Dominguez finally starting to show signs that drove early-year hype
After poor start, Matt Dominguez has hit .409 with nine RBI in the month of June
Dee Gordon, Jemile Weeks could be good sources of batting average and steals
Dustin Ackley has drawn 50 walks to 34 strikeouts through 60 AAA games
With news that Padres prize prospect Anthony Rizzo will be called to San Diego Thursday, and as we wait, impatiently, on the health and call of Brett Lawrie (hand), we get the consolation prizes of future middle-infield stars Dee Gordon and Jemile Weeks -- two called-up prospects with strong bloodlines.
It reminds us there is more than one piece to the June call-up puzzle. You have to be: 1. Healthy; 2. Scorching hot at the plate; and 3. Filling a position of immediate need.
If only Mr. Matt Dominguez had the latter after finally picking up the first two criteria ...
The Marlins have dropped six consecutive games, losing in a 1-0 shutout where their 21-year-old Double-A call-up, Brand Hand, does everything he can to make up for a stagnant offense that is missing fantasy monster Hanley Ramirez. If journeyman Greg Dobbs wasn't hitting .337, Dominguez could be that injection of help for the Marlins.
Dobbs has taken advantage of a big opportunity with the Marlins after Dominguez failed to win the third-base job out of spring training as was planned. After getting off to a hot start with a pair of early homers, Dominguez hit just .190 (8-for-42) in exhibition games.
Then, back in the minor leagues, bad luck struck him on the elbow with a hit-by-pitch and forced him out of action for what should have been two full months. Dominguez, 21, healed quickly and wound up playing 20 unproductive games from Class A through Triple-A in May.
The calendar turned to June, though, and Dominguez has turned it on. The high school teammate and fellow 2007 first-round pick (12th overall) of Royals prospect Mike Moustakas (second overall) has gone 9-for-22 (.409) with three homers, nine RBI, four runs, a .481 on-base percentage and a .909 slugging percentage in the seven games this month. It isn't enough of a stretch to earn a call-up, but it is definitely something to take notice of in deeper fantasy leagues.
In those ultra-competitive leagues that value prospects, Lawrie (53 percent ownership), Moustakas (42 percent), Desmond Jennings (36), Rizzo (34) and Dustin Ackley (32) are tough to get their hands on. Rizzo (11 percent), Lawrie (6) and Moustakas (2) are the three-most added minor-leaguers in fantasy right now.
The Marlins' future third-base star is hardly making any noise on the transaction wire and rumor mills. He is owned in a mere five percent of leagues; yet he is closer than all but a handful of the 50-plus prospects that are owned in more than him.
If you cannot get your hands on the imminent call-ups of Lawrie, Rizzo, Jennings, Moustakas or Ackley, Dominguez -- like Gordon and Weeks are above -- is your consolation prize.
Gordon and Weeks didn't necessarily have the No. 3 criteria for a call-up in their hands. Their hopeful contenders had veterans Rafael Furcal and Mark Ellis blocking them. But those paths opened up in a hurry with Furcal (oblique) and Ellis (hamstring) both going on the DL.
Gordon, 23, and Weeks, 24, might not be here to stay, but they are here to contribute among fantasy middle infielders.
Gordon, the son of Tom "Flash" Gordon, had a flashy first start Tuesday, getting three hits, scoring a run and stealing a base. Weeks, the younger brother of the Brewers' Rickie Weeks, was much less impactful right away, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Neither is full developed offensively, but at shortstop (Gordon) and second base (Weeks), they are must-adds in deeper leagues, particularly Rotisserie formats. They are going to impact fantasy with their slap-hitting and stolen-base potential initially.
Gordon is younger and speedier, having hit .315 with no home runs, 18 RBI, 34 runs, 22 steals, a .361 on-base percentage and .370 slugging percentage in 200 Triple-A at-bats (50 games). Weeks has more pop, going .321-3-22-30-10 (.417-.446) in 184 Triple-A at-bats (45 games).
Both players have similar slight statures that make them more of a poor man's Jose Reyes than Hanley Ramirez or Rickie Weeks.
1. OF Domonic Brown, Phillies -- He has held up well and has even earned a start against a left-hander. He could really take off.
2. 1B Anthony Rizzo, Padres -- He went to San Diego on Tuesday, not for a call-up as much as a check up for his sore wrist. There are reports floating he might just stay there and be added to the roster later this week with a clean bill of health, though.
3. OF Desmond Jennings, Rays -- He has heated back up in June at .339-1-3-7-1 (.455-.621). He could set a career high in homers before the All-Star break. He has nine and has topped out at 11 in 2009. He shouldn't get a chance to before being called up.
4. 1B Brandon Belt, Giants -- He was called up but has since broken his wrist and will be out until at least late July. You can cut him for a healthier prospect in non-keeper leagues.
5. 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians -- Well, the Indians do go to an infield prospect to inject life to their dying team and offense, but it is Cord Phelps (.299-7-40-31-2, .391-.488) instead. Chisenhall has slumped at .216 in his past 10 games.
6. 3B Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays -- Manager John Farrell said the Blue Jays need to get Lawrie back on the field in Triple-A before they can get him on the big-league roster. There is a 40-man roster spot open, but his seven-day DL stint expires Wednesday. This weekend, perhaps? Rizzo and Lawrie seem to be a package deal.
7. 3B Mike Moustakas, Royals -- He is hitting .356 in his past 10 games, so it isn't a matter of health or a hot streak. He is stuck, like his high school teammate, behind a surprisingly productive start by Wilson Betemit (.297).
8. SP Julio Teheran, Braves -- He was beaten out by the dominance of Mike Minor for a call-up for this Saturday's spot start. Minor flirted with a no-hitter Sunday, so Minor will get the nod until Brandon Beachy (oblique) returns from a DL stint later in June. Teheran remains the most exciting pitching prospect awaiting a second-half call-up, though.
9. 1B Paul Goldschmidt, D'backs -- The 24-year old might not be a sure thing to belong in the majors amid a pennant race, but he clearly doesn't belong in Double-A any longer. At .344-19-53-51-5 (.461-.674) with 46 walks to 43 strikeouts, he has nothing left to prove there.
10. 2B Dustin Ackley, Mariners -- Last but most certainly not least, Ackley might be the hottest of them all. He is ripping in June (.407-.568-.741) and has drawn 15 walks in his past 10 games. He is ready to lead off for the Mariners right now with 50 walks to 34 strikeouts as a .305-9-32-53-6 (.421-.504) line through 60 Triple-A games.
If you're wondering where our fantasy coverage of this week's First-Year Player Draft is, come back and see us next fall on it. None of the players picked Monday figure to help in fantasy leagues this season and they are merely long-term keeper prospects to track.
Unlike the past couple of years with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, this draft was more of a function of depth than star power. We will have months, if not years, to pontificate which of the 2011 draftees will matter most to us in fantasy.
And the first round was heavy on young, power-armed pitching. We know in fantasy, young pitching is great ... three years from now.
Eric Mack chimes in on potential impact rookies and prospects every Wednesday at SI.com. If you have a prospect you want to see highlighted, let him know. As always, you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice on Twitter @EricMackFantasy. Hit him up. He honestly has nothing better to do with his free time.