Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
We are a week away from the September expansion of baseball rosters to 40 players which can cause confusion for some fantasy owners.
Don't worry, I'm here to help straighten out the mess for you.
For the most part, the answer for fantasy owners is that you can ignore the majority of the call ups.
The best of the minor leaguers were called up in June after the Super 2 deadline had been passed; think Yasiel Puig (June 3) and Wil Myers (June 18). They are already mainstays on your fantasy roster.
Another group of quality guys were called up as their teams suffered injuries: Tony Cingrani (April 18), Scott Van Slyke (May 10), Darin Ruf (July 6) and Xander Bogaerts (Aug. 20).
However, there is one guy, who if called upon, could continue to produce at a level that might help your fantasy roster over the final 25-30 games.
His name is George Springer and he plays in the Houston Astros' farm system.
The center fielder is trying to add his name to a very small list - those who have posted 40-40 seasons in the minors.
According to milb.com, there are just four members of this elite club and all of them have long since retired. The last to accomplish the feat was the "immortal" Len Tucker in 1956 with the Pampa Oilers. He blasted 51 homers and stole 47 bases that season. Fantasy owners can only dream of numbers like that. But Tucker never made it to the majors.
Tucker joined Dick Wilson (1948), Frank Demaree (1934) and Pat Wright (1930) as the only minor leaguers to post 40 homers and 40 steals in a single season.
Playing for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks and Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks this season, Springer has posted 37 homers with a 1.016 OPS and stolen 42 bases in just 129 games. He's actually been better at the Triple-A level than at Double-A, batting .303 with a 1.071 OPS over 56 games.
Considering that the Astros are averaging just 3.91 runs per game, which ranks them 23rd among 30 major league teams, and yesterday's starting outfield of Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes and Brandon Barnes isn't going to scare any opposing pitchers, the 23-year-old outfielder from New Britain, Conn. just might get a shot with the big club.
Springer was a first round selection (11th overall) of the 2011 draft and, if he gets a chance at the major league level this season, he could produce just enough to give you an edge down the stretch.
We just hope he gets a chance to hit three more homers in the minors before the phone rings so he can make Astros history.
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