Top 10 Fantasy Prospects: Nelson On The Brink

Each Thursday, Baseball America looks at the top fantasy callup options for this season.

1. Jimmy Nelson, rhp, Brewers

Jimmy Nelson

Season Totals: 10-2, 1.46, 110 IP, 70 H, 23 R, 18 ER, 3 HR, 32 BB, 114 SO at Triple-A Nashville.

Update: A third straight scoreless outing for Nelson as he blanked Memphis for the second time in a week, even if it did not result in a win for him.

Prognosis: Brewers correspondent Tom Haudricourt reported the Brewers have had discussions about bringing up Nelson to replace Marco Estrada, so it appears Nelson is not long for Nashville. His improved slider and sharper command, along with a mid-90s heater, have left him on the brink of a callup, this time of a more permanent variety.


2. Anthony Ranaudo, rhp, Red Sox

Season Totals: 9-4, 2.66, 102 IP, 76 H, 35 R, 30 ER, 5 HR, 43 BB, 87 SO at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Update: The big righthander followed arguably his best outing with his worst in two months on July 5 as he gave up five runs over six innings.

Prognosis: Uncharacteristically wild early, Ranaudo has returned to form, walking two or fewer in his past six starts. Hitters struggle to square him up and he should be a solid back-end starter with solid but never flashy stuff. Though the Red Sox turned to Rubby De La Rosa when Brandon Workman was sent down, Ranaudo could get the call if Jake Peavy is traded.

Nick-Kingham-mug-20133. Nick Kingham, rhp, Pirates

Season Totals: 3-8, 2.68, 104 IP, 96 H, 43 R, 31 ER, 3 HR, 30 BB, 80 SO at Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis

Update: Kingham had his first rough outing since his promotion to Triple-A, allowing 10 hits and six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings, though he did not walk a batter.

Prognosis: The 6-foot-5 righthander has still yet to allow a homer in Triple-A. He peppers both sides of the plate with a mid-90s fastball and a mix of three potential above-average pitches, including a solid curveball and changeup. With the Pirates squarely in the playoff race and outside-the-organization purchases unlikely, Kingham could find himself at PNC Park after the all-star break.

4. Domingo Santana, of, Astros

domingo-santana-2014-mugSeason Totals: .300/.381/.491 (99-for-330), 50 R, 22 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 42 BB, 103 SO, 5-for-7 SB at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Update: Following a whiff-filled, four-game stint in the majors (11 strikeouts in 13 at-bats), Santana returned to Triple-A and went 2-for-11.

Prognosis: Despite being overmatched in his callup, it’s important to note that Santana is the sixth-youngest player in the Pacific Coast League, so expectations need to be tempered. Still, swing-and-miss is always going to be a part of the big righthanded-hitter’s approach. But he has power and has done a better job this year of improving his walk rate.

5. Andrew Heaney, lhp, Marlins

Andrew HeaneySeason Totals: 7-2, 2.47, 77 IP, 69 H, 24 R, 21 ER, 3 HR, 15 BB, 79 SO at Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans; 0-3, 6.53, 21 IP, 24 H, 15 ER, 15 R, 5 HR, 6 BB, 13 SO at Miami.

Update: After a terrific debut against the Mets, Heaney scuffled in three outings in a row and was sent down.

Prognosis: Heaney retained his trademark control even at the higher level until he walked three in his most recent outing. Despite that, he pitches at 90-91 mph, with confidence in a plus, high-70s to low-80s slider. He knows when to work in the zone and when to bury a pitch, commands the ball well over the plate and doesn't shy away from a changeup that has improved steadily since he turned pro. He’ll be back before the season ends.

Micah Johnson

6. Micah Johnson, 2b, White Sox

Season Totals: .307/.368/.412 (94-for-306), 38 R, 14 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 28 BB, 47 SO, 16-for-27 SB at Triple-A Charlotte.

Update: After a pedestrian past two months, Johnson is 11-for-29 early on in July. On the negative side, Johnson’s stolen base acumen has slipped from a year ago when he swiped 84 bags in 110 tries, a success rate of 76 percent.

Prognosis: Johnson has plus speed, strength and bat speed to hit and good-enough hands to handle second base. The White Sox at some point will want to see if he can handle the job every day, especially as their playoff hopes fade.

kris-bryant-2014-mug7. Kris Bryant, 3b, Cubs

Season Totals: .348/.443/.700 (115-for-330), 76 R, 26 2B, 30 HR, 80 RBIs, 52 BB, 106 SO, 11-for-13 SB at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.

Update: The move to Triple-A has not slowed Bryant. He is 27-for-82 at the higher level with eight homers.

Prognosis: The Cubs have been adamant that they don’t want to mess with Bryant’s trajectory with a callup. He has massive raw power and his athletic ability helps him make adjustments at the plate and play aggressively at third base. When he does arrive, his at-bats will be must-see TV for WGN.

Alex Meyer8. Alex Meyer, rhp, Twins

Season Totals 5-4, 3.43, 89 IP, 75 H, 39 R, 34 ER, 7 HR, 43 BB, 103 SO at Triple-A Rochester.

Update: Meyer has posted three straight outings of six innings and no more than four hits.

Prognosis: In an organization with quite a few quality pitching prospects, Meyer might have the best pure stuff. As tends to happen with taller guys, he can lose his feel for fastball command, but he still brings it between 97-99 mph. Ricky Nolasco’s trip to the disabled list could be the impetus for an eventual callup.

jonathan-gray-2013-mug-bm9. Jon Gray, rhp, Rockies

Season Totals: 7-4, 4.04, 82 IP, 77 H, 40 R, 37 ER, 9 HR, 24 BB, 76 SO at Double-A Tulsa

Update: Gray had his worst start in two months, giving up nine hits and five runs in 3 2/3 innings on July 4.

Prognosis: Gray has had some difficulty commanding his fastball, but that in turn has forced him to throw more changeups, which is a positive development going forward because he can pitch more effectively off his blistering heat. He retains the potential to be a No. 1 starter, but his uneven recent performance might delay his ETA.

Dylan Bundy10. Dylan Bundy, rhp, Orioles

Season Totals: 0-1, 1.83, 20 IP, 14 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 HR, 5 BB, 25 SO at short-season Aberdeen and high Class A Frederick.

Update: In his first start at high Class A, Bundy allowed three runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Prognosis: The Orioles' top prospect has looked sharp—he hit 94 mph—in his return from the Tommy John surgery he had in April 2013. Baltimore plans to treat this season as part of Bundy's rehab, limiting him to 75 pitches per start. He could be available during the stretch run, but only on a strict pitch count. “Some people actually throw six innings with 75 pitches, too,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter told The Baltimore Sun.