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 Xander Bogaerts will stick in Boston despite a platoon in the infield and whether Kolten Wong can avoid being the odd man out in St. Louis.
There's also an update on the Minor Legaue rehabs of Derek Jeter and Angel Pagan and a look at why you should keep Twins propsect Kohl Stewart on your radar over the coming year.
Will He Stick?
Depending on your point of view, the decision may have come too early or perhaps too late to promote Xander Bogaerts. (As you'll recall, we thought it would come earlier.) The Red Sox felt it was just the right time to bring up their top prospect for the first time. Bogaerts owned a .284/.369/.453 line with nine homers and 32 RBIs in 60 games at Triple-A Pawtucket when the organization decided to call him up for its West Coast trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles.
This isn't just a normal promotion. Boston didn't want to bring up Bogaerts on a short-term basis. That being said, it looks like he'll have a platoon role with shortstop Stephen Drew, who has struggled against left-handers (.193/.246/.342). When Bogaerts does play, don't expect normal shortstop production.
He has more power than your average player at the position and projects as an overall better hitter as well. As such, he needs to be owned in all keeper leagues. Others should consider creating their own platoon at shortstop with Bogaerts. Projecting conservatively, he could provide average shortstop production right now. At best, he's so much more, and that's just at age 20.
Under the Radar
At this point in the season, scouring the waiver wire to add help for a playoff push -- or even the actual playoffs -- comes down to just finding someone who might get hot.
There's a lot of luck involved with that -- some might argue it's entirely up to luck, and they wouldn't really be wrong -- but it can't hurt to give a shot to someone who's already hot, at least.
Mike Kickham is back in San Francisco, and while his first appearance for the Giants on Wednesday was a clunker -- six runs on five hits and a walk in four innings -- in line with the rest of his Major League performances this season, which have yielded a 10.72 ERA in 22 2/3 innings.
But his strikeout numbers -- better than a strikeout an inning, with 24, to only nine walks --suggest he can be better, and before he arrived in the big leagues, he went 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA in August for Triple-A Fresno, striking out 15 and walking only four in 20 2/3 frames. So, if the Giants are willing to give him a look in the rotation, he could be an unlikely but useful selection in very deep leagues.
Rehabs of Note
Derek Jeter will join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday for the first of at least two Minor League rehabs, MLB.com reported Wednesday.
Jeter, who is recovering from a Grade 1 right calf strain and has been on the DL since Aug. 5, could rejoin the Yankees this weekend. Giraldi told MLB.com that Jeter will likely play five innings in the field tomorrow.
In five Manjor League contests this year, Jeter is 4-for-19 with a homer and two RBIs. It's likely he's available in most leagues, and he might be an adequate backup down the strecth for those players in AL-only leagues or deep 12-team mixed leagues where owners typically carry two shortstops at all times.
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Angel Pagan could return to San Francisco at the start of September if he experiences no further setbacks in his rehab.
Pagan pulled his hamstring in May and reinjured it while on a Minor League rehab stint with San Jose in June. He underwent surgery to repair the tendon and may move up to face stiffer competition over the next couple days.
In three Minors games for the Giants' Arizona League affiliate, the outfielder is 2-for-4 with a triple and two walks. He has played 46 Major League games this year. He's batting .262 with three homers, 24 RBIs and six stolen bases in 10 attempts.
You may not remember that Pagan actually entered the season as a sought-after fantasy commodity after stealing 29 bases and scoring 95 runs last season. The problem is that a pulled hamstring could limit his stolen base attempts, which neuters Pagan's impact. Still, he's worth a look on your bench just to see if he comes back willing to run.
No. 4 Cardinals prospect Kolten Wong was finally called up to the big club last Friday, and though he got off to a slow start for St. Louis, he has certainly picked it up since. The second baseman started his Major League career 0-for-8 at the plate in his first three games but is 5-for-10 with a double and three steals in the two games since.
The biggest questions following Wong's promotion surrounded his playing time, but with four starts already under his belt, it looks like Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is willing to give him plenty of work at second with Matt Carpenter moving to third and David Freese the odd man out.
The 22-year-old newcomer, who owned a .303/.369/.466 slash line for Triple-A Memphis, has plenty of hits in him and is a threat to steal once he reaches the basepaths, as Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy can already tell you. Because it looks like he'll see plenty of at-bats down the stretch, feel free to add him if you need second base help. Just have a decent backup option in case Matheny sits him, particularly against left-handers.
Trevor Bauer took one of the biggest drops in MLB.com's updated prospect rankings this season, moving from No. 17 at the start of the season down to No. 41 following stumbles in both the Majors and Minors. Still, there were signs that he was turning it around in his first year in the Indians organization. He posted ERAs of 2.59 and 2.73 for Triple-A Columbus in June (five starts) and July (four starts) respectively, thanks to a sharp decrease in home runs allowed (two in 50 2/3 innings combined during those months compared to six over 23 innings in May).
But the curse of the roundtripper has bitten again in August with four allowed in four starts (19 1/3 innings) so far this month. That, along with poor command (15 walks), led to a 6.05 ERA, inflated greatly after he allowed six runs in two innings Saturday. Holding onto Bauer in anything but a deep keeper or dynasty league is wishful thinking at this point.
Transaction to note
The Tigers recalled Jose Alvarez from Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday. The 24-year-old has been a consistent performer all season, and his latest stint with Detroit should be no different.
He took the hill Aug. 16, was optioned back the next day and then brought back again Wednesday. In that outing he took a loss against Kansas City but proved serviceable over 5 2/3 innings, scattering a pair of runs on five hits and three walks while striking out five.
In 25 1/3 innings in the Majors, he's recorded a 4.62 ERA with 22 strikeouts to 10 walks. He's only 1-3 so far, but if you're rotating starters, it's always a nice play to go with a guy on a first-place team.
He was excellent in the International League this year, going 8-6 with a 2.79 ERA and 113 punchouts to 25 walks in 135 2/3 innings.
Keep an Eye On
If you follow college recruiting, you may have known Kohl Stewart as the Houston native who committed to both the baseball and football teams at Texas A&M. If you follow the Draft, you know the Twins enticed him away from that by making him the first high schooler selected with their fourth overall pick back in June. Now if you follow the Minors, you know he's been pretty, pretty good.
He gave up three earned runs on 12 hits and three walks and struck out 16 in 16 innings in the GCL and then dominated his Appalachian League debut, fanning eight in four one-hit frames with Rookie-level Elizabethton. Stewart clocks in as the Twins' No. 4 prospect right now in a very deep system and No. 64 overall. He's years away from impacting fantasy rosters, but given his impressive athleticism, you'll want to be keeping tabs on the man who turned down the opportunity to back up Johnny Football.