Top 10 Fantasy Prospects: Polanco Endures, Lindor Emerges

1. Gregory Polanco, rf, Pirates

Gregory-Polanco-2014-mj

Season Totals: .395/.444/.613 in 124 at-bats, 23 R, 9 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 28 RBIs, 10 BB, 24 SO, 7-for-11 SB at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Update: Minus a 1-for-8 blip, Polanco has done nothing in the past seven days to knock him off the top perch. If you want a negative, he did not hit a home run, but his stolen base efficiency improved. His plate discipline, solid last season, has sagged a bit against improved competition.

Prognosis: The Pirates point to Polanco’s relative lack of upper-level at-bats (fewer than 500) compared to Andrew McCutchen’s experience (1,466) when he debuted in 2009. Had he agreed to the reported seven-year contract the Pirates offered in the offseason, Polanco might be standing in right field in PNC Park.


2. Trevor Bauer, rhp, Indians
Trevor Bauer
Season Totals: 3-0, 1.10, 32 2/3 IP, 24 H, 4 R, 1 HR, 31 SO, 9 BB at Triple-A Columbus

Update: Bauer continued his dominance of Triple-A, shutting down Durham on May 3 for seven innings. He ran his fastball up to 98 mph.

Prognosis: With his velocity humming again and improved maturity and command, Bauer faces merely a matter of days before returning to Cleveland, where he sparkled earlier this year.


3. Oscar Taveras, of, Cardinals

Oscar Taveras

Season Totals: .297/.346/.492 in 118 at-bats, 18 R, 8 2B, 5 HR, 24 RBIs, 8 BB, 18 SO, 1-for-2 SB at Triple-A Memphis.

Update: Taveras had an up-and-down week, mixing a couple of multi-RBI games with some hitless ones. In the past five games, he struck out eight times and walked only once.

Prognosis: The issue with moving Taveras to the next level is playing time, or lack thereof. The Cardinals have a crowded outfield and are already auditioning Randal Grichuk in center field. General manager John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Taveras needs to play “a lot” more in center field before he’ll be promoted.


4. Joc Pederson, cf, Dodgers
Joc Pederson

Season Totals: .369/.476/.631 in 122 at-bats, 26 R, 8 2B, 8 HR, 17 RBIs, 25 BB, 36 SO, 10-for-12 SB at Triple-A Albuquerque.

Update: Pederson went just 4-for-17 in the past four games, his first real down period, though he had a three-hit game mixed in, and a home run in his last outing.

Prognosis: Like Taveras, Pederson is stuck at Triple-A for the time being because of the major league roster overload. Short of an injury or trade, Pederson remains behind Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier. Even the trade of one could leave him in fourth-outfielder purgatory, something the Dodgers would be loathe to do.


5. Jon Singleton, 1b, Astros
jsingleton11267300cw1
Season Totals: .277/.392/.605 in 119 at-bats, 25 R, 7 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 28 RBIs, 23 BB, 33 SO, 0-for-1 SB at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Update: In his past 10 games, Singleton has two homers and has walked seven times while striking out five. In fact, in his past five games, he struck out only once.

Prognosis: Given Houston’s paucity of production at first base (28th in the majors in OPS), it seems Singleton would be next in the Astros’ prospect conga line. He’s shown an ability to cut down on swing-and-miss tendencies the past week. A June callup remains likely.


6. Noah Syndergaard, rhp, Mets
Noah Syndergaard

Season Totals: 4-2, 3.58, 37 2/3 IP, 40 H, 19 R, 15 ER, 3 HR, 36 SO, 15 BB at Triple-A Las Vegas.

Update: Syndergaard has given up only one earned run in his past two starts (12 2/3 innings), which pairs nicely with a 15/5 SO/BB mark.

Prognosis: The Mets are giving Wilmer Flores a chance to play shortstop, given their need for offense. With their bullpen struggling, calling up Syndergaard (or possibly Rafael Montero) and moving Jenrry Mejia to a relief role could help both entities.


7. Andrew Heaney, lhp, Marlins
Andrew Heaney

Season Totals: 3-1, 2.31, 39 IP, 31 H, 12 R, 10 ER, 1 HR, 37 SO, 10 BB at Double-A Jacksonville.

Update: Heaney on Tuesday set down the first 11 batters he faced en route to a six-inning, one-run effort.

Prognosis: The Marlins have an all-righthanded rotation, and Heaney, their top prospect, is a lefty. That’s not the main reason to promote the 2012 first-rounder, of course, not when he has continued to flash consistent command with a 37/10 SO/BB ratio. Heaney has easy velocity and smooth mechanics, which will make for a swift transition against advanced hitters.


8. Jonathan Gray, rhp, Rockies
Jonathan Gray
Season Totals: 2-2, 3.64, 29 2/3 IP, 28 H, 14 R, 12 ER, 2 HR, 32 SO, 4 BB at Double-A Tulsa.

Update: Gray had a solid outing against Springfield on May 3, again walking no one in six innings of seven-hit, three-run ball.

Prognosis: Gray operates in the mid-90s, touching higher and putting hitters away with an outstanding slider. He has walked just four batters all season, showing advanced feel for the strike zone. The caveat is that with just 66 2/3 pro innings, the Rockies may not want to push him, but he might not be far from making the huge jump.


9. Francisco Lindor, ss, Cleveland
Francisco Lindor
Season Stats: .284/.359/.431 in 116 at-bats, 15 R, 2 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 19 RBIs, 13 BB, 22 SO, 9-for-12 SB at Double-A Akron.

Update: Lindor has been strong in May, going 8-for-27 with a triple and a home run.

Prognosis: With Asdrubal Cabrera struggling and a pending free agent, it certainly would make sense for the Indians to consider Lindor for an in-season callup. However, at age 20, he’s young even for the Eastern League. A trip to Cleveland likely will wait until June, at the earliest.


10. Maikel Franco, 3b, Phillies
maikel-franco-2014-cw
Season Totals: .205/.268/.316 in 117 at-bats, 15 R, 7 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 9 BB, 24 SO, 1-for-1 SB at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Update: Avert your eyes from Franco’s season totals. In May, he’s batting .300/.364/.500, and let’s face it, the Phillies could use his righthanded power.

Prognosis: Big league third baseman Cody Asche also has picked things up in May, but a June callup could be in the offing for Franco. “He’s good—the last player I’m worried about,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Ken Rosenthal.