Fantasy baseball Prospect Watch: Ranking the best at midseason
With the All-Star break in the rear view mirror and fantasy leagues entering their stretch run, now is as good of a time as ever to look at midseason top prospects lists. SI.com would be remiss if it didn't have one relative to fantasy, so argue away:
1. OF Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins: The 19-year-old has starred in High Class-A since late June. He's on a lightning-fast track, and I predict he can impact fantasy leagues next June.
2. SS Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox: The move up to Triple-A hasn't slowed down the 20-year-old -- he's homered seven times in his 30 games, bringing his season total up to 13. He's big shortstop that can restore some late-90s power to the position.
3. 3B Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins: He has the power to top this list (22 homers), but his 93 strikeouts might cause the 20-year-old to slow down some. Nonetheless, Buxton and Sano are future stars for the Twins.
4. OF Oscar Taveras, St. Louis Cardinals: Everyone loves this Dominican's power potential, but he's had a mildly disappointing Triple-A season. He needs to be healthy for a few weeks before he can be a candidate to help in a pennant race.
5. SP Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles: Tommy John surgery knocked him out until the second half of last year, but once healthy he shouldn't need much more time. His early ligament contruction might be a blessing in disguise.
6. SP Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks: If not for the 44 walks, we would be inclined to guarantee his callup by his 21st birthday (Aug. 10). With Bundy injured, he has a case to be baseball's best pitching prospect.
7. SP Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners: His hot start in Triple-A might help him arrive before either Danny Hultzen or James Paxton now. A scout told Baseball America that Walker is ready for the big leagues right now.
8. OF Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds: The speed merchant is no longer held back by his move to the outfield, but his bat (.243/.300/.331) is keeping him grounded. He is more Vince Coleman by the day, unfortunately.
9. SS Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs: Like Sano, Baez is a free swinger, but the speed and pop at the position intrigues. Starlin Castro better have a good second half, because this 20-year-old is on the rise.
10. SS Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians: He has walked more than he has struck out, he has hit over .300 and he's playing in Double-A at 19 years old. There is no homer potential, but fantasy owners have to like everything else. He can be a poor man's Jose Reyes.
Here are some of the fantasy-worthy notes of the most-owned minor-leaguers right now:
• OF Henry Urrutia, Baltimore Orioles: The next Yasiel Puig? He has gotten the call to Baltimore, so add him in deeper fantasy leagues just in case he lights it up. This Cuban was called up to play.
• OF Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins: He's been hot since coming off the Double-A DL, going 5-for-8 with four runs, two walks and a stolen base. We are going to see him in Miami before this season is over.
• C Travis d'Arnaud, New York Mets: His broken ankle has finally healed, and he should be ready to return to game action soon. I say give him a month in Las Vegas to prove worthy of a call-up. John Buck has cooled off and the Mets want to get their future started sooner than later.
• 3B Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox: What a difference a year makes. Last July you couldn't pry him off fantasy rosters. Now, he cannot get out of Triple-A, hitting just .211 in July (.171 in his past 10 games). Clearly his swing still needs some ironing out.
• 3B Mike Olt, Texas Rangers: He's reportedly part of the Matt Garza trade talks with the Cubs. Josh Vitters returning from the DL in Triple-A soon, but the Cubs might not see the former No. 1 pick at the hot corner. Olt has finally gotten hot in Triple-A (.300 in past 10 games) after vision problems earlier this season.
• 1B Jonathan Singleton, Houston Astros: The streaky slugger has been plagued by injuries, inconsistency and strikeouts. Since moving to Triple-A, he's only hit .219.