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Saturday 21st Oct 2017

Okay, it is not Tuesday, but it is June. Thus the time has likely passed when major league clubs have to be concerned with top prospects getting into the top seventeen percent of those players, with between two and three years of major league experience making them eligible for an extra year of arbitration (the “super twos”).

Here is my current list of top prospects in the minor leagues in the order I see them arriving in the major leagues:  possibly as early as this week. Certainly sometime in June for several of them. All of them should be in lineups on a daily basis when they are called up and should be added in AL or NL only leagues. Their use in mixed leagues will depend on how shallow your league is and how many bench spots you have.

  1. Brett Lawrie, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays – Lawrie, who was obtained in the Shawn Marcum deal with Milwaukee, is the top prospect in the Blue Jays organization. He was moved from second base to third base, so there is some learning curve defensively, but the bat IS ready. Lawrie is off to an awesome start at AAA Las Vegas (.354/.413/.677) with fifteen home runs and forty-nine RBI. NOTE – there are several reports saying that Lawrie will be called up this weekend (and he was hit on the hand by a pitch in Tuesday’s game but it is said to be just a bruise)
  2. Dustin Ackley, 2B, Seattle Mariners – Ackley was a very good hitter coming out of the University of North Carolina and was the second overall pick in the 2008 amateur draft. He was moved to second base by the Mariners who steadfastly maintain he will stay there as opposed to moving to the outfield (which would be easier defensively). With June 1 in the mirror Ackley’s arrival in Seattle is imminent. He should provide a plus BA and the potential for double digit HR and SB.
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, San Diego Padres – Rizzo, obtained from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalezdeal, has certainly done everything he can at AAA Tucson  (.371/.452/.720 with fifteen home runs, sixty RBI and five stolen bases in 49 games) to make his case to the Padres. Perhaps Cameron Maybin’s DL stint will convince them to install Rizzo at first base and move Brad Hawpe to the outfield.
  4. Trayvon Robinson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers continue to have less than adequate production from their aggregate in left field. Robinson has come on very quickly as a prospect but his status was helped when Don Mattingly’s first job as a manager was last fall and Robinson, with whom the manager was not familiar, was an outfielder on his AFL Phoenix Desert Dogs. Robinson is currently at .278/.340/.528 with eleven home runs, thirty one RBI, and six stolen bases in seven attempts.
  5. Desmond Jennings, OF, Tampa Bay Rays – Only the Sam Fuld experience has seemingly delayed Jennings’ arrival in Tampa. One of the speediest outfielders in the minors seems to have applied himself at AAA Durham (.267/.371/.466 with eight home runs, 23 RBI and a perfect 9-9 on stolen base attempts in fifty games). We else the Tampa organization has asked him to improve on is unknown, But, given the team's ability to compete this year in the AL East don’t want to bring him up if he won’t be playing every day. Still I think we see him later in the year. (5a. Brandon Guyer – Since Guyer has already been up in Tampa  (one-for-three with a home run and two RBI in his one game in early May) he might be the more logical call-up if Tampa needs an outfielder. Guyer’s numbers at AAA are also impressive [.314/.391/.547 with nine home runs and twenty seven RBI and six stolen bases].)
  6. Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals – Prior to the season I would have thought that Moustakas would be the first Royal and first prospect to be called up this year, but Kansas City got out of the gate quickly and while the first base side struggled, the third base side of the diamond thrived with both Mike Aviles and Wilson Betemit contributing. That and Eric Hosmer’s blazing start (leading the minor leagues with a .429 BA) led to Hosmer being called up earlier than we thought and likely pushing Moustakas back a little. Still the slugging third baseman, who was tied for the minor league lead in home runs last year, will be another piece of the Royals foundation once he arrives. Current stats at AAA Omaha are .281/.349/.495 with nine home runs and forty one RBI.
  7. Jesus Montero, C, New York Yankees – Montero continues to rake at AAA (.309/.344/.438 with four home runs and twenty three RBI) so it really depends on when/if the Yankees decide they need another catcher or perhaps more likely, a trading chip for a major acquisition.
  8. Dayan Viciedo, 3B/OF, Chicago White Sox – From series to series the Pale Hose can’t convince us or themselves whether they are contenders or pretenders which makes it hard to figure out when we might see the former Cuban star. Had Brett Morel not started hitting when Mark Teahen hit the DL perhaps the timetable would have changed? For now Viciedo will continue to learn the outfield – and hit (.305/.353/.518 with nine home runs and forty RBI at AAA Charlotte).
  9. Mike Montgomery,  P, Kansas City Royals – Montgomery has not had a good year at AAA after a great season last year and excellent stints with the USA Pan AM team and the AFL. The result was Danny Duffy getting the first call. Still I expect to see Montgomery early in the second half of the season.
  10. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Cleveland Indians – Chisenhall should really have been at third base to start the season for the Indians in my opinion, but Cleveland chose the veteran Jack Hannahan who like the entire club had a great start. As long as the Indians keep winning without injury it would seem to make any of these excellent infield prospects getting a call unlikely. (10a Jason Kipnis, IF, Cleveland Indians). (10b Cord Phelps, IF, Cleveland Indians)

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