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Boys of Summer - $
Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:01am|
By Chris Hadorn
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.
With starting catcher Kurt Suzuki reeling to a .215 average and a .524 OPS this season, the Oakland Athletics dipped into their farm system and promoted power-hitting catching prospect Derek Norris from Triple-A Sacramento.
Norris, 23, was hitting .273 with eight home runs, 36 RBIs, 37 runs scored, five stolen bases and an .804 OPS in 209 at-bats with Sacramento. The 6-foot, 210-pound backstop was one of four prospects the Athletics acquired in a winter deal which sent All-Star starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals.
Throughout his professional career, Norris has been a 'three true outcomes' hitter, and his batting average (.252 career mark) has often suffered because of his swing-and-miss tendencies.
When healthy, Norris has shown good power for a catcher, swatting 23 homers in 2009 and 20 round-trippers in Double-A last season.
Catchers usually aren't a good source of steals, but Norris has decent wheels for a 210-pound backstop. He stole 13 bases in 2011 and 11 bags in 2008 during a short-season Class A stint.
Batting average woes will keep Norris from developing into a first-tier catcher, but he has a chance to have a long, productive career because of his on-base skills, power and defensive reputation.
Word is the Athletics are bringing up Norris to stay, but initially he will split catching duties with Suzuki because the organization likes having a veteran presence to work with their young pitching staff.
Given his timeshare role, Norris is not a serious option in standard mixed leagues, but he's an immediate add in AL-only formats and could serve well if your lineup necessitates two receivers.
Within time, Norris has the makings of developing into an above-average run scorer with 20-home-run pop.
In his Double-A debut Wednesday, Pittsburgh Pirates RHP prospect Gerrit Cole had a solid outing, allowing two runs, five hits and no walks over five innings. Cole struck out six and threw 52 of his 74 pitches for strikes. According to reports, Cole topped out at 98 mph on the radar gun.
In the past, his fastball has been clocked as high as 102. He also features an impressive slider and a good changeup.
In terms of pure stuff, Cole is probably the most talented pitcher in the minors. However, going back to college, talent evaluators have felt Cole's performance has not always matched his skill set. So far, he has shown the makings of No. 2 starter in the very least, if not an ace.
The Boston Red Sox are promoting OF prospect Jackie Bradley from high Single-A Salem to Double-A Portland. The first-round supplemental selection from the 2011 draft hit .359 with three home runs, 26 doubles, 34 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 16 steals and a 1.006 OPS in 234 at-bats with Salem.
A well-rounded player, Bradley's greatest asset might be his batting eye as he drew 52 walks in the Carolina League, good for a robust .480 on-base percentage.