Prospects Report: Patience is a virtue with prospects

You Fantasy Baseball owners are truly a fickle bunch. Take a user feedback on for Alexei Ramirez on Thursday: "Sorry. He's hitting a buck-30 and no walks. He killed me all last year, too. He's ... outta here! Juan Uribe ... COME ON DOWN!"

So, a player who was picked No. 129 overall in a standard Rotisserie league is on the waiver wire for a journeyman that wasn't drafted in the top 395 players on average. Someone in your league thanks you for cutting that streaky Cuban Missile that could pop off big time this summer.

That knee-jerk overreaction extends to prospects as well. While baseball front offices use the first third of the season (two months until June 1) to evaluate "what they have," the impatient Fantasy owners clamor for the next big things to arrive before May 1. They just hate watching veteran has-beens and never-will-bes block the elite prospects. We agree, albeit with far more patience.

Before we feed further into that phenomenon, we figured we would drop a quote on you from manager Terry Francona on Wednesday with regard to the yet again slow-starting David Ortiz

"It's not Fantasy Baseball, and it's not like chess pieces," Francona said. "Guys need time to settle in. If I don't let 'em settle in, it's just going to prolong what we're going through."

Amen, Tito. You Fantasy knee-jerks, listen up.

Now to the hot tub hype machine ...

There are a few players who have gotten off to good starts in Triple-A while their major league counterparts are playing their way to the bench, or the highway. We outline them here:

1. Indians catcher

Who's hot: Carlos Santana homered four times in the first four games of the Triple-A season and is a combined 11-for-26 (.423). He is the slugging catcher of the future for the Indians and that future figured to be June 1. It could come before now, because ...
Who's not: Lou Marson , the Indians' current starting rookie catcher, has started 1-for-16 (.063). It shouldn't take much to make him Santana's full-time backup backstop, if not switching lockers between Triple-A and the majors.

2. Blue Jays first baseman

Who's hot: Brett Wallace is playing first base in Triple-A instead of third, but it might not matter. Both of those positions are struggling out of the gate for the Blue Jays. Wallace isn't. He is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with three homers (in his past five games).
Who's not: Lyle Overbay entered the season as one of the least impressive starting first basemen in baseball and has made that statement hold up by going 3-for-34 (.088) through play Wednesday. His lack of pop or consistency make it difficult for a team to slot him as a first baseman. That is a run-producing position, not an out-producing position. Edwin Encarnacion isn't that much more impressive across the diamond at .219, but he has been better in recent games at least. Also, Wallace apparently is not capable enough defensively to play third in the majors.

3. Mets first baseman

Who's hot: Ike Davis , the son of former major league Ron Davis, had the New York media buzzing this spring, but didn't do enough to force the scuffling Mets to slot him as their everyday first baseman on opening day, even with Daniel Murphy (knee) opening the season on the DL. Davis' impressive spring has carried over in Triple-A, where he has gone 8-for-23 (.348) with two homers and four doubles (.739 SLUG). The more impressive part of his fast start is seven walks and just three strikeouts to date. The former first-round pick could be real good after his power breakthrough in 2009 (.298 with 20 homers) in 429 at-bats between high Class A and Double-A.
Who's not: Mike Jacobs has pop from the left side, but it comes at the expense of a terribly low average and on-base percentage. He is in the Overbay class of out-maker, hitting .167 (3-for-18) and playing his typical butcher-quality first base with what should otherwise be a pretty good Mets infield defensively.

4. Pirates third baseman

Who's hot: Pedro Alvarez came out like gangbusters in Triple-A, hitting three homers with seven RBI in his first two games. He hasn't homered or driven in a run since, but his 7-for-28 (.250) with a .364 OBP and .607 SLUG is still pretty threatening to the player the Pirates have in the majors.
Who's not: Andy LaRoche started the season 1-for-13 before stringing some hits together and getting his statline up to .222 (6-for-27) with a homer, four walks and four runs scored. It isn't great, but it is perhaps enough to fend off the eventual full-timer Alvarez from getting his name chanted during blowouts in Pittsburgh.

5. Rangers first baseman

Who's hot: Justin Smoak homered twice in the first three games and has gone 8-for-24 (.333) with a .500 OBP (eight walks to two strikeouts).
Who's not: (Crush) Chris Davis is looking more like his first-half than second-half self, starting 6-for-29 (.207) with no homers. We still like him, but it has to be tough for Smoak owners to watch the Triple-A guy outperform the guy blocking him in the majors, like all those guys above.

