Prospects Report: Timetables for minor aces

As the season is now in full swing, are you feeling everything is a bit too routine?

Starting pitchers are going every five days. Your Fantasy team is frustratingly and alternately running hot and cold.

Well, here are some days that can break up the monotony: April 26. May 1. May 6. (Pay the most attention to that last date. It just happens to be a third-year anniversary of someone prominent.)

Double-A Harrisburg (Pa.) is at Reading, Pa., vs. Altoona and vs. Bowie, Md., on those dates. That Nationals are at Chicago, at Florida and vs. Atlanta. And -- just to cover our behinds -- at the N.Y. Mets on May 11.

And how about April 22, April 28, May 4 and May 9?

Triple-A Louisville (Ky.) is at Indianapolis, Ind., at Scranton-Wilkes Barre, Pa., at Buffalo, N.Y. and vs. Rochester, N.Y., on those dates. The Reds are vs. the L.A. Dodgers, at Houston, vs. the N.Y. Mets and vs. the Chicago Cubs.

You get where we are going with this? Pitchers are like clock-, err, calendar-work with their pitching schedules and routines.

Stephen Strasburg is smoking along in Double-A. Jason Marquis is on the DL and getting a second opinion on those "loose bodies" in his elbow. Aroldis Chapman is refining his command in Triple-A. Homer Bailey is failing to repeat his 2009 second-half surge and Aaron Harang is looking washed up and ready to ship out.

Fantasy owners are anxious to see an imminent call-up of the two lightning-armed phenoms that are the two most-owned minor leaguers on, or any website for that matter.

It is not going to happen yet.

"We're going to take it start by start and see where it leads us," Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said. "I've got a tentative plan in my mind that I'm not going to share with you guys. But we see that he certainly needs more work down in the minor leagues. We're going to see him in the big leagues, and when we see him in the big leagues, we hope he's here for good."

Well, let's try spoil the suspense: We would like to say Strasburg and Chapman are going to arrive after five (or six) starts and 25 innings (or around 30) down in the minors. We said the same thing about Rays lefty David Price last year when he was surprisingly ushered to Triple-A to start last season. We were far less confident in Strasburg or Chapman making the team out of spring training, though, and Price actually stayed three starts and nine innings longer in the minors than we projected.

By the way, Price arrived (for good) May 25, 2009, which is right about the time we originally projected for Strasburg and Chapman. Strasburg's Nationals are in San Francisco this May 25, but they are coincidentally in San Diego that weekend (May 28-31). Strasburg was drafted out of San Diego and grew up in that area, by the way.

We contend he will be in the Nationals rotation (and Chapman with the Reds) long before that, though, even if Rizzo won't give us a hint. How can we make this leap of faith, you ask?

Well, the No. 1 Fantasy ace of 2010, Tim Lincecum, arrived May 6, 2007 after five starts and 31 innings in his rookie year, which was also his first full pro season. He went on to go 7-5 with a 4.00 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 146 1/3 innings. Strasburg and Chapman should be able to beat those numbers, even if it takes a turn or two longer to arrive in terms of the calendar.

Strasburg allowed one hit in five shutout innings in his past start for Double-A Harrisburg (Pa.) on Wednesday, striking out six batters. He is now 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA, .156 batting-average against with 17 strikeouts and just three walks in 12 1/3 innings. To put it simply, he's just too good for Double-A. To be fair, though, he has actually allowed five runs, but just one was earned, suggesting he hasn't quite pitched as well as his ERA suggests.

Chapman started Wednesday night and could use perhaps a start or two more than Strasburg, since Chapman is less in command of his wicked lefty stuff and runs higher pitch counts and, therefore, doesn't pitch as deep into games.

