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Prospects Report: Names you might have missed

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Kris Bryant, Archie Bradley, Noah Syndergaard, Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson and Maikel Franco are all owned in more than 20 percent of Fantasy leagues and known in a heck of a lot more than that. They're the prospects we've waited all year to see and the ones we'll run over each other to claim if and when they get the call.

But you know who beat them to the big leagues? Michael Taylor, for one, who hit an impressive opposite-field home run in his major-league debut Tuesday. Also, Rymer Liriano, who appears to have taken over as the Padres' starting right fielder.

Neither was anything less than a prospect at the time of his promotion, and yet both were owned in less than 5 percent of leagues. Even now, they're owned in just 11 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Um ... hello? They're actually here now. Those other guys aren't.

Which is the kind of snarky response that makes for a great line in a column, but of course, I know it's not as simple as that. Clearly, upside enters into the equation -- the prospects most likely to make an immediate impact in even the shallowest of leagues have priority -- and being in the big leagues doesn't count for nearly as much as playing in the big leagues. Taylor filled in nicely Tuesday, but he doesn't have a job all to himself. Probably not, anyway. We'll see what comes next with Jayson Werth's shoulder.

Still, neither Taylor nor Liriano is exactly Brock Holt -- and I mean that in a good way, as in if either performs well, it won't come as a surprise to anyone (as Holt's performance clearly did). Taylor put up George Springer-like numbers prior to his promotion, batting .315 with 22 home runs, 35 stolen bases and a .948 OPS in 397 at-bats between two stops, and Liriano was regarded on about the same level as Gregory Polanco before losing all of 2013 to Tommy John surgery.

And there's the common thread that explains their lack of ownership: Neither did anything of note last year. Liriano was hurt and Taylor was just a toolsy athlete who had yet to refine his game. Because of that, both disappeared into the endless collection of wait-and-see types, putting them out of mind for Fantasy owners.

So instead of touching again on Bryant, Bradley, Syndergaard, Soler, Pederson or Franco, as Michael Hurcomb and I have done ad nauseam, let's look at a few more highly available Taylor/Liriano types -- ones who have entered the discussion strictly because of what they've done this year.

(Which isn't to say any of them are on the verge of a promotion, but better to know of them ahead of time either way.)

Josh Bell, OF, Pirates
2014 level: High Class A, Double-A
2014 stats: .325 BA, 9 HR, 9 SB, .834 OPS, 33 BB, 51 K
Thought to be unsignable, Bell slipped to the second round in the 2011 draft, but the Pirates gave him a huge bonus to lure him away from college, believing, like most teams, he could be a middle-of-the-order masher. In his second year back from knee surgery, he's showing that kind of potential.

Jose Berrios, SP, Twins
2014 level: High Class A, Double-A
2014 stats: 10-6, 2.40 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 124 K, 120 IP
Like most pitchers with good stuff, pounding the strike zone has actually made Berrios less hittable this year, leading some scouts to believe he's a legitimate top-of-the-rotation option. That's something the Twins haven't had since Johan Santana.

Sean Coyle, 2B, Red Sox
2014 level: Double-A
2014 stats: .309 BA, 13 HR, 13 SB, .907 OPS, 33 BB, 84 K
The latest in the trend of diminutive second baseman with speed and surprising pop, Coyle has finally stayed healthy enough to put up the numbers the Red Sox always envisioned for him. Kind of like Mookie Betts, though, he'll need a new position to break into the big leagues. He's played some third base recently.

Brian Johnson, SP, Red Sox
2014 level: High Class A, Double-A
2014 stats: 12-3, 2.26 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 121 K, 131 2/3 IP
A line drive to the face late in 2012 set Johnson back to begin his career, but if his numbers this year are an indication of what he can do when fully healthy, the prospect hounds have underestimated him. He has a 1.87 ERA in 18 starts at Double-A Portland, demonstrating excellent control for a young left-hander.

Jordy Lara, OF, Mariners
2014 level: High Class A, Double-A
2014 stats: .351 BA, 23 HR, 92 RBI, 1.006 OPS, 42 BB, 89 K
Playing at the most hitter-friendly park in the most hitter-friendly league, Lara may turn out to be the latest in a long line of low-level Mariners fakeouts (with Vinnie Catricala also coming to mind), but he was about as good on the road as at home at that level. He's also off to a good start at Double-A Jackson, batting .333 (18 for 54) in 14 games.

Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets
2014 level: High Class A, Double-A
2014 stats: .286 BA, 9 HR, 13 SB, .853 OPS, 80 BB, 87 K
The Mets selected Nimmo 13th overall in the 2011 draft suspecting he was an on-base specialist who just needed experience to bring out his other tools. Well, he has a couple years experience now, and the tools are beginning to play up.

Daniel Norris, SP, Blue Jays
2014 level: High Class A, Double-A, Triple-A
2014 stats: 10-1, 2.25 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 135 K, 108 IP
Norris has gone from project to prospect this season, refining his command to get the most out of his stuff. The way the Blue Jays have pushed him this year, promoting him after eight starts at Double-A and 13 starts at high Class A, you have to wonder if they think he's an option for the playoff push.

Dalton Pompey, OF, Blue Jays
2014 level: High Class A, Double-A
2014 stats: .313 BA, 8 HR, 37 SB, .859 OPS, 49 BB, 74 K
Pompey had a lot to learn when he signed as a 17-year-old in 2010, but he's finally making good on whatever the scouts saw in him then. The speed is more advanced than the power right now, but what he lacks in home runs he'll make up for in doubles and triples.

Daniel Robertson, SS, Athletics
2014 level: High Class A
2014 stats: .306 BA, 15 HR, .872 OPS, 64 BB, 84 K
Robertson's emergence is probably a big reason why the Athletics were willing to trade Addison Russell, which isn't to say he's as good as Russell, but clearly, his stock has risen. Beware of the California League effect, though. Grant Green looked like a top prospect when he played at high Class A Stockton, too.

Luis Severino, SP, Yankees
2014 level: Low Class A, high Class A, Double-A
2014 stats: 6-3, 2.36 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 118 K, 103 IP
Severino is only 20, but his quick ascension is an especially welcome development for a team struggling to contend with a rotation of castoffs and nobodys. He's improved at every stop, too, compiling a 1.84 ERA in three starts at Double-A Trenton with 20 strikeouts to just four walks in 14 2/3 innings.

Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox
2014 level: Double-A, Triple-A
2014 stats: .298 BA, 13 HR, .837 OPS, 29 BB, 71 K
Swihart kept placing high in the Red Sox prospect rankings despite lackluster production, and now, we finally see why. It's not all defense for him. He can hit -- and much better than the rookie the Red Sox are currently breaking in at catcher, Christian Vazquez.

Christian Walker, 1B, Orioles
2014 level: Double-A, Triple-A
2014 stats: .301 BA, 24 HR, 91 RBI, .887 OPS, 53 BB, 106 K
An older prospect at age 23, Walker has finally developed the power he'll need to stand out at first base. He has always hit for average, but his defensive limitations would have limited his opportunities with that alone.

Jesse Winker, OF, Reds
2014 level: High Class A, Double-A
2014 stats: .287 BA, 15 HR, .917 OPS, 54 BB, 68 K
At least for Fantasy purposes, Winker might have the most upside of any player on this list. He profiles as a plus hitter with plus power, and so far at age 20, no minor-league level has been able to hold him back.

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