Rizzo leads next class of prospects toward major league debuts
While you were watching Josh Hamilton's legendary night in Baltimore, you probably missed some noteworthy: firecracker-hot minor-leaguers. That's why we're here: To tell you all about the runs Anthony Rizzo, Wil Myers, Miguel Sano, Jurickson Profar and Trevor Bauer are on.
Last week's prospect report lamented the dearth of intriguing prospects once Will Middlebrooks joined the arrival of Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. All three are working out well, don't you think?
This week it was a game of can-you-top-this from that group of five above. It was quite impressive. Not four homers, a double, eight RBI and 18 total bases-impressive like Hamilton put up, but noteworthy nonetheless.
It is time to move each of these five players up a level, and for Rizzo, that means joining the Cubs and fantasy rosters.
We have been sucked in before here. Rizzo was too good for Triple A last year and wound up being a disappointment for the Padres and fantasy owners. This time feels different; we promise.
Rizzo posted his fourth multi-homer game of the season Tuesday night, giving him season totals of a .357 average, nine homers, 31 RBI, 20 runs, one steal, a .413 on-base percentage and a .643 slugging percentage. His six RBI Tuesday made him the night's Triple A Hamilton story.
The knocks on Rizzo are his free-swinging ways -- Middlebrooks-esque -- and his performance against left-handed pitching. He is working on it, though.
"I'm working on the things that I have to work on that are going to get me to Chicago and [help me] stay for there for years and years," Rizzo told MiLB.com
"One day, that's going to be exciting to be able to experience going up to Chicago and playing with those guys."
Rizzo could have been playing with those guys already if not for the Cubs' instance on making notorious Quadruple-A player Bryan LaHair their everyday first baseman. LaHair has made the Cubs look wise with Rizzo-like numbers in Chicago: .374-8-17-14-0 (.470-.771).
But LaHair has some experience playing outfield in the majors, and the Cubs are merely getting by with light-hitting David DeJesus and Tony Campana alongside Alfonso Soriano. If you're counting at home, that is exactly zero homers for a starting major-league outfield. The question is how ready are the Cubs to get a look at LaHair playing right field, or when can Soriano prove to be trade-worthy?
The knock on Myers as a fantasy keeper prospect was his power, when, at 6-feet-3, 205 pounds, it shouldn't be. It sure isn't now.
Myers has homered in five of his past six games and is now at .339-11-24-27-4 (.394-.722) through 115 Double A at-bats. That is a way to "announce my presence with authority," Nuke LaLoosh-style.
Myers is one of the most intriguing impact minor-league hitters in fantasy right now and might even be one of the special ones that makes a big-league trip while skipping Triple A. We just have little faith in the Royals pushing a prospect.
Myers is making it hard for the Royals to justify holding him back.
This Saturday, Sano, an elite prospect from the baseball factory of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, will no longer be a teenager. We want to know if he will no longer be down in low Class A ball, though.
Sano has gone on a Myers-like run, with four homers in his past six games, running his season's totals to: .304-10-32-26-2 (.421-.670). With another organization, Sano would at least be in high Class A. Heck, with a New York team, he might even be on the verge of a call-up already.
Sano's bat is the real deal and you can make a case he is the best long-term hitting prospect in all of the minor leagues right now. While his current numbers make him a candidate to move up the levels come June 1, he probably won't be in the Twins' major-league plans until ...
In last week's Inside Fantasy podcast, Will Carroll asked yours truly when Profar would join the ranks of Harper and Trout in the majors. It was laughed off as: No time soon.
Profar was still hitting around .250 and spent much of the month of April near the Mendoza Line. Yes, at age 19, he is the youngest player in Double A, more than a full year younger than Sano above, but you need to put up numbers to keep up with all the oohs and ahhs the scouts' glowing reviews heap on you.
Profar passes the eye test, but it has been mostly on the field. With a 19-game hitting streak, it is starting on the stat sheet now, too.
Through 119 Double-A at-bats, the numbers -- .261-3-14-20-4 (.323-.462) -- shouldn't stick out at you. But, you do have to consider his age relatively to the level of competition and now you have to consider his hot streak.
In that podcast, this writer suggested Profar belongs in Double A for the full season. Now it appears he deserves to be the youngest player in Triple-A before the end of the year.
The most-owned fantasy player currently in the minor leagues -- even higher than the Yankees' Andy Pettitte at 43 percent -- doesn't need any introduction. But after a pair of mediocre starts, by his lofty standards, maybe we need to reintroduce him.
Bauer is walking too many batters -- five the last time out and 25 in 41 1/3 innings -- but he is about as unhittable as they come. He allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings in Double A on Sunday and is limiting batters to a mere .188 average. He has also struck out 51.
Those numbers are not quite Dylan Bundy eye-popping (20 innings, 33 strikeouts, two hits, .032 batting-average against and one walk), but they are enough for the Diamondbacks to consider moving Bauer to Triple A soon. He just needs to post a few starts where he doesn't walk anyone. Otherwise major-league hitters will knock him out of the box inside four innings due to high pitch counts.
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. If you miss his Monday baseball trends, Wednesday prospect report or Friday pitching review, you can also find him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).