Category Archives: Prospects

Weekly Minor League Recap

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): Montero has seen his batting average drop below .300 (.294) for the first time this year, but added another HR last week.  His K/BB ratio is about 5:1, and he is only getting on base around 34% of the time.  However, this could just be a matter of Montero getting antsy to move on the next level, now that he has proven his worth in the minors for over 4 years.

Brett Lawrie, TOR, 2b/3b, Vegas 51s (#40): The Lawrie call up was supposed to be last weekend, but it was derailed by a minor wrist injury, which put him on the 7 day DL as of June 1.  Once that heals up, be ready to add the youngster.

Adrian Cardenas, OAK, DH, Sacramento River Cats (unranked): Cardenas has fallen off recently: .189/.286/.189 in his last ten.  Could be a victim of BABIP luck, as he only struck out 3 times in his last 37 ABs.  Cardenas is the full time DH now for Sacramento, which hurts his chances of getting called up.

Jemille Weeks, OAK, 2b, Sacramento River Cats (unranked): Weeks, the younger brother of MLB’er Rickie, has had a great season so far, and could be called up before Cardenas because he offers a better glove.  At .324/.419/.453, with 8 steals, 28 BBs and 31 Ks, he offers speed and patience, with a bit of pop as well.  A decent middle infield option in deep leagues if/when he gets promoted.

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Weekly Minor League Recap

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): Montero is still mouldering away at SWB, mainly because the Yankees do not have a regular place for him to play every day, except for possibly DH.  They don’t want to have the kid start his career just batting, and so we must wait (Insert Second Coming joke here).  His average has dropped to .315, but he is showing more power of late, hitting 2 HR and 3 doubles in his last ten.  His walk/k ratio still sucks though (8/31).

Brett Lawrie, TOR, 2b/3b, Vegas 51s (#40): Lawrie is back to hitting for average to go along with his prodigious power.  He is at .375/.490/.800 with 4 HRs, 13 RBIs, 9 BBs, and 7 Ks over his last ten.  He already has more HRs this year (11) than last year (8) in 92 fewer games.  But blah blah blah his glove is nonexistent blah blah blah.

Adrian Cardenas, OAK, DH/2b, Sacramento River Cats (unranked): The beat goes on for Cardenas average wise, as he hit .411 over his last ten.  He also showed some power, slugging .618 (though just one hit went over the fence).  Still getting on base over 40% of the time.

Brandon Guyer, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (unranked): Guyer is at .176/.300/.206 over his past ten.  Looking more and more like the HR in his major league debut was a giant fluke

-Yonder Alonso, CIN, OF, Louisville Bats (#73): Alonso is rolling along at .375/.468/.550 in his last ten.  More importantly, he had 7 walks to 4 strikeouts; patience increases call up potential IMO.

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05.22.11 Box Score Breakdown: Fantasy MLB News and Notes

Interleague play always bring interesting games. Like the Mets being up 3-1 and ready to take the series from the Yanks and then giving up an 8-run inning to lose the game (and series).

Ugh…onto it…

4th and Home Player of the Day: James Shields – SHO, 3 H, 13:1…Big Game James continues to dominate. This start was just nasty!

The Bats:
Asdrubal Cabrera
– 5/5, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI…Wow. He now has 9 HR on the season (most in his career) and is looking to break all of his past single-season records. Yeah, I told you he was juicing.

Michael Brantley – 3/4, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB…Guy continues to produce, mostly since we talked about him on the Show of course.

Joey Votto – 2/4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI…Votto’s been absent for a bit from this piece, so it’s good to see him back. Batting .335 with 6 HR and 28 RBI.

Jay Bruce – 2/4, R, HR, RBI…If Jose Bautista did not exist, we’d be talking about Bruce. He has been ON FIRE. He’s now up to .271 with 11 HR and 27 RBI.

Alex Rodriguez – 4/5, R, RBI…Got the average back up to .284!

Curtis Granderson – 1/4, R, HR, RBI…Number 16. Unreal.

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05.19.11 Box Score Breakdown: Fantasy MLB News and Notes

Madison Bumgarner JUST missed a SHO. He’d be on your team if you read my “September Star Series…

Onto it…

4th and Home Player of the Day: Jason Giambi– 3/5, 3 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI…So he juiced before the game I assume?

The Bats:
Jay Bruce
– 3/4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI…Bruce is starting to heat up as he’s now batting .333 for the past week.

