David Sabino
Thursday July 8th, 2010

Nine For Now

Whether they received midseason call-ups, earned promotions on the depth chart or have landed in a much better situation for both themselves and their new team, these young players, all with fewer than 200 trips to the plate thus far this season, are all worth exploring for your fantasy team both for now and into the future.

For more insights, follow SI's fantasy expert David Sabino on Twitter at SI_DavidSabino.

1Buster Posey, Giants
Buster Posey, Giants
Had the Giants known that the rookie would go on this kind of a tear once Bengie Molina was traded, they probably would've gotten rid of the veteran much sooner. In seven games since San Francisco's 2009 cleanup hitter was shipped to Texas for reliever Chris Ray, his replacement behind the plate has been other-worldly, going 12-for-24 with four home runs, nine runs batted in and eight runs scored. A significant portion of that damage came Wednesday night, when he blasted two home runs, including a grand slam as part of a 4-for-4, 6-RBI dismantling of the Brewers.
 
2Carlos Santana, Indians
Carlos Santana, Indians
Given that they're both switch-hitting catchers who hit both for average and power, comparisons between Santana, 24, and Victor Martinez are going to be natural throughout his time in Cleveland. If the early results are any indication, Santana, 24, will hold his own nicely. While Martinez has hit .289/.344/.480 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs for Boston, Santana is at .284/.422/.593 with six home runs and 16 runs driven in over one third fewer at bats. Santana is a must-have target, especially in keeper leagues.
 
3Tyler Colvin, Cubs
Tyler Colvin, Cubs
There hasn't been much to be optimistic about on the North Side this season, except perhaps for Colvin, a rookie who has regularly barged his way into Lou Piniella's lineup at all three outfield positions since the end of May. Tied with Detroit's Brennan Boesch for the rookie home run lead with 12, Colvin is going yard once every 14.25 at bats, the most for any neophyte with at least 100 at-bats. He places second on the Cubs in home runs and fourth in RBI's despite making just 186 trips to the dish.
 
4Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
The second pick of the '08 amateur draft, from Vanderbilt, Alvarez is the most highly-anticipated position player to come through the Pirates organization since Barry Bonds and the cornerstone of Pittsburgh's rebuilding process. However he struggled mightily in his first taste of the big leagues until recently, when he went on an eight-game hitting streak and drilled the first two of what should be many career home runs. The ride may be bumpy, but he's well worth a pickup in all leagues.
 
5Jayson Nix, Indians
Jayson Nix, Indians
Once regarded as the Rockies' second baseman of the future, Nix has turned into the wire pickup of the year in the majors, having seized control of the Indians starting second baseman gig while blasting five home runs over his last five games. In this recent stretch, the former White Sox utility man, who blasted 12 home runs in just 255 at-bats in '09 has raised his batting average 33 points and his slugging percentage another 149 and is slugging .756 since arriving on the shores of Lake Erie.
 
6Michael Saunders, Mariners
Michael Saunders, Mariners
Overmatched for much of his first stint in the big leagues last season, Saunders, a five-tool outfielder has returned to the Mariners with much better results. Since joining the anemic M's offense on May 7, Saunders has led the team in home runs and is tied with Ichiro with 21 RBIs to set the pace. In 122 at-bats over 46 games last year he hit no home runs, drove in four runs, scored 13 times and slugged .279. This year in 127 at-bats over the same 46 games he has those seven home runs, 21 RBIs, 19 runs scored and is slugging .425, making him an intriguing piece to consider for an open spot on your bench.
 
7Dayan Viciedo, White Sox
Dayan Viciedo, White Sox
He may be just a rookie at the start of his big league career, but Viciedo, 21, has been playing professional ball in his native Cuba since the age of 15. Although he has just one home run in his first dozen games for Chicago, new regular third baseman blasted 14 home runs in 238 at-bats for Triple A Charlotte and has great power potential in the second half of this season and beyond. Although he's hitting just .203/.263/.333 in his first 20 games, he's going no where but up, and with the White Sox record 9-3 since his arrival, he'll be given every chance to succeed.
 
8Chris Johnson, Astros
Chris Johnson, Astros
Since being recalled from Round Rock as part of the Astros youth movement, Johnson has been on a tear, ripping the cover off the ball to the tune of .354/.380/.479. However the one thing that's been missing from his repertoire is power, something that's hard to believe given that he tagged spring training pitchers for eight home runs and 22 RBIs. There's little doubt that the third baseman who hit another eight home runs for the Triple A Express, will break through with power shortly and you can be there when he does.
 
9Jose Tabata, Pirates
Jose Tabata, Pirates
The biggest asset that Tabata, 21, has displayed thus far during his first month in the majors is speed, swiping seven of his nine theft attempts. Toiling in the minors since he was signed as a 16-year old by the Yankees, he's now firmly entrenched as the Pirates leftfielder. He's batting only .235 but has been a .300 hitter throughout most of his minor league career and should score plenty of runs hitting in front of Neil Walker (whom he barely beat out for the final slot on this list), Garrett Jones and the aforementioned Alvarez.

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