In Some Depth

Sunday night saw the most interesting event of All-Star weekend:

the Futures Game (see recap and box score here). Not only does the

Futures Game give scouts and organizations an opportunity to see

the very best prospects compete against one another, but it also

gives fantasy owners the chance to see which players might be

making an impact at the major-league level in the not-very-distant

future.

Below are 10 position players who made either the U.S. or World

roster. For each player, you’ll see his name, position,

organization, etc. The stat wOBA+ is found at StatCorner and is a

measure of the player’s offensive production relative to his

league’s average (where above 100 is above average). The category

“Replacing” is a list of the active major leaguers the Futures

player is most likely to replace, either due to injury or

ineffectiveness.

Player are listed roughly in order of proximity to major-league

debut.

Player: Jason Kipnis, 2B, CLE

Numbers: 363 PA, .297/.380/.506 (.340 BABIP), 119 wOBA+

(Triple-A)

Replacing: Orlando Cabrera, Luis Valbuena

Notes: With Cleveland decidedly in the playoff hunt and no

clear producer at second base, the Indians could very likely

promote Kipnis for the stretch run.

Player: Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, ARI

Numbers: 380 PA, .315/.434/.630 (.335 BABIP), 128 wOBA+

(Double-A)

Replacing: Juan Miranda, mostly

Notes: Hank Aaron Stadium, where Goldschmidt plays, allows

about 25 percent more home runs for righties than the average

Southern League stadium, but overall it’s a neutral park.

Player: Dayan Viciedo, RF/DH, CHW

Numbers: 372 PA, .327/.376/.538 (.366 BABIP), 117 wOBA+

(Triple-A)

Replacing: Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Juan Pierre, Carlos

Quentin, Mark Teahen

Notes: Besides defense, plate discipline has been Viciedo’s

greatest flaw; however, he seems to be improving in this area:

11:78 BB:K in 366 PA (2010) versus 25:66 in 372 PA (2011).

Player: Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU

Numbers: 145 PA, .353/.382/.551 (.370 BABIP), 123 wOBA+

(Double-A)

Replacing: Matt Downs, Chris Johnson, Jeff Keppinger

Notes: The Astros aren’t really playing for much, so a

promotion isn’t imminent, but demoting Chris Johnson, moving Jeff

Keppinger to third, and giving Altuve second base would probably

make the team better.

Player: Yonder Alonso, 1B/LF, CIN

Numbers: 355 PA, .298/.372/.490 (.328 BABIP), 109 wOBA+

(Triple-A)

Replacing: Jonny Gomes, Chris Heisey, Fred Lewis, Joey Votto

Notes: Alonso has made about two-thirds of his starts in

left field this season, but he’s a natural first baseman (read: not

great fielder) and his outfield defense is still questionable.

Player: Wilin Rosario, C, COL

Numbers: 266 PA, .249/.286/.439 (.268 BABIP), 95 wOBA+

(Double-A)

Replacing: Chris Iannetta

Notes: With Jose Morales out for a while with a fractured

right thumb, Rosario is likely just a Chris Iannetta injury away

from becoming the Rockies starter.

Player: James Darnell, 3B, SD

Numbers: 346 PA, .333/.434/.604 (.348 BABIP), 138 wOBA+

(Double-A)

Replacing: Chase Headley

Notes: Darnell walks as much as he strikes out, has good

power, and plays a position with little depth league-wide. That’s a

recipe for being really valuable. With Headley at third, however,

and the Padres 10-plus games out, a September call-up is all he’ll

likely see.

Player: Tim Beckham, SS, TB

Numbers: 357 PA, .277/.340/.390 (.337 BABIP), 102 wOBA+

(Double-A)

Replacing: Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez

Notes: Brignac, who’s gotten the majority of starts at

shortstop, has been at below replacement level, according to

FanGraphs. If the Rays are within striking distance of the playoffs

in month, Beckham could see time at short.

Player: Devin Mesoraco, C, CIN

Numbers: 333 PA, .303/.378/.510 (.357 BABIP), 116 wOBA+

(Triple-A)

Replacing: Ryan Hanigan, Ramon Hernandez

Notes: “It’s not you, it’s me.” That could be either Hanigan

or Hernandez talking to Mesoraco, as the Reds’ catching depth is

all that’s keeping Mesoraco from the majors.

Player: Chih-Hsien Chiang, COF, BOS

Numbers: 283 PA, .323/.378/.630 (.354 BABIP), 125 wOBA+

(Double-A)

Replacing: Carl Crawford, J.D. Drew, Josh Reddick

Notes: Reddick’s .414/.455/.707 line in limited PAs and

Crawford’s imminent return will keep Chiang from the majors for the

present. Really, two of the three players listed above would have

to go down for Chiang to see real time.

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