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.
AL-only league managers might want to snatch up Oakland Athletics second base prospect Jemile Weeks before it's too late. The younger brother of Rickie Weeks is hitting .352 with two home runs, 14 RBIs, four steals and a .993 OPS in 88 at-bats with Triple-A Sacramento. He has also drawn 15 walks, which has helped him post a fine .448 on-base percentage this season.
Ellis in jeopardy?
Mark Ellis, the current A's second baseman, is hitting only .190 with no home runs, six RBIs and a .493 OPS over 121 at-bats. Ellis has built up his share of goodwill with the organization during his nine-year career, but it might be time for A's to turn towards their future and 2008 first-round pick for help.
Throughout his minor league career, the switch-hitting Weeks has not lived up to his first-round billing, primarily due to leg and hip injuries. When he has played, the former University of Miami star has been a solid player but hasn't excelled in any particular aspect of his game.
With 15 career home runs in 198 minor league games, Weeks doesn't possess the pop his older brother has. Even without the power, Weeks looks like he will be a quality everyday player who can reach base, score runs and steal 15 to 20 bases.
Over the last 25 years, the Atlanta Braves have been arguably the most successful organization in terms of scouting and developing homegrown talent. This season the Braves have started three quality young pitchers this season in Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran, and they have more young guns below them coming up through the pipeline. Last night two of their more promising arms took the hill in right-hander Randall Delgado (Double-A Mississippi) and Carlos Perez (low Single-A Rome)
In Mississippi's 7-6 victory over Jackson last night, Delgado (3-1) got the victory after striking out 10 batters over seven innings. He allowed three runs (all earned), five hits, one walk and two homers.
Delgado, a native of Panama, has compiled a 2.75 ERA and a 41-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 39 1/3 innings this season. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound righty can hit the low- to mid-90s on the radar gun, and he has a big league quality pitch in his curveball.
Even with the Braves' depth at Triple-A Gwinnett, Delgado is capable of pitching his way to the majors by September. The 21-year-old has a chance to develop into a No. 2 or 3 starter at the big league level.
Perez took a no-decision in Rome's 4-3 loss to Augusta. Over seven innings, the left-hander allowed one run, two hits and a walk, while striking out seven. Eight of Perez's 12 outs were recorded via ground-out.
The Dominican southpaw attacks hitters with a low- to mid-90s fastball with sinking action, an out pitch breaking ball and a changeup that is still a work in progress.
This season the 19-year-old has gone 2-3, with a 4.38 ERA and a 41-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 39 innings with Rome. Although the ERA is higher than desired, Perez has made strides in improving his command, lowering his walk rate from 3.92 per nine innings in '10 to 2.31 this season.
Perez is an intriguing prospect who has a chance to develop into a third starter.
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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