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Fantasy baseball news: Young prospects a risky fantasy proposition

Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The early success of Pirates phenom prospect Gregory Polanco makes him worth a fantasy gamble.

In our daily fantasy baseball news and notes column, we'll be discussing hot topics in the fantasy baseball world, as well as offering up tidbits of information to help you set your lineup. Comments are welcome below.

Adding a prospect in fantasy baseball is something of a crapshoot. It requires making a sizeable investment, wherein you're forced to keep the player on the end of your bench for weeks and often months. Then finally, when said player does get called up, there's no guarantee that the prospect will make good on their lofty expectations. And yet, it's worth making the investment, even if you come away with a prospect who turns out to not be so good, just because the payoff is enormous if you actually can find a prospect who can hit right away.

Friday was a showcase for two of the biggest prospects in baseball, the two who had been sitting on the backend of benches for two months: Oscar Taveras and Gregory Polanco. Taveras, unfortunately, didn't have much to show, because he was sent down to the minors after hitting just .189 in 11 games with one homer and two RBI.

It's a raw deal, because Taveras deserved a long enough stint to figure out major league hitting, similar to what George Springer got with the Astros. But the Cardinals are blessed with a loaded offense, and so Taveras -- who was only called up in the first place because Matt Adams got hurt -- was expendable so long as he wasn't hitting. We could see Taveras again at some point this season, although he obviously isn't worth hanging onto at this point.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Gregory Polanco, who was simply brilliant in the Pirates' 13-inning victory over the Marlins. Polanco went 5-for-7 and hit a game-winning two-run homer. Through four games, the Pirates outfielder is hitting .381 with five runs, a homer and three RBI. To say he looks legit would be an understatement, and the best part is that we haven't even seen maybe his best attribute yet: his speed. Polanco is a true five-tool stud, and Friday's performance could be the start of a rampage against major league pitching.

And of course, if you had to choose between picking up Polanco and Taveras at the start of the season, for your sake, I hope you chose the Pirate.

For Your Consideration

● Not to be outdone, Starling Marte -- thrust into the No. 2 slot behind Polanco -- was fantastic, going 4-for-7 with two RBI, three runs, a homer and a steal. He didn't even strikeout once. Marte has had a rough season, but hitting in between Polanco and McCutchen could free him up to see pitches he ordinarily might not get. After this showing, it's hard to see Clint Hurdle moving him out of the two-hole for the foreseeable future.

● The good Ubaldo Jimenez showed up against the Blue Jays, holding them to two runs over six innings, though he was unable to attain a win. Jimenez might be the most erratic inconsistent pitcher in baseball; in his last nine starts, he's given up two runs or less six times and five runs or more three times. The fact that he's given up 10 walks compared to just four strikeouts over his last two starts should scare owners away from testing the waters on him, even for a stream opportunity.

● Bobby Abreu had a great night for the Mets, going 4-for-4 and driving in two. Back in the early aughts, Abreu was one of the most dynamic hitters in all of baseball, and in 2004, he hit .301 to go with 30 home runs, 118 runs, 105 RBI and 40 steals. Now at 40, Abreu is hitting .318 with his new team, so kudos to him. Unfortunately, he's in something of a platoon in the outfield, and for that reason -- plus his age -- there's no real reason to consider him in even in the deepest of fantasy leagues.

● With Hector Rondon dealing with a sore elbow, Neil Ramirez came on to deliver a shaky save against the Phillies. Rondon, who has a 2.45 ERA, has been mostly fine as the Cubs closer this season. Still, he hasn't pitched in over a week, and it's possible he could be looking at a DL stint. If that's the case, Ramirez would have a modicum of fantasy value as his fill-in. However, the Cubs produce so few save chances anyway that unless Rondon is out for more than a few weeks, there wouldn't be much point in adding Ramirez unless you're desperate for saves.

● Mariners rookie Taijuan Walker will make a minor league start today in triple-A. There's been a lot of focus on hitting prospects so far this season, but Walker may be a bigger deal than any of them, as he's one of the highest-ranked pitching prospects in all of baseball. Walker has had some injury issues and hasn't gotten a chance to taste the big leagues this year. Still, he's at last healthy and could very soon find his way onto the Mariners pitching staff; this is maybe your last chance to stash him, if he's still available in your league.

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