Justin Morneau – 3/5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI…Morneau with a nice night to help his disappointing season.

Trevor Plouffe – 1/5, R, HR, 3 RBI…Ok, ok. It’s about time I talk about the Rook. Through nine games he’s batting .286 with 2 HR and 8 RBI.

Howie Kendrick – 3/4, R, HR, RBI…Been quiet lately, but now hitting .322 with 7 HR and 18 RBI.

Allen Craig – 3/4, 2 R, HR, RBI…Holliday-esque in his start!

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Weekly Minor League Recap

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): With the Posada saga taking a turn for the worse for Jorge and the Yankees, the good news is that fantasy players may see Montero make the jump sooner than expected.  Montero is chugging along at .336/.369/.443, and hit his 2nd homer of the year last week.  He is also showing more patience at the plate, walking 3 more times to bring his season total to 6; hey, its progress.  He isn’t hitting out of this world, but when he gets the call, he will almost certainly be an upgrade over most catchers in the majors fantasy-wise.

Brett Lawrie, TOR, 2b, Vegas 51s (#40): Lawrie is still hitting home runs at a healthy clip, adding 2 more last week.  Hitting only .262 over the past 10 may have cooled off the promotion talk, but don’t sleep on him if/when Toronto makes the move (can they really seriously consider sticking with .216/zero HR hitting Aaron Hill? Who knows).  One red flag hitting wise: 31/11 K/BB, so he needs to work on patience (kind of like Montero).

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Weekly Minor League Recap

Weekly Minor League Recap:

Considering how well I predicted imminent call ups last week – missing on both Hosmer and Julio Teheran (though I did at least mention Hosmer) – this week I will just return to giving vague prognostications, if anything.

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): Montero is still cruising along at .354/.370/.438, but has been pedestrian the last couple of weeks.  He also only has 1 HR.  Still, this guy is just playing the waiting game until the Yankees make the call.  It might be longer than expected at this point, but keep monitoring.  Cervelli won’t hit grand slams every week, Martin looks to be cooling off drastically, and Posada has been terrible (I hate to say that about Jorge, but it’s true).

Brett Lawrie, TOR, 2b, Vegas 51s (#40): Lawrie must have heard the collective fantasy community’s outrage at Toronto failing to call him up and is thus punishing all by hitting only .217 over his last 10.  He still managed to hit two HRs last week, showing that even he cannot stop himself from exhibiting the power.  It’s a shame Lawrie can’t field a lick, which is probably the main reason he isn’t on the Blue Jays by now.

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Weekly Minor League Recap

Weekly Minor League Recap:

This week for a change, I am just going to update the top prospects who look like they could get promoted very shortly, either to the next minor league level, or to The Show.  So, even though Hosmer is playing like a man possessed, Moustakas is the heir apparent for KC’s hot corner, and Trout will soon be Anaheim’s best outfielder, we won’t be discussing them.  We will come back to them in future weeks for updates, don’t worry.

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): Montero came back from a shot to the nether regions and didn’t have his best week.  He only played in 4 games and went 4 for 19, though he did walk (twice!) for the first time this season on Sunday.  Even though Franco Cervelli is back with the Yankees, I don’t see Jesus toiling away too much longer in SWB; Cervelli is merely a warm body to provide Martin with rest.  Look for him to get back to destroying minor league pitching again sooner rather than later.

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Weekly Minor League Recap

You know the drill; Stats are as of Sunday (which, by the way, come courtesy of minorleaguebaseball.com), numbers are the BA rankings, Jesus Montero is too good for triple A, blah, blah, blah.

 AAA:

-Jerry Sands, LAD, OF, (unranked): The same day Sands was mentioned here last week, the Dodgers brought him up (they must have heard Mike touting his exploits).  Sands is struggling out of the gate (4 for 26 with 4 RBIs, 0 HRs, 3 BBs/8 Ks), so I wouldn’t get too excited about him until I started to see some improvement.  In deeper/keeper leagues, he’s worth stashing on the bench for the time being.

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): The aforementioned Mr. Jesus must be getting bored with AAA pitching.  He’s ‘only’ hitting .407 now and won’t let anyone walk him, with a season total of 9 Ks and 0 BBs.  He took a foul ball to the groin during Sunday’s game *grabs groin reflexively* and had to leave, but he should be ok.

