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Fantasy Fix: Prospecting The Prospects

This season marks the first time that Yahoo! fantasy baseball team owners have had available to them a "Not Available" position designation, meaning they can stash a minor leaguer (classified by "NA" on the waiver wire) on their roster without having to waste a live roster spot.

Many fantasy owners probable saw their NA bets begin to pay off this week with the debut if Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who has been compared to Bo Jackson in size, skills and ability to generate hype. So, with Puig in play, who are some other prospects worth watching?

Wil Myers, OF, TAM: There's an any-day-now vibe about Myers right now, as he has been hitting well in the minors and none of Tampa's current big-league outfielders are playing well enough to keep him there. If Myers happens to be available in your league, and your NA spot is open, snap him up - though he won't continue to be NA for long.

Tony Cingrani, SP, CIN: He had a few cups of coffee earlier this year, and seems destined to make it back up in the second half after recording 41 strikeouts in 33 innings. At Triple A Louisville, he has been dominant, with 49 strikeouts in 31 innings and a 0.80 WHIP.

Zack Wheeler, SP, NYM: There's a lot of buzz about Wheeler being called up as early as this week, so if you drafted him or picked him up early in the year when the rumors first started flying, he's an NA bet that is about to pay off. For Triple A Las Vegas, he has 59 strikeouts in 58 innings, with a 4-1 record.

Christian Yelich, OF, MIA: He had an outstanding spring that made me think he would be called up much earlier when Giancarlo Stanton went down with an injury. He reportedly has been slumping in the minors, but seems like a virtual lock to arrive in the second half, especially if Stanton gets traded.

Billy Hamilton, SS, CIN: The speedster was drafted in many leagues, but has been dropped gradually throughout the season as it became clear the Reds are very good without him, and also are committed to training him to be an outfielder. Despite leading the Triple A level with 30 SBs, he has the feeling of a September call-up, meaning your NA spot would be better spent elsewhere.

Oscar Taveras, OF, STL: When the NA spot became a reality, he was as popular a pick-and-stash candidate as Myers, but barring a catastrophe for the Cardinals, we may not see him until the end of the year.

Gerrit Cole, SP, PIT: Given the unpredictability of Francisco Liriano, the man who is currently at the end of the Pirates' starting rotation, and the desire of the Pirates to put nearly two decades of losing seasons to bed, Cole seems like a good bet to arrive sooner rather than later. He's holding Triple A batters to a collective .195 batting average.

Expert Wire
* notes how Cubs starting pitchers have become fantasy studs. No, really.

* Rant Sports says to add Park Ridge's Luke Gregorson with Huston Street DL'd again.


Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

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