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Saturday 16th Dec 2017

The yin/yang of marquee prospects being promoted to the Majors, then being dropped back down continued this week, starting with the Pirates advancing the next hot outfielder, Gregory Polanco. After his .347-7-49 run at Indianapolis over 62 games, with a .945 OPS, the Buccos moved the flychaser to PNC Park, where the youngster responded with a fine first week of .385-1-5, so obviously, if by some chance he is still available, do grab him. But, don't expect every week to be quite that impressive.

Case in point would be Oscar Taveras, who was up for one week longer, having a tougher time with .189-1-2 totals, and then returned to Triple-A. It is curious that the Cards would advance Taveras, with all the Super 2 fuss, and then send him back down so quickly, but our mate, Brian Walton, who is indeed well versed in the Cards machinations, says this is minor in the grand scheme.

Still, I have to wonder why St. Louis did not give more of a Mike Trout-like first chance of say 30-40 games before seeing whether the young outfielder could adjust. Certainly, Taveras is an outfielder of the near future, but he lost to the numbers game; however, the Pirates decided now was indeed the time, figuring Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison could play elsewhere on the field, or possibly be used for a trade deadline-type move. Taveras will be back, and the Cards are even deeper that Pittsburgh and Taveras went down in deference to Matt Adams. Personally, I would favor giving Taveras a chance instead of Jon Jay, however.

On the veteran end of the spectrum, Rafael Furcal is back with Miami, after not being able to play a full complement of games since 2009. In 2010, 93 games, in 2011 85 games, in 2012, a decent 120 contests, but then he missed all of 2013 to injury. Furcal does have a good career line of .281-115-385, but he has not hit higher than .264 since 2009. Still, he is an experienced stick and player on a young team that is actually faring pretty well, and as such would be a good FAAB gamble in a deep mixed or NL-only format.

Tampa has had a sadly disappointing season but outfielder Kevin Kiermaier has been a fairly bright spot subbing for the injured Wil Myers. An unlikely (in a good way) success story, Kiermaier was selected in the 31st round of the 2010 draft, and comported himself pretty well with a .278-15-122 line over five pro seasons. Kiermaier swiped 86 bags in the Minors and made decent contact with 147 walks to 304 whiffs (.352 OBP) and has continued to produce in the Majors with a .362-3-4 line with a steal over 22 games. I hope he does well, and I wanna like this kid, so I would be willing to gamble on him.

Shhhhhh. There was a Logan Morrison sighting in Seattle with the goofy (check out his Twitter @Cupof LoMo) outfielder returning to play on a team that does seem to be making some noise. LoMo hit 23 big flies for the Marlins and knocked in 72 in 2011, and I have a lot of hope in the 26-year-old, who is entering his prime years. With Justin Smoak injured, Morrison has a chance to show what a valuable resource and producer he can be. And, he does have a history--well one season--of solid production. In an American League format, he is a good gamble.

As long as we are whispering, anyone notice that Hector Santiago has returned from the depths, perhaps? Santiago was 0-6, 4.82 when the Angels sent him down to Salt Lake, where he was 1-1, 6.43. Due to an armed emergency--and injury to Tyler Skaggs--the Angels were forced to bring Santiago back, but, as I write, he has tossed 12 frames over two games and allowed four runs, but over just one bad inning (and Kevin Jepsen let the final two runs score). I guess Hector doesn't fancy a return to Triple-A, which is indeed a good motivator. He does have control issues with a 1.353 big league WHIP, but his 3.53 ERA also portends Santiago can bear down when he needs to, and his 257 Major League strikeouts over 268 innings also suggest Santiago is a good gamble for a second chance.

If you are looking for a cheap catcher, note that the Rangers' Robinson Chirinos is hitting .304-3-7 over the last two weeks.

The Dylan Bundy watch continues as the former first-round pick of the Orioles in 2011 made his first minor league start since his Tommy John surgery last year. Twirling for Aberdeen on Father's Day, Bundy went five innings, against Hudson Valley in the New York/Penn League, allowing just a run and five hits while whiffing six and walking none. Alas, his Aberdeen mates could not do enough to help with a win, in fact they could not keep him from getting the loss. Still, a more than encouraging development, and continued success likely could mean Bundy is back at Camden sometime after the break.

Finally, a couple of prospects I used to really like--Carlos Triunfel and Michael Taylor--were moved this week.

Triunfel came up for the Dodgers to replace the injured Chone Figgins, so theoretically, those are small shoes to fill. Formerly a top 100 prospect (in 2008-09), Triunfel is another one of those guys who never lived up to our hopes or expectations, so pass.

Taylor was a fifth-round pick of the Phils, who then went to Toronto for Travis d'Arnaud, then to the Athletics for Brett Wallace before the Athletics swapped the outfielder to the Pale Hose this past week. Taylor did have pretty good minor league numbers (.289-102-503 over eight minor league seasons), but I think that Triple-A is his limit.

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