-Andrew Brackman, NYY, SP, SWB (#78): Brackman made two starts last week.  On 4/18, he was pretty ineffective, giving up 4 ER, 7 H and 2 hrs in 5 innings with 4 Ks.  He bounced back with a sharper performance yesterday (6 innings, 2 ER, 5 H, only 1 HR, 3 BBs, 3 Ks).  Dude’s gotta cut down on the gopher balls if he is to have any shot at seeing the Bronx this summer.

Mike Moustakas, 3b, and Eric Hosmer, 1b, KC, Omaha Storm Chasers (#9 and #8 respectively): Moustakas: 16 for 67 (.239), with a HR and 7 RBIs last week, slugging only .373.  Hosmer: 24 for 67 (.358), slugging .463, 11BB/11K.

-Mike Montgomery, KC, P, Omaha  (#19): Montgomery is 1-1 after 4 starts, with a 3 ERA and 18 Ks in 21 innings.  He does have 12 BBs.  His last start was solid: 6 innings, 2 ER, 6H, 2 BB/4 K, but he did give up his first HR of the season.

Brett Lawrie, Tor, 2b, Vegas 51s (#40): Lawrie keeps treating baseballs badly, hitting .425 (31 for 73) and slugging .712.  3 HRs and 5 RBIs last week, bringing season total to 4 and 12.  Aaron Hill? He’s hit the DL with a strained hammy.  Too many steal attempts Aaron, tsk, tsk…

Dustin Ackley, 2b, Seattle, Tacoma Rainiers (#12): Ackley is continuing to underwhelm at 17 for 72 (.236), but on the bright side he has 4 steals and is getting on base around 35% of the time (12 BB/15 K), which is not something most Mariners can boast.

-Jose Iglesias SS, Bos, Pawtucket Red Sox (#52): Iglesias is now 11 for 51 (hitting and slugging .216!!!).  He is in danger of dropping off the list (general suckiness).  Next.

Lonnie Chisenhall, Cle, 3b, Columbus Clippers (#25): 3 weeks in, Chisenhall hasn’t showed why he is the 3rd baseman of the future for the Indians (13 for 58 (.224) while slugging .362).  He does have a modest 4 game hitting streak, so maybe he will get going soon.

-Jason Kipnis, Cle, 2b, Clippers (#54): Kipnis is 3 for his last 15, 13 for 51 on the year.  He is still walking as much as he is striking out though (10/11).

-Julio Teheran, ATL, P, Gwinnett Braves (#5): Teheran is starting to dominate at the AAA level, throwing another gem this past week (6.1 innings, 1 ER, 7 H, 5 Ks, 0 BBs).  He is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA and had his first walk-free start last time out.  Julio is the real deal.

-Desmond Jennings, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (#22): Jennings has cooled off considerably since the call up talk (only 6 for his last 29).  He is still getting on base around 40% of the time.  Sam Fuld is playing over his head in TB, but when he inevitably levels off, the clamor for Desmond to jump to Tampa could pick up again.

-Jenrry Mejia, NYM, SP, Buffalo (#44): Mejia gave up his first runs of the year in two starts last week.  One was passable (5.2 innings, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 BBs, 6 Ks), one was outright bad (6 innings, 5 ER, 4 H, 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 K).  Any call up talk might have cooled off.

-Dee Gordon, LAD, SS, Albuquerque Isotopes (#26): Gordon is 4 for his last 22, dropping his average to .281.  He did steal 3 more bases.  K/BB rate is still ugly at 14/3.

-Kyle Gibson, MIN, SP, Rochester Red Wings (#34): Gibson tossed a gem in his last start: 6 innings, 1 ER, 1 H (was a HR), 6 Ks, 0 BBs.  Each start has gotten progressively better; this coupled with Minnesota’s early struggles could prompt a call up shortly.

Jordan Lyles, HOU, SP, Oklahoma City Redhawks (#42): Lyles had 1 bad start (6 innings, 6 ER, 8 H, 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 Ks) and one good start last week (7 innings, 0 ER, 3 H, 3 Ks, 1 BB).  Houston is bad all of the time, so look for Lyles to get some buzz if he keeps improving.

-Anthony Rizzo, SD, 1b, Tucson Padres (#75): Rizzo is a New Edition to the list; SD hitting prospects are pretty easy to overlook, I just plum forgot about him.  But given the anemic nature of the parent club’s offense, he could get the call shortly and give the Pod’s a ‘bang’. He is manhandling the PCL at a .420 clip (29 for 69) while slugging .768.  He hit HRs on three straight days last week, and now has 6 on the season.  Part of the Adrian Gonzalez haul, keep an eye on your waiver wire for him in deeper leagues as he cannot possibly be worse than what the Friars trudge out there every night.  