Most added minor leaguers
Player POS TM W2 W3 %
Justin Smoak 1B TEX 19 24 +5
Carlos Santana C CLE 35 39 +4
Jeremy Hellickson SP TB 16 17 +1
Dustin Ackley 1B SEA 12 13 +1
Christian Friedrich SP COL 8 9 +1

"That's part of any power pitcher's growth," Louisville manager Rick Sweet told "We went through it here with Homer Bailey. He couldn't get to a sixth inning. Not because he didn't have the game under control, but because he threw too many dang pitches. That's just the way their games are. Efficiency is important."

So, for all those people asking the questions about Strasburg and Chapman, mark your calendars. Count down the days and starts, paying special attention to the inning totals. You likely will have the answer that the GMs and decision-makers with Washington and Cincinnati are not apt to give you.

Prospect watch

Every 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 Juan Francisco 3B CIN 3 Andrew J. Carpenter SP PHI 1
Aroldis Chapman SP CIN 73 Chris Heisey CF CIN 3 Alexander Colome SP TB 1
Buster Posey C SF 41 Chris Withrow SP LA 3 Bobby Borchering 3B ARI 1
Carlos Santana C CLE 39 Emilio Bonifacio 3B FLA 3 Hak-Ju Lee SS CHC 1
Pedro Alvarez 3B PIT 31 Chris Marrero LF WAS 3 Jason Donald SS CLE 1
Madison Bumgarner SP SF 27 Jaff Decker OF SD 3 Jeremy Jeffress SP MIL 1
Justin Smoak 1B TEX 24 Tony Sanchez C PIT 2 Michael Pineda P SEA 1
Desmond Jennings CF TB 23 Brandon McCarthy SP TEX 2 Angel Villalona 3B SF 1
Michael Stanton RF FLA 23 Alex White SP CLE 2 Joe Savery SP PHI 1
Chris Tillman SP BAL 20 Ethan Martin SP LA 2 Chris C. Carter LF NYM 1
Kyle Drabek SP TOR 18 Adeiny Hechavarria SS TOR 2 Roger Kieschnick LF SF 1
Trevor Cahill SP OAK 18 Wilson Ramos C MIN 2 Noel Arguelles SP KC 1
Jeremy Hellickson SP TB 17 James Darnell 3B SD 2 Logan Forsythe 3B SD 1
Jesus Montero C NYY 17 Josh Lindblom SP LA 2 Lance Lynn SP STL 1
Chris C. Carter 1B OAK 16 Jemile Weeks 2B OAK 2 Nick Noonan SS SF 1
Brett Wallace 3B TOR 15 Simon Castro SP SD 2 Dellin Betances SP NYY 1
Drew Storen RP WAS 14 Mike Minor SP ATL 2 Zack Wheeler SP SF 1
Starlin Castro SS CHC 14 Armando Galarraga SP DET 2 Matt Maloney SP CIN 1
Domonic Brown RF PHI 13 Hank Conger C ANA 2 Mark Rogers SP MIL 1
Dustin Ackley 1B SEA 13 Nick Hagadone SP CLE 2 Ryan Strieby 1B DET 1
Michael Taylor LF OAK 12 Zach Britton SP BAL 2 Troy Patton SP BAL 1
Michael Brantley CF CLE 10 Scott Elbert RP LA 2 Sean O'Sullivan SP ANA 1
Martin Perez SP TEX 10 Danny Valencia 3B MIN 2 Ryan Roberts 2B ARI 1
Logan Morrison 1B FLA 10 Mike Trout CF ANA 2 Kevin Pucetas SP SF 1
Fernando Martinez OF NYM 9 Jason Knapp SP CLE 2 Esmil Rogers SP COL 1
Christian Friedrich SP COL 9 Max Ramirez C TEX 2 Brad Kilby RP OAK 1
Daniel Hudson SP CHW 9 Adrian Cardenas SS OAK 2 Josh D. Fields RP SEA 1
Yonder Alonso 1B CIN 8 Nick Weglarz RF CLE 2 Rick VandenHurk SP FLA 1
Brad Bergesen SP BAL 8 Beau Mills 1B CLE 2 Tyson Gillies RF PHI 1
Derek Holland SP TEX 8 Andrew Cashner SP CHC 2 David Purcey SP TOR 1
Eric O. Young 2B COL 8 Trevor Reckling RP ANA 2 Wilin Rosario C COL 1
Casey Kelly SP BOS 8 Brad Lincoln SP PIT 2 Josh Thole C NYM 1
Jason Castro C HOU 8 Jeanmar Gomez SP CLE 2 Ivan DeJesus SS LA 1
Josh Bell 3B BAL 7 Miguel Sano SS MIN 2 Jess Todd RP CLE 1
Tim Beckham SS TB 7 Brett Jackson CF CHC 2 Austin Romine C NYY 1
