Tag Archives: Mike Minor

2012 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Preview: Part 1

Well, its March, so time to start rolling out my 2012 top prospect list. Every year, highly regarded rookies with little to no previous MLB exposure are looked to as possible fantasy contributors for the upcoming season. It may not surprise anyone that, for the most part, first year players struggle to live up to expectations for a myriad of reasons: inexperience against MLB-type opponents, lack of roster space/position blocking, fatigue, regression at the high A level, team control issues, etc. But this doesn’t stop us in the fantasy world from dreaming that we will draft the next Jason Heyward or Ryan Braun or pick up the next Mike Stanton, Kevin Maas or Shane Spencer off of waivers (Go Yankees!) – and hopefully avoid the next Alex Gordon (pre-2011) or Brandon Wood.

I will go through my top 20 ‘impact prospects’ for the 2012 fantasy season in two installments. Obviously ‘impact’ is an amorphous term, and nothing is more debatable than a list of players who have little to no big league experience.  However, I will use some definitions to try to make ‘impact’ more concrete. For hitters: ‘impact’ means at least 130-150 ABs and production at or above a .330 wOBA, or weighted on base average (check out http://www.fangraphs.com for more on this and FIP, used below for pitchers). Why .330 wOBA? Given that .330 is around league average from year to year, if a rookie can produce at or above that number, we will consider them to be more or less helping your fantasy team, at least on a back up level. Around that number, a guy should be giving you decent counting stats. For pitchers, it gets a little more complicated.  For starters we will use: at least 80 IP, a mid 4 ERA, and a low 4 FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching, which tries to take out some of the random outcomes out of a pitcher’s control once the ball leaves their hands.  For relievers: 25 IP, mid 3 era and FIP to match.  Now, I know most fantasy formats do not use wOBA or FIP as categories; they are still too exotic for most and fantasy games are more about counting stats anyway.  However, you can rest assured that a good wOBA/good FIP usually is a good indication of solid fantasy production. For the definition of prospect, we will hover around the standard rookie eligibility definition: around 130 or less at bats, or 50 innings or less pitched at the big league level.  Some of these guys have their names all but penciled in on big league rosters, some are just complete crapshoots; some are not as talented as others, but have a much better opportunity to play everyday; most of you will disagree with me, and probably half of these guys will end up having well below league average numbers (50% was my success rate from 2011).  Anyway, on to the list with #20-11; 10-1 will follow next week:

20. Wilin rosario, COL, C – Given that the Rockies signed Ramon Hernandez this off-season, it looks like Rosario is probably another year away from being the everyday catcher in Denver. However, Hernandez is 36, and he may break down behind the plate sooner rather than later, and most definitely will need a lot of rest. If Rosario puts up solid power numbers in the minors as expected, he could get the call and provide great power from the catcher slot (combined 40 HR in a little over 700 PA the last two years in AA) as a back up/utility player. He probably won’t help average-wise – most catchers don’t – but he makes for an intriguing monitoring situation for later in the year when you make your playoff run, or when you are thinking about stocking up on young talent in keepers.

19. Tyler Skaggs, ARI, SP – Skaggs has ripped through A and AA the past two years, and his K rate, ERA, and FIP have all gotten better each year. His walk rate has held steady in the mid to high 2’s/9, a nice bonus for such a young arm, and he’s left-handed to boot. He will probably start in AAA if he holds his own in ST, and looks to be a notch below fellow prospect teammate Trevor Bauer. If he dominates the minors again, I can see him cracking the rotation during the summer, or at least making some useful spot starts. I highly doubt Joe Saunders, Josh Collmenter, and/or Trevor Cahill will all last a full season with the D’backs.

18. Shelby Miller, STL, SP – Miller’s upside screams ace, but not in 2012. I just don’t see the Cards rushing their best prospect to the majors, even though he probably could do as well or better than Kyle McClellan, Kyle Lohse, or Jake Westbrook. Be that as it may, given his prowess in A-AA the past two years (sub 3 ERA/FIP, over 10 K/9, around 3 BB/9), I would not be surprised if he is a late season call-up to bolster the back of the rotation if St. Lou is making a playoff run. His rank is only this low due to lack of opportunity.

