We're all about synergy here at the Futures Exchange.
Let us explain. MLB.com's 2009 Draft coverage begins Monday, so we felt it only fitting to use a Draft theme for this week's fantasy drops of wisdom. After all, on June 9, we know you'll be watching for the next wave of fantasy stars, right?
With that in mind, this week's choices are all former first-round picks. And it doesn't even include 2006 No. 1 overall pick Luke Hochevar, featured in last week's "Phone Call Away" section (pat on the back), or Red Sox 2006 first-rounder Daniel Bard, who just got called up on Sunday and was obviously aware that he was Jonathan's early choice for this week's section(another pat on the back).
Even without those two arms, we've still got eight intriguing names for your consideration:
In the bigs
Jonathan's pick: Matt LaPorta, OF, Indians
The Brewers' first-round pick in the 2007 Draft, LaPorta was dealt to the Indians in last summer's CC Sabathia trade, but he spent a month with the Olympic team and only played in a handful of games with his new organization. Now, Tribe fans are getting the chance to see what he can do, as he sprinted to a .333/.414/.640 start to his Triple-A season and earned the call to help out Cleveland's offense. LaPorta's gone just 2-for-13 thus far, though one of those hits was his first big league homer. The power is legit, though he may only get to flex it against lefty pitching for now. Keeper-league owners should grab him immediately, while others can wait a bit to see if he gets more playing time.
Lisa's pick: Brett Cecil, LHP, Blue Jays
The Blue Jays had seven of the first 88 picks in the '07 Draft and used them wisely on a wide array of talent, but the No. 38 pick from the University of Maryland is the first to reach the bigs. A polished product with four good pitches, Cecil accelerated through the Minors last year, compiling a 2.88 ERA at three stops in his first full season. The southpaw struggled at Triple-A Las Vegas to begin '09, but has made up for it thus far in the bigs, allowing one earned run and striking out 12 in 14 innings over his first two starts. At the very least, AL-only owners should be hot on his trail.
A phone call away
Jonathan's pick: Clayton Mortensen, RHP, Cardinals
Stretching things to the supplemental first round of the 2007 Draft, we find Mortensen, the Gonzaga product taken by St. Louis with the 36th overall pick. The senior signee wasn't particularly effective in his first full season (4.96 ERA), but he made it to Triple-A, where he's started this season strongly. Mortensen is 10th in the league in ERA at 2.65 and he's held Pacific Coast League hitters to a meager .193 batting average. The Cards' rotation seems to be fine right now, but Mortensen has made himself the next in line if a guy like Mitch Boggs begins to falter.
Lisa's pick: Aaron Poreda, LHP, White Sox
Poreda, the club's first-round pick in '07 out of the University of San Francisco, is the ace of the Double-A Birmingham staff. So why are we putting a Double-A pitcher in this category, instead of in the "Year Away" section? Because Poreda is likely not long for this level, especially since he's coming off a rain-shortened, five-inning no-hitter. The 6-foot-6 lefty's got a 2.16 ERA and has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his six starts this year. He's worked on developing his offspeed stuff to complement a fastball that's been clocked occasionally at 100 mph, and it's obviously working.
A year away
Jonathan's pick: Gordon Beckham, SS, White Sox
It's hard to believe we haven't written about Chicago's first-round pick from last year's Draft as of yet, as the University of Georgia product has more than lived up to expectations. All he does is hit: He batted .310 during his debut last summer, .394 in the Arizona Fall League and is hitting .303 so far with a jump to Double-A for his full-season debut. The young infielder hasn't hit many homers, but he's got 14 doubles and a .505 SLG, so there's some pop in his bat. The White Sox brass loved Beckham this spring, and it's easy to envision him heading straight to the bigs one next year's Cactus League schedule is complete.
Lisa's pick: Brett Wallace, 3B, Cardinals
At 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, Wallace may not be a physical specimen, but he is a work of art at the plate. One of the most advanced hitters in the '08 Draft, the two-time Pacific 10 Triple Crown winner out of Arizona State University signed quickly enough to rack up a .337 average, eight homers and 36 RBIs in 54 games between Class A Quad Cities and Double-A Springfield last summer. Back at Springfield to start the year, he's hitting .268 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 28 games. With the Cards' (currently injured) third baseman Troy Glaus' contract expiring at the end of this year, look for the left-handed hitting Wallace to be very much in the mix for that job next spring.
Further down the road
Jonathan's pick: Ben Revere, OF, Twins
Revere was the biggest surprise of the '07 Draft when the Twins took him No. 28 overall. He was an even bigger surprise when he went to the Midwest League after a month of extended Spring Training and proceeded to make that circuit's All-Star team, hitting .379 with 44 stolen bases (we all know how hard it is to find good speed guys, don't we?). At this point, it shouldn't be shocking that Revere is off to a .308 start in the pitching-friendly Florida State League. He's got 15 steals (though he's also been caught six times) and has drawn 12 walks for an impressive .377 on-base percentage. This kid's got future leadoff hitter written all over him.
Lisa's pick: Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals
Hosmer was the top-hitting high-school prospect in the '08 Draft and was taken with the third overall pick by the Royals, who dispatched him to short-season Idaho Falls. Unfortunately, he was there only a few days before he was caught in the fallout from the Pedro Alvarez signing dispute and had to stop playing until it was settled. Now, Hosmer is making his full-season debut at Class A Burlington, where he's hitting .233 with a homer and eight RBIs over 25 games. Don't worry about those numbers, as he's a left-handed power bat who hits to all fields and should get locked in soon enough.
MiLB.com Beat the Streak
Keeping with the theme, we're going with all first-rounders this week, with a twist. While Lisa went the traditional Top 30 route, Jonathan -- having gone the first-round route earlier this season -- is going only with supplemental first-round picks.
May 11: JM: Zach Collier, Philadelphia/Lakewood; LW: Gordon Beckham, White Sox/Birmingham
May 12: JM: Conor Gillaspie, San Francisco/San Jose; LW: Tim Beckham, Tampa/Bowling Green
May 13: JM: Ryan Flaherty, Cubs/Peoria; LW: Michael Aubrey, Cleveland/Columbus
May 14: JM: Jaff Decker, San Diego/Ft. Wayne; LW: Brian Bogusevic, Houston/Round Rock
May 15: JM: Logan Forsythe, San Diego/Lake Elsinore; LW: Ben Revere, Minnesota/Fort Myers
May 16: JM: Nick Noonan, San Francisco/San Jose; LW: Brett Wallace, St. Louis/Springfield
May 17: JM: Todd Frazier, Cincinnati/Carolina; Lw: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh/Indianapolis