Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting

by Chris Hadorn on April 14, 2011 @ 14:18:08 PDT

 


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.

This week St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa caused a stir in the fantasy baseball community when he disclosed that Miguel Batista, not young fireballers Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs, would get the save opportunities should veteran Ryan Franklin lose his grasp on the closer's spot.

Yesterday the Cardinals added another impressive young fireballer to their bullpen mix in Eduardo Sanchez. He dazzled in his big league debut, striking out five batters in two innings of relief last night in the Cardinals' 15-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Venezuelan rookie allowed only one hit, a bloop double to Justin Upton, and walked none.

Last night Sanchez overwhelmed Diamondbacks batters with a 93-96 mph fastball and a swing-and-miss slider. Only 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, Sanchez doesn't have ideal size, but he generates a lot of power from a deceptive three-quarters delivery.

Prior to his call-up, Sanchez struck out three batters in three perfect innings at Triple-A Memphis. In his minor league career, the 22-year-old righty has averaged 9.94 strikeouts per nine innings and hasn't allowed much hard contact (6.83 H/9, 0.53 HR/9).

In 2010, Sanchez earned a spot on the MLB All-Star Futures squad during a fine season in which he posted a 2.38 ERA and 14 saves between Double-A Springfield and Memphis. He also induced 1.76 ground-outs per every air-out, which is indicative of the sinking action he gets on his fastball.

Given La Russa's reluctance to go to a young closer, Sanchez has a ways to go in order to threaten for the Cardinals' backend duties. However, he has the stuff, poise and performance record to challenge Motte and Boggs for the Cardinals' "closer of the future" title.

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The New York Yankees called up right-hander Hector Noesi, another reliever who had pitched in last year's Futures Game. Noesi, 24, replaces the injured Luis Ayala (lat muscle) in the Yankees' bullpen. The Dominican has outstanding command; he holds a 5.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the minor leagues. Noesi has walked only 64 batters in 358 innings, averaging 1.61 free passes per nine. He pounds the strike zone with a low- to mid-90s fastball and a good changeup. Noesi also throws a curveball and slider, which gives him the flexibility to start if the Yankees need him down the line.

Rubby De La Rosa, who electrified the Los Angeles Dodgers' brass this spring with a high-90s fastball with sinking action, was impressive in his first start with Double-A Chattanooga: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 1 R, 9 K. As the Dodgers showed last year with Kenley Jansen, the organization is not afraid to accelerate a young pitcher they believe can help the big league club, so keep an eye on the 22-year-old Dominican.

Devin Mesoraco went 2-for-5 with a home run and five RBIs last night in Triple-A Louisville's 10-4 win over Indianapolis. Mesoraco is hitting .318 with three homers and eight RBIs in his first seven games. Unfortunately, the former first-round pick is probably going to need an injury to either Ryan Hanigan or Ramon Hernandez to occur to get a shot before September.

Through two starts at Triple-A Buffalo, Jenrry Mejia has not allowed a run over 12 2/3 innings, with 11 strikeouts. He has walked five batters though.

Washington Nationals outfield prospect Bryce Harper hit his first professional home run last night in low Single-A Hagertown's 6-4 loss to Lexington in the South Atlantic League. The 2010 first overall pick is hitting .240 with a homer, five RBIs and a stolen base through his first seven games.

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About Chris Hadorn

Chris Hadorn has covered minor league and amateur prospects for more than a decade. He writes for San Diego's North County Times and has been a KFFL fantasy baseball contributor since 2006.


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