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Nats' Jordan goes from DL to Majors
Washington hurler to make big league debut later this week
06/26/2013 10:00 AM ET
Taylor Jordan is 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA in 15 games across two levels.
Taylor Jordan is 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA in 15 games across two levels. (Will Bentzel/MiLB.com)

Fantasy Focus is a regular MiLB.com feature in which we use a Minor League perspective to give you the edge in your fantasy league. Have a fantasy question? Tweet it to @MiLB or @AshMarshallMLB with the hashtag #fantasyfocus.

In this week's Fantasy Focus, we look at whether Kyle Gibson will stick in Minnesota and why Addison Russell's power at shortstop is something to keep a close eye on. There's also a look at what Henry Urrutia has been doing at Double-A and why Dylan Bundy's stock is at a new season low.

As always, there's a roundup of the most notable Minor League rehabs. This week we touch on Bryce Harper, Matt Kemp and Angel Pagan's time away from the Majors.

Stock Up, Stock Down

Stock Up: Taylor Jordan

It was difficult to project how good Jordan would be this season. He had only just come back from Tommy John surgery in late 2012, and when he did, the stuff was back -- and actually improved post-surgery, according to reports -- but the results weren't. (He had a 5.13 ERA in 15 starts for Class A Short-Season Auburn and Class A Hagerstown last season.) As such, he was named the Nationals' No. 17 prospect.

Now, that looks like a pretty big underestimation. The 24-year-old right-hander dominated the Carolina League during a six-start stay and has been even better since moving to Double-A. He is 7-0 with a 0.83 ERA, .194 opponents' average and 1.67 groundball-to-flyball ratio. The Nats took notice and are expected to call him up for a start this Friday with Dan Haren being placed on the disabled list.

It might be easy to dismiss Jordan's success because he is 24, but what he's shown so far is translatable. He throws strikes (15 walks in 90 1/3 innings this season) and creates a lot of ground balls, thanks to a heavy sinking fastball.

NL-only owners who need a spot start should consider adding him. Everyone else would do well to at least keep tabs on that Major League debut.

Stock Down: Dylan Bundy

It's uncommon to feature a guy who hasn't made one appearance yet this season, but that's the issue with Bundy. The 20-year-old right-hander has been dealing with elbow issues and received a platelet rich plasma injection back in late April that sidelined him for six weeks.

He had recently begun throwing from 120 feet as part of the rehab process, only to suffer a setback Monday. He is to be examined by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens and will also meet with -- and here's the bad news -- Dr. James Andrews.

So what does this all mean fantasy-wise? There are some keeper-league owners who may have been clinging to Bundy, hoping he'd come back as a force in the second half. Give up that dream. Cut ties now, and try to get him cheap/late in the draft next year. No point in letting him occupy an unnecessary roster spot now.

Under the Radar

Henry Urrutia is already 26 and playing in the Double-A Eastern League, so on first glance it'd be easy to dismiss him.

But what you might not know is that the Cuban defector is in just his first season in the US after the Orioles signed him in the offseason and, given how he's hit for Bowie, it might not be long before he's appearing in the Majors.

Urrutia sports a .366/.436/.557 line in 51 games this season, with seven homers and 35 RBIs. He's hitting .433 in June. He probably can't be expected to take the big leagues by storm the way his fellow countryman Yasiel Puig has in recent weeks, but then again, Puig began the year as somewhat of an unknown -- albeit more than 2 1/2 years younger -- in Double-A as well.

If the Orioles decide to give Urrutia a chance, discerning owners who keep an eye on his progress could be richly rewarded.

Will He Stick?

Kyle Gibson's journey to the Majors finally appears complete. The Twins have called up their No. 4 prospect to make his first start with the big club this Saturday, and to answer the question of the section, yes, he's there to stay. Minnesota waited as long as they could to get the right-hander seasoning at Triple-A Rochester, where he put up a 3.01 ERA, before giving the call.

As noted by MinnPost.com, Gibson, who is playing in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in late 2011, will be the ninth starter the Twins will have used this season. So after avoiding him for this long, he's likely to stick.

What he brings to the big club now that he's there though remains to be seen. What we know is that he won't be big on strikeouts (79 in 92 2/3 innings for the Red Wings), but that he does, like Jordan, get a lot of groundballs with a 1.82 groundout-to-airout ratio.

Still, as solid as he was at Triple-A, he never put up the dominant numbers, unlike Jordan, that would make anyone think he'll hit the ground running in the Majors. There are likely to be some growing pains -- think Kevin Gausman -- so fantasy owners would be advised to keep tabs for now and check back later.

Rehabs of Note

In three rehab games with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes this week, Matt Kemp went 2-for-11 with a pair of doubles, a walk and three runs scored. He struck out six times -- including four times in his first game on Saturday.

Sidelined since May 30 with a mild strained hamstring, Kemp was hitting .251 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 51 Major Leagues before the injury.

He hit fifth and played center field in his return to the Dodgers on Tuesday. He made this terrific catch to end the game.

* * *

Bryce Harper played three innings in the field and got two plate appearances in his first rehab start with the Class A Advanced Potomac Nationals on Tuesday.

He doubled, walked, swiped a bag and scored one run, but he was not tested in the field.

Harper has not played in the Majors since being diagnosed with left knee bursitis on May 26. It is believed he originally injured it crashing into the wall at Dodger Stadium on May 13, but that he played through the injury before visiting with Dr. James Andrews and the team's orthopedic surgeon.

* * *

Any fantasy value that Angel Pagan may have had entering this week was erased when he suffered a costly setback during his first rehab start.

Pagan, sidelined with a strained left hamstring, was optimistic that he would need just 10 to 15 at-bats in the Minors before rejoining the Giants. But in the ninth inning of a game for Class A Advanced San Jose on Thursday, Pagan collapsed to the ground after trying to leg out a ground ball to second base.

On Tuesday, the Giants announced Pagan will undergo surgery on the hamstring, shelving him for up to 12 weeks and possibly costing him the rest of the season.

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Transaction of Note

The A's brought Stephen Vogt up from Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday and, though it might not seem like a big deal, he could provide big help for an AL-only owner in need of a catcher.

It might prove difficult for Vogt to find at-bats with veteran John Jaso and sophomore Derek Norris making up two halves of a catching platoon in Oakland already on the roster, but if he does, he's got a chance to do some damage.

The 28-year-old batted .325/.393/.541 with nine homers and 43 RBIs in 58 games for Sacramento after an April trade brought him west from Tampa.

He's only ever gotten 67 Major League at-bats, but he's managed to hit .328/.370/.519 with them, and it'd be interesting to see what the veteran left-handed slugger could do with a better opportunity. Oakland, more than other teams, has a history of giving guys with this profile a genuine shot to stick.

Keep an Eye On

The A's challenged 19-year-old first-rounder Addison Russell by sticking him at Class A Advanced to start, and predictably, he struggled early with a .213 average through the first two months. Boy, is that no longer the case.

Russell owns a .377/.408/.739 slash line with three homers, three triples, 10 doubles and 13 RBIs in 17 June contests. There was never any worry that his star was truly fading, but now it might be burning brighter than previously imagined. The power numbers will be a sight to behold in the future, especially if he can stick at shortstop.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. Sam Dykstra and Jonathan Raymond contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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