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    Fantasy Baseball Watch List: Josmil Pinto, Maikel Franco

    RotoExperts Staff May 30, 2014 7:35PM EDT
    Welcome to the first version of The Watch List. The players listed in this article may be lesser known but are only an opportunity away from being serious contributors to Fantasy teams. All of these players are owned in less than 30 percent of CBS and ESPN leagues. They may not be worth owning just yet, but they are certainly worth monitoring. So click the little binoculars or flag next to these players name!

    Josmil Pinto (Minnesota Twins, Catcher) Pinto has struggled in May. He opened the month 0-for-16 and only has one home run. Subsequently, his role has been reduced, which has made him available, as he is only owned in 25 percent of CBS leagues and only one percent in ESPN. At age 25, Pinto is the future. After recording a slash line of .308/.411/.482 in 107 Double-A games and a similar number in Triple-A in 2013, Pinto showed his upside in April. The struggling Twins will look to hand him full reins soon. Once they do, Fantasy owners will want too, as well.

    You should see Maikel Franco in a Phillies uniform soon. Photo Credit: BeGreen90

    You should see Maikel Franco in a Phillies uniform soon. Photo Credit: BeGreen90

    Darin Ruf (Philadelphia Phillies, First Base) The defensively challenged Ruf likely would have been up all of last year if he could play anywhere but first base. However, with Ryan Howard batting only .222 vs. left-handed pitchers, a platoon may be in the cards. Ruf won’t see regular time just yet, but the Phillies will likely look to unload some of their aging stars, and if Howard is dealt, it could lead to regular playing time for Ruf, who slugged .410 in Triple-A. His 23.4 HR/FB ratio should appeal to Fantasy owners, even if his 31.6 strikeout percentage scares them.

    Josh Rutledge (Colorado Rockies, Second Base) Rutledge was called up following Arenado’s injury. He has seen time at second and shortstop, going 1-for-9 during that stretch. Rutledge has struggled since his call up in 2012, in which he hit eight home runs and stole seven bases in only 277 at-bats. If Rutledge’s .333 Triple-A batting average translates to the bigs, he can steal time from D.J. LeMahieu when Arenado returns. Plus, he is the backup plan for the oft-injured Troy Tulowitzki, which could lead to regular playing time.

    Maikel Franco (Philadelphia Phillies, Third Base) The highly touted Franco has heated up in May, batting .291 with three home runs and an .849 OPS. Many thought Cody Asche’s injury would pave the way for Franco’s call up, but the Phillies say they want him to heat up before they call him up. The true reason is they are likely waiting for Super-2 reasons, which means come June, he should be called up. Franco slugged 31 home runs and drove in 103 RBI in the minors in 2013 and will see regular at-bats once he is called up. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on him as his arrival is nearing.

    Didi Gregorius (Arizona Diamondbacks, Shortstop) At an extremely weak position anyone that receives regular playing time provides value. Recent reports state that some teams, including the Mets, continue to scout him. He will not blow Fantasy owners away, but he’s batting .314 in Triple-A and did belt seven home runs in 2013. He is one trade away from seeing regular playing time, which makes him worth monitoring.

    Michael Choice (Texas Rangers, Outfield) When Prince Fielder went down the popular thought was Mitch Moreland would see regular time at first. That led to an opening at DH, which is where Choice comes in. Choice has seen regular playing time since May 17th, but still remains available in over 90 percent of leagues. While he has struggled in the bigs, he’s a former top prospect that posted a .302/.390/.445 slash line in Triple-A just last season. Choice has cut down on strikeouts in 2014, but his struggles can be blamed on a .227 BABIP. Choice’s bad luck should turn around, and when it does, Fantasy owners will want him on their team.

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