As the baseball season is finally in full swing, fantasy baseball owners are looking for any advantage they can get on their competition. Competitive owners have already been feverishly scouring the waiver wire in search of a hidden gem that they can add to their respective squads. A lot of times while owners are constantly checking the statistics and trends of established major leaguers, they forget about minor league prospects who could be called up to the the majors at a moment’s notice. Therefore I’ve assembled a list of 5 minor league prospects that all fantasy baseball owners should be aware of for the 2014 season and beyond.
Once the Pirates call up Polanco this season, they will have assembled one of the most lethal outfields in the major leagues with Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte also patrolling the outfield. So far this season Polanco has a .400 Batting Average, 4 homeruns, and 4 steals. Once he gets called up to the major league club, he will immediately enter the National League’s Rookie of the Year race. Polanco will get a call up to the Pirates major league squad sooner rather than later as the Pirates have a legitimate opportunity to contend in the NL Central.
Bauer is less of a stash and more of must-add in deep leagues and a streaming option in shallow 10-12 team leagues. The Cleveland Indians 5th starter this year had been Carlos Carrasco, but due to tremendous struggles early on, they have moved him to the bullpen and there is now an opening in the Indians rotation that many believe will be filled by Trevor Bauer. Bauer, the number 3 pick of the 2011 draft, has previously had control issues that have led to inconsistency at the major and minor league levels. This year, however, Bauer has had great success at Triple-A Columbus with a 3-0 record, 1.40 ERA, and 28 strikeouts and fantasy owners should expect that he will be a solid starting pitching option throughout the rest of the season.
Singleton is a guy to keep on your radar in dynasty leagues rather than standard single-season fantasy leagues as the Astros are trying to keep him in the minor leagues for as long as possible in order to delay his major league service time. Since the Astros aren’t close to being a contending team, they can afford to keep Singleton in the minor leagues despite the fact that he his crushing minor league pitching as he’s hitting .304 with 9 home runs. Guys like Singleton and fellow top prospect George Springer should gives Astros fans hope for the future of their ball club.
The St. Louis Cardinals organization does an amazing job drafting and developing prospects. Their success in recent years with the farm system shines through when considering the likes of Allen Craig, Matt Adams, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Matt Carpenter and Trevor Rosenthal. All of those players who were mentioned have been great contributors for the past 2 years and were developed by the Cardinals. There is a bit of a logjam in the Cardinals outfield with the likes of Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos, but Tavares’ hot hitting so far this year may force the Cardinals to figure a way out to get his bat in the lineup. Tavares has a .322 Batting Average and 5 home runs thus far for Triple-A Memphis and it seems likely he will be called up at least by mid-season.
Orioles fans are very familiar with Gausman as he made his debut for the O’s last May and he showed immense promise as he showcased an arsenal of plus pitches including a fastball that touches the high 90’s. Gausman has the potential to become a top of the rotation type starter for the O’s for years to come. The organization has limited his pitch count for the Triple-A squad in anticipation for a call-up and a possible postseason run. Although Gausman hasn’t gotten himself a win so far in 2014 for the Norfolk Tides, he’s pitched well garnering a 2.53 ERA. Fantasy-wise, Gausman will be a valuable commodity as he can be considered a SPaRP in many leagues. This means that in your fantasy lineup, Gausman can be started as either a starting pitcher or a relief pitcher which allows fantasy owners to have an extra starting pitcher when all the SP slots are full. Whenever a spot opens up in the starting rotation for the O’s, Gausman will certainly be the first one to get the call.
(Photo Courtesy of: statsports.net)