Fernando Martinez, NYM, OF, Buffalo Bisons (unranked): Back off the DL, Martinez went 2 for 6 with a HR in two games since returning from a hamstring strain.  He’s now 7 for 22 (.318) on the season.

Injury Updates:

-Ryan Kalish, Bos, OF, Pawtucket (unranked):  Kalish wasn’t doing much better than his teammate Iglesias – 13 for 55 (.236, slugging .309) – before suffering a torn shoulder muscle that will most likely keep him out for the rest of the season.  Ryan, we hardly knew ye; godspeed.

Tanner Scheppers, TEX, SP, Round Rock Express (#84): after 1 start, Scheppers is on the DL again with recurring back problems.

-Matt Dominguez, Fla, 3b, New Orleans Zephyrs (#81): On the 7 day DL to start the season, fractured elbow, out 4-6 weeks as of early April.

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Weekly Minor League Recap

Every Monday, starting this week, I will give a round-up of how top prospects are doing down on the farm, broken down by level.  A number next to the player’s name indicates his ranking on Baseball America’s 2011 prospect list.  As it is still very early and we are dealing with small sample sizes, don’t put too much stock in them.  If a prospect is still in rookie league/low A ball/injured, he doesn’t make the cut.  Let me know in the comments if I missed anyone of interest.  The stats are as of Sunday, April 10.

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C (#3), Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees: Jesus is doing as expected in Triple A, hitting .400 (6 for 15) with a hr, an rbi and 2 runs scored.  With the way Russell Martin has started, it could be a while before he sees the Bronx, though a lot can happen between now and September.

Mike Moustakas, 3b, and Eric Hosmer, 1b, KC, Omaha Storm Chasers (#9 and #8 respectively): These two are both on the same team, so I will deal with them together.  Moustakas has started slowly, going 2 for 14, but does have 3 runs scored.  Hosmer on the other hand is 7 for 14.  Both could see the big leagues this year, but Moustakas has a better chance, given KC has Butler at first.

Mike Montgomery, KC, SP, Omaha  (#19): Montgomery, also on the Storm Chasers (don’t you love the minor league nicknames?), had a rough 1st start, giving up 5 ER and 2 BBs in 5 innings.  He did K 3.  Likely needs a full year in triple A, so think 2012.

Brett Lawrie, TOR, 2b, Vegas 51s (#40): Lawrie has started 5 for 12.  Given Toronto has Hill manning 2b, he could be in the minors all year.

Dustin Ackley, SEA, 2b, Tacoma Rainiers (#12): Ackley is 3 for 12 to start the season.  Seattle will be very bad this year offensively, so don’t expect to see him stay with the Rainiers too long if he rakes there.

Jose Iglesias, BOS, SS, Pawtucket Red Sox (#52): Iglesias has gone 3 for 7.  Boston doesn’t have an all world shortstop, but they will probably wait until Jed Lowrie/Marco Scutaro run their course before bringing him along.

Ryan Kalish, BOS, OF, Pawtucket (unranked):  Kalish isn’t a top 100 prospect, but he’s still young and highly regarded.  He is just 2 for his first 16, so he can be ignored for the time being.  He also plays OF, where the Sox are fairly loaded.  He didn’t make much of a splash last year with the big team, going 26/4/24/10/.252 in 53 games, but he also didn’t embarrass himself.

Fernando Martinez, NYM, OF, Buffalo Bisons (unranked): this post-hype prospect, playing for the redundantly named Bisons, started out 4 for 13.  He hasn’t had success with the big club yet, during two stints in 09 and 10, but he is worth keeping in mind in deeper leagues if/when he gets the call up.

Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE, 3b, Columbus Clippers (#25): Chisenhall was great with the Indians during Spring Training, and hasn’t lit it up just yet with the Clippers, going 4 for 19.  However, he does have a hr 5 rbis and 3 2bs, so all of his hits have been for extra bases.  Look for a call up very soon.

Jason Kipnis, CLE, 2b, Clippers (#54): Kipnis is 3 for 11 to start off.  Another top young infielder, he could see some action in Cleveland before the season is out.

Julio Teheran, ATL, P, Gwinnett Braves (#5): the top Braves pitching prospect had a solid Triple A debut against the Durham Bulls, going 5 2/3 innings, giving up just 1 run, striking out 3 and walking 2.  Given wealth of pitching talent at the big league level for Atlanta, Teheran probably doesn’t get to the Bigs in 2011, but he has the talent to be a top of the rotation SP in 2012.

