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With the Super-Two eligibility date to allow teams to get an extra season of arbitration eligibility out of top players here, two of the most anticipated prospects in the league are finally coming to the bigs. There’s an inherent danger to top prospects. Everyone rushes out to grab them based on a utopian “sky is the limit” idea, assuming obvious Mike Trout-like production rather than considering realistic production. Worse, some owners are willing to trade sure-thing veteran stars for these kids who are very risky.
Don’t simply look at potential positive production, consider potential risks. Don’t simply consider the last year and a half of Myers’ career, consider his 2011 season in Double-A when he batted just .254 with eight home runs and 49 RBI in 99 games. Consider that his slugging has dropped from .600 last season to .520 this season. That said, you can’t be a more promising prospect than Myers, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick him up but I wouldn’t trade a proven star for him.
Wheeler is also very promising but more risky as is usually the case with top pitching prospects. It was only a few seasons ago that guys like Brian Matusz, Jennry Mejia, Joba Chamberlain, Chris Volstad, Luke Hochevar were equally as exciting. Wheeler comes with numerous fantasy concerns. For one, the Mets don’t win games. Matt Harvey has a 2.97 ERA and 34 K since May 22 and has gone 0-1 during that time. Further, his 3.93 ERA this season and 3.56 ERA in his career aren’t as impressive as guys like Gerrit Cole (2.84), Michael Wacha (1.71), or Tony Cingrani (1.65). His walks have improved considerably, down to a still worrisome 3.5/9 and he has also given up an uncharacteristic nine home runs but that’s likely more a result of playing in Vegas.
There’s inherent risks to every top prospect, don’t forget the Luke Hochevars of the world when you pick up one of these guys. Now let’s take a look at the positives.
Wil Myers (Owned in 52% of Yahoo Leagues): Wil Myers, the 4th top prospect in the country and the guy Tampa gave up James Shields and Wade Davis for, is finally up in the bigs after proving yet again that minor league parks can’t hold him. This season in Durham, Myers owns a solid .286/.356/.520 line with 14 HR, 57 RBI, 44 R, and seven steals over 64 games. Last season he put up a .314/.387/.600 line with 37 HR, 109 RBI, 98 R, and six steals. He figures to be an everyday player for the Rays and while the strikeouts may be a problem (71 in 64 games this year) he looks like a promising four-category contributor with the occasional steal. Don’t hesitate to pick him up.
Zack Wheeler (40%): Rated by MLB.com as the 8th top prospect in the nation, Wheeler joins Myers as this week’s most exciting call-ups, albeit Wheeler’s brings him from the Las Vegas 51s to a team that’s probably not as good as the 51s. A lot was made of his somewhat wild start to the season but he’s leveled out to a solid stat line (4-2, 3.93 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 73 K/27 BB, 68.2 IP) and I wouldn’t worry too much about prolonged struggles with control (a lot of short ones, for sure) in the bigs. Over his 81 game minor league career, Wheeler has put up a pretty consistent 3.56 ERA, 1.275 WHIP (though his walks have declined every season), and 9.7 K/9. He also usually keeps the ball in the park (0.5 HR/9) and will be further aided by the impossible-to-hit-in (at least for the Mets) CitiField.
Anthony Rendon (31%): I’m liking Rendon a lot, particularly his ability to hit for extra-bases. Over his short-lived 79 game minor league career, Rendon hit 38 extra-base hits. Since being recalled on June 5, Rendon is batting .444 with a home run, six doubles, five RBI, and five runs. He’s not a huge power threat and doesn’t steal but could be big in average, RBI, and runs a la Manny Machado.
Joaquin Benoit (26%): Jose Valverde‘s stint as the Tigers’ closer seems to be drawing to a close as Benoit was called upon to save the game on Sunday vs. the Twins. Benoit seems the most likely closer option behind Valverde as he’s gotten four saves this season and is putting up a stellar 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 10.5 K/9. Jim Leyland seems reluctant to give top prospect Bruce Rondon another chance despite the fact that he’s dominating the minors once again with 13 saves, 1.05 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 12.6 K but that could change as well since the Tigers prefer to have Benoit work the eighth.
Colby Rasmus (24%): Rasmus is incredibly frustrating and inconsistent when it comes to fantasy production but when he gets rolling he’s definitely worth a roster spot. He’s playing solid ball right now, owning a .251/.316/.476 line with 13 HR, 36 RBI, and 30 R over 65 games. More importantly, he’s homered in three straight and has added seven homers and 18 RBI over his last 24 games. He’s worth a spot right now, though probably not for too long. SJN’s AccuScore projections have him at .226 BA, 13 HR, 41 RBI, and 44 R the rest of the way which sounds very right.
Tyler Colvin (12%): With injuries plaguing the Rockies, Colvin will see an even more important role for the foreseeable future. Since being recalled from the minors, he’s batting .304 with three homers, nine RBI, and seven runs in 23 at-bats. Colvin batted .290 last season with 18 HR and 72 RBI in 420 at-bats and hit nine homers over 55 games during his minors stint so he’s definitely worth a shot.
Corey Kluber (14%): After a lousy effort in 2012 (2-5, 5.14 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) and seven mediocre years in the minors (44-50, 4.42 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 9.1 K/3.6 BB) Kluber is suddenly a fantasy commodity. He currently stands at 5-4 with a 3.58 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 65 K/12 BB. I have trouble seeing him keep his run total down over a full season but his strikeouts make him a worthwhile pickup while he’s playing well. Over his last five starts he has put up a 1.76 ERA, .213 BAA, and 32 K/6 BB in 30.2 IP. Still, he gives up too many hits (9.0/9 this season, 10.9/9 last season) and his walks (1.7/9) are considerably down from his usual. After this hot streak is over and that WHIP levels out, so will the ERA.
Jason Castro (30%): I haven’t been too inclined to pick up the former top 100 prospect, likely because I share most people’s distaste for Astros’ players, but his sudden explosion of power has gotten me interested. Over his last 10 games, Castro has added three homers, six runs batted in, five runs, and three doubles, bringing his totals to .270, 10 HR, 23 RBI, 29 R, 18 2B. It’s not that impressive and but homers at catcher are usually a rarity. Either way, I don’t buy it, he has already matched his minor league and Major League career high of 10 HR and he’s only a short-term pick-up right now while he’s hot. SJN’s AccuScore projections have him at .255 BA, 10 HR, 26 RBI the rest of the way which sounds about right, I’d give him a couple less home runs.
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