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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
Reds finally place C Devin Mesoraco (hip) on DL
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:42 pm ET) The hip issue that has prevented Reds C Devin Mesoraco from playing since last Wednesday now has him on the 15-day disabled list, the Cincinnati Enquirer has reported.

Mesoraco is dealing with a left hip impingement. The Reds had put off the move in hopes that he could pinch-hit and eventually get back behind the plate.

The loss is another blow to a Cincinnati team that has lost eight in a row. Mesoraco, who emerged as one of the premier hitting catchers in the big leagues last season, was off to a poor start in 2015 with a slash line of .178/.275/.244. He has no home runs, two runs scored and a mere two RBI in 45 at-bats.


Rockies' Justin Morneau (concussion) not on road trip
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:42 pm ET) Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau did not join the team for the outset of a six-game road trip as expected, the Denver Post reports.

Morneau is on the concussion disabled list, and while there's a chance he joins the team on the road later in the week, he's not ready to return from the injury just yet. He has hit .290/.317/.450 with three home runs and nine RBI in 100 at-bats.


Giants' Hunter Pence batting cleanup Monday vs. Brewers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:34 pm ET) Giants right fielder Hunter Pence is batting cleanup in Monday's matchup with the Brewers.

It's just the second time since Pence's return that he's been slotted into the fourth spot in the lineup. He has plenty of experience against Monday starter Kyle Lohse, going 17 for 57 with four doubles and five RBI against Lohse in his career.

The Giants are underdogs (+115) in Milwaukee on Monday, per VegasInsider.com.


Report: Mets C Travis d'Arnaud to begin rehab games Tuesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:33 pm ET) Shelved Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud is set to play five innings in an extended spring training game Tuesday, per NJ.com.

The report further states that d'Arnaud could report to Triple-A Las Vegas in five or six days and that GM Sandy Alderson believes he could be back with the Mets as early as June 1 in San Diego, but more likely the following series against Arizona.

d'Arnaud was off to a productive start before going down with a fractured pinkie. He was batting .317 with 10 RBI in just 41 at-bats.


Orioles SP Kevin Gausman to throw simulated game June 2
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(12:18 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman, who has been sidelined since the start of the month with shoulder tendinitis, is tentatively scheduled to throw a simulated game on June 2, per MASNSports.com. 

It's all part of a carefully calculated rehab plan by the Orioles, who will have Gausman throw a bullpen session Tuesday and face live hitters on Friday, setting the stage for the two-inning sim game. He will then likely head to Triple-A Norfolk to stretch his arm out. 

Gausman is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in eight games this season. 


Cardinals return Jason Heyward, Matt Holliday to Monday lineup
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) Cardinals outfielders Jason Heyward (hip) and Matt Holliday (arm) are both ready to roll Monday against Arizona.

Heyward, who has not played since Friday, has been hitless in six of his last 10 games.

Holliday was sidelind only Sunday with a contusion. He has slumped recently, but still boasts a fine slash line of .314/.434/.443.


Rockies: Illness has OF Carlos Gonzalez scratched Monday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:07 pm ET) Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has been scratched from the Monday lineup against the host Reds because of illness, per MLB.com.

Gonzalez, who did not play Sunday, has been unproductive in 2015 with a slash line of .206/.285/.326.


Report: Elbow of Reds SP Johnny Cueto still not right Monday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:55 am ET) Concern is growing that the right elbow ailment plaguing Reds ace Johnny Cueto is worse that first anticipated, per Associated Press.

Cueto is having the elbow examined Monday after missing his Sunday start in Cleveland with stiffness. Though he exclaimed Sunday that he was not worred about it, the elbow was still not feeling right Monday.

The loss of Cueto for any significant period would be devastating for a Cincinnati team on an eight-game losing streak. He has eight quality starts in nine outings and a 3.03 ERA.


Sandoval returns to Red Sox lineup, Holt out
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:39 am ET) After missing five straight starts with a knee injury, third baseman Pablo Sandoval returns to the starting lineup for the Red Sox on Monday against the Twins. 

Sandoval pinch-hit from left side in Sunday's game and with right-hander Ricky Nolasco starting for the Twins, he will be able to hit lefty against a pitcher he's had a lot of success against, going .476 with three homers and seven RBIs. 

Sandoval's replacement at third base, Brock Holt, is out of the lineup Monday after he was hit by a pitch on his arm Sunday and began to lose feeling in his hand. 


Struggling SS Danny Santana sits again for Twins
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:25 am ET) Twins shortstop Danny Santana is out of the lineup for a second straight game Monday, replaced by Eduardo Escobar for the game against the Red Sox. 

Santana has had a rough week at the plate, going 1-for-16 with five strikeouts and no wallks. The free-swinging Santana has just two walks in 157 plate appearances this season. 

The Twins (+103) are slight underdogs per VegasInsider.com. 


 
 
 
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