Desmond Jennings, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (#22): started 6 for 17, with a hr 2 rbis 3 steals and 3 BBs. (he went 2 for 5 against Teheran).  Could be up very soon with the Manny fiasco and the Rays struggling to get anything going offensively.

Chris Davis, TEX, 3b, Round Rock Express (unranked): another post hype prospect, raking so far in the minors at a 9 for 17 clip, with 4 hrs and 10 rbis.  His M.O. has been to tear up Triple A and stink it up at the MLB level thus far in his career, so exercise caution before getting too excited; ‘Crash’ Davis is turning out to be a quad A legend.

Jenrry Mejia, NYM, P, Buffalo (#44): great performance from Mejia, going 6 innings, 0 ER, 6 K, 2 BB.  Could be with the team shortly as an SP if the rotation is garbage as expected.

Dee Gordon, LAD, SS, Albuquerque Isotopes (#26): The Dodgers’ top young infielder, he’s 4 for 14 with 3 rbis and 3 steals.  If Furcal gets hurt – which, as we all know, is a BIG if – and LA wants to see what he can do, he could see Chavez Ravine in 2011.  But this is his first year in AAA, so probably not.  Fun fact: he’s Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon’s son.

Kyle Gibson, MIN, SP, Rochester Red Wings (#34): The Twins’ top pitching prospect gave up 3 ER in 3 innings of work in his 2011 debut.  He did K four.  Look for a late 2011 call up, especially if Baker/Blackburn/Duensing continues being mediocre.

Jordan Lyles, HOU, SP, Oklahoma City Redhawks (#42): Lyles is Houston’s top pitcher in the minors, but he certainly didn’t show it in his first 2011 start, going 4 innings and giving up 3 ER, striking out just one.  He has good control (only 46 BBs in 158 innings a year ago), so with the Astros most likely being awful in 2011 with an equally awful back end of the rotation, he could be up for 2011.

AA:

Mike Trout, LAA, OF, Arkansas Travelers (#2): The consensus top 2 prospect along with Bryce Harper is 2 for 10 with a hr 2 rbis and 1 steal.  A couple games does not a stud make or break.  Regardless of how he does this year, he should emerge as one of the top 2012 fantasy prospects.

Wil Myers, KC, OF, Northwest Arkansas Naturals (#10): Myers is another stud in the Royal’s farm system.  He has started hot, going 6 for 18.  Given KC’s outfield is so-so, he could get a look in late 2011.

Austin Romine, NYY, C, Trenton Thunder (#98): 3 for 16 thus far. Indisputably less offensively inclined than Montero, but better defense.  Maybe think about in 2012, likely for another team if Yanks deem Montero untouchable and opt to trade Romine at this year’s deadline instead.

Travis D’arnaud, TOR, C New Hampshire Fisher Cats (#36): 1 for 11 so far.  Blocked by J.P. Arencibia for the time being.  2012 looks more like it before we hear anything meaningful on D’arnaud.

Joe Benson, MIN, OF, New Britain Rock Cats (#100): Benson starts the season 8 for 17 with a hr and 5 rbis.  The Twins don’t have a pressing OF need, but if they fall out of contention, Benson could get a look this year.  This is his second tour with New Britain.

Derek Norris, WAS, C, Harrisburg Senators (#72): 1 for 5 to open the season.  Senators have no need to rush him.  Probably 2012 is when we see what he can do at the Major League level, along with you know who.

Tony Sanchez, PIT, C, Altoona Curve (#46): Another catcher prospect, he’s 3 for 10 with a hr.  Pittsburgh has a need for a good young catcher, but 2012 is probably earliest we first see him.

Brett Jackson, CHC, OF, Tennessee Smokies (#38): Jackson is 7 for 17 with a hr, 6 rbis, and 4 walks.  The Cubs have a sub-par outfield, so Mr. Jackson could move up quickly if he continues to rake.

Trey McNutt, CHC, SP, Tennessee (#48): The cubs top pitching prospect, he only went 2 2/3 innings in his debut, but didn’t give up a run, and struck out 2. ETA: 2012-13.

Wilin Rosario, COL, C, Tulsa Drillers (#49): 3 for 10 with a hr, 2 rbis.  Probably no chance with the Rockies until 2012.

