Sometimes news from the big leagues just isn't enough for fantasy owners. We need to absorb the latest from the minor leagues, because managing a successful roster requires properly utilizing reserves. Case in point: The most-added player in fantasy as of Friday morning was Reds starter Tony Cingrani, who debuted Thursday night with eight strikeouts and a victory. What's more: Two of the most-viewed players were Mets prospect Travis d'Arnaud and Rays outfield prospect Wil Myers, who both took foul balls off their feet in Triple-A.
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Myers' diagnosis wasn't so bad, while d'Arnaud's was less than ideal: The catching prospect was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the first metatarsal in his left foot, which can knock him out for 4-to-8 weeks.
Luckily for the Mets, John Buck is off to a hot start and is currently the leading fantasy scorer at the catcher position. Unfortunately for any d'Arnaud owners, he's now out of play for about two months, instead of just days away from a potential call-up.
"What we had in place if something should happen [to Buck] now has to change," manager Terry Collins told The New York Post. "I feel terrible for Travis and I feel terrible for us. But that's not going to keep me from using John Buck the way I see fit, because if something happens, something happens and we have to adjust again."
The Mets had internally discussed the possibility of calling up d'Arnaud to catch and potentially use Buck at first base, according to reports. Now, d'Arnaud needs a month-plus to heal and a few more weeks to get back up to speed. At this point, d'Arnaud can be cut by any fantasy owners who were planning on an April arrival for the most-owned minor-league catcher. He's currently burning up one of the four precious reserve spots on my Tout Wars team, but not for much longer.
Myers should be fine
The Rays' Myers got better news, although not the kind fantasy owners were hoping for. When the outfielder left Thursday's Durham Bulls game with soreness from fouling a ball off his right foot, he created buzz on Twitter.
That foot is fine, just "a little sore," Myers told the Tampa Bay Times. He hopes to be in the lineup Friday night ... in Triple-A.
Myers has yet to homer, but he has started 15-for-50 (.300) and represents a potential shot in the arm for the slow-starting, last-place Rays (5-10). He could still be called up in weeks, if not days.
Cingrani's ownership rises
The Reds dipped into their prospect pool for the first time this week, giving Cingrani the call to replace Johnny Cueto (strained lat) in their rotation. Cingrani did not disappoint, albeit while facing the lowly Marlins, thus upping his ownership in CBSSports.com to 74 percent.
Cingrani, working on just three day's rest, threw 102 pitches until manager Dusty Baker cut him off, apparently to get him through five innings to qualify for the victory in an 11-1 blowout.
"He gave us what we needed, and we gave him what he needed," Baker said.
Now, Cingrani can give fantasy owners what they need: a viable starter in any fantasy league. Conveniently, Cingrani is slated for two starts next week: Tuesday vs. the Chicago Cubs and the following Sunday at Washington. Pick him up and start him in any format.
This week's five to watch
As with the above players, injury, not readiness, will determine the timetables for these big names:
1. SS Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers -- He hit his first homer and triple Tuesday night in Triple-A and is now batting .265 (9-for-34) through Thursday's games. However, it will still be weeks -- if not months -- before he's a call-up candidate, barring an injury to Elvis Andrus.
2. OF Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Unlike fellow spring phenom Jackie Bradley, who was sent to Triple-A with the activation of David Ortiz (heels), Puig has stayed hot into the season, hitting .333 (16-for-48) in Double-A through Thursday, when he hit his third homer. There is no clear opening in the Dodgers' outfield right now, but Puig figures to be the answer if any one of Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier requires a DL stint.
3. SP Zack Wheeler, New York Mets -- He hasn't proven dominant yet in Triple-A, but he did strike out eight while walking none in his most recent Triple-A start last Sunday. Dillon Gee (0-3, 8.36), Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 7.20) and Aaron Laffey (0-0, 4.82) are all off to slow starts in the Mets' rotation, while Shaun Marcum (shoulder) is at least a couple of rehab starts away from returning from the DL. Wheeler has plenty of opportunity to get hot, which may warrant a promotion in the next couple of weeks.
4. C Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners -- After a quick start, Zunino has cooled off. The most-added minor-leaguer in fantasy the past week on CBSSports.com has gone 0-for-16 in his past five games since April 10. Seattle catcher Jesus Montero's job is safe for now, especially amid a three-game hit streak (5-for-13).
5. OF Oscar Taveras, St. Louis Cardinals -- The 20-year-old Dominican phenom hit his first homer Wednesday night and is hitting .289 (11-for-38) through 10 games. His age puts him on the extended timetable we listed above, assuming the Cardinals' outfield regulars -- Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and John Jay -- remain injury-free.