Freddie Freeman 1B ATL 7 Jose Iglesias SS BOS 2 Matt Sweeney 3B TB 1
Jack Cust LF OAK 7 Sean West SP FLA 2 Chad James SP FLA 1
Tyler Flowers C CHW 7 Thomas Neal LF SF 2 William Myers C KC 1
Mike Aviles SS KC 7 Zach Stewart SP TOR 2 Shairon Martis SP WAS 1
Jake Arrieta SP BAL 7 Kila Ka'aihue DH KC 2 Kevin Mulvey SP ARI 1
Mike Moustakas 3B KC 6 Jordan Walden SP ANA 2 Adam Miller SP CLE 1
Jarrod Parker SP ARI 6 Jared Mitchell CF CHW 2 Zach McAllister SP NYY 1
Jacob Turner SP DET 6 Travis Wood SP CIN 2 Neil Walker 3B PIT 1
Josh Vitters 3B CHC 6 Alex Liddi 3B SEA 2 Vin Mazzaro SP OAK 1
Brett Cecil SP TOR 5 Matt Antonelli 2B SD 2 Matthew Hobgood SP BAL 1
Lars Anderson 1B BOS 5 Jake McGee SP TB 2 Conor M. Gillaspie 3B SF 1
Aaron Crow SP KC 5 Kyle Gibson SP MIN 2 Andrew Lambo LF LA 1
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B CLE 5 Arodys Vizcaino SP ATL 2 Peter Bourjos CF ANA 1
Brett Lawrie 2B MIL 5 James McDonald RP LA 2 Donnie Veal RP PIT 1
Todd Frazier OF CIN 5 Jordan Lyles SP HOU 2 David Cooper 1B TOR 1
Phillippe Aumont SP PHI 5 Trevor May SP PHI 1 Wes Hodges 3B CLE 1
Tyler Matzek SP COL 5 Will Inman SP SD 1 Angel Salome C MIL 1
Michael Bowden RP BOS 5 Danny Cortes SP SEA 1 Jay Jackson SP CHC 1
Michael Montgomery SP KC 5 William Rowell 3B BAL 1 Chris Valaika SS CIN 1
Hank Blalock 1B TB 5 Wilkin Ramirez LF DET 1 Cole Rohrbough SP ATL 1
Brandon Allen 1B ARI 5 Hector Gomez SS COL 1 Andrew Brackman SP NYY 1
Aaron Hicks OF MIN 5 Kyle Skipworth C FLA 1 Travis D'Arnaud C TOR 1
Jhoulys Chacin RP COL 5 Jiovanni Mier SS HOU 1 Josh Anderson CF CIN 1
Timothy Alderson SP PIT 5 Rich J. Hill SP STL 1 Gorkys Hernandez CF PIT 1
Carlos Carrasco SP CLE 5 Christian Bethancourt C ATL 1 Michael Main SP TEX 1
Dayan Viciedo 3B CHW 4 Brandon Snyder 1B BAL 1 Deolis Guerra SP MIN 1
Tanner Scheppers SP TEX 4 Daniel Espinosa SS WAS 1 Casey Weathers RP COL 1
J.P. Arencibia C TOR 4 Daniel Schlereth RP DET 1 Glen Perkins SP MIN 1
Julio Teheran SP ATL 4 Micah Hoffpauir 1B CHC 1 Daryl Jones CF STL 1
Eric Hosmer 1B KC 4 Aaron Cunningham RF SD 1 Fautino De Los Santos RP OAK 1
Michael Saunders LF SEA 4 Ruben Tejada SS NYM 1 Brandon Erbe SP BAL 1
Shelby Miller SP STL 4 Michael Burgess RF WAS 1 Brad Mills SP TOR 1
Dee Gordon SS LA 4 Jordan Danks CF CHW 1 Scott Lewis SP CLE 1
Casey Crosby SP DET 4 Craig Kimbrel RP ATL 1 Mitch Moreland CF TEX 1
Donovan Tate CF SD 4 Jonathan LuCroy C MIL 1 Engel Beltre CF TEX 1
Derek Norris C WAS 4 Anthony Slama RP MIN 1 Jose Ceda RP FLA 1
Matt Moore SP TB 4 Kasey Kiker SP TEX 1 Mike MacDougal RP WAS 1
Hector Rondon SP CLE 4 Aaron Miller SP LA 1 Zach Braddock RP MIL 1
Michael Ynoa SP OAK 3 Bradley Holt SP NYM 1 Reese Havens SS NYM 1
Wilmer Flores SS NYM 3 Steve Pearce 1B PIT 1 Ryan Tucker SP FLA 1
Ryan Westmoreland OF BOS 3 Eric Arnett SP MIL 1 Chad C. Jenkins SP TOR 1
Andrew Miller SP FLA 3 Mark Melancon RP NYY 1 Anthony Rizzo 1B BOS 1
Carlos Triunfel SS SEA 3 Max Stassi C OAK 1 Anthony Swarzak SP MIN 1
Jose Tabata LF PIT 3 Ryan Kalish CF BOS 1 Brent Morel 3B CHW 1
Aaron Poreda RP SD 3 Greg Halman RF SEA 1 John Mayberry LF PHI 1
Matt Dominguez 3B FLA 3 Chris Nelson SS COL 1 Mike Carp 1B SEA 1
Grant Green SS OAK 3 Henry A. Rodriguez RP OAK 1
Ben Revere CF MIN 3 A.J. Pollock CF ARI 1

