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.
Post-collegiate pitchers who are drafted high tend to accelerate through a farm system to the big leagues faster than any other category of player. In 2010, pitchers Stephen Strasburg, Mike Minor, Mike Leake, Drew Storen and Andrew Oliver all made it to the majors one year after being drafted high in the 2009 draft.
Left-handed pitcher Chris Sale, the No. 13 overall pick of Chicago White Sox from Gulf Coast College in 2010, only needed 10 1/3 innings of minor league seasoning before securing a permanent spot on a big league roster. Here is a look at some other post-collegiate pitchers taken high in the 2010 draft and how they have fared thus far in the minors.
1st round (5th overall): Drew Pomeranz, Cleveland Indians (Ole Miss)
Harvey's cannon needs control
In two starts at high Single-A Kinston, Pomeranz has yet to allow an earned run over 11 innings, while recording 17 strikeouts. He has given up only three hits and two walks. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound lefty primarily relies on a low- to mid-90s fastball and an exceptional 12-to-6 knuckle curveball.
Pomeranz probably won't have much trouble with the Carolina League batters he is currently facing, but he will need to employ his seldom used changeup more often and improve his command at higher levels. Walks were an issue for him in college. Pomeranz profiles as a No. 2 starter.
ETA: June 2012
1st round (7th overall): Matt Harvey, New York Mets (North Carolina)
Considered a high-risk, high-reward prospect prior to the draft, Harvey was chosen by the old regime under Omar Minaya because they were enamored with his upside. The 22-year-old right-hander can dial up his fastball to the high 90s at times and also throws a plus slider. Some organizations, however, were worried about Harvey's past mechanical woes that led to spotty control during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
This season Harvey has gotten off to a sizzling 3-0 start at high Class A St. Lucie. In 16 innings, the 6-foot-4 righty has allowed one unearned run, 10 hits and six walks, while striking out 20 batters. Harvey should continue to pitch well in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, but his walk troubles could become an issue in Double-A. In the Minaya years, Harvey would have a strong chance to reach Citi Field this season, but expect frugal general manager Sandy Alderson to take a more conservative approach in his handling, with economics being the overriding factor.
ETA: April 2012
1st round (11th overall): Deck McGuire, Toronto Blue Jays (Georgia Tech)
McGuire has less upside than Pomeranz and Harvey but is a more of a finished product. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound right-hander has four reliable pitches: a low-90s fastball, slider (an out pitch), changeup and curveball. McGuire has good command of his fastball, which makes his secondary stuff more potent.
McGuire has posted a 3.12 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings at high Single-A Dunedin this season. The former Yellow Jacket projects as a No. 3 starter.
ETA: July 2012
1st round (16th overall): Hayden Simpson, Chicago Cubs (Southern Arkansas)
The Cubs raised some eyebrows around baseball when they selected Simpson, a small-school star, with their first selection last June. Many anticipated Simpson would be taken after the second round. Listed at 6-foot, 170 pounds, Simpson does not have ideal size for a starting pitcher, but the Cubs think his athleticism will overcome that; he was durable in college.
Simpson throws a low- to mid-90s fastball, plus curveball, a slider and a changeup. In 8 2/3 innings at low Single-A Peoria, Simpson has surrendered 11 hits, two walks and four earned runs, while fanning nine.
ETA: September 2012
1st round (21st overall): Alex Wimmers, Minnesota Twins (Ohio State)
Wimmers is similar in style to Twins starter Scott Baker. He is not going to light up radar guns, but he has enough velocity (low-90s fastball), quality off-speed stuff and pitching savvy to record healthy strikeout totals. In his professional debut last season, Wimmers struck out 23 batters in 16 innings with high Single-A Ft. Myers. Wimmers generates good sink on his fastball and complements it well with two solid pitches - a curveball and changeup.
Wimmers had a nightmare season debut with Ft. Myers on April 11, walking all six batters he faced in his start before being pulled. Of the 28 pitches he threw, only four of them were for strikes, and he was also charged with three wild pitches. The Twins have placed on him on the seven-day disabled list with flu-like symptoms, and he will work on his mechanics on the side before making another start.
ETA: August 2012
1st round supplemental (39th overall): Anthony Ranaudo, Boston Red Sox (LSU)
Ranaudo was a projected first-round pick until elbow problems his junior year dropped his stock. The 6-foot-7, 231-pound right-hander can routinely dial up his fastball into the mid-90s, and both his curveball and changeup are solid offerings. Ranaudo has the upside of a frontline starter, but his health is a major worry since he has experienced elbow soreness on more than one occasion.
This season Ranaudo is 1-0 with a 9-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over nine shutout innings at Single-A Greenville.
ETA: July 2012