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The future is now: Cubs' Baez looks to make impact

The Cubs are calling up one of their blue-chip prospects.

Baez hit 37 homers in the minors last season.

Joe Camporeale / USA TODAY Sports

We interrupt the usual parade of soul-crushing fantasy injuries to bring you this happy announcement: The Cubs are promoting their No. 2 prospect, Javier Baez, and will start him at second base tonight at Colorado. The 21-year-old, who is considered as one of baseball's elite power-hitting prospects, is batting .260 with 23 home runs, 80 RBI, 64 runs and 16 stolen bases at Triple A.

Baez is owned in 8.4 percent of leagues, and currently has fantasy eligibility at shortstop (though he'll qualify at second base very soon). He has struck out 130 times in 104 minor-league games this season, so his batting average could be a problem, but how can you pass up such an enticing combo of power and speed? Even when factoring in the possibility of short-term failure, Baez can be considered among the top 15 fantasy players at both middle-infield positions. If you're struggling at one of those spots, try to scoop up Baez immediately, regardless of format. Here's a good FanGraphs article on Baez's likely short-term fantasy impact.

In the Cubs' lineup, Baez's arrival moves Arismendy Alcantara to center field, so we might have to say goodbye to the Junior Lake/Ryan Sweeney combo. Try not to get too choked up about the departure of that dynamic duo.

Monday's studs & duds

Stud: Mets 2B Daniel Murphy had a homer, a steal, two runs and two RBI against the Giants. Solid.

Stud: Angels SP Garrett Richards struck out nine Dodgers on his way to a five-hit shutout. Relative to draft position, Richards has been one of fantasy's most valuable pitchers.

Dud: Reds SP Alfredo Simon allowed five earned runs in five innings, and his ERA finally rose above 3.00 for the season. 

News & notes

As feared, Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen has a strained oblique, and figures to miss 3-4 weeks. Look for Starling Marte to come off the DL today or tomorrow to take McCutchen's lineup spot.

In today's installment of Days of Coco Crisp's Lives, the A's oft-injured outfielder appeared as a defensive replacement on Monday, and could return to the lineup tonight after a week-long absence.

Don't get confused by John Axford's save last night, The Indians were up by six runs when he came back out for the ninth inning.

In other Indians' news, OF Michael Bourn (hamstring) begins a rehab assignment tonight, while 1B Nick Swisher (wrist) is day to day, Bourn's rehab assignment probably won't be a quick one.

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The Blue Jays are expected to reactivate 2B/3B Brett Lawrie before tonight's game. Lawrie has been out since June 22 due to a broken finger.

Lots of Yankee pitching news today. David Phelps is on the DL with a sore elbow, and could be replaced in the rotation next week by Michael Pineda. Also, Masahiro Tanaka played catch/had a catch on Monday, and will do so again today. Tanaks is still a long way off, but it's possible that he'll pitch again this season.

Rockies ground-balling SP Jordan Lyles (broken hand) is scheduled to come off the DL to face the Cubs on Wednesday.

Streaming starters

Brandon McCarthy allowed no earned runs and struck out eight Tigers in 5 2/3 innings, so we're up to 66-46 for the season. Today's pick is new Ray Drew Smyly (15.9 percent owned) at Oakland, while Wednesday's selection is Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke (5 percent owned) versus the Marlins.

See you back here tomorrow morning.