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If you're a Cubs fan, there isn't much to do these days except debate when Anthony Rizzo will get called up. That's how it is when you're in last place.
And if your fantasy team is near the bottom of the standings too, you just might be doing the same thing, although more generally speaking. We're getting to the portion of the season where bad MLB teams are starting to call up their prospects in hopes of shaking things up, and if you pick up the call-ups at the right time, they can provide a nice fantasy boost.
This season, we have already seen at least two prospects presumed to be mid-season arrivals actually called up early - Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Mike Trout of the Angels. Both of them (especially Trout) have been doing so well that they are not available in most fantasy leagues, but don't worry. There are more call-ups on the way.
Here are my top picks for probable mid-season call-ups worth picking up:
1. Trevor Bauer, SP, ARI: The much-hyped, mechanically precise Bauer almost could have made the team out of spring training. He was sent to AA, dominated there, and moved up to AAA. Capable of delivering strikeouts by the truckload.
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CUBS: Team management has dashed fans' hopes at every turn, insisting he won't get called up because the Cubs are losing, and won't get called up just for interleague games. But it's still a good bet Rizzo will make it to Chicago by sometime in July, particularly if an OF or 1B gets traded.
3. Danny Hultzen, SP, SEA: Like Bauer, another 2011 draft pick who could rise quickly. He's still in AA, but his low ERA potential could play very well in his home park.
4. Dylan Axelrod, SP, WHITE SOX: With a great season developing, the Sox are not in a hurry to call anyone up, and the effectiveness of Jose Quintana, the injury replacement for John Danks, could make it harder for another pitcher to get the call. But Axelrod will get the next slot available in the rotation or bullpen.
5. Travis d'Arnaud, C, TOR: Toronto's big league catcher, J.P. Arencibia, is known for his light-tower power, but has struggled mightily. d'Arnaud is a power hitter too, and if AAA is any indication, he looks like a better overall hitter.
* Bleacher Report lists two-start pitchers for this week. These kinds of updates are definitely worth paying attention to in head-to-head leagues.
* CBS Sports.com looks at Detroit's Jose Valverde, who could be the next closer to lose his job.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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