer and should be on the radar for Fantasy owners.

Dylan Bundy, SP, Orioles
Affiliate: Class A Aberdeen
2014 stats: 0-1, 0.60 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, one run allowed, 10 hits, three walks and 22 strikeouts in three starts (15 innings)
A month ago if you asked about stashing Bundy on your bench, I would have said no. My thinking was that the Orioles didn't have a need for a starting pitcher -- and they still don't -- but more important I didn't feel the Orioles were going to rush the elite pitching prospect back from Tommy John surgery. Well, the Orioles still contend their focus is getting Bundy ready for next season, but his results in the minors might dictate otherwise. Bundy has been nothing short of outstanding since beginning a rehab assignment in mid-June. He's thrown five innings in each of his first three starts and has been nearly unhittable. It will be interesting to see how he fares against advanced hitting in the minors, but you have to admit Bundy is having a pretty spectacular run coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, like the Orioles, we need to temper expectations regarding the 21-year-old hurler. The Orioles probably have a set number of innings they will let Bundy throw this season, which dampers the excitement, regardless if Baltimore is still in the pennant race later this summer. I still feel it's risky stashing Bundy in 12-team or shallower formats because there are so many variables regarding his situation.

Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/SS/OF, Cubs
Affiliate: Triple-A Iowa
2014 stats: .307/.348/.540/.889, 10 triples, 10 home runs, 22 doubles, 39 RBI, 59 runs, 21 walks, 78 strikeouts and 20 stolen bases in 82 games
The chatter this year regarding Cubs prospects has been about the ETA for players like Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. However, it seems Alcantara could beat both players to The Show since "he's making the front office and the major-league coaching staff take notice of what he's doing," according to vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod. He does have a point. It's hard to overlook Alcantara's numbers because he's been filling up the stat sheet at Triple-A. It's not like Alcantara was a nobody coming into the season. MLB.com has Alcantara ranked as the Cubs' sixth-best prospect, and Baseball America has him No. 7. Though, I do caution Fantasy owners to take some of his Triple-A numbers with a grain of salt. He came into this season with a career .417 slugging percentage, so the hitter-friendly PCL has helped boost some of his numbers. While he did show improved power last season and he's still developing, it's probably more conservative to view Alcantara as a 15-homer/30-stolen-base threat at the major-league level. Besides showing a consistent offensive approach, Alcantara's versatility up the middle and ability to play the outfield is another reason he might beat Baez and Bryant to the majors.

Matt Davidson, 3B, White Sox
Affiliate: Triple-A Charlotte
2014 stats: .202/.280/.412/.691, 12 doubles, 15 home runs, 30 RBI, 30 runs, 27 walks and 97 strikeouts in 75 games
Davidson has pretty much been nowhere on the radar for a promotion since being cut from the White Sox roster at the end of spring training. Well, Davidson is finally rounding into form at Charlotte, putting him back on the radar. Davidson homered nine times and slugged .565 in 26 June games. Over his last 10 games, he's batting .294 with two doubles, four home runs, six RBI and 11 runs. Though, the most encouraging thing is that he has nearly as many walks (seven) as strikeouts (10) in that span, so it seems his plate discipline could be improving. The White Sox have no pressing need for a third baseman as Conor Gillaspie is holding his own. Though, if the White Sox fall out of contention by the trade deadline, it could be time to bring up Davidson and see what he can do over the final months of the season. His high strikeout rate hurts his value in points leagues, but Davidson could be worth stashing in AL-only and deeper Rotisserie formats because of his power potential.

Archie Bradley, SP, Diamondbacks
Affiliate: Double-A Mobile
2014 stats (Rookie, Double-A, Triple-A): 1-4, 4.73 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 17 walks, 30 strikeouts and zero home runs allowed in seven starts (32 1/3 innings)
Coming into the season, it seemed Bradley and Mets starting pitcher prospect Noah Syndergaard were destined to be among the first wave of elite prospects promoted to the majors. However, both players have had their performance and injury issues, and now we have to entertain the idea maybe neither player will make his MLB debut in 2014. Bradley, who has been limited to seven starts due to an elbow injury, recently joined the roster at Double-A Mobile. It's a little disappointing since he started the season with Triple-A Reno. Though, it could have more to do with having Bradley throw in a pitcher-friendly league. Still, Bradley only lasted four innings in his debut for Mobile, walking four batters and recording one strikeout. It's been a rough year for him, and it started back when he turned in a disappointing performance during spring training. Bradley seems to be working on fine-tuning his mechanics and pitches, and a promotion to the majors doesn't seem imminent. I could still see him added to the Arizona roster after the minor-league season because he needs to build up his innings after missing a good portion of the season. But it looks like he might only make an impact for playoff-bound Fantasy teams, so he's no longer the must-stash player he once was in seasonal formats.

