For those of you in dynasty/keeper leagues and those of you looking for a boost come the fantasy baseball playoffs — so that means all of you, right? — rookie and prospect callups can lead to big rewards.
The problem is not having background on players when they make your fantasy providers list of active players. We’ve got some news on 10 big rookie names that could help your team before this season is over:
Danny Espinosa — Easily one of the top prospects in the Nationals system, Espinosa was recently promoted to AAA after accumulating 18 homers and 20 steals at AA. In 2009 the shortstop had 18 homers, 29 steals and 31 doubles. His average (.260) could develop, but if he can put up HR/SB numbers like that, we should all keep an eye on the former third-rounder (2008). He could be a September callup according to Washington brass.
Michael Brantley — Recalled from AAA and will bat leadoff while playing center field for the Indians. Brantley, who was a seventh-round pick, had 35 steals in 2007, 28 in ’08 and 46 in ’09. He also has a .303 career batting average in the minors. He could provide a nice speed boost.
Dale Thayer — Will likely be called up to replace Carlos Pena on the active roster. In 11 games with the Rays in 2009, Thayer had one save, but it’s what he’s done so far this season that has everyone so excited. Thayer is 2-1 with a 3.35 ERA and 44Ks to just 18 walks in 45.2 innings. He won’t unseat Rafael Soriano for the closer job, but he could take the job eventually (he had 17 saves in the minors in ’09). For now, he is just an RP. Unless he goes nuts in his stint, he’s not a must-add.
Carlos Santana — Reconstructive knee surgery is out, but he was operated on this week. Santan a will still need 4-6 months for full recovery and is done for the season. Santana hit .260 with six homers, 22 RBI and 13 doubles in 2010.
Michael Taylor — Could be an Athletics September callup from AAA. Everyone should take note. Taylor was Baseball America’s No. 29 preseason prospect after hitting .320 with 20 homers, 21 steals, 28 doubles and 84 RBIs over two levels in 2009. In AAA in 2010, he has hit .270 with five homers, 19 steals and 63 RBI. He’s an OF prospect worth watching for his 30/30 potential alone.
Chris Carter — Less of a threat to steal, but another highly touted Athletics outfield prospect, Carter could also be called up in September. Carter was Baseball America’s No. 28 in the preseason after dominating while playing in AA for most of last season. He scored 108 runs, hit 29 homers, drove in 101 and stole 13 bases while hitting .337. So far this season in AAA, he has hit just .259, but has 26 homers, 81 runs and 84 RBI.
Ernesto Frieri — Has begun his major league career with a 10.2 scoreless inning streak in 12 appearances for the Padres. He has a 0.56 WHIP and 18 Ks to three walks. In AAA this season, he posted a 1.43 ERA with 39Ks and 17 saves in 37.2 innings. He has a career 3.12 ERA and 489Ks in 499.1 innings pitched, mostly as a reliever, in the minors. That’s a lot of minor league innings, but he’s still only 24.
J.P. Arencibia — He’s going to backup Jose Molina, but Arencibia will see some at-bats for a reason. Arencibia was BA’s No. 49 in the preseason. He hit 31 homers and 32 doubles, drove in 79 runs and hit .303 in the minors this season. He’s obviously a top catching prospect and since he’s in the majors now, should be owned in every dynasty league.
Jordan Lyles — Considered the Astros top prospect, Lyles was promoted to AAA this season. Houston has said they’re not ruling out playing Lyles at the end of the season. His statistics in AA were less impressive than they were in single-A by a large margin and he didn’t have nearly as much experience in AA before this move. Let’s see how his AAA innings go before we worry about adding him. Lyles was BA’s No. 91 in the preseason.
James McDonald — Threw six shutout innings for the Pirates on Thursday. his eight Ks were the most of any Pirate pitcher this season. It was his second start of the year and the sixth of his major league career. McDonald’s minor league performance isn’t spectacular, but he’s shown strikeout per inning stuff so far and has 15Ks in 13.2 innings for the Dodgers and Pirates this season.
Mike Minor — The Braves first-round pick in 2009, Minor was recalled to the big league club and will start Monday vs. the Astros. He was a 13th-round pick (Rays, 2006) out of high school. He was better at AAA Gwinnett this season than he was in AA and has posted a 3.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a sizzling 146 Ks in 120.1 innings in 2010.