Each Thursday, Baseball America looks at the top fantasy callup options for this season.
1. Mookie Betts, 2b/cf, Red Sox
Season Totals: .346/.434/.537 (94-for-272), 64 R, 20 2B, 4 3B, 8 HR, 43 RBIs, 44 BB, 29 SO, 26-for-31 SB at Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket
Update: Betts has a .310/.403/.483 line and has reached base in all 15 games he’s played in Triple-A.
Prognosis: The release of Grady Sizemore could put Betts, who’s played center field at Pawtucket, in line for a callup, although Garin Cecchini got the call again this week. It’s clear the Red Sox need an upgrade in the outfield and before they pursue an external option, they might look at Betts.
2. Jimmy Nelson, rhp, Brewers
Season Totals: 7-2, 1.62, 83 1/3 IP, 54 H, 20 R, 15 ER, 1 HR, 26 BB, 91 SO at Triple-A Nashville
Update: Nelson comes off his worst start of the season (5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R)—although his defense didn’t help as five of the runs he allowed were unearned. He’s still stingy with the home run and the three walks he allowed tied a season worst.
Prognosis: The struggles of Marco Estrada have put the spotlight on the Brewers and Nelson. For now, manager Ron Roenicke says a decision to recall Nelson is not on the table and Milwaukee clearly doesn’t want to yo-yo its best pitching prospect. If Nelson comes back to Milwaukee, it’ll be to stay.
3. Oscar Taveras, of, Cardinals
Season Totals : .311/.362/.505 (66-for-212), 32 R, 15 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 45 RBIs, 16 BB, 27 SO, 1-for-2 SB at Triple-A Memphis.
Update: After going 7-for-37 in the majors, Taveras returned to Memphis and has not hit much. He did homer in his third game back at Triple-A, but overall is 4-for-21.
Prognosis: Not unlike Nelson, the Cardinals don’t want to interrupt Taveras’ development with recalls to St. Louis and returns to Triple-A. General manager John Mozeliak said it was simply a matter of playing time for Taveras. Taveras likely will stay at Memphis unless an injury or trade happens, but he remains the team’s top option if it needs a bat.
4. Jon Gray, rhp, Rockies
Season Totals: 6-3, 3.39, 69 IP, 57 H, 28 R, 26 ER, 7 HR, 18 BB, 61 SO at Double-A Tulsa.
Update: Gray has put together consecutive five-inning scoreless outings, giving up only five hits in that span. The only downside was it took 94 pitches to get through five innings on Sunday.
Prognosis: The demotion of Juan Nicasio could be the opening Gray needs. Tyler Matzek is in the major league rotation now, but the injuries to Eddie Butler and Daniel Winkler leave space for Gray to be the next man up. He’ll more than likely be there by the end of the year, although he’s a work in progress with the changeup.
5. Trevor May, rhp, Twins
Season totals: 7-4, 2.77, 74 2/3 IP, 54 H, 25 R, 23 ER, 3 HR, 29 BB, 78 SO at Triple-A Rochester.
Update: The Twins’ No. 8 prospect entering the season, May struck out 11 Monday—the second time he’s reached that total in the past two months—and walked only two over eight innings to earn his seventh win and lower his ERA to 2.77.
Prognosis: After two disappointing seasons at Double-A, May is showing an affinity for a higher level this season. If the Twins decide not to monkey with Alex Meyer‘s track, they could promote May, who although he ranks below Meyer, Kohl Stewart and J.O. Berrios on the organization’s depth chart, is more experienced and mature at 25. He appears to be harnessing his control, slicing his walks to 3.5 per nine this season, down from 4.5 in his career.
6. Alex Meyer, rhp, Twins
Season Totals: 4-3, 3.62, 64 2/3 IP, 56 H, 31 R, 26 ER, 4 HR, 30 BB, 76 SO at Triple-A Rochester.
Update: Meyer rode the roller-coaster again, following arguably his best outing of the season with his worst.
Prognosis: Meyer’s been outdone of late by teammate May, but he still remains the more likely of the two to have big league success, if he can keep his mechanics in place. The Twins have Meyer on a pitch count and an innings limit, which might preclude a major league trip this summer.
7. Allen Webster, rhp, Red Sox
Season Totals: 3-4, 2.94, 85 2/3 IP, 77 H, 29 R, 28 ER, 6 HR, 33 BB, 67 SO at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Update: Webster has strung together four solid outings after a stinker on May 25 against Syracuse, but has walked eight in 20 innings in that span.
Prognosis: The Red Sox must be mystified by Webster at times. His stuff is undeniable (he hit 97 on Monday against Rochester) and generated 14 swings and misses, largely on a dynamic changeup. But his inability to control the two-seamer in the zone—which led to a homer by Ruben Gotay—has led to difficulties in his brief major league stints. Still, he remains an option for the Red Sox as long as they need rotation help. He might be best served out of the bullpen, eventually.
8. Joc Pederson, cf, Dodgers
Season Totals: .320/.433/.583 (83-for-259), 55 R, 11 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 42 RBIs, 51 BB, 93 SO, 19-for-24 SB at Triple-A Albuquerque.
Update: Pederson’s had two multi-hit games in the past five days, but his strikeouts are piling up.
Prognosis: Pederson’s swing-and-miss prevalence aside, the Dodgers have to be emboldened by his on-base and slugging capability. They dream of an outfield that includes a burgeoning Yaisel Puig and a rising Pederson and they might see it by the end of the year, if not sooner if a trade occurs. Still, if you haven’t stashed him on your fantasy team, don’t wait.
9. Jose Ramirez, 2b/ss/of, Indians
Season Totals: .314/.372/.462 (53-for-169), 23 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 26 RBIs, 18 BB, 20 SO, 11-for-20 SB at Triple-A Columbus.
Update: Ramirez has done nothing but hit since returning to Columbus (.368/.429/.500 in June) and has four multiple-hit games in the past seven appearances.
Prognosis: Ramirez has been playing the outfield to increase his versatility and his chance of cracking the major league roster. Indians manager Terry Francona appreciates that, telling mlb.com that Ramirez is, “impacting the games with his glove, his legs, his bat, energy, the kind of things we need him to do.” Fantasy players will want to target him for his stolen-base potential and multi-positional value.
10. Aaron Sanchez, rhp, Blue Jays
Season Totals: 3-5, 4.11, 70 IP, 58 H, 39 R, 32 ER, 2 HR, 44 BB, 59 SO at Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo.
Update: Just promoted to Buffalo, Sanchez struggled in his debut at the level (4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 2 SO).
Prognosis: With Marcus Stroman already in the rotation, it’s unlikely the Jays want two inexperienced mound men pitching high-leverage innings in a pennant race. Still, the Jays clearly are fast-tracking Sanchez despite his obvious control issues (59 strikeouts-44 walks). From a fantasy standpoint, Sanchez is more of a guy to stash than a viable recall option.