Most added minor leaguers
Player Ownership % Change
1. Carlos Santana , C, CLE 35% +6%
2. Pedro Alvarez , 3B, PIT 31% +4%
3. Aroldis Chapman , SP, CIN 74% +1%
4. Domonic Brown , OF, PHI 13% +1%
5. Martin Perez , SP, TEX 10% +1%

Notice the organizations all of the names above are employed by. They are all rebuilding teams, save for the Rangers, that don't figure to go anywhere soon. We have seen some elite prospects arrive before June 1 from the minor leagues, like Robinson Cano (around May 1) and Evan Longoria (April 15), but the Yankees and Rays were contenders those years. It will take more than a one-week hot streak for any prospects on a non-contender to get a call, so merely make note of these guys or stash them in deeper leagues.

Notice we didn't mention Aroldis Chapman or Stephen Strasburg in this story, at least until now. Their pitch-count-controlled starts were impressive, but debuting in the minors has little to do with who is blocking them. They can arrive whenever their major league teams feel saucy enough to unleash them. And, no, it likely won't happen until after May 1 at the earliest.

Major league teams just aren't as overreactive as Fantasy owners.

Prospect watch

Eeach week we break down all the minor leaguers who are owned in at least 1 percent of our Fantasy leagues. This will be your essential guide to unearthing the elite prospects before they hit the big time.'s most-owned minor leaguers
Player POS TM Own% Player POS TM Own% Player POS TM Own%
Stephen Strasburg SP WAS 85 Aaron Poreda RP SD 3 Steve Pearce 1B PIT 1
Aroldis Chapman SP CIN 74 Matt Dominguez 3B FLA 3 Eric Arnett SP MIL 1
Buster Posey C SF 42 Grant Green SS OAK 3 Mark Melancon RP NYY 1
Carlos Santana C CLE 35 Shelby Miller SP STL 3 Max Stassi C OAK 1
Pedro Alvarez 3B PIT 31 Ben Revere CF MIN 3 Ryan Kalish CF BOS 1
Madison Bumgarner SP SF 29 Josh Reddick LF BOS 3 Greg Halman RF SEA 1
Desmond Jennings CF TB 23 Chris Withrow SP LA 3 Chris Nelson SS COL 1
Giancarlo Stanton RF FLA 23 Chris Marrero LF WAS 3 Henry Rodriguez RP OAK 1
Chris Tillman SP BAL 22 Jaff Decker OF SD 3 A.J. Pollock CF ARI 1
Justin Smoak 1B TEX 19 Tony Sanchez C PIT 2 Alex Colome SP TB 1
Kyle Drabek SP TOR 18 Brandon McCarthy SP TEX 2 Bobby Borchering 3B ARI 1
Jesus Montero C NYY 17 Alex White SP CLE 2 Hak-Ju Lee SS CHC 1
Jeremy Hellickson SP TB 16 Ethan Martin SP LA 2 Jason Donald SS CLE 1
Chris Carter 1B OAK 16 Wilson Ramos C MIN 2 Jeremy Jeffress SP MIL 1
Brett Wallace 3B TOR 15 James Darnell 3B SD 2 Angel Villalona 3B SF 1
Drew Storen RP WAS 15 Josh Lindblom SP LA 2 Joe Savery SP PHI 1
Starlin Castro SS CHC 14 Jemile Weeks 2B OAK 2 Chris Carter LF NYM 1
Domonic Brown RF PHI 13 Simon Castro SP SD 2 Roger Kieschnick LF SF 1
Michael Taylor LF OAK 12 Mike Minor SP ATL 2 Noel Arguelles SP KC 1
Dustin Ackley 1B SEA 12 Armando Galarraga SP DET 2 Logan Forsythe 3B SD 1
Ike Davis 1B NYM 12 Hank Conger C ANA 2 Lance Lynn SP STL 1
Martin Perez SP TEX 10 Nick Hagadone SP CLE 2 Nick Noonan SS SF 1
Logan Morrison 1B FLA 10 Zach Britton SP BAL 2 Kam Mickolio RP BAL 1
Fernando Martinez OF NYM 9 Scott Elbert RP LA 2 Dellin Betances SP NYY 1
Jack Cust LF OAK 9 Danny Valencia 3B MIN 2 Matt Maloney SP CIN 1
Eric Young 2B COL 9 Mike Trout CF ANA 2 Mark Rogers SP MIL 1
Mike Aviles SS KC 9 Jason Knapp SP CLE 2 Ryan Strieby 1B DET 1
Christian Friedrich SP COL 9 Max Ramirez C TEX 2 Troy Patton SP BAL 1
Daniel Hudson SP CHW 9 Adrian Cardenas SS OAK 2 Sean O'Sullivan SP ANA 1
