Note: Don't whiff on this special FanDuel offer. Win your first contest or get your money back (up to $10) to keep playing Try FanDuel now!
You like what Julio Urias has been doing lately? Really beginning to shine, isn't he?
Yeah, well, don't get too attached. The 19-year-old's days in the starting rotation are numbered. And that number is most likely one.
Manager Dave Roberts has been hinting at it for a while now. Urias will start Wednesday against the Nationals, and then ...
"We'll see where we're at," Roberts has said.
What exactly that means is anybody's guess, but the general assumption is the Dodgers will take some measure to curtail Urias' innings, whether it's sending him to the bullpen, sending him to the minors or even shutting him down for the time being. And whatever direction they decide to go, they'll need someone to fill his spot.
The ideal choice would be Hyun-Jin Ryu, who's been working his way back from a torn labrum in his shoulder, but he's sitting in the mid-80s on his rehab assignment after throwing in the low 90s prior to the injury.
"You want to get the average up a little bit higher," Roberts told the O.C. Register, noting that Ryu needed to hit at least 88 mph to get back to the majors (not to mention the future).
Brandon McCarthy, who's rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery, is another possibility, but the Dodgers' best options may be two pitchers still working their way up the minor-league ladder: Frankie Montas and Jose De Leon.
Montas, who came to the Dodgers with Trayce Thompson in a three-team trade involving Todd Frazier this offseason, is also recovering from surgery, having had a rib removed in February, but he's back to throwing 100 mph and has struck out 15 while issuing just two walks over 11 1/3 innings. Roberts did mention Montas by name, perhaps because the 23-year-old saw some time in the majors with the White Sox last season, but the pitcher Fantasy owners really need to watch out for is Jose De Leon, last year's breakout pitching prospect who in four starts since returning from ankle and shoulder injuries is sporting a 2.40 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City of the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
De Leon isn't one of my five on the verge given all the roadblocks, but he's on the verge of being on the verge since I'm not confident any of those other options will stick. And because of the time he lost to injury, he should have plenty of innings left in the tank.
Five on the verge
(These are the prospects most worth stashing in redraft leagues.)
Tyler Glasnow, SP, Pirates
2015 stats: 7-5, 2.39 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 109 1/3 IP, 43 BB, 136 K
2016 stats: 6-2, 1.75 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 77 IP, 42 BB, 92 K
Jameson Taillon finally looks like he's in the majors to stay, which means all eyes are on Glasnow, the more electric pitcher of the two but also the more flawed, judging by his walk rate. He allowed six walks over six innings in his most recent start Friday, but just as notable, he allowed zero hits and has allowed two or fewer in five of his 14 starts this season. Pitching coach Ray Searage is known for getting wild pitchers under control, but Glasnow has to be in Pittsburgh to work with him.
Trea Turner, 2B, Nationals
2015 stats: .322 BA (454 AB), 8 HR, 29 SB, .828 OPS
2016 stats: .292 BA (250 AB), 3 HR, 21 SB, .795 OPS
All's quiet on the Trea Turner front after the fakeout from a couple weeks ago. The purported reason for his expulsion is that he needs to close the gap on Danny Espinosa defensively, but lately it seems like Espinosa has closed the gap on Turner offensively, homering nine times in his past 22 games. That's about all Espinosa brings to the table -- only two true outcomes for this guy -- but if the Nationals were compelled to stick with him when he was a zero at the plate, why not now?
Alex Bregman, SS, Astros
2015 stats: .294 BA (272 AB), 4 HR, .781 OPS, 29 BB, 30 K
2016 stats: .304 BA (214 AB), 14 HR, .981 OPS, 34 BB, 21 K
You can understand why the Astros wouldn't want to rush their top pick from a year ago to the majors, but how is he not at Triple-A yet? With that strikeout-to-walk ratio, he's just toying with Double-A pitchers. I'm not sure whether to take his stagnation as a good sign (the Astros don't feel like he should even bother with Triple-A, which is the way it goes for some prospects) or a bad sign, but now that Luis Valbuena is mashing in the majors (.316 with six homers and a 1.001 OPS in 22 games), the path for Bregman isn't so clear.
A.J. Reed, 1B, Astros
2015 stats: .340 BA (523 AB), 34 HR, 1.044 OPS, 86 BB, 122 K
2016 stats: .256 BA (207 AB), 9 HR, .826 OPS, 28 BB, 56 K
The path is certainly clear for Reed, but even with Tyler White out of the picture, he just doesn't seem to be a priority. To be fair, he hasn't made himself one, struggling to adapt to Triple-A after putting up monster numbers between high Class A and Double-A last year, but he has shown signs of life lately, batting .326 (15 for 46) with two homers and a .985 OPS over his last 11 games. One thing's for sure: Marwin Gonzalez isn't a starting first baseman for a team with playoff aspirations, so the Astros must have something in mind.