Christian Colon, KC, SS, Arkansas Naturals (#51): 5 for 16, hr, 5 rbis, 3 steals.  KC has Alcides Escobar, another young flashy SS, so Colon looks destined to do the minor league thing all year.

Dellin Betances, NYY, SP, Trenton Thunder (#43): Good 2011 debut from Betances, as he went 4 2/3, giving up just 1 ER.  He did only K one and walked two.  Outside shot at getting called up, depending on the 4-5th starter situation in the Bronx – and Phil Hughes recent meltdown – but most likely we are looking at 2012 for him.

Matt Moore, TB, SP, Montgomery Biscuits (#15): great debut from yet another young Tampa pitcher: 5 innings, 1 ER, 7 Ks, 0 BBs.  The big league rotation is pretty well stocked, so 2012 target seems about right.

Chris Archer, TB, SP, Montgomery (#27): and, still more Tampa pitching!  Archer went 4 innings, giving up 3 ER, striking out 3 and walking 3.  Acquired in the Garza trade, he gives Tampa obscene starter depth.  Nothing doing in 2011 most likely.

Casey Kelly, SD, SP, San Antonio Missions (#31): Kelly, part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade, had a poor first outing, going 4 1/3, 3ER, 1 BB and 1K.  Still very raw as a pitcher, not worth a look until 2012.

Randall Delgado, ATL, SP, Mississippi Braves (#35): 5 innings, 0 ER, 6 Ks, 21 years old.  Very nice.  Too bad the Braves have a stable of young pitchers ahead of him.  2012 at the earliest.

John Lamb, KC, SP, Northwest Arkansas Naturals (#18): gave up 2 ER in 3 innings, with 2 BBs and 2 Ks.  Highly regarded ala` Mike Montgomery, he will probably be in the running for the big 2012 youth movement with the Royals.

Martin Perez, TEX, SP, Frisco Roughriders (#24): 3 innings, 2 ER, 3Ks, 2 BBs.  He’s only 20, so Texas will let him get seasoned in double-triple A for a season, especially after he walked 50 batters in 99 innings (!) in 2010.

A:

Bryce Harper, WAS, OF, Hagerstown Suns (#1): Consensus future hall of famer, er, very good ballplayer Bryce Harper is just 2 for 11 to start the season.  He does have a steal and 2 RBIs to his credit.  I wouldn’t be shocked if the Nationals bring him up by the end of the year, but I also wouldn’t hold my breath.  My money is on a 2012 debut, pending stellar performance in the minors, which most people consider a foregone conclusion. If he does hit the waiver wire at any time this year, records will be broken for the amount of claims put in for him.

Manny Machado, BAL, SS, Delmarva Shorebirds (#14): Machado is Baltimore’s prized infield prospect, and is 4 for 11 with a double, triple, a steal and 3 rbis. Looking like a 2013 fantasy rookie.

Jake Odorizzi, KC, SP, Wilmington Blue Rocks (unranked): 3 innings, 5 Ks in his debut.  Part of the Greinke haul, looks like an interesting prospect for 2012 and beyond.

Drake Britton, BOS, SP, Salem (VA) Red Sox (#97): had a very rough start to the season, going only 2 1/3 innings and giving up 6 ER and 2BBs.  Maybe someone to look at in 2012-13 if he shows improvement, but definitely not in 2011.

Arodys Viscaino, ATL, SP, Lynchburg Hillcats (#93): The key prospect in the Javier Vasquez trade a season ago with the Yankees, had a good start to the 2011 campaign, going 5 innings and giving up 2 ER, with an impressive 6 Ks and only 1 BB.  Another prize SP for Atlanta, who really had a nice future rotation in the works.  Look for Viscaino to make the jump in 2012 or 2013.

Brody Colvin, PHI, SP, Clearwater Threshers: Colvin, #56 BA List, also had a rough first outing, giving up 3 runs (2earned), and 1 BB, in 2 innings of work.  Philly obviously doesn’t have any pressing need for starting pitching help at this point, so 2012-13 looks more like the target for him.

Shelby Miller, STL, SP, Palm Beach Cardinals: #13 on the BA list, he was utterly dominant in 5 innings of work, with 9Ks, 1 R (unearned), and 1 BB.  The kid is a strikeout machine, as evidenced by last year’s 140 in 104.1 innings of work.  He could shoot up the ranks quickly given St. Lou’s noted starter issues behind Carpenter and Garcia, so keep watch for 2012, as most likely still won’t move quick enough to be relevant for 2011.