Yonder Alonso 1B CIN 8 Daniel McCutchen SP PIT 2 Ryan Roberts 2B ARI 1
Derek Holland SP TEX 8 Nick Weglarz RF CLE 2 Kevin Pucetas SP SF 1
Casey Kelly SP BOS 8 Beau Mills 1B CLE 2 Brad Kilby RP OAK 1
Jason Castro C HOU 8 Andrew Cashner SP CHC 2 Josh Fields RP SEA 1
Josh Bell 3B BAL 7 Trevor Reckling RP ANA 2 Tyson Gillies RF PHI 1
Tim Beckham SS TB 7 Wade LeBlanc SP SD 2 David Purcey SP TOR 1
Freddie Freeman 1B ATL 7 Brad Lincoln SP PIT 2 Wilin Rosario C COL 1
Tyler Flowers C CHW 7 Jeanmar Gomez SP CLE 2 Josh Thole C NYM 1
Jake Arrieta SP BAL 7 Rick VandenHurk SP FLA 2 Ivan De Jesus SS LA 1
Mike Moustakas 3B KC 6 Miguel Sano SS MIN 2 Jess Todd RP CLE 1
Jarrod Parker SP ARI 6 Brett Jackson CF CHC 2 Austin Romine C NYY 1
Jacob Turner SP DET 6 Jose Iglesias SS BOS 2 Matt Sweeney 3B TB 1
Hank Blalock 1B TB 6 Sean West SP FLA 2 Chad James SP FLA 1
Aaron Hicks OF MIN 6 Thomas Neal LF SF 2 Shairon Martis SP WAS 1
Josh Vitters 3B CHC 6 Zach Stewart SP TOR 2 Kevin Mulvey SP ARI 1
Carlos Carrasco SP CLE 6 Kila Ka'aihue DH KC 2 Adam Miller SP CLE 1
Brett Cecil SP TOR 5 Jordan Walden SP ANA 2 Billy Buckner SP ARI 1
Lars Anderson 1B BOS 5 Jared Mitchell CF CHW 2 Zach McAllister SP NYY 1
Aaron Crow SP KC 5 Travis Wood SP CIN 2 Neil Walker 3B PIT 1
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B CLE 5 Alex Liddi 3B SEA 2 Vin Mazzaro SP OAK 1
Brett Lawrie 2B MIL 5 Matt Antonelli 2B SD 2 Conor Gillaspie 3B SF 1
Todd Frazier OF CIN 5 Jake McGee SP TB 2 Andrew Lambo LF LA 1
Phillippe Aumont SP PHI 5 Kyle Gibson SP MIN 2 Peter Bourjos CF ANA 1
Tyler Matzek SP COL 5 Arodys Vizcaino SP ATL 2 Donnie Veal RP PIT 1
Michael Bowden RP BOS 5 James McDonald RP LA 2 David Cooper 1B TOR 1
Mike Montgomery SP KC 5 Jordan Lyles SP HOU 2 Wes Hodges 3B CLE 1
Brandon Allen 1B ARI 5 Trevor May SP PHI 1 Angel Salome C MIL 1
Emilio Bonifacio 3B FLA 5 Will Inman SP SD 1 Jay Jackson SP CHC 1
Jhoulys Chacin RP COL 5 Dan Cortes SP SEA 1 Chris Valaika SS CIN 1
Tim Alderson SP PIT 5 William Rowell 3B BAL 1 Andrew Brackman SP NYY 1
Dayan Viciedo 3B CHW 4 Chris Duncan LF WAS 1 Travis d'Arnaud C TOR 1
Tanner Scheppers SP TEX 4 Wilkin Ramirez LF DET 1 Josh Anderson CF CIN 1
J.P. Arencibia C TOR 4 Hector Gomez SS COL 1 Gorkys Hernandez CF PIT 1
Julio Teheran SP ATL 4 Kyle Skipworth C FLA 1 Michael Main SP TEX 1
Eric Hosmer 1B KC 4 Jiovanni Mier SS HOU 1 Deolis Guerra SP MIN 1
Michael Saunders LF SEA 4 Rich Hill SP STL 1 Casey Weathers RP COL 1
Dee Gordon SS LA 4 Brandon Snyder 1B BAL 1 Glen Perkins SP MIN 1
Casey Crosby SP DET 4 Danny Espinosa SS WAS 1 Daryl Jones CF STL 1
Juan Francisco 3B CIN 4 Daniel Schlereth RP DET 1 Fautino De Los Santos RP OAK 1
Chris Heisey CF CIN 4 Micah Hoffpauir 1B CHC 1 Brandon Erbe SP BAL 1
Donavan Tate CF SD 4 Garrett Mock SP WAS 1 Scott Lewis SP CLE 1
Derek Norris C WAS 4 Aaron Cunningham RF SD 1 Engel Beltre CF TEX 1
Matt Moore SP TB 4 Ruben Tejada SS NYM 1 Jose Ceda RP FLA 1
Hector Rondon SP CLE 4 Michael Burgess RF WAS 1 Mike MacDougal RP WAS 1
Michael Ynoa SP OAK 3 Jordan Danks CF CHW 1 Reese Havens SS NYM 1
Wilmer Flores SS NYM 3 Craig Kimbrel RP ATL 1 Ryan Tucker SP FLA 1
Justin Maxwell CF WAS 3 Jonathan Lucroy C MIL 1 Chad Jenkins SP TOR 1
Ryan Westmoreland OF BOS 3 Anthony Slama RP MIN 1 Anthony Rizzo 1B BOS 1
Andrew Miller SP FLA 3 Kasey Kiker SP TEX 1 Brent Morel 3B CHW 1
Carlos Triunfel SS SEA 3 Aaron Miller SP LA 1 John Mayberry LF PHI 1
Jose Tabata LF PIT 3 Bradley Holt SP NYM 1 Mike Carp 1B SEA 1

