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Friday Nightly - $
Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:01am|
By Chris Hadorn
Your fantasy baseball rankings look a little stale. KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting series highlights the exploits of minor league baseball players, including top MLB prospects. Find out who'll make an impact, whether it's in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game next week or in your fantasy baseball keeper league two years from now.
In the winter, the Oakland Athletics dealt All-Star sinkerballer Trevor Cahill to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but they received a more talented pitcher with greater upside in return.
RHP Jarrod Parker, the key prospect acquired in the Cahill deal, will be called up from Triple-A Sacramento Wednesday to start Oakland's afternoon game versus the Chicago White Sox.
In 20 2/3 innings at Sacramento, Parker was 1-0, with a 2.18 ERA and a 21:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Thanks to an effective two-seamer, Parker yielded 2.17 ground outs per every air out, but he did allow two home runs in his four starts in the Pacific Coast League.
Ever since Parker was drafted by the D-Backs with the ninth overall pick of the 2007 draft, he has been a highly regarded prospect who had both the pitch arsenal and statistical track record that excited scouts. His career was derailed in 2010 by Tommy John surgery, but that was really the only major setback of his professional career. The 23-year-old has always shown the makings of developing into a No. 2-caliber starter, an ace in the best-case scenario.
Parker features a mid-90s fastball, a two-seamer and two quality secondary offerings in a slider and changeup. Last year, coming back from Tommy John surgery, Parker shied away using the slider, which used to be his bread-and-butter pitch. Now two years removed from Tommy John, it will be interesting to see if Parker shows renewed confidence in his slider as he takes on big league hitters or if he will lean more towards his low- to mid-80s changeup in pressure counts.
Parker enters the majors not in his most polished state, but he has a chance to succeed because he has strikeout stuff, and he will be pitching much of his games in one of baseball's most favorable pitching venues, O.co Coliseum.
Based on that, he's a must-add in AL-only formats and is worth strong consideration even in standard mixed leagues.
As a rookie, Parker is in a situation where he could record a sub-4.00 ERA and average eight strikeouts per nine innings.
The New York Mets promoted middle infielder Jordany Valdespin from Triple-A Buffalo after placing infielder Ronny Cedeno (left intercostal strain) on the 15-day disabled list. Valdespin, 24, was hitting .276 with two home runs, seven RBIs, 13 runs scored and two steals in four tries over 76 at-bats with Buffalo this year.
Valdespin intrigues observers with his tools, especially his combination of power and speed. In 511 combined at-bats between Double-A Binghamton and Buffalo last year, Valdespin walloped 17 home runs and stole 37 bases.
Despite his tools and HR-SB numbers, the Dominican frustrates many with a reckless approach to the game. Last year, he got caught stealing 18 times in 55 basestealing attempts, successful on just 67.2 percent of his tries.
Throughout the majority of his career, Valdespin has been a free swinger who has compiled 256 strikeouts to only 91 walks in 1,500 career minor league at-bats. However, the 6-foot, 190-pound infielder has made a worthwhile attempt to be more patient at the plate in recent years. For instance, he had seven strikeouts to five walks at the time of his call-up, but don't count on Valdespin and his lifetime .330 on-base percentage to develop into a patient hitter at the big league level.
During his stint in the majors, expect Valdespin to be a reserve that can play around the infield when needed and also fill in as an outfielder. His base stealing is the most attractive part of his fantasy value, but if he gets thrown out a few times, manager Terry Collins could end up putting the red light on him real fast.
Although Valdespin doesn't necessarily meet the Mets' high-OBP profile, he brings some positional versatility, has good power for a middle infielder and he can run. Those things matter in the fantasy world.
In the short term, Valdespin is probably a fringe pickup in even the deepest NL-only formats, but he has enough upside to warrant a frequent monitor on his progress.
The Boston Red Sox promoted 1B/OF Lars Anderson from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace OF Jason Repko (shoulder) on the 25-man roster.
Once a can't-miss prospect, the 24-year-old Anderson is no longer perceived as a starting caliber first baseman at the major league level. However, Anderson holds a career .371 on-base percentage in the minors, so the Red Sox began to convert Anderson into an outfielder this year in order to take advantage of his ability to get to first base.
In 67 at-bats at Pawtucket this year, Anderson was hitting .255 with one home run, eight RBIs, seven runs scored and an .358 on-base percentage. He is expected to serve in a minimal role with the Sox as a pinch-hitter and occasional starter.
In Double-A Northwest Arkansas' 5-0 shutout of Springfield last night, Kansas City Royals RHP Jake Odorizzi was masterful as he struck out 11 batters over seven frames of four-hit ball. He walked one.
In 17 2/3 innings this season, Odorizzi is 2-1, with a 4.08 ERA and a 25:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Looking deep into the numbers, the most discouraging aspect of Odorizzi's stat line is his 0.43 ratio between ground outs and air outs. So far, he has surrendered one home run in four starts after giving up 17 long flies in 147 innings last year.
Despite his fly-ball tendencies, Odorizzi is developing into a potential No. 2 starter. He's an athletic pitcher with a smooth delivery who boasts a low- to mid-90s fastball and two secondary pitches (curveball, changeup) that have a chance to be good.
Boston Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks is putting on a hitting clinic at Triple-A Pawtucket. Last night in a doubleheader, Middlebrooks homered for the fifth time in six games. In his last 10 contests, Middlebrooks is hitting .410 (16-for-39) with seven homers, 22 RBIs, 12 runs scored and a 1.452 OPS!
For the season, the 23-year-old now holds a .371 batting average with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 18 games.