With teams like the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies losing key players to injuries, prospects get the chance to test their skills at the major league level. The big name players (Jason Heyward, Stephen Strasburg, etc.) have already made a splash, but there will always be surprise youngsters that scratch the surface and influence their respective teams. Last week, Gaby Sanchez was rookie of the week, but who gets the honor this week?

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Today’s Rookie of the Week is…Mat Latos!

Mat Latos, selected in the 11th round of the 2006 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres, has been a major part of his first place team’s success this season. The Padres’ pitcher, even though he has thrown well all season, has impressively performed as of late. On Thursday night, Latos recorded his tenth win of the season, as well as his fifth consecutive decision resulting in a victory. In his past two starts, he has pitched 15 total scoreless innings, while allowing only nine hits and two walks in that span. He’s making a case for being rookie of the year, as he’s pitched to a 2.45 ERA through seventeen games this season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is well over 3, which has helped him dominate major league hitters at the ripe age of 22. Available in 15% of Yahoo! Formats, it would be a shame to pass him up as a free agent.

Advice: This guy is the real deal. A definite hold on every fantasy team, especially taking into consideration that the Padres can’t lose.

Honorable Mention:

Buster Posey, drafted 5th overall in the 2008 MLB draft by the San Francisco Giants, has always been considered a hot commodity. Never struggling in the first two seasons of professional ball, adapting to the major leagues wasn’t a challenge for the young catcher. To understand how much the kid deserves this merit, here’s a look at his line spanning the past two weeks: .400 5 HRs 13 RBIs. On July 7th, Posey went 4 for 4, launching two homeruns, while driving in six runs. His plate discipline has enhanced as well, drawing four of his seven walks on the season in the last six games. The kid shined from the start, and since taking over full catcher duties (Bengie Molina traded to Rangers earlier) he is positioned for a great career in San Francisco. Posey is available in 40% of Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues, so even though catchers are plentiful these days, there is no doubt he will influence the batting average category similar to Joe Mauer.  He is just THAT good.

Advice: Drop the Molina brothers and add ” the Bus”.

Cold Case:

Ruben Tejada, the New York Mets 20-year old middle infield phenom, has hit a snag at the plate. Since July 1st, Tejada is 1 for 19, while inflating his strikeout rate alarmingly. He only had five strikeouts through his first 16 games, but since (only 12 games) he’s been whiffed on twelve occasions. With his batting average now flirting with the Mendoza line, and Luis Castillo on his way back from injury, the pressure is on for the young prospect. He is owned in 0% of Yahoo! Formats (that’s what it says), and it should stay this way, even though he flashes a nice glove (doesn’t translate into fantasy stats).

Advice: Leave him alone, and let the Mets decide his future.

On The Way Up?:

With the trading deadline approaching, teams have already made deals, where prospects get dealt to new teams and have better chances of making the major league roster. Rumors of the Phillies unloading Jayson Werth for a pitcher have been floating around, which only means that RF prospect Domonic Brown will replace him. In 15 games since being promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Brown is batting .364, including four bombs and twelve RBIs.  Before his promotion, he absolutely dominated the Eastern League: .318 15 HRs 47 RBIs. Once Werth is dealt, Brown will come up to help contribute for the Phillies in a tight NL East division.

Advice: Its inevitable that the Phillies will dump Jayson Werth, and once that occurs, Domonic Brown better be on your radar: power, speed, contact–you name it, he does it.

Do you agree with my choices? Did I miss anyone important? Feel free to comment.