Rookie watch

Top AL rookies to date

  1. Neftali Feliz, RP, TEX -- There is little reason to move him out of the closer's role amid Frank Francisco's struggles.
  2. Austin Jackson, OF, DET -- His power isn't there yet, and might not come this season, but he going well enough right now.
  3. Brian Matusz, SP, BAL -- The L-O's don't have much going for them at this point, but Matusz is holding his own.
  4. Wade Davis, SP, TB -- He has been pretty impressive and should be trusted even more than the non-contending Matusz.
  5. Reid Brignac, 2B, TB -- Sean Rodriguez popped off Wednesday, which could mean less at-bats for hot-starting Brignac.

Top NL rookies to date

  1. Jason Heyward, OF, ATL -- It is time to believe he can be a rookie on the level Evan Longoria and Ryan J. Braun.
  2. Jaime Garcia, SP, STL -- He is a popular addition in all leagues after starting off hot in that 20-inning marathon game.
  3. Mike Leake, SP, CIN -- The walk rate remains high, which will keep his innings total down, but his ERA and BAA are solid.
  4. Alcides Escobar, SS, MIL -- He has yet to post a stolen base, something you bought him for, but he is steady otherwise.
  5. David Freese, 3B, STL -- He leads all rookies with three triples and is hitting a robust .317 as an everyday third baseman.

Newbie needs

Brian Flood, New York: Can you can add the following players to the database? They are owned in my league: Adeiny Hechavarria, Slade Heathcott, Randal Grichuk, Angel Morales, Trayce Thompson and Willliam Myers.

Emack: To a former staff writer, let it be done. Some of these guys were already in there, but you had spelled their names wrong. We added them because they were also high on the unlisted players list. Dozens of people asked for and received that list via e-mail last week.

You can e-mail Emack 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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