17. Trevor Bauer, ARI, SP – Bauer has made only 7 professional starts, across high A and AA in 2011, but that was because he spent 09-most of 11 at UCLA, where he K’ed 203 in 136 innings his last year there. In the small sample size he has in the pros, he dazzled with a 17 and 14 K/9 in A and AA respectively, though he did have control issues, with above a 4 BB/9. Still, this guy can pitch, and the D’Backs look like they will give him a shot in the spring. Even if he gets some polish in AAA as expected, Bauer has the upside to make an impact in 2012.

16. Brett Jackson, CHC, OF – Jackson turns 24 this summer, and looks to have made progress every year in the minors, culminating in a .297/.388/.551 line in 48 games in AAA in 2011. He can run (20 SBs in 115 games in 2011), he has patience at the plate (13% walk rate), and flashes some pop (20 HR). More importantly, given the Cubs’ lack of OF talent and likelihood of being in rebuilding mode, Jackson should get a good amount of reps and have himself a solid rookie campaign on the North Side.

15. Zack Cozart, CIN, SS – Cozart is a bit old for a prospect, clocking in at 26, but he only just had his first cup of coffee last fall, where he performed amazingly for a SS, albeit in just 38 PAs (.324/.324/.486). Cozart looks like the lead pony to grab the starting SS job in Cincy in 2012, and could be a great late round speculative pick, possibly good for a 70/10/60/10 .270 season. You definitely could do worse picking much earlier at this thin position.

14. Julio Teheran, ATL, SP – Though he didn’t light up the majors in his 19 IP last year, Teheran remains a top-notch pitching prospect, one who could crack Atlanta’s rotation out of ST due to Tim Hudson’s injury and an open competition for spots 4 and 5; I don’t think it will happen though, as Atlanta has other, older options in Brandon Beachy, Randall Delgado and Mike Minor, and will want to be extra careful with their future ace. Teheran had a very good 2011 otherwise (7.6 K/9, 3 BB/9, 2.55 ERA, 3.06 FIP), and could have a productive 2012 fantasy season as a summer add-on/spot starter.

13. Jarrod Parker, OAK, SP – Once the Diamondbacks top pitching prospect, and now a member of the A’s, Parker should finally arrive in the majors full-time after he proved in 2011 that he was fully recovered from Tommy John Surgery which cost him all of 2010. Parker pre-surgery showed very good strike out abilities (9 K/9), but has often struggled with control (around 3.5-4 BB/9). With the A’s 3-5 spots wide open due to injuries to Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson (and Bartolo Colon the #2 at this point), Parker could see some substantial work in the majors this year right off the bat. His pedigree suggests that work will produce a decent output.

12. Jacob Turner, DET, SP – Turner impressed Detroit so much in his three AAA starts in 2011 (10 K/9, 1.5 BB/9) that he got the call when they needed some starts in September. Alas, he did not fare well during his call-up, but I’ll chalk that up to the usual rookie shock, as I feel Turner has the skill set, home park, and offensive backing to give you some solid counting stats. Turner should have a legit shot to compete for the 4-5 spots out of ST, if the Tigers feel like giving up a year of team control. If not, look for him to join the team during the summer when Detroit should be tired of looking to Rick Porcello, Phil Coke, and a cast of also-rans to fill out the rotation. I give him the edge over Teheran because of better opportunity, and over Parker because of health.

11. Addison Reed, CWS, RP – Our first – and only – rookie reliever featured, Reed  exploded onto the scene in 2011, going from A, A+, AA, AAA to the majors all in one year. Along the way, his K/9 never fell below around 12, his BB/9 never rose above around 2.5, and his highest ERA was in his 7.1 IP in Chicago (3.68), mainly due to a crazy high BABIP of .474. Reed is big, throws hard, and has the classic closer make-up. Just don’t draft him expecting a 2012 version of Craig Kimbrel (you really shouldn’t draft any closer expecting Kimbrel-like numbers, the dude had a ridiculous 2011).


