Fantasy baseball Prospect Watch: Urrutia nearing a call-up?
The All-Star break is already here, and the urge to pontificate on the next wave of minor league prospects can take a back seat for the fantasy stretch run. Owners aren't going to win their respective fantasy leagues this year with any leftovers in the minors -- no matter how good those players can be in the long term.
Ask Jurickson Profar owners. Prospects are nice ... three years from now.
With this in mind, and before all-consuming fantasy football draft prep takes over, SI.com's weekly Prospect Watch will be abbreviated into a hot or not sheet. The guys below won't carry a ton of value once they're called up -- if they are -- but they could certainly help in spurts.
1. OF Henry Urrutia, Baltimore Orioles: The Cuban defector, 26, is in his first professional season in the United States, but he's already up in Triple-A and may not require much more time in the minors. Urrutia is hitting .357 through his first 14 games in Triple-A, and for the season, is hitting .363 with seven homers, a .426 on-base percentage and a .531 slugging percentage. This is a poor man's Yasiel Puig -- albeit older and with a lower ceiling.
2. SP Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners: It took Walker until his third Triple-A start to give up a run. The Mariners brought up Erasmo Ramirez to awful results this week. It will be interesting to see who they turn to next.
3. SP Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals: He is back to taking a turn every fifth day in Triple-A. Wacha's results haven't been great in July (5.23 ERA), but getting back in the routine is important. His first professional season's innings total is at a manageable level now, too.
1. SP Michael Pineda, New York Yankees: After being officially removed from the 60-day DL and optioned to the minor leagues, Pineda was beat around to the tune of six runs in just more than four innings in Triple-A on Thursday. There's talk now that he might be a mere relief option for the Yankees down the stretch. He will get the month of July to prove he's capable of contributing as a starter. Monitor him closely.
2. SP Danny Hultzen, Seattle Mariners: Two steps forward, one step back. Hultzen has been shut down again amid shoulder woes, this time for at least 10 days. "We're going to do some adjustments to his routines,'' Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told the Seattle Times on Tuesday. "We're going to look at a little bit of his mechanics. You never want to overhaul anybody. I think that's dangerous with pitchers. But I do think you might look at some of the programs he's doing and try to do some alterations with it. We're prepared to do whatever it takes and I think some of this is a process where, you do one thing and see where it leads you. And then it takes you to Step 2 and Step 3. Hopefully, when he starts throwing, we're going to see positive results.'' Ouch. Scratch him off the list of potential stretch contributors at this point.
3. OF Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers: This 21-year-old is a hot streak away from being called up to a pennant race. Instead, Castellanos has hit .156 (6-for-41) in July. His full season line is solid, but not spectacular: .283/11/47/59/3/.357/.453.