The Dog Days are indeed here and once again a couple of premier prospects have found their way to the Major Leagues. And our job, as always, is to give you an idea of who these guys are, and whether they are worth drafting or reserving or avoiding in your fantasy league.
Among the top tier newbies to the show, perhaps the most promising is the Phillies' Rhys Hoskins, a fifth-round selection in 2015 out of Sacramento State in Northern California. Over 455 minor league games, Hoskins posted a .287-97-337 line with an excellent 211 walks to 353 strikeouts, good for a .375 OBP and as part of a .907 OPS. At Lehigh Valley this year, he went .284-29-91 and with Aaron Altherr likely out until September 1, Hoskins should get a good shot at some big league time between now and season's end.
The Rockies promoted a similar commodity in Ryan McMahon, a second-round high school pick in 2013 out of Southern California. A third baseman by trade, McMahon produced a solid minor league line of .297-78-386 over 558 games, and split this season between Double-A Hartford (.326-6-32) and Triple-A Albuquerque (.375-13-50), though McMahon does not have as patient a bat as Hoskins with 223 walks to 598 whiffs (.367 OBP). With Nolan Arenado hit on the hand by a pitch on Sunday, McMahon should at least get the first part of the week to settle into his regular spot and see what he can do.
Another native Californian, Dominic Smith, 22, was called up by the Mets this past week. A first-rounder in 2013, Smith has a .302-40-316 line in the Minors over 539 games with a decent 201 walks to 350 strikeouts (.350 OBP) and was enjoying a .339-16-76 line at Las Vegas when summoned. With the swap of Neil Walker, the Mets can now move Wilmer Flores to second and allow Smith to take a stab at the first base hole opened up with the trade of Lucas Duda.
Which does bring us to Neil Walker, new to the Brewers who have suffered with the under-performing Jonathan Villar this year, and enjoyed solid work from Eric Sogard, who is not a long-term solution to much. But Walker could give the team a solid Keystone bat down the stretch. Batting .264-10-36 this year before the swap, Walker has a good .277-23-92 line over 178 August games.
Willson Contreras might have gone on the DL, but no matter to the Cubs, who simply advanced Victor Caratini, a backstop hitting .344-10-59 at Iowa over 76 games, with a solid 23 walks to 46 punch outs, good for a .387 OBP. Note that though Caratini has a low walk total, he doesn't strike out a lot. Caratini is also a switch-hitter and a great pickup, starting with NL-only leagues.
The White Sox brought up Nicky Delmonico, a 25-year-old third sacker selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft by the Orioles. The Birds swapped him to the Brewers for Francisco Rodriguez, and Delmonico was then released and signed by the Pale Hose as a free agent. With Matt Davidson on the DL, Delmonico has been getting the hot corner time, hitting .364-1-6 over his first two weeks in the Show. Delmonico was hitting .262-12-45 at Charlotte when advanced and might be a good filler in a deep league, but he's probably not much of a long term anything.
Chris Stratton turned in a nice game on Sunday, shutting out the Nationals over 6.6 innings, having whiffed ten, lowering his ERA to 4.91 in the process. The 26-year-old has tossed 25.6 frames this year for the Giants, whiffing 22, but he isn't anything beyond a rotation filler in a deep format. Stratton has thrown 623.6 innings in the Minors, whiffing 544 and walking 228 while allowing 618 hits, making for a 1.35 WHIP to go with a 4.07 ERA and a 38-34 record.