With Tuesday’s announcement that the Pirates will finally promote top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon, fantasy owners may be wondering who’s next – and whether they’re worth a roster spot. Here are some names to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. Obviously, in any competitive dynasty league, these guys are long gone, but they should be widely available in most other formats.
Alex Bregman, 3B/SS, Houston Astros
As recently as two weeks ago, Bregman had as many homers (10) as strikeouts on the season. He’s since fallen off that pace a bit, but is still walking more often than he whiffs. He currently has a .301/.409/.583 line at Double-A. Chosen second overall in last year’s amateur draft, Bregman has been seeing some time at third base in Corpus Christi since the Astros happen to have last season’s Rookie of the Year entrenched at short. Luis Valbuena has been better lately, but Houston’s climbing back into the AL West race and could view Bregman as a potential upgrade. He has excellent contact skills, controls the strike zone well, and boasts a nice blend of power and speed. Stash in all but the shallowest leagues.
Related link: Phillies prospect watch: J.P. Crawford in a slump
Willson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs
Catchers who can hit for average are a rare commodity, and Contreras has followed up his 2015 batting title at Double-A with an even better performance at Triple-A this season. The 24 year old is hitting .346/.439/.592 at Iowa, because the Cubs don’t have enough young talent in their organization. The big club has, of course, steamrolled the rest of MLB this season, in spite of a lack of production from the veteran backstop tandem of Miguel Montero and David Ross. Montero is signed through next season and Ross serves as Jon Lester’s personal catcher, so Contreras may not be promoted unless an injury occurs. If it does however, he’s immediately interesting by virtue of the sad state of affairs behind the plate for fantasy production in 2016. Stash in deep, NL-only, and two-catcher leagues.
Alex Reyes, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Reyes has a blazing fastball and excellent curve, which is how he’s posted gaudy strikeout totals at every stop as he’s risen through the minor league ranks. He’s only 21 years old and has 78 strikeouts in fewer than 50 innings across two levels so far in 2016. Unfortunately, he has also struggled to limit free passes, at least in part due to issues with his delivery. Reyes’s mechanics are inconsistent and the violence of his arm action could make him prone to injury. He may profile better as a reliever, and that’s exactly how the Cards seem to like easing their pitching prospects into the major leagues (Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martinez being prime examples). Stash in deep and NL-only leagues.
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles are your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.