Gary Sanchez, C, NYY, Charleston River Dogs (#30): What’s this, another Yankee catching prospect?  You betcha.  Sanchez started the season 3 for 12 with a hr.  Not likely to make any impact this or even next year.  Best bet is 2013 at the earliest, as 1) he’s only 18 and 2) he’s got two catchers ahead of him in Montero and Romine.

Tyler Matzek, COL, SP, Modesto Nuts (#32): Matzek had a rude greeting to 2011, giving up 6 ER and walking 4 in 3 innings of work.  On the bright side, he did K 4. Needs a couple more years in the minors, so 2013 impact at the earliest.

Nolan Arenado, COL, 3b, Modesto (#80): 2 for 12 with an rbi. Come back in 2013.

Zack Wheeler, SF, SP, San Jose Giants (#55): A clean 5 innings with 3 Ks (but three walks) to start off.  Another good young Giant pitcher, who could join the rotation in 2013, when Lincecum and Co. are old men by comparison.

Tyler Skaggs, ARI, SP, Visalia Rawhide (#82): gave up 3 ER and walked 3 in 4 2/3.  But he did strike out 6.  With him and Jerrod Parker (in triple A yet to start this season), the D’Backs have some solid young options for 2012-13.

Matthew Davidson, ARI, 3b, Visalia (#99): Another cog in the Diamondbacks rebuilding plan for 2012-13, he’s 3 for 13 with an rbi.

Jean Segura, LAA, 2b, Inland Empire 66 (#57): 7 for 16, 2 rbis, a steal 3 2bs and 1 3b, hes off to a hot start.  A legit opportunity for him to be a big run/average/speed threat in 2012.

Nick Franklin, SEA, SS, High Desert Mavericks (#53): So far batting .000 (0 for 7), but he had a lot of success in high A ball last year, so he should come around.  Him and Ackley give Seattle something to get excited about middle infield-wise for the future.

Jonathan Villar, HOU, SS, Lancaster Jethawks (#94): Off to a scorching start (6 for 17, 6 rbis, 2 steals), Villar could provide the Astros with a sorely needed middle infielder in 2012.

Aaron Hicks, MIN, OF, Fort Myers Miracles (#45): Hicks, the Twins top pick several years ago out of high school, is 6 for 15 with a double, triple and an rbi.  Just 21, he should get a look in 2012-13.

Fantasy Prospect Preview: Fin

 

Desmond Jennings (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

5. Desmond Jennings, TB, OF – Jennings has the tools to make Tampa forget all about Carl Crawford and his free wheelin’ base stealin’ ways.  Well, maybe not completely.  He doesn’t have the same power capabilities (never more than 9 home runs at any minor league level, and just 3 in AAA) and had some injury woes during 2008 and early 2010, but he can run the bases and hit for average with the best of the youngsters.  He also has a career double digit walk rate, which is not far from his K rate, always a beloved ratio to us fantasy geeks.  The Johnny Damon/Manny Ramirez signings complicate things, and the Rays might want to prolong their control over him by keeping him at AAA Durham until June or later.  His MLB debut last fall is pretty irrelevant for predicting his future production, so move along, nothing to see there.  Jennings isn’t worth drafting until very late at this point at best, but he can be a very valuable 3 category producer, with big contributions to stolen bases and runs, if given the opportunity.  Don’t sleep on him as he could still figure very strongly in Tampa’s 2011 plans.

 

Jesus Montero (AP)

4. Jesus Montero, NYY, C – Ah, my boy.  Home Run Jesus.  The heir to the throne occupied by Jorge Posada these last 11-12 seasons.  At least in theory.  Montero could end up being the back -up catcher to Russell Martin come opening day, after Francisco Cervelli went down with a leg injury in spring training.  It has become more and more clear that Posada will see little to no time behind the plate this year, in an effort to transition him to full time DH. However, don’t put it past the Yankees to decide to wait on Montero to give him more seasoning in triple A, mostly to work on his defense and to retain more club control over him in the future.  But if Martin cant regain even a semblance of his 2006-2008 form/re-injures his surgically repaired hip and the Yanks need Montero’s bat, any minor league stay will be short lived.  Jesus is a proven power and average force who has a chance to put up 20+ hrs and hit close to .300 – he started slow in triple A last year but put up big time numbers in the second half and finished 21/.289 with 66 runs and a .353 OBP.  His K rate did spike up to 20%, but it could just be an aberration, as he was in the mid-teens the rest of his minor league career; still be prepared for a couple of golden sombreros here and there as the kid finds his way.  I wouldn’t worry too much about his defensive skills being a deterrent.  If the guy hits, he’ll play.  There are a bunch of variables that need to work themselves out, but lately it is looking more and more as if Jesus is primed to deliver the loaves and the fishes in 2011 – sorry, couldn’t resist.

