The 2011 Major League Baseball season has seen a particularly high number of elite prospects get a call to "the Show". Over the past few weeks names like Jason Kipnis, Desmond Jennings, Brett Lawrie and Paul Goldschmidt have not only been called up, but shown they have what it takes to stay up. As we approach the expansion to 40-man rosters on September 1st, our focus will remain on the elite prospects, those that will get called up and will make a difference in your pennant run. What is becoming increasingly more clear is that Nationals megastar Stephen Strasburg is returning and it will be sooner than later!
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Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals P
Strasburg makes his second rehab start Friday night at High-A Potomac. Strasburg will be on a 50-pitch count or three inning limit, whichever comes first. Washington Manager Davey Johnson has made it abundantly clear that he wants Strasburg up to replace Jordan Zimmerman, Replace Zimmerman you ask? The hard throwing right hander has been given a 160 inning season limit, which he will reach after three more starts. No matter what format your league utilizes, get Strasburg now... if its not too late.
Jesus Montero New York Yankees C
Montero's much anticipated arrival could come any day. The Yankees are in serious need of a continued influx of young talent down the stretch and Montero will be the first on Manager Joe Girardi's speed dial. Montero gets it done at the plate 12-54-0-.285 and is effective behind the dish as well. Montero is not only the top prospect in the Yankees farm system, he remains the #1 catching prospect in all of baseball.
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels OF
We all got a peek at the raw speed and athleticism Trout brings after his surprising call-up last month. The Angels don't want Trout to sit, so he was sent back down when center fielder Peter Bourjos returned from injury. With aging outfielders Vernon Wells, Bobby Abreu and Torri Hunter potential injury concerns, Trout's return is only a pitch... and a phone call away. While Strasburg has proven he is a once in a generation pitcher, some believe that Trout is an even better prospect than the fabled Bryce Harper.
Julio Teheran Atlanta Braves P
The Braves truly have an embarrassment of pitching riches blowing up the minors. Mike Minor got the call this week when Jair Jurrgens finally broke down and landed on the disabled list. Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel and Brandon Beachy have been lights out this season, each a Rookie of the Year candidate in their own right. Many believe that Randall Delgado is the best of the bunch down on the farm as his name is alwaysbrought up when Atlanta is poking around for help at the plate. Teheran has electric stuff, already bringing three above average major league pitches in his arsenal. Teheran was up briefly for two starts but has done most of his damage in Triple-A. Teheran is 12-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 117 innings pitching for Gwinnett of the International League. If aging Tim Hudson or Derek Lowe break down, Teheran could arrive before the first of September.
Mike Montgomery Kansas City Royals P
The Royals haven't been shy bringing up an array of top prospects they have been hoarding in their farm system. Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Aaron Crow, Dannny Duffy and most recently Johnny Giavotella gave been called up and stayed up at Kansas City. Entering spring training '11, Montgomery was thought of not only the most talented, but most ready of the bunch. Many were surprised when Duffy got the call first as Montgomery is regarded as having more upside. That all being said, Montgomery has really struggled in Triple-A with a 4-7 record and 5.20 ERA. Montgomery has injury concerns, a forearm problem last year as well as elbow issues. Despite a disappointing 2011 thus far, Montgomery will be brought up soon and will eventually be the staff ace.
Jacob Turner Detroit Tigers P
Without much fanfare, Turner was brought up last week and sent back down before most fantasy baseball owners could react. Turner was effective in a spot start for Detroit, going five and a third, allowing three hits, issuing three walks and allowing two earned runs. Turner already possesses a major league fastball and work on secondary pitches is what stands between him and a regular spot in the Tigers rotation. How good can Turner be? How about the number two guy on a staff that includes Justin Verlander?
Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants 1B/OF
Belt was probably the move over-hyped prospect entering 2011 fantasy drafts and auctions. Many owners have hung on patiently as Belt struggled at and below the Mendoza line. There is no doubt that Belt possess a sweet stroke and for that reason he needs to be claimed every time he bounces back up to the City by the Bay. McCovey cove need not worry about Belt barrages as he doesn't posses big time power. Belt is a "money ball" machine, a great eye at the plate and the focus to deliver with runners in scoring position. While not Gold Glove potential in the field, Belt can hold his own at both first and left field.
Wilin Rosario Colorado Rockies C
Rosario is one of three future "prime time" catchers on this week's list. Rosario has big time power with some serious home run totals in his future at Coors Field. What will bring Rosario to Colorado soon will be not only his power at the plate, but a rocket arm as well. Rosario has thrown out runners at a forty percent rate for his career and has also displayed soft hands behind the plate. Rosario is hitting .246 this season with 16 home runs and 38 RBI. Rosario suffered a torn ACL in 2010 but it hasn't appeared to effect his development.
Devin Mesoraco Cincinnati Reds C
My personal favorite catching prospect, once Mesoraco gets the call, he will serve behind the plate in Cincinnati for a decade. Catching for Louisville in the International League, Mesoraco is hitting .293 with 11 home runs and 60 RBI. Mesoraco is very athletic for a catcher with excellent base running skills. Mesoraco has a solid arm and is projected as not only a power hitter but contact as well. A first round pick in 2007, Mesoraco will make his move by September and will be the starting opening day 2012.
Brad Peacock Washington Nationals P
Sometimes an athlete is so underrated he becomes overrated. Do you know what I mean? Peacock came out of nowhere this season, zooming up the prospect charts including Baseball America where he stands at #42 overall. The 23-year-old Peacock began the season at Double-A Harrisburg, where he went 10-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts. Peacock with off the charts strikeout to walks ratio (129/23) in 98 innings of work. Peacock earned a spot in the Futures Game and subsequently a promotion to Triple-A. With Jason Marquis traded to Arizona and Jordan Zimmerman quickly approaching his pitch limit, Peacock may be up very soon.
Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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