Eric Mack
Wednesday June 1st, 2011

You have to give corner-infield slugging prospects Anthony Rizzo and Brett Lawrie a hand for their monster first two months in Triple-A.

No, seriously, give them a hand. They hurt one of theirs Tuesday night.

As the calendar turns to June, two of the hottest prospects in fantasy both go down on the eve of June 1 ... in the same game, Tucson at Las Vegas, no less. We had listed these two scorching hot hitters as expected call-ups this month. In fact, we guaranteed Rizzo would be coming.

It could take some more time now. Thankfully -- as in time -- it could be days, not weeks.

The Padres' Rizzo left the game in the sixth inning after aggravating a bruise on his left (throwing) hand. That was just five innings after Blue Jays prospect Lawrie was taken out of the game for X-rays after getting hit by a pitch on his left hand in the first inning. He suffered only a bruise.

You can imagine the prospect hounds were gasping with excitement when these two standouts both left the same game early. It had to be a call-up, right? It wound up being bad news for injury.

The bad news wasn't all bad, though, since these injuries weren't serious.

There had been reports Lawrie (LOR-y), still just 21 years old, was going to get the call for his major-league debut Friday at Baltimore. And Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said before Tuesday night's game that Lawrie's call-up announcement was a function of "just a decision we need to make."

Read: Who do we cut to bring up this potential Canadian gold mine?

"He's really done everything that we've asked," Anthopoulos told Sportsnet.ca before the game.

In contrast, the Blue Jays' incumbent third basemen have done nothing asked. Before Tuesday's loss, Edwin Encarnacion, Jayson Nix, John McDonald, Mike McCoy and Chris Woodward combined to hit a big-league worst .179, with four home runs (tied for 11th), 11 doubles (tied for 13th), 19 RBI (21st) and 18 runs (26th) at third base, according to Sportsnet.ca.

Lawrie's call-up is coming "sooner than later," according to the GM, because of his improved plate discipline.

"He's consciously made an adjustment to his approach," Anthopoulos told Sportsnet.ca. "I wanted to make sure is he doing it for a week, two weeks, three weeks, is this cemented? I'm starting to believe now it's become part of his game.

"He's not a finished product, he's 21, but a month of a certain approach at the plate and now we're getting to the end of the other month of what we hope is his approach going forward.

"I get excited when I read 'Laid off sliders.'"

Lawrie has mashed to the tune of a .354 average, 15 homers, 49 RBI, 51 runs, 11 steals, a .415 on-base percentage and a .677 slugging percentage. Those numbers make him the Albert Pujols -- no, Jose Beastista -- of the Pacific Coast League.

"I was hoping he was going to force our hand and he's starting to," Anthopoulos said. "So he's very much in the conversation right now, he's becoming more prominent. ...

"He's done very, very well."

Anthopoulos' optimism was tested in the first inning Tuesday night, but when Lawrie's X-rays came back negative, no one was as excited as Lawrie himself.

"Just a BRUISE !!! #yaaaaabudddddy," he posted his Twitter feed (@blawrie13) from the hospital, before adding ...

"I appreciate everyones support , thank you to my fans , friends and family ! #bestpossiblenews."

No, Brett, the best possible news is yet to come. Friday. Applause.

Rizzo's situation is a bit less optimistic, but his injury appears to be just as minor. Reports said Rizzo merely aggravated an existing bruise of his hand when he turned to watch the ball while running to home and the umpire's chest protector.

The injury gives the Padres some more time to suppress an irresistible talent. There is the belief he would have been up already if Super 2 still wasn't in the vernacular of small-budget teams.

"Your knee-jerk reaction is they're screwing the kid," San Diego-based agent Barry Axelrod told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "But they (the Padres) are playing by the rules. No one seems to be terribly uncomfortable with it that I know of.

"It's not an issue that's crushing to anybody. It's not an issue that anybody's going to go out on strike over."

Rizzo, a slick fielder by all accounts, is hitting even more impressively than Lawrie. The 21-year old sits at .371-15-60-41-5 (.452-.720) in 186 Triple-A at-bats.

