As we finish up the all-star break and look towards the second half, who are the players that might be called up that can make an impact to your fantasy team? While the list has thinned out, there are still some hidden gems left.
Here they are…
Corey Seager (SS, LAD)
Jimmy Rollins is slashing .212/.263/.331 in 85 games and after a long and successful career, looks done. On the other hand, Corey Seager is slashing .290/.344/.476 in 62 games in Triple-A and has little left to prove. It’s time for the Dodgers to make the move to allow Seager to adjust to the big leagues before the playoff drive starts. I think the move comes very soon.
Kyle Schwarber (OF/C, CHC)
Fresh off his MVP award in this year’s Futures Game, what else is left for the 22-year-old rookie to prove before he gets his chance for full-time at-bats in the big league? Not much… He’s hit everywhere he’s played including batting .381 in five games in the major leagues. The bat is ready but he has yet to play a game in left field this year. I expect that to happen over the next two weeks and the Cubs to promote him in early August…for good.
Michael Conforto (OF, NYM)
Let’s face it, the Mets are still in it and with their pitching, they are likely going to stay in the hunt for the wildcard all season long. What they can’t do is hit. Enter Michael Conforto who has a plus hit-tool to go along with average current in-game power. The problem is where will he play? Michael Cuddyer could be the odd-man out despite being owed a lot of money. In fact, the Mets could move him for an upgrade somewhere else. The bottom line is they need Conforto. I know that, you know that, and so do the Mets.
Aaron Nola (RHP, Phi)
Aaron Nola has been as good as advertised coming out of LSU. After dominating Double-A, he’s been just as good in Lehigh Valley posting a 2.43 ERA with a 9.10 K/9 and a 2.12 BB/9 in five starts. The Phillies are completely out of it and while there are a lot of financial reasons to keep him in the minors for the entire season, I expect him to be promoted shortly after the late-July bloodletting in Philadelphia. Fantasy owners should only expect 6 to 8 starts with a shutdown in the second week of September. Head-to-head owners need to take note.
Jonathan Gray (RHP, Col)
Jon Gray had a rough start to the season. At the end of April, his ERA stood at 10.70 and prospect evaluators started to quickly lose confidence. Since then, he’s posted a 2.77 ERA and has looked much, much better. What has been disappointing, is his lack of strikeouts. In 53.1 innings, he’s posted a 6.41 K/9. However, it’s the PCL and Albuquerque, so he has to be given somewhat of a pass. Yes, Coors Field is not any easier, but Gray’s stuff is still very, very good and the opportunity is definitely there.
Luis Severino (RHP, NYY)
Triple-A has not been much of a challenge for Luis Severino. In eight starts, he’s posted a 1.59 ERA with a 6.55 K/9 and a 2.38 BB/9. The strikeout rate is slightly down but it could be simply a matter of a small sample size. Severino looks ready and the Yankees are in the hunt. While there’s a chance he could come up as a reliever, I still think the Yankees promote him to the rotation over the next couple of weeks. While he’s only 6-foot tall and doesn’t always pitch in the bottom of the zone, the stuff is premium and he’ll get a ton of strikeouts and should pitch effectively.
Robert Stephenson (RHP, Cin)
The Reds will be sellers at the deadline and Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto will likely be suiting up for other teams on August 1st. Robert Stephenson has been marinated in Double-A for the past three years but finally got his ticket to Triple-A in July. The arsenal is premium but he can struggle with his release point, which will result in too many walks. If you are in need for a high-upside strikeout thrower, Stephenson might be a good gamble for the rest of the season.
Trea Turner (SS, Was)
If you want to think outside of the box, throw a buck down on Trea Turner this weekend. He’s done nothing but hit since being drafted by the Padres last summer and based on his performance at the Futures Game, he looks like he’s about ready. Ian Desmond is dead-man walking and will not be signed next year and oh yeah, is having a terrible season. The Nationals could move him at the deadline and even if they don’t, Turner might be better today. It’s a reach but the stolen base potential is very high and it’s time he gets on fantasy owner’s radar.
J.P. Crawford (SS, Phi)
As with Aaron Nola, there are a lot of financial reasons to keep J.P. Crawford in the minor leagues. However, when a team is in a rebuild-mode and said team charge a lot of money for their tickets, they need to give their fans hope and a plan for the future. Crawford is the type of dynamic athlete that will provide that bridge to the future and show the Phillies fans that there is indeed hope. The hit tool is very advanced and while the in-game power hasn’t shown yet, the swing says it’s in there.
Hector Olivera (3B, LAD)
If it weren’t for a hamstring pull, Hector Olivera would likely already be in the major leagues. He’s been back for the past week in the AZL and should return to Triple-A shortly. He’s big league ready but might only be a part-time player for the Dodgers once he’s promoted unless there is an injury or a trade. I still think a trade makes sense as there is a lot of infield depth in Los Angeles.