Prospect watch: Harper starring
Did you jump onboard the Eric Hosmer bandwagon?
Hosmer was promoted by the Royals last week after tearing up minor-league pitching and hit his first big league home run on Wednesday. He’s setting up for a long stay.
Owners who reacted to another big debut weren’t as fortunate. Brandon Guyer of the Rays hit a home run in his first at-bat off Zach Britton last Friday night, prompting a number of owners to jump onboard. Those owners needed to reverse the move on Sunday when Guyer was promptly returned to the minor leagues.
It’s a topsy-turvy world, with call-ups and injuries changing the landscape of the fantasy realm.
Let’s get started with the most anticipated prospect since, well, the last big prospect in the Washington organization.
Super prospect Bryce Harper extended his hitting streak in spectacular fashion with a grand slam on Wednesday night. Harper has hit safely in 15 consecutive games and owns a ridiculous .396 batting average (44-for-111) with 11 doubles, eight home runs and 30 RBI. He’s produced a fabulous 1.184 OPS (.472 OBP) while adding five stolen bases. Taken further, Harper has batted at a .500 clip (21-for-42) in the past 10 games.
Kansas City prospect Mike Moustakas started the season slowly for the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers. He’s finding his stride of late, having hit safely in nine of his past 10 starts. Moustakas batted .325 (13-for-40) in this period with three doubles, two home runs, eight RBI and a stolen base.
The Royals have a powerhouse left-hander coming up the line as well. Danny Duffy (22) has pitched to a record of 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts at Omaha. Duffy has struck out 41 batters while walking just seven batters in 32 innings of work
The White Sox have shown some signs of coming out of their collective funk in winning back-to-back series over Seattle and Los Angeles. Perhaps this wakeup precludes a shake-up of the lineup, but it’s worth noting that Cuban prospect Dayan Viciedo has discovered his stroke at Triple-A Charlotte. Viciedo has batted .429 (18-for-42) with five doubles, two home runs and 14 RBI in his past 10 games.
Another Cuban prospect awaits his opportunity to bring his big bat to Great American Ballpark. Outfielder Yonder Alonso hit his fourth home run of the season on Wednesday night to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Alonso has hit .375 (15-for-40) with six doubles, a triple, two home runs and 10 RBI in his past 10 games. He even swiped two bases. Overall, Alonso is batting .313 (36-for-115) with 11 doubles, four home runs, 17 RBI and four stolen bases.
Speedster Cole Gillespie is tearing up Triple-A Reno (Diamondbacks). Gillespie has been an absolute terror on the basepaths, registering nine triples and eight stolen bases in 32 games. He’s batting .350 (42-for-120) with seven doubles, 23 RBI and 16 walks against 21 strikeouts.
Third baseman Brett Lawrie of the Las Vegas 51s (Toronto) is doing everything he can to get the attention of the big club by producing in all five standard categories. He’s hit safely in nine of his past 10 starts. Lawrie is batting .338 (50-for-148) with 12 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 24 RBI and eight stolen bases. The lone knock on Lawrie’s stat line is that he’s drawn only six walks. Alas, there’s a guy named Bautista in front of him.
Everth Cabrera appeared on sleeper lists in 2010 as a potential supplier of cheap speed in San Diego. Cabrera was performing well at Triple-A Tucson this spring, producing a solid .282 batting average (29-for-103) with five doubles, one home run, seven RBI, 23 runs and 10 stolen bases in 14 attempts. Cabrera has experienced a setback in his quest to return to San Diego. He sustained a broken hand at the beginning of May and will be sidelined for six weeks.
Like Cabrera, Emmanuel Burriss represented a potential speed source prior to 2010. Burriss stole a total of 24 bases in the 2008 and 2009 seasons for the Giants. Burriss earned a recall to the major leagues at the start of May after batting .344 (21-for-61) with 15 stolen bases in 16 games for Triple-A Fresno. Burriss has batted .267 (4-for-15) with one RBI and one stolen base since his recall.
Jay Buente hasn’t gotten the call to the big leagues just yet, but the 27-year-old righty has been fantastic for the New Orleans Zephyrs (Florida). Buente has pitched to a 1.26 ERA in nine appearances (1.00 in four starts) with 38 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. He’s yielded just six walks while inducing 1.4 groundballs per flyball surrendered.
Yankees super prospect Jesus Montero didn’t dominate spring training and found himself back at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Montero has produced a .330 batting average (36-for-109) with five doubles, a home run and eight RBI). His strikeout-to-walk ratio needs adjusting (22-to-4) in addition to his defense.
We always make note of the young pitching in the Rays’ organization. I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the dominance of outfielder Justin Ruggiano at Triple-A Durham. Ruggiano has been an all-around performer, producing a strong .317 batting average (40-for-126) with 10 doubles, six home runs, 28 RBI and seven stolen bases.
The Atlanta Braves own the second-best team ERA in Major League Baseball (2.94). As such, there’s no need to rush players through the minor leagues. Julio Teheran received a spot start, but was immediately returned to the minor leagues. Mike Minor has been dominant for Triple-A Gwinnett, pitching to a superb 1.82 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. His walk rate has crept up in his past several starts, but the 23-year-old lefty appears major league-ready.
Finally, I always feel the need to circle back and chronicle the exploits of Wily Mo Pena in the Arizona organization. Pena is batting .366 (41-for-112) with five doubles, 13 home runs and 34 RBI as he awaits another opportunity to taunt fantasy owners.