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Fantasy baseball: Prospects to watch

Reds outfielder Jesse Winker hits a go-ahead two-run double

Reds outfielder Jesse Winker hits a go-ahead two-run double during a game against the Brewers on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Cincinnati. Credit: AP / John Minchillo

With the MLB draft in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead to next month’s All-Star break and trade deadline.

In particular, we should start to see more top prospects make their way to the big leagues in the coming weeks.

Brewers outfielder Lewis Brinson is off to a slow start, hitting just .143 in eight games since getting called up. But Rays righthander Jacob Faria, who made his debut on June 7, is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA, 0.966 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in his first three starts.

Here’s a look at some other prospects who have gotten the call or could be on their way up soon.

Amed Rosario, Mets, SS/3B

The Mets have been extremely conservative with their top prospect, despite having major holes on the left side of the infield. After shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and second baseman Neil Walker landed on the disabled list last week, it seemed like as good a time as any to call up Rosario. Instead the Mets went with shortstop-turned-second baseman Gavin Cecchini.

At this point, the Mets don’t have to worry about Rosario reaching Super Two status because he’s been down for more than 65 service days this season, which is a big reason many teams keep some top prospects down in the minors longer than perhaps they deserve to be there. The latest reason general manager Sandy Alderson gave for not promoting Rosario was that the Mets are comfortable with what they currently have.

Rosario, the No. 5 prospect on Baseball America’s 2017 top 100 list, has slashed .327/.370/.484 with seven home runs, 48 RBIs, 42 runs and 12 stolen bases in 281 at-bats with Triple-A Las Vegas.

When Rosario finally gets the call, expect him to move right into a starting role.

Yoan Moncada, White Sox, 2B

After getting off to a strong start to the season, hitting .331 in his first 34 games with Triple-A Charlotte, Moncada suffered a thumb injury that sent him to the seven-day disabled list. In his first 18 games back, Moncada, hit just .143, but he finally seems to have turned things around. The 22-year-old is 9-for-21 with a home run, five RBIs and six runs in his last five games.

Yolmer Sanchez, who has mostly filled in at second base with Tyler Saladino on the disabled list, has held his own, slashing .283/.335/.412 with three home runs, 18 RBIs and 25 runs in 56 games, but Moncada, Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect, would be a significant upgrade.

Moncada is expected to be a four-category contributor with All-Star potential. It seems the nagging thumb injury is what’s holding him back, but once he proves he’s healthy, he could be on his way up.

Luke Weaver, Cardinals, RHP

After Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes was forced to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery in February, Weaver became the arm worth watching for St. Louis this year. In nine starts with Triple-A Memphis, Weaver is 6-1 with a 2.33 ERA, 0.993 WHIP and 51 strikeouts over 46 1/3 innings.

It’s virtually impossible to make it through the season with just five starting pitchers. Outside of the Cardinals’ rotation, the only pitcher to make a start was Marco Gonzales, who didn’t make it out of the fourth inning and allowed five earned runs on six hits, including three home runs.

If the Cardinals need a starter, Weaver likely will get the call.

Jesse Winker, Reds, OF

The Reds recalled Winker, the team’s No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, on Monday with Zack Cozart and Bronson Arroyo on the disabled list.

Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton have the Reds’ outfield locked down, but with Cincinnati on the road at Tampa Bay to begin the week, Winker could DH the next few games.

Winker has hit .317 with two home runs, 36 RBIs and 24 runs in 64 games with Triple-A Louisville this season. The lack of power is a concern for the corner outfielder, but he’s widely considered the best pure hitter in the Reds’ system.

It remains to be seen if Winker’s here to stay because the Reds have been adamant about making sure he plays every day, which might not be possible going forward with the crowded outfield.


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