Robert Refsnyder, 2B, Yankees
Affiliate: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
2014 stats (Double-A, Triple-A): .343/.411/.556/.966, six triples, nine home runs, 24 doubles, 39 RBI, 52 runs, 31 walks, 54 strikeouts and seven stolen bases in 81 games
I had to go back into the archives to find Refsnyder was featured in a "Five on the Farm" column in May 2013. I wrote last year that Refsnyder's offensive skills would get him to the majors one day, and quoting myself, "making him an ideal candidate to put on your radar in long-term keeper leagues." Well, a year later he now has to be on your radar in seasonal formats because it seems the Yankees are toying with the idea of calling him up. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Refsnyder is "rising like a meteor" and has "moved himself closer and closer to consideration" for a promotion. Brian Roberts has had a disappointing season offensively, so promoting Refsnyder has become an option. His power numbers have really taken off this season, as he came into 2014 with just a .401 slugging percentage. He still doesn't project to be a great home run hitter, but Refsnyder has proven to be a good contact hitter with good plate discipline, as evident by his career .396 on-base percentage. I consider Refsnyder to be Tommy La Stella with a bit more power potential. I could see seasonal-league owners in AL-only and deeper mixed-leagues stashing Refsnyder, but it's not as much of a necessity as in past years because second base has become a deep Fantasy position.

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Player News
Red Sox want to talk extension with Yoenis Cespedes
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told MLB.com the team plans to discuss a contract extension with outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who hit .260 with 22 homers and 100 RBI. Cespedes is owed $10.5 million next season, the final year of his contract.

Josh Donaldson says his knee feels more 'stable'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson, who's been dealing with a knee injury, said he's encouraged because it feels more "stable" than it did the past couple days, reports CSNCalifornia.com. Donaldson should be in the lineup when Oakland visits the Royals in Tuesday's Wild Card game.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis to stay in the hospital longer
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) Updating an earlier report, Mets outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis is expected to remain in the hospital the next few days while undergoing tests related to the infection he contracted, reports Newsday.

Tanner Roark expected to come out of the bullpen
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark is expected to be used as a reliever in the NLDS despite going 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts this season, reports MLB.com.

Mariners bring Jesus Montero back to 40-man roster
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) The Mariners activated designated hitter Jesus Montero from the suspended list, which puts him back on the 40-man roster. Montero was suspended after getting into an altercation in late August with a team employee in the minors.

Corey Hart designated for assignment
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) The Mariners designated Corey Hart for assignment. The designated hitter had six homers and 23 RBI in 232 at-bats.

Wade Miley, Josh Collmenter 'are locks' for Arizona rotation in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) New Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart said Monday starting pitchers Josh Collmenter and Wade Miley "are locks" for the rotation in 2015, according to FOX Sports Arizona. Stewart added the team will "have a nice competition for the other spots."

A's reliever Eric O'Flaherty (elbow) throws live BP Monday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) Athletics reliever Eric O'Flaherty threw live batting practice Monday after missing eight days due to a sore elbow, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Offseason foot surgery not needed for Red Sox OF Allen Craig
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters that outfielder Allen Craig will not need surgery to repair his foot, per MassLive.com.

Craig suffered Lisfranc tear which interrupted his 2013 season and led to a disappointing .215 batting average in 2014. He is hopeful that a full offseason will have his foot back at 100 percent.

"He's just focused on having a good offseason," Cherington said. "I think we've done everything we can to make sure that the foot is OK going forward. No further testing needed."


Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks chooses not to play winter ball
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9/29/2014) Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks will forgo playing winter ball and instead spend the offseason in Dallas working out in prep for the 2015 season, according to The Providence Journal.

The Red Sox wanted Middlebrooks to make up for some of the at-bats he lost this season due to injury. However, Middlebrooks decided it was best for him to work on being 100 percent by spring training.

"He’s made a decision he’s going to focus on other things," general manager Ben Cherington said. "He feels like he can address what he needs to address without playing winter ball, so that’s the decision that he’s made. Ultimately, the offseason belongs to the players."


 
 
 
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