Each Thursday, Baseball America looks at the top fantasy call-up options for this season.
1. Joc Pederson, cf, Dodgers
Update: Pederson’s just 1-for-20 in August, striking out in half of those at-bats.
Prognosis: Pederson stayed in the organization beyond the non-waiver trade deadline, which might have been a surprise given the Dodgers’ desire to add a top-flight pitcher and the fact that two members of that species were moved. But the organization recognizes the need for a young outfielder to put between Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp/Carl Crawford/Andre Ethier and Pederson represents a cost-controlled option for a team with a payroll around a quarter-billion dollars. Two troubling signs for Pederson could be a relatively pedestrian line drive rate and a career-high BABIP, meaning he’s been fortunate to high for as high an average as he has.
2. Trevor May, Twins
Update: May allowed four runs on Tuesday, the most he’s allowed in a game since May 7 and the eight hits allowed matched the season-high, also on May 7.
Prognosis: May could find himself at Target Field as soon as Saturday. The Twins need a starter with Logan Darnell hurt, and that falls on May’s day to throw. May has a 92-94 mph fastball with some run and his changeup is the best in Minnesota’s organization.
3. Anthony Ranaudo, rhp, Red Sox
Season Totals: 12-4, 2.41, 119.1 IP, 88 H, 37 R, 32 ER, 6 HR, 49 BB, 99 SO at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Update: In his major league debut, Ranaudo beat the Yankees, allowing two runs and four hits in six innings. He was sent back to Pawtucket following Friday’s game.
Prognosis: With Jon Lester and John Lackey gone, Ranaudo got a shot and might get another as the Red Sox audition him, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster and others for the 2015 rotation. In the game against New York, Ranaudo threw 91 pitches, 53 for strikes and had four swings and misses, three with his fastball and one with his curve, which flashes as a plus pitch.
4. Francisco Lindor, ss, Indians
Update: Lindor has tailed off at Triple-A since a hot start, going 2-for-23 in August to this point.
Prognosis: The trade of Asdrubal Cabrera seemed to signal a promotion was near, but the Indians, still in the wild-card chase, have not made the call. Nearing 1,500 plate appearances, Lindor has shown the ability to make consistent, hard contact, barreling the ball as he gains experience and strength. He projects to hit for average as well as some power, although he might top out at low double-digit homers.
5. Maikel Franco, 3b, Phillies
Update: Franco has followed up a strong July (.967 OPS) with a solid start to August, including consecutive multi-hit games.
Prognosis: The Phillies are using the remainder of 2014 to see who fits where in 2015. But will Franco get the call to Citizens Bank Ballpark? Manager Ryne Sandberg was unsure. “I think it’s beneficial right now that he plays as much as he can play, no question about it,” Sandberg told CSNPhilly.com. “Just for the experience and the at-bats and his development. The more he can play, the better.”
6. Andrew Heaney, lhp, Marlins
Season Totals: 8-5, 3.26, 99.1 IP, 91 H, 41 R, 36 ER, 9 HR, 22 BB, 105 SO at Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans.
Update: Heaney has allowed 17 runs in 22 2/3 innings since returning to Triple-A following a disappointing stint with the Marlins.
Prognosis: Heaney vowed to return to the majors this season to improve on his first stay, but the Marlins still want him to work on several issues before that happens. The team says Heaney needs to pitch inside more, command both sides of the plate and use his changeup, which flashes solid average, more.
7. Nick Kingham, rhp, Pirates
Season Totals: 5-10, 3.24, 133.1 IP, 120 H, 62 R, 48 ER, 7 HR, 40 BB, 100 SO at Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis.
Update: Kingham has struggled in his past six starts, posting an ERA near 6.00.
Prognosis: Creeping up on his total innings from 2013, it’s possible Kingham is tiring. He has given up 15 runs in his past 17 1/3 innings and has walked nine after walking six in the seven starts prior to that span. At least a cameo appearance seemed likely for Kingham in September, but the Pirates might decide to shut him down not long after he reaches last season’s 143 1/3 innings. He’s at 133 1/3 now.
8. Rafael Montero, rhp, Mets
Update: Montero, who struggled with the Mets and then missed a month with an oblique injury, had a season-best and perhaps career-best game with eight, one-hit innings Tuesday against Sacramento. He struck out 11.
Prognosis: Montero has put himself in the mix for a recall if the Mets can unload Bartolo Colon to a team desperate for pitching down the stretch. Las Vegas pitching coach Frank Viola told milb.com River Cats hitters were “baffled,” and that Montero … “just blew fastballs by.” Viola also said Montero’s struggles earlier this season were the first time he’s dealt with failure and that “he has that confidence back.”
9. Alex Meyer, Twins
Update: Stretching back to June 28, the 6-foot-9 righthander has gone at least five innings and not allowed more than two runs.
Prognosis: The Twins clearly need rotation help, but it’s more likely May arrives this season because Meyer’s innings and pitches are being limited. He’s not thrown 100 pitches since April 28 and has not eclipsed six innings since April 23. Meyer is also not on the 40-man roster, meaning the Twins would need to drop a player to add him to the roster.
10. Jon Gray, rhp, Rockies
Season Totals: 9-5, 3.78, 112 IP, 95 H, 51 R, 47 ER, 9 HR, 34 BB, 102 SO at Double-A Tulsa
Update: Gray had his longest outing of the season and perhaps his best, limiting Northwest Arkansas to two hits and a run over seven innings on Saturday. He walked three and struck out six.
Prognosis: The Rockies are limiting Gray’s pitches—he threw 93 in the seven-inning effort Saturday—and having him throw a changeup more often in an effort to help him pitch more to contact. He backs that up with a 94-96 mph fastball, according to a rival manager.