 

Mike Moustakas (Adam Foster)

3.    Mike Moustakas, KC, 3b – A possible surprise at #3, we analyze one of the members of the prized Royals farm system.  The positives: Moustakas is 22, he plays 3B for a non-contending team – where there is an opening now that former super-prospect Alex Gordon is in the OF – and he flat out rakes, which is the most important reason he should be given a look-see as a potential game-changer for your squad at some point in 2011.  The big negative: he’s KC property.  This means instead of manning the hot corner early on in the season, he will mostly likely spend unnecessary time in triple A putting up glorious #’s, while Royals fans watch whoever starts at third (right now it looks like Mike Aviles has the inside track) underwhelm as expected.  A June or later call up might be the reality for Ol’ Mousy, but when he does finally get the nod, he could be a 2nd half wonder.  He tore through double AA last year (21 hrs, .347 avg. and .413 OBP in 66 games) and leveled off some in AAA (15/.293/.314 in 52 games, though was victim of .271 BABIP)  but his power as you can see is legit.  Some might say he should be placed below names like Chapman, Jennings and Montero, and a valid argument can be made for that.  But I think if he pulverizes the minors at the start of the season and KC plays like, well, KC, it will be next to impossible for the Royals to ignore what they have waiting in the wings for too long.  Moose is the real deal, a potential ‘Kevin Maas Award’ winner who could make a huge impact in spite of not starting the season in the bigs.

 

Domonic Brown (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

2.    Domonic Brown, Phi, OF – At #2, we have Mr. Brown.  Speed, power, average, he has the total 5 category fantasy package.  But even in these early spring days, he has already had his fair share of adversity to deal with.  He was already in a position battle with Ben Francisco for the right to replace dearly departed stud RF Jayson Werth, didn’t exactly impress in his first 15 at bats (9 Ks) and, to add injury to insult, (pun intended) he recently broke the hamate bone in his right hand (but not before getting a hit in the same at bat; Charlie Sheen would be proud), which means he will miss anywhere from 3-6 weeks.  Now the good news: Brown will be back in playing form mid-April/early May, so he won’t miss much time.  He dominated minor league ball throughout his career and his few at bats with the senior circuit (70 PA’s last year) aren’t a cause for concern given the small sample size.  Bill James has him putting up a very, very nice line of 84/26/94/28/.288 in 596 PAs, which was admittedly pretty optimistic, even before the hand injury.  But if he comes anywhere near this projection, you will be very happy you took the chance on him late.  Mr. Brown has big shoes to fill and enormous expectations to boot, but even with the setbacks, he has the potential to be the best fantasy rookie of 2011.

 

Jeremy Hellickson (Elsa/Getty Images)

1.    Jeremy Hellickson, TB, SP – And finally at #1, the Rays latest greatest pitching phenom.  Hellboy here has already gotten his share of accolades, after his impressive MLB debut last fall during TB’s playoff run, hence his #1 prospect designation.  Fantasy stats show domination to the tune of a 4-0 record, with a 3.47 era and 1.10 WHIP.  His peripherals didn’t disappoint either, as he struck out a shade over 8 per 9 innings and walked under 2 per 9.  His hr/9 was 1.24, the only real blemish in an otherwise stellar cup of coffee.  But with Helly sure to make the TB rotation (especially with Matt Garza now out of the way) as a possible #4/definite #5 with a still very good defensive alignment behind him, he could be the darling of the back of your starting rotation.  He gives up a lot of fly balls, which can spell doom in the loaded AL East, but you can live with that when the upside is so tantalizing.  He has had to deal with a strained hamstring in spring training, but this injury doesn’t look serious.  I wouldn’t overreach for Hellickson (or any rookie for that matter), but he presents the best case for hitting the fantasy jackpot among the rookie set.

So that does it for the preview.  Don’t spend too much time thinking about which one of these newbies will be a bona-fide fantasy star this year; if you do, you might win most creative draft, but you also might just win the participation trophy in your league at the end of the year.  Happy Prospecting!