Lucas Giolito, SP, Nationals
2015 stats: 10-2, 2.20 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 98 IP, 28 BB, 110 K
2016 stats: 5-3, 2.71 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 66 1/3 IP, 30 BB, 69 K
In case you couldn't tell, no prospect of obvious Fantasy merit is exactly begging for a promotion right now, so if you have a roster spot to play with, you might as well go the upside route with Giolito, who may have re-established himself as the next in line for the Nationals with his turnaround at Double-A Harrisburg. After struggling with his command early, he has a 1.45 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings in his last five starts, going six innings or more in five them. And just like that, the game's best pitching prospect appears to be back on track.
"The one thing I look at is how he reacts when he gives up a hit or a walk, or a play isn't made behind him, or he's behind in the count," one manager in the Eastern League recently told Baseball America. "Before, you could see that frustration build, and he'd get mad at himself for not executing a pitch or not executing his delivery. Now, you see him get the ball, get back on the mound and get back right into the zone."
Five on the periphery
(These are some other prospects doing something of note.)
Reynaldo Lopez, SP, Nationals
2015 stats: 6-7, 4.09 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 99 IP, 28 BB, 94 K
2016 stats: 2-5, 3.56 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 68 1/3 IP, 23 BB, 90 K
I featured Lopez in this section of the last Prospects Report and normally like to mix it up a little more than that, but since then, he has contributed another 13-strikeout effort, his third start in five with at least a dozen strikeouts. And for a prospect whose numbers have always lagged behind his stuff, that's a game-changer. The 22-year-old appears to be breaking out in a big way, and if the other owners in your dynasty league haven't caught on to it yet, you might want to put in a claim for him. You won't find too many pitchers who control a 100-mph fastball the way he does.
Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates
2015 stats: .310 BA (533 AB), 7 HR, 21 SB, .781 OPS, 43 BB, 84 K
2016 stats: .318 BA (176 AB), 7 HR, 9 SB, .999 OPS, 16 BB, 32 K
So I've been hearing about Austin Meadows' hit streak for several weeks now -- that's what happens with the ones that last 26 games -- but only recently has it taken such an impressive turn. In his past 13 games, including two since his promotion to Triple-A, he has six home runs. That's compared to one in his first 34 games and seven in 127 games last year. The ninth overall pick in the 2013 draft has always hit, but the slow-to-develop power has helped contain the hype. If this continues, the Pirates may try to shop Andrew McCutchen this offseason.
Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates
2015 stats: .317 BA (489 AB), 7 HR, .838 OPS, 65 BB, 65 K
2016 stats: .319 BA (248 AB), 10 HR, .928 OPS, 34 BB, 48 K
Speaking of slow-to-develop power, the pressure has been on Bell, also a steady hitter for average in the minors, to show some since his move to first base last season. And like with Meadows, it's happening all of a sudden. Of his 10 home runs this season, five have come in his past 13 games. He's batting .404 (19 for 47) during that stretch. His plate discipline predicts an easy transition to the majors, and at 23, he's a candidate to step in if John Jaso doesn't snap out of his slump.
Adalberto Mejia, SP, Giants
2015 stats: 5-2, 2.45 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 51 1/3 IP, 18 BB, 38 K
2016 stats: 4-2, 1.75 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 72 IP, 16 BB, 66 K
There's no telling how much time Matt Cain will miss with a return trip to the DL for the same hamstring injury a week ago, but if it's for any length of time, you'd think the Giants would want to try someone a little more promising than Albert Suarez. Mejia is a perfect candidate. The left-hander threw seven shutout innings in his debut for Triple-A Sacramento Saturday, striking out eight and walking none, after compiling a 1.94 ERA in 11 starts at Double-A Richmond. For a hard-throwing lefty, the control in particular stands out.
"He was very poised," Triple-A manager Jose Alguacil told MLB.com. "He looked confident and like he belonged, not only here but a level above."
Ryon Healy, 3B, Athletics
2015 stats: .302 BA (507 AB), 10 HR, .766 OPS, 30 BB, 82 K
2016 stats: .338 BA (272 AB), 13 HR, .990 OPS, 27 BB, 61 K
Healy hasn't gotten much attention this year, and it's true the Athletics have had their share of prospect fakeouts over the years since their minor-league system is loaded with hitter-friendly venues. But Double-A Midland isn't one of them, and that's where Healy spent more than half of this season, posting almost the exact same batting average (.338) and an even better OPS (1.036) than he has had at Triple-A Nashville of the heavy-hitting Pacific Coast League. At 24, he could find himself with a prominent role when the last-place Athletics start selling off pieces.