Fantasy baseball minor league report

Fowler names his minor leaguers to keep an eye on over the next two months and some notable names off to hot starts down on the farm.

Fowler names his minor leaguers to keep an eye on over the next two months and some notable names off to hot starts down on the farm.

Is it just me or are 1-in-3 MLB players either on the disabled list or dealing with day-to-day injuries that make setting a fantasy lineup a nightmare?

The six degrees of shoulder separation means the minor league talent pool must be monitored throughout the 2014 season for potential waiver wire gems.  In case you haven’t noticed, MLB farm systems are rich with {potential) fantasy studs of the future – if they stay healthy.

Here are 10 minor league players off to a hot start in 2014 and some notable names to keep tabs on:

George Springer (Astros - OF / called-up 4/16)

Stats: .295 BA / .415 OBP / 12 R / 1 HR / 4 RBI / 4 SB

Analysis: Some were surprised to see Springer start the season in the minors, but the arbitration clock delay was of higher priority to the Astros’ brass than their fanbase.  He’ll be up sooner rather than later and provide a spark to the team with the third-fewest runs scored as of April 14.

Jon Singleton (Astros – 1B/DH)

Stats: .325 BA (.438 OBP) / 4 HR / 15 RBI

Analysis:  Named hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League Player of the Week.  If his hot hitting continues, Singleton will bump Marc Kraus (.120 BA) out of the Astros’ designated hitter role.

Nick Franklin (Mariners – 2B / called-up 4/16)

Stats: .412 BA (.500) OBP / 3 HR / 7 R / 11 RBI

Analysis:  With a handful of teams needing an everyday second baseman, the Mariners have gained more leverage in trade talks thanks to Franklin’s hot start for Tacoma.  If Franklin gets traded or, heaven forbid, Robinson Cano gets hurts, Franklin is a must-add in all leagues.

Kevin Gausman (Orioles – SP)

Stats: 0-0 in 8 2/3 IP / 10 K / 5 BB

Analysis:  The Orioles top pitching prospect (Dylan Bundy recovering from Tommy John), has been limited to less than nine innings pitched due to an flu-like illness that infected the Norfolk Tides clubhouse.  With a 3-5 record and ERA over 5.00, Gausman’s major league debut didn’t go as planned last season, but the dude throws gas and is expected to join the rotation again this season.

Alex Meyer (Twins – SP)

Stats: 2.61 ERA / 11 K / 1 BB in 10 1/3 IP

Analysis:  The No. 3 prospect in the Twins’ organization, Meyer finished 4-3 in 13 Double-A starts last season with a 10.80 K/9 rate and 3.21 ERA.  If you’ve reviewed the Twins’ major league pitching options (5.17 ERA), you know Meyer is on the verge of a call-up this season.

Joc Pederson (Dodgers – OF)

Stats: .371 BA / .511 OBP / 3 HR / 11 R / 3 SB

Analysis:  What do Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have in common?  Yes, six degrees of shoulder separation or correlated ailment of the week!  So, despite needing to clear several depth-chart hurdles before reaching The Show, Pederson has a great shot of a call-up when a member of that foursome hits the disabled list again.

Eddie Butler (Rockies – SP)

Stats: 2.25 ERA / 12 K / 1 BB in 12 IP

Analysis:  He’s only in Double-A (Tulsa), but has the stuff to skip Triple-A if the Rockies need to fill a void in their rotation.  The Rockies’ pitching staff carries a 5.02 ERA through April 13.  Jorge De La Rosa has an ERA over 9.00 and Franklin Morales is the proud owner of a 6.39 ERA and 1.82 WHIP.

Henry Owens (Red Sox – SP)

Stats: 2-0 / 18 K / 2 BB with a 0.00 ERA in 12 2/3 IP

Analysis:  Already threw a six-inning no hitter (rain) this season.  He finished 11-6 with a K/9 rate over 12 last season in the minors.  Because he’s not on the 40-man roster, his chances of a call-up this season are slimmer than most, but he should remain on your radar.

Gregory Polanco (Pirates – OF)

Stats: .465 BA / .511 OBP / 9 R / 2 HR / 11 RBI

Analysis:  The Pirates’ outfield is about to get stronger.  With Andrew McCutchen in center, Starling Marte in left, Polanco will sacrifice his current centerfield minor league position and slide over to right when he gets the call to the bigs.  Although he only has one stolen base this season, Polanco swiped 38 bases in 2013 and 40 in 2012.  He’s just about ready.

Andrew Heaney (Marlins – SP)

Stats: 1-0 / 2.38 ERA / 11 K / 2 BB in 11 1/3 IP

Analysis:  The top prospect in the organization (9-3 and 1.60 ERA in 2013) may only be in Double-A and only 22 years old, but it’s not like the Marlins’ big league staff consists of cagey veterans.  In fact, the average age of the five-man rotation is currently 23.8.  He could make an appearance and dominate like Jose Fernandez a year ago.

Strong Starts by Notable Names

Tsuyoshi Wada (Cubs – SP)

Rafael Montero (Mets – SP)

Mike Fiers (Brewers – SP)

Nick Tepesch (Rangers – SP)

Robert Stephenson (Reds – SP)

James Ramsey (Cardinals – OF)

Billy Burns (Athletics – OF)

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