Fantasy MLB Spot Starting 08.22.11

Welcome to another week of Spot Starting.  2 weeks left to go in our league’s regular season – yours may be in its last week depending on your playoff format.  That means every start counts even more.  Time to burn up those moves you have left to put it all on the line.

For games on Tuesday August 23rd these selected pitchers might be had in your league (less than 50% owned in Yahoo! or ESPN) with percent owned Yahoo/ESPN, (team), and opponent:

Bartolo Colon 46% / 44% (NYY) vs. OAK

Bud Norris 40% / 35% (HOU) @ COL

Jonathon Niese 36% /16% (NYM) @ PHL

John Lackey 28% / 18% (BOS) @ TEX

Brandon McCarthy 17% / 8% (OAK) @ NYY

Mike Minor 10% / 6% (ATL) @ ChC

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Fantasy MLB Spot Starting 08.17.11

Welcome back to Spot Starting.  Hope many of you took my advice and started Jeff Niemann last night, he did something no other pick has done this year.   Read on…

For games on Thursday August 18th  these selected pitchers might be had in your league (less than 50% owned in Yahoo! or ESPN) with percent owned Yahoo/ESPN, (team), and opponent:

Javier Vazquez 47% / 50% (FLA) @ SD

Philip Humber 35% / % (CWS) vs. CLE

Bronson Arroyo 27% / % (CIN) @ WAS

Brian Duensing 9% / % (MIN) vs. NYY

Mike Minor 5% / % (ATL) vs. SF

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Fantasy MLB Spot Starting 08.11.11

Welcome back to Spot Starting.  If you have to stay home to babysit your kids when they are sick, it’s not too bad to do it on a Thursday when you have a half dozen games to watch.  Watching my new favorite team, the Royals face yesterday’s Spot Start pick Jeff Niemann.  They now have 11 rookies on their roster including past Deep League Special Danny Duffy…keep the faith Royals fans the future is now.

For games on Friday August 12th  these selected pitchers might be had in your league (less than 50% owned in Yahoo! or ESPN) with percent owned Yahoo/ESPN, (team), and opponent:

Carlos Zambrano 43% / 19% (ChC) @ ATL

Bud Norris 41% / 34% (HOU) @ LAD

Dillon Gee 40% / 32% (NYM) @ ARI

Bronson Arroyo 28% / 32% (CIN) vs. SD

John Lackey 27% / 16% (BOS) @ SEA

Brandon McCarthy 22% / 14% (OAK) vs. TEX

Carl Pavano 20% / 6% (MIN) @ CLE

Paul Maholm 14% / 7% (PIT) @ MIL

Mike Minor 5% / 1% (ATL) vs. ChC

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08.07.11 Box Score Breakdown: Fantasy MLB News and Notes

Welcome back to Box Score Breakdown.  Again today, I’ll be guesting for Mike.   Quite a weekend of baseball.  The Phillies took 3 of 4 from the Giants in an NLCS rematch/possible preview but had their win streak snapped at 9.  The Pirates continue to slide out of the playoff race as their losing streak reaches 10, what a nightmare.  The Yanks and Red Sox also gave us a taste of October with a great match up and great back drop to write this to.

4th and Home Player of the Day: Prince Fielder 3/4, 4 R, 2 RBI, HR, BB.  Prince gonna get paid.  .304/26/85.  Brewers 3 up on the Cards.

The Bats:
Albert Pujols – 2/4, 3 R, RBI, HR, BB…Homers in 3 of his last 4 games, now at 27 and batting .282.  Amazingly has re-entered MVP talk if he can get the Cardinals the Division title.

Matt Holliday – 2/4, 1 R, 3 RBI, BB…Along with Berkman, just an awesome 3,4,5 punch.  Back to back multi-hit games raises his avg to .318.  10 hits and 10 rbi this week.

Drew Stubbs – 2/3, 2 R, RBI, BB, HR, SB…BSFU!  Snaps out of a mini slump

Marlon Byrd – 3/3, R, 2 RBI, BB…Avg back up to .310 – but where is the power?  Cubs are just playing out the string – there’s always next year Chicago.