"We do want him to continue to get at-bats against lefties," San Diego GM Jed Hoyer told the Union-Tribune. "I want him to continue to put pressure on us to bring him up and he's doing that really well."

Rizzo has gone .324-1-9-6-3 (.385-.500) against lefties in 34 at-bats.

Apparently, point proven.

The only thing truly left is patience.

We listed 10 players we expected to see in the majors this June in the past two weeks, and one name not mentioned was that of Kyle Gibson. That wasn't an oversight as much as he is No. 10b.

Gibson is coming off his best outing in Triple-A, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning before allowing a pair of runs on three hits and a walk in 7 2/3. Of his 23 outs record, 10 came by way of strikeout -- a season-high.

Gibson is now 3-3 with a 3.60 ERA, .233 batting-average against and 59 strikeouts in 55 Triple-A innings. The most impressive statistic, though, is the merely 11 walks in 10 starts.

That is one serious strike-thrower. No one in the strike-throwing Twins rotation is pitching this well right now. Logically, the 23-year-old Gibson must be on the verge of a call -- especially with Francisco Liriano (shoulder) and Kevin Slowey (shoulder) both on the DL and Brian Duensing pitching like ... well, dung.

While Lawrie and Rizzo are the most-added minor-leaguers in fantasy right now, Gibson is flying -- pitching -- under the radar. He is the flier to take if you cannot get one of our premium top 10 June guys:

1. OF Domonic Brown, Phillies -- He got the call a day after the first High Five story was posted on SI.com. He has been scorching since: 11-for-33 (.333) with a homer (Tuesday night), five RBI, five runs, a steal, .378 OBP and .546 SLUG. He is here to stay.

2. 1B Rizzo, Padres -- See above.

3. OF Desmond Jennings, Rays -- He has hit just .179 in his past 10 games, which will require him to get hot again before he gets his call. In true prospect-tracking style, though, the power was the last to come. He already has eight homers in 50 games.

4. OF Brandon Belt, Giants -- He was called up shortly after Brown but he has played just a couple games as a part-timer and is 2-for-5 (.400). He can hit his way into more at-bats in a hurry, though.

5. 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians -- In hindsight, Lawrie should have been the name at No. 5, but Chisenhall had the Indians in contention working for him. He now has a mini slump working against him. He is just 1-for-17 (.059) in his past five games. It was very untimely. He needs another hot streak.

6. 3B Lawrie, Blue Jays -- see above.

7. 3B Mike Moustakas, Royals -- Eric Hosmer is scorching in the majors, and Moustakas has done the same since Hosmer's early call-up. Moustakas went .321-5-23-19-1 (.382-.560) in May, homering Tuesday night. After a slow start, Moustakas is ready; the Royals just need to pull the trigger like they did with Hosmer. The latter as really worked out amazingly well.

8. SP Julio Teheran, Braves -- Mike Minor was sent back to the minors after his spot start Tuesday, so Teheran could be a candidate to be the fifth starter the next time the Braves need one Saturday, June 11, at Houston. Minor could get a recall then, too, since his 10-day option will have been served. Teheran needs his next start in Triple-A to be much better than his last one (five earned in six innings).

9. 1B Paul Goldschmidt, D'backs -- He has Lawrie/Rizzo numbers down in Double-A: .330-17-48-42-3, .451-.670. He has also walked more times (41) than he has struck out (36).

10. 2B Dustin Ackley, Mariners -- He has done everything you want an elite prospect to do in his second season in Triple-A, improve steadily. He has scorched in his past 10 games (.415-1-5-16-0, .500-.732), capping off a great May (.355-5-19-30-2, .449-.605). Only a bad April (.211-2-7-13-4, .336-.305) has his overall numbers (.292-7-26-43-6, .400-.475) looking good, not great. The fact he has walked 40 times and struck out just 33 has to make you believe he can lead off right now for the Mariners and star at second base in fantasy.

Eric Mack chimes in on potential impact rookies and prospects every Wednesday at SI.com. If you have a prospect you want to see highlighted, let him know. As always, you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice on Twitter @EricMackFantasy. Hit him up. He honestly has nothing better to do with his free time.

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