With most waiver wires being picked clean of fantasy relevant talent, owners need to start gambling on those young potential call-ups who could provide a boost of offense to not only their real life team, but you fantasy one. We’ve seen a number of highly touted names make their debut this year, with the Astros Kyle Tucker being the most recent just over a week to go. So, which prospects can we expect to see in the coming weeks?
Eloy Jimenez has been generating a lot of buzz, slashing .304/.385/.478 with a .863 OPS over 13 games in Triple-A. He put up a similar slash line in Double-A, albeit with a much higher slugging percentage. His call-up would seem more imminent if not for a recent adductor injury, but it’s not thought to be serious and Sports Betting Dime has put the odds at 1/3 that the 21-year-old Dominican sees big league action in 2018. A September call-up seems the most likely, but health permitting I would not rule out an appearance sometime in August.
On the mound, teammate Michael Kopech is also a likely promotion candidate. The 2014 former first round draft pick and 2017 futures game participant is currently ranked in the top-10 by MLB.com. His ticket to the big leagues is a blazing fastball that can top out at 100 MPH. It’s no surprise given the heat he has ranked up 122 strikeouts so far this season over 88 innings, and his 12.43 K/9 is not far off what he has averaged since 2016 (12.25). Command will be an ongoing issue (4.81 BB/9), but that is no reason to hold him back. He along with Lucas Giolito and Carlos Rodon could turn Chicago into contenders with a few years of seasoning.
While all eyes are on Fernando Tatis in San Diego, it could be Luis Urias that gets the call. He just turned 21 years old in June yet finds himself in Triple-A among players year’s ahead of him in age. A .304 batting average and 10.90 BB% are his two career standout categories. He is striking out a little more this year (21.08%), but a career 11.22 K% chalks this years rise to typical growing pains. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but his line-drive approach will help do more damage in spacious Petco. The Padres have a big hole up the middle, both offensively and defensively, and there is very little reason for the team not to go all in on the youngster this season.
Atlanta starting pitcher Kolby Allard has little left to prove in the minors and just needs an opening. Of the five major league starters the injury prone Brandon McCarthy seems to be the likeliest to relinquish his role. Allard holds a career 2.97 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 347 innings, and his numbers in Triple-A this year are not far off his career totals (2.85 – 1.22). I do question the strikeout ability with a declining K/9 at each level, but solid command combined with the ability to keep the ball in the yard has helped keep everything in check. With the Braves in a dogfight with the Phillies for the NL East and every game being a must win, you can bet Atlanta calls upon their most consistent arm should McCarthy remain on the shelf.
Like Allard above, Willie Calhoun just needs an opening. With the Rangers playing for draft position they could, and very well should, be sellers at the deadline. Once that happens Calhoun will get the call. He has come up short in the power department in 2018, but he has matched his doubles total from the previous two seasons in 100 fewer at bats. He is also maintaining that .300 batting average displayed last season in Triple-A between the Dodgers and Rangers. And unlike some hitters, Calhoun has actually lowered his strikeout rate from High-A through Triple-A. Regardless of how the team feels about him defensively, they will find a way to get his bat in the lineup.
I was tempted to add Vladimir Guerrero Jr. here, and his .407/.457/.667 slash line over 235 at bats in Double-A says he is more than qualified. However, something tells me the Jays will wait until next year in an effort to extend their control over him. Look for Guerrero to be in the majors this time next year.
Who are some of the players you expect to see in the second half? Sound off in the comment section below.
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