Rookie watch

Top AL rookies to date

  1. Neftali Feliz , RP, TEX -- Taking over for closer Frank Francisco gives him a legit AL ROY shot and makes him a must-have.
  2. Austin Jackson , OF, DET -- He is way out in front of any other hitter in the AL right now and is a viable mixed league option.
  3. Scott Sizemore , 2B, DET -- Steady but not spectacular to date, which is about what you should expect out of him long term.
  4. Brian Matusz , SP, BAL -- He was outstanding for seven innings last time out, but he lost it a bit in the eighth inning.
  5. Joaquin Arias , RP, TEX -- He has taken advantage of Ian Kinsler injury and has earned super utility status when he returns.
  • Honorable mentions: Reid Brignac , 2B, TB; Tyson Ross , RP, OAK and Sergio Santos , RP, CHW

Top NL rookies to date

  1. Jason Heyward , OF, ATL -- He has seen some highs and lows, but his solid start makes us believe he can hit 25 HRs.
  2. Mike Leake , SP, CIN -- Despite the walks, a solid debut makes him a solid flier in all mixed leagues right now.
  3. Jaime Garcia , SP, STL -- He will fly under the radar below those two above, but he might be even more consistent.
  4. Alcides Escobar , SS, MIL -- He has yet to steal a base -- the main reason you bought into him -- but his bat is starting nicely.
  5. Gaby Sanchez , 1B, FLA -- My colleague Scott White takes Daric Barton over him, but I think Sanchez has more value.
  • Honorable mentions: David Freese , 3B, STL; Ian Desmond , SS, WAS; Tim Wood , RP, FLA; Dan Runzler , RP, SF; Ryota Igarashi , RP, NYM and Antonio Bastardo , RP, PHI

Newbie needs

Kevin S. Beer Bakersfield, Calif.: Could you add Zach Wheeler of the San Francisco Giants to your player database? He was their first round pick last June (sixth overall). Thanks for your help.

Emack: Surely. I assume you mean Zack. He was the most-often unlisted player on behind expected No. 1 overall pick catcher Bryce Harper, who will go to the Nationals in June. We also added Matthew Hobgood , SP, BAL; Wil Myers , C, KC; and Tim Melville , SP, KC. The same day, Cuban defectors Adeiny Hechavarria , a shortstop, and Leslie Anderson , a first baseman, agreed to contracts and were added to the database, too. And, no, we aren't going to add Harper until after he is drafted by the Nationals and signs. Save for Anderson, all of these players should be owned in at least 1 percent of our leagues this season as long-term keeper stashees. Future additions will be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration buzz, proximity to the majors and unlisted player listings on our website. If you want a listing of the most common unlisted player names send us an e-mail and we will forward it to you.

You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball prospect questions to Be sure to put Prospects in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.

Crave freelancer Eric Mack is a writer, radio producer, and podcaster based in Taos, N.M., but he lives in Google+. He's also managing editor of Full Bio

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