Logan Morrison – 1/4…Writing not about the 1/4 but to say, is this all?  Morrison is starting to become a real disappointment.  He’ll have quick short bursts of power then zzz through a week like this one.

Jason Heyward – 1/2, 2 R, 1 RBI, HR, BB…Speaking of disappointments…Heyward was benched for the last 2 games and responded by crushing a home run in his first AB.   He went on a tear to end 2010 and his graphs are trending that way again.

Jose Constanza – 2/3, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR, BB, SB…BSFU!  Has now hit in 8 of his first 9 MLB games including 7 in a row.  If you saw this coming from the 27 year old rookie, go you!  He also took out Met’s Daniel Murphy on a hard SB slide, possibly ending his season.

Dan Uggla – 1/5…Continues the ugliest (pun unintentional) hitting streak in recent memory.  Has raised his average 42 points….to .220!!

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Weekly Minor League Recap

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): more and more buzz about he who walks on water joining the big club as the DH woes continue in the Bronx. Just a matter of if he gets called up before or after the September 1st roster expansion. Montero has an eight game hitting streak going, and is 8 for 21 with a HR, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, and 3 Ks over the past week.

-Dayan Viciedo, CWS, OF, Charlotte Knights (unranked): Viciedo was back with the Knights as of August 2nd, and might as well have not even suited up, as he is just 3 for 20 since his return. The White Sox are looking more and more out of it, so come September, they might give him some serious playing time.

Devin Mesoraco, CIN, C, Louisville Bats (#64): Mesoraco is slumping since last we discussed him, just 4 for 21, but one of those was a round tripper.

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Weekly Minor League Recap

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): Montero picked up the production last week, hitting 2 HR and driving in 9. He was 7 for  23, with 5 extra base hits.

-Dayan Viciedo, CWS, OF, Charlotte Knights (unranked): Viciedo makes his debut on the list as he has had too good a season to ignore any further: .307/.365/.500, with 49 R, 16 HR, and 65 RBIs. He got called up last year to the big club, and acquitted himself quite well, hitting .308 with 5 HR and 13 RBIs in 104 ABs. Viciedo strikes out a healthy amount and doesn’t walk much (70/31 respectively on the season), but if/when he gets the nod, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him provide solid value in deeper leagues. Unfortunately, he has slumped of late (.143/.302/.143), but that shouldn’t erase the fine season he is having.

Devin Mesoraco, CIN, C, Louisville Bats (#64): Mesoraco has also had a very good season, one that probably warranted attention here a while ago; oh well, better late than never. He has been involved in trade talks recently, so who knows where he will end up finishing the season. His bat seems legit: .303/.376/.502 with 47 R, 10 HR, 54 RBI this year. His past ten have been very good as well: .324/.342/.459. As we all know how thin catcher is, if he gets a chance in Cincy or elsewhere, should be worth a look in almost all but the shallowest leagues.

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Weekly Minor League Recap

Since the All-Star break was last week, there is not that much to update, and no major call-ups/promotions, so take the new info for what it’s worth.

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): Montero was back in action on 7/15 after returning from a minor back injury, and is 2 for 13 in two games.  As expected, he will stay in triple A for the foreseeable future. Trade rumors involving him for an established starter will swirl from now until the deadline, so he could end up in the majors soon, just not in pinstripes. As a dyed in blue bomber fan, it would be tough for me to see them part with him, but I wouldn’t balk at including him in the right package (read: Ubaldo Jimenez – which looks increasingly unlikely given what the Rocks want in return; maybe Wandy Rodriguez; hell no Hiroki Kuroda). Montero is worth more than a 36 year old middle of the rotation stop gap, so I hope they don’t panic and pull the trigger on something like that, just because he is not performing as expected.

Adrian Cardenas, OAK, DH, Sacramento River Cats (unranked): Cardenas has been swinging a hot bat of late: .308/.372/.410 over his last ten. All year he has shown great plate discipline, and he has little to no power, so you’d think he is exactly the kind of guy Billy Beane would want in Oakland. Maybe September…

Brandon Guyer, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (unranked): Guyer returned to Durham and is 3 for (update in am) in 4 games. Will probably see him again in September, but a third 1-2 game call up isn’t out of the realm of possibility with the Rays.

