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 why recently traded Christian Yelich is worthy of your fantasy consideration now and why Henry Owens should be somewhere on your radar if you're in a long-term keeper or dynasty league.
There's also your roundup of the notable Minor League rehabs, including Brandon Beachy in Gwinnett, Mike Morse in Tacoma and Colby Rasmus in New Hampshire.
Under the Radar
He's never been considered a big prospect, but 23-year-old Brian Flynn has been a revelation for the Marlins at Triple-A New Orleans.
Miami is the kind of team with the flexibility to give anyone promising a shot, and among the handful of young pitching prospects who have been getting spot starts this year -- think Tyler Skaggs or Kyle Gibson -- it could wind up being an unheralded guy like Flynn that winds up sticking.
He's a deceptive 3-10 for the Zephyrs, and with the run support situation being what it is with the Marlins, that's something that would figure to continue, but he also has a 3.36 ERA in 99 PCL innings, with 98 strikeouts to 32 walks. If you're short on starting pitching or even just looking at rotating spot starters, Flynn will deserve a look if he gets a promotion.
Will He Stick?
The year of the future Marlins continues. The Fish called up their top two prospects -- Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick, respectively -- in a surprise move Monday. Both players were expected to make their Major League debuts at some point this season, but a Miami organization that had been struggling immensely on offense decided the time was now.
Yelich -- a Futures Game participant and MLB.com's No. 10 prospect -- has dealt with injuries this season but had shown promise since returning from an abdominal issue on July 10. He had four multi-hit games in eight contests following his return to Double-A Jacksonville and owned a .280/.365/.518 slash line in 49 total games with the Suns. Marisnick, acquired last offseason in the megadeal with the Blue Jays involving Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, owned a .294/.358/.502 line over 67 games in the Southern League.
Out of the two, Yelich is more worthy of your attention when it comes to fantasy. He has the higher ceiling and, though Marisnick is full of tools, Yelich is more likely to do damage right away because of his sweet swing. Give him a chance now in deeper leagues, and if your league is a keeper as well, the move could pay off big in the years to come.
Rehabs of Note
Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy could be set to return to the Majors by the end of the month after completing the eighth start of his Minor League rehab after Tommy John surgery last year.
On Friday, Beachy allowed one run on five hits and a walk over five innings for Triple-A Gwinnett. He was originally scheduled to make his Major League season debut in mid June, but he was scratched and sent for more tests after experiencing tenderness in his throwing elbow.
Recovering from Tommy John surgery, Beachy could hold value in NL-only leagues down the stretch as a fourth or fifth fantasy starter with good strikeout numbers.
Mike Morse has been sidelined for other a month after feeling pain in his right leg while pinch-hitting against the Angels on June 20.
Morse went 1-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs in his first rehab game for Triple-A Tacoma on Monday, and -- batting fourth and playing right field -- he doubled and scored a run on Tuesday before coming out after five innings.
Prior to the injury, the 31-year-old left fielder was hitting .251 with 11 homers and 23 RBIs for the Mariners.
Colby Lewis is a long shot to have an impact on your fantasy team this year, but keep an eye on his rehab just in case.
He allowed three runs on five hits and two walks over three innings on Monday in his third Texas League start for Frisco.
On the 60-day DL after undergoing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon, the right-hander has yet to pitch in a Major League game this year.
He started his initial rehab in Triple-A Round Rock, but his recovery has already been interrupted twice with inflammation, hence the return to the RoughRiders.
Three-for-three to start his Major League career! Way to go christianyelich! http://t.co/GfpjN3eekL- Miami Marlins (@Marlins) July 24, 2013
It's been quite a couple of days for the 24-year-old third baseman Mike Olt. He started an around-the-horn triple play for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday and followed that up with a three-run homer in the same contest. He added another three-run roundtripper a day later for his third homer in his last five games -- all from a player who hadn't gone deep since June 21 before that string.
But even that recent uptick in power wouldn't have been enough for Olt to earn a spot on this list. After all, he was still blocked by Adrian Beltre at third within the Rangers organization, and as such it would have taken a lot more for the former University of Connecticut star to break down the door back into the Majors. Then came the Matt Garza deal that sent Olt, along with C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm and a player to be named later, to the Cubs organization.
Now, Olt's path to the Majors is much clearer, even if he starts at Triple-A Iowa. Luis Valbuena (.236/.347/.402) has been mediocre as the Cubs regular third baseman and isn't the long-term solution there. If Olt continues to show that his early-season struggles are in the past, he could find himself at Wrigley Field's hot corner soon. He's a true three-outcome player (strikeout, walk, home run), but he could provide some pop to the Cubs and NL fantasy-only lineups.
Dodgers' top prospect Zach Lee has struggled in his last two starts for Double-A Chattanooga. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits in five innings on July 10 and five earned runs on six hits in just three frames 11 days later. One of the culprits has been the long ball.
The 21-year-old right-hander has surrendered three in those two outings after giving up just five in his previous 18 appearances (93 2/3 innings). As a result of his recent schnide, Lee's ERA has jumped from 2.79 to 3.33. Obviously, those numbers aren't bad by any measure, but the increase could be a setback from a chance at a callup for the time being. He'll get his chances, probably in 2014, just not now.
Keep an Eye On
It's one thing to pitch six innings of a no-hitter -- alright, alright, it's a pretty big thing -- but it also says a lot what you can do for a follow-up. (Ask Tim Lincecum, who gave up eight runs on nine hits after his no-hitter last week.)
The 6-foot-6 southpaw, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 5 Red Sox prospect, is 8-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 19 Carolina League starts. His 116 strikeouts -- 19 of which have come in those last two gems -- lead the circuit and rank 12th among all Minor Leaguers. A chance to move up to Double-A Portland could come soon, and it'll be interesting to see how the 21-year-old handles the advanced competition. For now though, he's certainly caught our eye.