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Fantasy baseball Prospect Watch: Bogaerts making his way up

Photo: Carlos Osorio/AP

Xander Bogaerts hit .311 with six home runs at Double A Portland, and should only improve in Triple A.

June isn't just about the minor league call-ups, even if that is what most fantasy owners care about the most. Organizations are also moving up their lower-level, long-term prospects up the minors. These players likely won't impact fantasy teams this summer, but they're going to be the most-talked about prospects next winter and spring.

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The Red Sox recently promoted elite shortstop prospect Xander Bogaerts, 20, to Triple A, and the Twins moved up prospect Miguel Sano, also 20, to Double A.

These two Caribbean talents aren't widely owned in fantasy leagues yet -- like prospects Wil Myers (81 percent), Zack Wheeler (73), Oscar Taveras (44), Billy Hamilton (34) or Christian Yelich (29) -- but their ceilings might be even higher, based on their recent results.

And now, they're just one step away from a major league look late this summer.

Bogaerts has the total package, and he could become the Red Sox's biggest shortstop star since the mid-90s call-up of Nomar Garciaparra. In his 56 Double A games, he's hit .311 with six homers, six triples, a .407 OBP and a .502 SLUG. Those aren't necessarily Garciaparra-like numbers, but Bogaerts has room to develop like Garciaparra did. At 6-feet-3, 185 pounds, he can certainly fill out his frame as he gets older.

"[Bogaerts is] well ahead of the age curve," Red Sox manager John Ferrell told the Boston Globe Thursday. "You see the ability. But you get to know the guy and see how he acts. The guy lights up a room when he walks into it. He's got that charisma."

This spring Baseball America ranked Bogaerts the No. 1 prospect for the Red Sox, an organization it ranked sixth-best it for their overall farm talent, and stated that he's the Red Sox's best position player prospect since Hanley Ramirez. If you can recall the Ramirez of earlier this century, you know that is some praise.

Bogaerts is stashed in less than one-fifth of CBSSports.com's fantasy leagues right now -- he is just the 15th most-owned minor leaguers there -- but he should be considered one of the must-have prospects in all of fantasy immediately. Take that flier now before it is too late.

However, if you miss out on Bogaerts, or don't like waiting for power that just isn't there yet, the Twins' Sano is your man. Sano is just the 17th most-owned minor-leaguer right now and his move to Double-A puts him one hot streak away from a potential second-half look for a rebuilding Minnesota team.

Sano, the Twins' No. 1 prospect this spring according to Baseball America, and second baseman Eddie Rosario both moved up from the Miracle within their first 62 games. Since the Class A franchise moved to Fort Myers, only David Ortiz, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer have moved up that quickly, according to the News-Press.

That is some elite fantasy company right there.

Sano has the potential to be a game-changer in fantasy; some have even compared the Dominican to Miguel Cabrera for his size and power potential. The 20-year-old third baseman has hit .330 with 16 homers, 48 RBI and nine steals in 56 Class A games. He is an even bigger long-term power prospect than the Rays' Myers.

The knocks on Sano have been for his age (he just turned 20 in May), his suspect defense (42 errors last year) and strikeouts, but the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder (reportedly he is that heavy now) is going to mash the ball enough to cover his warts. He is arguably the most must-own, long-term prospect in fantasy right now.

We prefer Sano to low Class A Twins outfielder Byron Buxton because of his proximity to the major leagues. While Bogaerts and Sano might spend time with their big-league clubs before the end of the season, Buxton almost certainly won't, but not because he hasn't performing well. Buxton has hit .343 with eight homers, eight triples, 15 doubles, 50 RBI, 63 runs, 27 steals, a .433 OBP and a .573 SLUG in 61 games as a Cedar Rapids Kernel.

He'll likely be BA's best prospects in baseball this winter, but if you're looking for fantasy options that can help you before June of next year, Bogaerts and Sano are better options.

Speaking of Bogaerts, one of his teammates back in Double A Portland, Anthony Ranaudo, made quite a statement Thursday night. The 23-year-old LSU product improved to 7-1 with a 2.15 ERA and .174 batting-average against with seven shutout innings against Erie. He allowed just two hits and struck out a season-high 13 batters. He now has 76 strikeouts on the season in 67 innings.

A move to Triple-A is clearly warranted for Ranaudo as well.

"Ranaudo has overpowering stuff," Erie catcher James McCann told the Portland Press-Herald. "He is very much downhill and he locates his fastball well. And anytime you throw that 12-6 hammer for a curveball, and throw the fastball after that, that's tough for the hitter."

The best news about Ranaudo isn't his pitches, or even his numbers -- it's how healthy he's been. Previously he right-hander dealt with elbow issues before and his numbers suffered. He was just the 14th-best Red Sox prospect coming into the season, according to Baseball America. He is owned in just 4 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.

In fantasy terms, Ranaudo is also a must-stash now. He could be starting games for the contending Red Sox come August, even if he has to cap his innings around 160-170.

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