-Yonder Alonso, CIN, OF, Louisville Bats (#73): Alonso is 4 for 12 since the break with an RBI and 4 BBs in 4 games. If the Reds make a move before the deadline, he is a candidate to move up (if others, such as Chris Heisey are sent elsewhere) or move on. As has been touted most of the year, an intriguing young power bat if either occurs.

Jason Kipnis, CLE, 2b, Columbus Clippers (#54): Just as the call up talk reached critical mass, Kipnis went cold: .194/.324/.226 his last ten. With Cleveland battling for the AL central title and needing all of the help they can get, one good week could mean a promotion.

-Desmond Jennings, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (#22): Jennings healed quickly (turned out just to be a bruised finger), and was back in action on 7/16: he is 4 for his last 9 with 3 doubles, 2 RBIs, and 2 BBs. Could be the last pre-season hyped up prospect to hit the bigs this year…any day now.

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Weekly Minor League Recap

After a two week hiatus, minor league recap is back. Note: Baseball America updated their prospect rankings, but I am just going to stay with the ones from the beginning of the year.

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): Montero was starting to heat up at the end of June/beginning of July, going 8 for 26 with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs from June 28-July 3, but then he got placed on the 7 day DL with an injury. It isn’t major, so he should be back shortly. Would sure be nice if he keeps up that mini power surge when he does return. Unless the Yanks find an everyday spot for him, it doesn’t look like a call up is imminent, even with the rash of injuries to the big club. However, with A-rod now out for a month +, I wouldn’t put it past the Bombers to call up Montero to be the regular DH/back up catcher.

Adrian Cardenas, OAK, DH, Sacramento River Cats (unranked): Cardenas is hitting .263 in his last ten, with 4 walks and 4 Ks. Slugging is an abysmal .368 over that same period.

Brandon Guyer, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (unranked): Guyer got called up for a couple of games, but went 0 for 3 in his one appearance. He was sent back down after Sunday’s tilt against the Yankees.  He was hitting very well at Durham prior to that: .351/.429/.432, with 6 RBIs, 5 BBs, 2 SBs, and 8 Ks in his last ten.

-Yonder Alonso, CIN, OF, Louisville Bats (#73): Alonso slashed .263/.378/.526 in his last ten, with 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 7 BBs and 8 Ks.

Jason Kipnis, CLE, 2b, Columbus Clippers (#54): Kipnis got hot again over his last ten, hitting .351 with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs, an OBP of .429 and Slugging of .622.  With Chisenhall now up, Kipnis stands a good chance of joining the Indians shortly as well.

-Desmond Jennings, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (#22): Jennings is still at Durham, for whatever reason.* Newsflash Tampa: Sam Fuld is not that great, legends and myths notwithstanding. He hit 2 HRs and stole two bases in his last ten, but hit .235/.350/.441. Stay tuned, you never know if/when the Rays will pull the trigger. *Apparently he actually fractured a finger, so he is out of commission for a couple of weeks at least. Oh well…

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Fantasy MLB Spot Starting: 06.15.11

Welcome back to Spot Starting.  Well, all good things must come to an end, and our streak of 10 consecutive wins ended after over 5 weeks and 18 picks.  Ironically the loss goes to Bud Norris who was the last pick to lose, but on the bright side – he put up a tremendous line that should win 99% of the time.

For games on Thursday June 16th these selected pitchers might be had in your league (less than 50% owned in Yahoo! or ESPN) with percent owned Yahoo/ESPN, (team), and opponent:

Javier Vazquez 25% /  2% (FLA) @ PHL

Jeremy Guthrie 20% / 8% (BAL) @ TOR

Mark Buehrle 19% / 15% (CWS) @ MIN

R.A. Dickey 13% / 6% (NYM) @ ATL

Nick Blackburn 9% / 4% (MIN) vs. CWS

John Lannan 4% / 5% (WAS) vs. StL

Jordan Lyles 4% / 2% (HOU) vs. PIT

Mike Minor 3% / 1% (ATL) vs. NYM

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