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The calendar says it's June, so it's no surprise that a fresh group of prospects has begun to make its way to the majors. What say we weigh the fantasy prospects of these prospects?
Albert Almora, Jr., OF, CUBS: The locals might be in a frothy lather over this call-up, but at his best, Almora is more of a real-world nice-to-have than a fantasy gotta-have. If he stays at the big league level, the fantasy-relevant stats he's most likely to offer are batting average and SBs, but hard to see how he starts regularly even with Jorge Soler on the DL. Fittingly, he is available in about 95% of Yahoo! leagues at the moment.
Jameson Taillon, SP, PIT: Got his first MLB start Wednesday and wasn't bad, with six IP, three strikeouts and three earned runs, with no decision. In the minors this year, he had 61 strikeouts in 61 IP and only six walks, and if he can start turning up the K rate while maintaining a low WHIP - the latter often being the real struggle with young arms - he has a good chance with one of the best teams in MLB to notch double-digit wins this season. Available in 42% of Yahoo! leagues.
Julio Urias, SP, LAD: He's the one everyone knows about, a 19-year-old kid whose debut was surrounded by so much hype it was impossible for him to match it. And yet . . . he's gotten better in each of his three starts thus far. He still owns a ghastly 6.94 ERA, but 14 strikeouts in 11.2 IP is promising. He's being held for now to a pitch count around 90 and hasn't surpassed five IP in any start yet, but I think by the end of the year, we'll be debating his Rookie of the Year candidacy. Still available in 64% of Yahoo! leagues, but stashing him now may pay off big later.
Trea Turner, 2B, WAS: If you blinked, you missed him. He was up for one weekend and only saw one game of action, but headed back to the minors with a 1.000 batting average after three hits in his first three at-bats. Why? To work on his defense, we've been told. But he's like a more MLB-ready version of Almora, with extra-bases power and great speed to boost your fantasy team's SB stats. Also, will become eligible at SS, soon after his next call-up, which can't come soon enough. Available in 72% of Yahoo! leagues, as owners have been dropping him like crazy since he went back down, but that should change in the next month.
Still waiting for a cup of coffee:
Willson Contreras, C, CUBS: It's not a bad time to grab and stash him, but you'll need patience. With Miguel Montero healthy again, I didn't think the Cubs would keep three catchers at the MLB level, but Tim Federowicz continues to hang around. Contreras deserves that spot, and has been tearing up AAA once again this year. My thinking here is that the Cubs are beginning a stretch of something like 30 games in 31 days until the All-Star Break. A fresh bat and rest for Montero and Ross wouldn't be out of the question, though the overarching reality is that the Cubs have been so dominant they might be slow to make this move
Tim Anderson, SS, WHITE SOX: He's hitting above .300 at AAA, though hasn't logged more than a couple months at that level. The Sox may have gotten as much as they can get out of Jimmy Rollins, who after a decent start is fading and giving way to Tyler Saladino at SS. Hard to say how desperate the Sox will be to give him a try. The team just traded for an aging SP it didn't really need while its offense and bullpen continue to slump. If GM Rick Hahn wants to refresh things without firing his manager, bringing Anderson into the mix could be part of the plan. Keep an eye on him.
Disco Danny O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.